Strokes Gained – How It Works (Part 2)

The previous article explained on a basic level how “Strokes Gained” works.  This article will provide more detail of how you can track exactly how many strokes you’re gaining or losing against the PGA Tour average.

The below table shows the PGA Tour baseline averages for each shot.  Just select the distance from the hole and the starting position of the ball (tee, fairway, rough, sand etc.) to see what the average would be for a player averaging 70.

You can see how the amount of shots to finish the hole increases as the lie gets worse and also as the distance increases.  This is logical, but being able to quantify exactly how much more difficult it is can be extremely valuable.

Now, we need to use the table above to measure how well we performed on each individual shot we hit.

For example, if the hole was meant to take 3.5 to complete, and we hit our shot to a position that takes less than 2.5 to complete, we have gained strokes (however much or little).  If we hit to a position that would take more than 2.5 to complete we have lost strokes.

Lets use a tee shot as an example:-

Tee shot 400 yards – average to complete 3.99.   An average shot would leave us with 2.99 to complete the hole.  This could be a distance of 160 yards from the fairway (2.98), 80 yards from the rough (2.96) or 50 yards from the sand (2.98).

An above average shot would leave us in any position that takes less than 2.99 to complete.  Like 100 yards in the fairway (2.92).

A below average shot would leave us in any position that takes more than 2.99 to complete.  Like 180 yards in the rough (3.31).

The more we beat the average by the more strokes gained.  But how many strokes gained?  Use this simple equation.

(Strokes to complete from starting position of ball – Strokes to complete from finishing position of ball) – 1 = Strokes gained or lost

Lets use the above as examples:-

(3.99-2.99) – 1 = 0 strokes gained.  (average shot)

(3.99-2.92) – 1 = 0.07 strokes gained.  (above average shot)

(3.99-3.31) – 1 = -0.32 strokes lost.  (below average shot)

Do this for every single tee shot over 18 holes to see how many strokes you gain or lose to average 70 shooter from the tee.

                  70     75     80      85     90     95    100    105     110

Driving      0      1.25    2.5     3.75      5      6.3     7.6       9.3       11

Lets say you lose 5.0 shots to the baseline.  Your driving is comparable to that of a 90 shooter.  Is this your score, or is your driving better or worse than your scoring average?

Ideally, this needs to be done for:-

Driving (Tee shots excluding Par 3’s)

Approach (Tee shots on Par 3’s and approach shots to greens outside 100 yards)

Short game (All off green shots inside 100 yards)


But, to get used to it, just start by monitoring 1 area.

                  70     75     80      85     90     95    100    105     110

Driving      0      1.25    2.5     3.75      5      6.3     7.6       9.3       11

Approach  0        2        4          6         8      10      12       13.85    15.7

Short          0      1.05    2.1     3.15     4.2    5.2     6.2       7.05     7.9

Putting       0      0.7      1.4     2.1       2.8    3.5     4.2        4.8      5.4

After measuring your strokes gained or lost for each area of your game, you can see if you’re performing above or below your scoring average.

Which areas are you better or worse than you’re scoring average?  Now make a plan to improve and get your scoring average down!

Send me an email [email protected] with your scoring average and your strokes gained/lost for each of the four areas.  I will reply to as many as I can.

I can show you a plan to improve your game and meet your scoring goals. This can be done with my help or with your own instructor.

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