Golf Data Lab
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Strokes Gained in context

We have been resisting the calls for Strokes Gained for tee-to-green performance to be added to our database. This article explains why... with some inevitability about it, we feel!!!

Twice in the last 24 hours we had amateur golfers asking if we had plans to introduce Strokes Gained to our database for all other aspects of the game. These have not been unusual requests but we've not been in a rush to do it for a number of good reasons. This article articulates some of them here: -

It was originally conceived 56 years ago in 1968 by Messrs Cochran & Stubbs before being "discovered" and as a consultant to the R & A for many years, this included the time when the Strokes Gained concept was introduced to us almost 15 years ago now. In my paper of November 2010, I described the Strokes Gained concept as “beautiful” but expressed my own reservations as to 1) how useful it might be from an individual coaching perspective, 2) how accessible/ understandable it would be to the majority of golfers and coaches, including at professional level, and 3) that it wasn’t a robust performance measurement system for all shots between tees and greens. 

For amateurs, comparing themselves to the PGA Tour Shotlink data isn't just an apples v. pears exercise, it's counterproductive, demotivating and most of all, not specific enough. They don't have the clubs used data and fail to understand that the par 3 tee shot is a completey different TYPE of shot, what we have been describing (since the end of two decades ago) as "the most expensive shot in golf".

Our original model nails player performance in two dozen key stats, all of which are displayed on the player's Home Page: -

This golfer told me that he changed his Short Game and Putting coach this winter, having spent upwards of £1,500 on coaching in 2023. If it works, why change it and if it's not working, why NOT change it?

We'll not be changing this any decade soon but... we feel we may add the generic Strokes Gained tee-to-green categories at some point, if only to show how ineffective they really are (other than for Putting). The intelligent golfers and coaches already know that the bomb and gouge mantra doesn't work and that there is a limit to how much speed and length that we can safely and reasonably expect to attain anyway. We need much better feedback than Strokes Gained to understand what's really going on.

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What Our Clients Say


Dean Robertson

Performance Golf Coach - University of Stirling
European Tour winner

All of my students over the years have used GDL and still do. I’ve always said that "if we are not assessing, we’re guessing" and "what gets measured gets improved". This system - and Graeme - are an integral part of our team at Stirling and performance measurement has been a big part of our various successes.

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