T-Time Podcast // Ep. 7: What Does Good Golf Look Like for YOU with Lou Stagner
As Tori sits down with Lou Stagner on the podcast today, she can't help but express her admiration for his Twitter feed. Tori is an avid follower and often finds herself struggling not to repost his content on her own Twitter and Instagram pages. Lou’s tweets are filled with interesting stats, thought-provoking questions, and fun trivia that make his feed a joy to follow. He will delve into the topic of what good golf looks like, not only from an expert level but also from a 10 index or a 20 index. It's a topic that Tori finds intriguing, touching on expectations and what one should look for when hitting the golf course.
What Good Golf Looks Like:
1. Driving Distance
For women, according to data from Arccos, the median distance with a driver is 170 yards. 18% of women in the Arccos database have a median distance with a driver of 200 yards or more. Fairways hit is similar for all skill levels, around 52%. Keeping the ball in play and limiting penalty strokes is the most important thing off the tee. Adding length is extremely important as a strong relationship exists between handicap and how far a golfer hits the ball. Golfers should look into speed training devices and programs to help them hit the ball farther and improve their scores.
What is Arccos?
Arccos is a stat tracking tool that allows golfers to track their stats and improve their game. Golfers can purchase sensors that screw into the end of their clubs or buy grips with embedded sensors. The sensors connect to an app on a golfer's phone, where they can view and analyze their stats. Arccos uses GPS to track the golfer's location and club usage during a round. At the end of the round, golfers can review their data and make any necessary adjustments. The tool provides more than basic stats such as fairway hit and greens hits; it also provides strokes gained, which is a more accurate measure of a golfer's performance. Arccos helps golfers understand their strengths and weaknesses by providing detailed and accurate statistics.
2. Tee Boxes
The biggest problem in golf concerning distance is that there are not enough shorter tees for women. The USGA and the R&A have been investigating this issue through their Distance Insight Program and found that for women who hit an average distance with a driver of 175 yards, the suggested course length is between 4400 and 4600 yards, but most courses are longer than that. Many women hit at 150 yards, and playing a course at 5200-5400 yards is like a PGA tour player playing 9000 yards. This defeats the purpose of golf when you're hitting the driver and then a fairway wood on every single par four. Golf courses should have tees appropriate for how far a golfer hits the ball, particularly in the women's game.
3. Woods & Irons Accuracy
If you're trying to improve your performance in golf, focusing on strokes gained is the best way to understand your performance. It's the most important stat to track; if you're not using something that gives you strokes gained, the next best thing to track is how many greens in regulation you're hitting. There's a strong correlation between skill level and greens hit; hitting more greens per round will lower your handicap. Additionally, it's important to understand that every time you miss a green it takes an average of 2.6 to 2.9 shots to get the ball in the hole. In contrast, hitting a green takes an average of 2.1 putts. This difference can greatly impact your score if it happens multiple times in a round.
4. Keeping stats for fairways and hitting fairways and greens
Strokes Gained is the most accurate way to understand your performance in golf. Arccos gives you this information in relation to your skill level, so you're not compared to professional golfers. It tracks four parts of the game: off-the-tee shots on par 4s and 5s, approach play on par 3s and shots outside of 50 yards, the short game around the green, and putting. This allows you to see where you are performing well and where you need to improve relative to your skill level.
What are the experts doing compared to the 10 and 20 handicaps?
Scratch players typically hit around 11 greens and have a handicap of 10-15. To improve, they should focus on hitting more greens and avoiding penalty strokes by not hitting into hazards such as water or bunkers. This is also important for amateur players at all skill levels. It's better to aim away from fairway bunkers and even into the rough to avoid hazards and keep the ball in play. Hitting fairways is not as important as keeping the ball in play.
Tour pros typically hit wedges to within 18.5 feet of their target on average. It's important to pick a precise target and try to hit it, but also to understand that it's not always possible. Even the best players in the world hit shots within a large area. Players must have realistic expectations for their skill level and not become frustrated when shots don't go as planned. This can lead to frustration hurting their wedge game.
6. Par score
The handicap system is set up so that players will typically beat their handicap about 20% of the time. This means that if a player scores net par on every hole, their score would be in the top 20% of all their scores. It's good to make pars on holes where a stroke is given, but it's important not to focus too much on outcomes during the game. Instead, use net par as a goal to think about after the round and not have a specific score in mind when standing on the tee box, as it can be detrimental to the game.
The magic number for putting distance for a 10-handicap player is around 16 feet, where they average two putts. The goal is to have good speed control and get the ball past the hole, but not too far past, to increase the chances of the ball going in. Eliminating the majority of three putts can improve scoring and handicap. Knowing your putting habits and where you fit in is important to focus on and improve. Reducing the number of three putts is crucial for high to mid-handicap players, and it can be achieved through good speed control.
Lou’s Opinion on Tournament Golf
Lou believes that tournament golf can be classified into different levels: local, state, national, and professional events. He encourages players who want to compete in tournament golf to play as many tournaments as possible and get as many reps as possible to improve their skills. He also mentions that tournament golf differs from regular golf as it is more intense and pressure-filled when money is on the line.
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