Scratch Golfer VS PGA Tour Pro, pt 1


You would possibly ask: How would I do know the variations between a scratch golfer and a PGA Tour participant? Properly, it’s my full-time job to know these sort of issues about golf. I’ve been finding out the sport from a statistical standpoint for 27 years. I created the Strokes Gained evaluation web site,, and work with PGA Tour members to extract clear solutions from the Tour’s overwhelming 653 ShotLink stats.

My expertise tells me that there isn’t a such factor as a mean sport, regardless of the handicap stage. We’re all snowflakes and discover our personal distinctive solution to shoot our quantity. With that mentioned,’s 260,000+ spherical database allows us to create a composite sketch of the typical golfer at every stage. One of many beauties of our averages is that they’re easy throughout all 5 main sides so that each particular person golfer’s strengths and weaknesses — and all of us have them — stand out clearly by comparability.

Mr. Scratch: I averaged the 8,360 rounds in our database that match the zero handicap standards. In different phrases, the rounds when Mr. Scratch truly performed to his 0 handicap.
PGA Tour: The typical of the 14,557 ShotLink rounds recorded within the 2015 season.
The Math

The USGA’s Course and Slope score system does a classy job of evaluating the relative problem of our golf programs. I joined my native course score committee shortly after the brand new “Slope” system was added. My particular objective was to achieve an understanding of how the system works in order that I might successfully apply it in my evaluation program.

For the needs of this text, the Course Ranking displays the relative course par for the scratch golfer. The chart beneath tells us that the PGA Tour scoring common is 2.25 strokes higher than Mr. Scratch. Additional, Tour gamers are taking part in programs which are 3.2 strokes tougher. The online result’s a 5.45-shot distinction between Tour gamers and Mr. Scratch, however let’s simply name it 5.5.

The chart above exhibits us that the largest piece of the 5.5-shot pie falls into the Driving class, or Distance, which is sensible to me. To play the sport for a residing, one should have the ability to hit it straight and much. Even Zach Johnson, with whom I’ve had the nice pleasure of working with for 5 years, is usually thought of a brief hitter. I contend that he’s merely extra clever and acknowledges the true worth of accuracy. Zach is averaging 281 yards this yr, solely seven off of the Tour common. Brief? Not by my requirements.

The chart beneath signifies that the driving distance hole between the Tour and Mr. Scratch is 33 yards. The typical strategy shot distance on the PGA Tour is 175 yards. Including the 33 yards to all 14 driving holes places Mr. Scratch’s common strategy distance at simply over 205 yards. The Strokes Gained worth of this added distance is 2.52 strokes (0.18 per try x 14 driving holes = 2.52).

Accuracy and Errors Per Spherical

Mr. Scratch seems barely higher than the Tour in accuracy and errors per spherical. With added distance inevitably comes some lowered accuracy and extra errors. I imagine this slight edge would greater than disappear if Mr. Scratch have been utilizing the Tour’s big-boy tees.

Strategy Photographs

As you possibly can see by the chart beneath, Mr. Scratch is barely much less correct from the distances that account for 80 p.c of the Tour strategy makes an attempt. I estimate that Mr. Scratch’s lowered accuracy would account for at the very least two fewer GIR’s per spherical, at a value of 1.5 strokes. It’s attention-grabbing to notice that Mr. Scratch incurs an strategy penalty with the identical frequency because the Tour common (1 in each 5 rounds).

Brief Sport

Mr. Scratch leaves his profitable brief sport pictures 1 foot farther from the outlet. This distinction within the vary of 7-10 ft is value 0.08 Strokes Gained. When multiplied by seven brief sport pictures per spherical it’s 0.56 strokes, however we’ll name it half a stroke.

I’m ignoring the minor distinction in errors (pictures that miss the inexperienced). My principle is that Mr. Scratch attains his glorious scoring stage by way of meticulous brief sport consistency. The Tour gamers are so good that they attempt to get even highest-risk pictures near the outlet, assured that in the event that they miss the inexperienced they may save the following — which they do 75 p.c of the time. In 2015, solely 25 p.c of the brief sport pictures that missed the inexperienced took greater than three strokes to lastly gap out

If you wish to attempt to get on the PGA Tour, your handicap must be a stable +3. If you wish to assist a household taking part in on tour, your handicap needs to be +5. A lot simpler mentioned than executed, nonetheless.

Written by: Peter Sanders


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    27 Replies to “Scratch Golfer VS PGA Tour Pro, pt 1”

    1. AKL005 says:

      Really awesome analysis. Thanks for putting this together.

    2. Robert Wynn says:

      I would agree with your stats. The one thing I wish the courses in my area would allow for is roll on tee shots. Lucky to get 10-15 yards. Many tour set ups have very firm fairways and pros get a lot of roll. Greens are firmer too. Being a +0.9 player I know there is no way I could compete with these guys.

    3. Jon m says:

      Average household name tour player is a +5 to a +8 Handicap

    4. There are thousands of golfers who are good enough for the Tour by any physical or talent standard. If you can make 5 birdies a round you sure as hell can make 10.

      But the Tour is filled with people who have no fear of going low. The difference between a Tour player who can stay on Tour and everyone else is that they have a subconscious that does not blow up when they go low. At that point it is fearless golf. Most of the top golfers play for many years on Tour, they never go away. They do not fear going low and they do not self sabotage when they start going low.

