Creating and optimizing a practice plan for game improvement can seem daunting. There’s chipping, putting, pitching, full-iron shots and driving.
And that doesn’t even include “specialty shots” like bunker blasts or flop shots.
Working with a qualified PGA Professional is highly recommended for every level of player. But even then, practice time is limited and traditionally based on what the instructor observes (with his or her naked eye or on video) during range sessions.
Arccos players across handicap levels can leverage their on-course data to take the guesswork out of creating a game improvement strategy. Just how important is performance data collected during a round versus a practice session?
Said Arccos Advisory Board Chair and PGA Hall of Famer Bob Ford:
“I wouldn’t even look at the range data if I was coaching that player. It is night and day, unless you are a professional golfer. You see a different person on the course than on the practice range.”
Calling upon more than 300 million shots and over 400,000 players, Arccos is able to make clear distinctions between handicap ranges in terms of performance by category.
Here are a few aggregate highlights to help guide your next practice session.
The dreaded three-putt.
We’ve all heard, and lived, the jokes and quips about this obnoxious extra stroke with the flat blade. When it comes to practice, starting on the putting surface is a sound strategy for any golfer, especially high handicaps, according to Arccos data.
In fact, Arccos players in the 16-20 handicap range three-putt 19% of greens, while 0-5 handicappers are significantly lower at 8%. High handicaps, 21-25 three-putt 23% of greens, accounting for up to five additional strokes per 18 holes.
Comparatively, two-putt percentage has much less disparity, with only a three-percentage point swing (64% versus 61%) between a scratch (zero) and bogey (20 handicap) golfers.
Now proximity to the hole certainly comes into play with most three-putts. The new Strokes Gained Analysis feature that is coming soon, will provide such details. And it may show that your higher than you’d like putting stats are because your approach or short game needs work!
Of course, as Scottish-born professional golfer and famed instructor, Ben Sayers once said, “A good player who is a great putter is a match for any golfer. A great hitter who can’t putt is a match for no one.”
On average, golf courses built or renovated after 2009 contain 40,000 to 80,000-square-feet of sand bunkering, while many constructed during the 1980 to 2005 “building boom” exceed 100,000.
Moreover, it is estimated nearly half of all bunkers are greenside, requiring a “blast” shot with an open-faced sand wedge. You see where we’re going with this: if you have access to a practice sand bunker, use it.
A scratch golfer gets up-and-down from greenside bunkers 34% of the time from 0-25 yards out and 27% of the time from 25-50 yards. The bogey golfer, on the other hand: 13% and 7%, respectively.
Greens in Regulation
Generally speaking, good ball strikers tend to be the most consistent performers on the golf course. On the PGA Tour, ball striking is measured as a composite of total driving (distance plus accuracy) and greens in regulation (GIR).
Arccos 0-5 handicappers hit 52% of GIR, while 16-20 handicappers clock in at 22%. If you look at just a single handicap, a scratch golfer averages 58% hitting GIR and a 10 handicap is a 34% - that’s a 24 percent difference!
As Dave Pelz revealed in his short-game research, golfers lose 80% of their shots 100 yards and in. Zero handicap Arccos players hit 78% of greens in regulation from 50-100 yards out, while five handicappers hit 69%.
GIR performance falls off drastically for double-digit handicaps:
- 10 handicap 62%
- 15 handicap 55%
- 20 handicap 50%
- 25 handicap 45%
Simply put, better players drive the ball significantly farther than a high-handicap golfer. News flash, right? Well, the chasm between the two might even be greater than you’d imagine.
Arccos data reveals the average driving distance for low handicap players (0-5) is 243 yards.
Golfers in the 16-20 handicap range average 209 yards. One of the key takeaways, here, is tee selection inasmuch as practice.
How often do you see bogey golfers playing from the same tees as single-digit handicappers? Exactly – too often. In this scenario, the “good” golfer’s second shot is 34 yards shorter than the “average” golfer’s.
Due to its loft, lie and shaft length, the 7-iron is a club favored by many golfers across skill levels. It’s also a prime example of just how much distance varies across handicaps.
What if we told you that a scratch golfer hits his or her 7-iron a full 19 yards farther than a bogey golfer?
With the Arccos Caddie app, users have access to their own detailed, club-by-club data to better inform their range time.
Simply fire up the app, tap the “Clubs” icon at the bottom of the screen, and select from “Smart Distance,” “Smart Range,” “Longest,” “GIR%,” or “Usage.”
On-course, club-level data can completely alter practice habits. For example, you could find that while you hit your 6-iron 170 yards with a GIR% of 50, your usage rate might be exponentially lower than your 7- or 5-iron.
In other words, if pressed for time and heading to the range, a quick check of the app will enable you to grab the right clubs to work with before you step on the first tee.
Most of us are visual learners. Pro tip: Arccos players can log onto the Arccos Dashboard at www.arccosgolf.com to view the path of every shot on every hole they’ve played.
Just click on the “Rounds” menu, click on the course, and the next screen will display a hole-by-hole GPS map overlaid with your shot-by-shot tracers.