    5. John Orr says:

      I have played a post PGA tournament round on a course where they kept tournament conditions for 2 days. Greens super slick fairways 3/8 inch super firm. Shot 3 strokes under my 9 handicap from the pro tees. Those guys are good, nobody would pay to see anyone shoot 78. But remember it is a show.

    6. tryNtryAGAIN says:

      Surely having a pro caddy saves a few strokes

    7. mark94555 says:

      It is distance…100%…on a par 4, when ur always hitting a 9, 8 or pw into the green…ur gonna be hitting more girs… period

    8. 60% of tour players have bad swings

    9. joshclayg says:

      Slope accounted for or not, the small difference between scratch and pro from 10ft and in is too small imo. Amateur tournament greens vs pro greens, may as well be a different game. Factor in the increased difficulties faced when greens missed – tour pros are way better at scrambling and holing out than mr scratch.

    10. Robert Wynn says:

      Put my game on the firm fairways that the big boys play and I can hit it tour long. Our courses have maybe 8-10 yards of roll and I can still hit it 270 at age 55.

    11. 1974jrod says:

      There is one major flaw in this entire video. Its course conditions.
      Mr. Pga tees off on 18 level tee boxes, Mr. Pga plays off from perfect carpeted fairways that run 8 to 10 on the stimpmeter, and Mr Pga putts to cups that are perfect.
      Mr scratch tees off from unlevel tee boxes 90 percent of the time, which makes it more unlikely to hit fairways, Mr. Scratch plays off fairways that are usually hard as blacktop, and Mr. Scratch putts to cups that are crowned like mount Vesuvius and greens that are inconsistent.
      I'm a low single digit, and bad cups cost me about 2 to 3 strokes a round.
      Give me course conditions like the pros, and I'll play like a pro.

    12. touristguy87 says:

      A: who was dumb enough to pay you to do this full time…not to mention for 27 years?

      B: how the hell can you be dumb enough to try to compare players at different tees? It shpuld be obvious that the game changes dramatically as the tees get longer. That's a great argument for having only one of the two sets of tees figure into a players' official PGA handicap….not both.

      Otherwise you're trying to put makeup on a pig here. You really want to know how good the pros are? Try to qualfiy for any Tour-level tournament.

    13. hugh honey says:

      recovery and scrambling. thats the difference

    14. Ethan3369 says:

      i dont even watch golf how did i get here

    15. Steve Willow says:

      When I hit it 275+ and straight I'm 23% more likely to hit GIR than if I have playable shot in rough, but if I hit it 250+ off tee and straight I'm 19% likely to hit GIR than from rough. But if from 50 yards and in I hit good shots, make putts, and don't 3 putt I'm going to shoot pretty good if I just keep my ball in play off the tee. No % shit needed it's just a frickin fact, ive also decided to just enjoy being on the golf course on a nice July night with the sun going down slowly….Slow play still pisses me off, a 15 hcp doesn't need to take 60 seconds to hit every shot. 97% of the time 10 seconds will work to hit that same shot 50' away from the hole.

    16. Im 12 and play a 1 handicapp

    17. Someone explain this to me. There’s junior golfers who are off like +6 who win big tournaments like ajga invitationals, us junior am, junior worlds, and do well in the us amature and are in the top 20 for the official amature golf rankings. Then they go to a great Golf college like Stanford and win college tournaments there and win national championships. Then when they turn pro you never hear of them again

    18. Jonbek says:

      I'm 7 and play off +6 do you think I can make it?

    19. There's a guy at my club who's like 40 and off +4 lol he hits it about 340 yards though I'm 14 and off 2 at the moment

    20. Hand Over says:

      nothing beats being a scratch disguised as a 10 handicap and sweeping the amateur events.we All know this is the aim of every scratch player

    21. Caleb Marks says:

      Not to mention courses play further and faster during a pga event than a regular round for a scratch golfer. And scratch golfers probably arent following every rule properly.

    22. Mitch Y says:

      u better closer to a +8 if you think you can be on tour and making a living

    23. KING SHARK says:

      as someone said, Mr. scratch probably has other items on his plate, Mr. tour has access to customize everything and Mr. tour job is golf and nothing but golf. … but I get what you hitting at, giving scratch golfers the statistics they need to get to the next level. 👍

    24. if you can marry long distance with a tremendous chipping game and a few clutch putts, you can have a future in this game. now what makes you a great golfer is not ballstriking… its the stuff in between your ears! i believe that in golf if you have a good spacial awareness, meaning measuring(or feeling) distance to get the ball in hole, you have an advantage. swings are swings. a swing can be fixed, but if you dont have that special thing i just mentioned, you're done! however, the short game is very much practice oriented. it boils down to this i think: love. how much do you love golf?

    25. i disagree with the statistics table…. for one reason: short game. remember Seve?

    26. yes a scratch golfer who is under US handicap is no here near a scratch CONGU handicap golfer , the US handicap system is quite honestly a joke and very misleading. that being said a scratch golfer has absolutely zero chance against even a mini tour player.

    27. charly y says:

      Mr. Scratch is a chump compared to a PGA tour player.

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