With ‘driving for show’ and ‘putting for dough’ it shouldn’t be so easy to forget that there is a facet in between that is also pretty darn important! (Middle child syndrome does exist after all...) What is easily overlooked is the complicated nature of approach shots. Unlike tee shots that are perfectly propped up and facing your target with a balanced stance–approach shots can have an enormous number of variables affecting your strategy: terrain, lie, distance-left, grass thickness, obstacles, carry, roll-out, etc.
Approach play is arguably the most important game facet and what separates most golfers from truly improving. The nuances are not always easy to practice, and you have to rely on knowledge and experience in addition to the occasional ‘lucky’ break.
Interestingly, Approach was Tiger’s secret when he was dominating the game between 2004-2012. When Mark Broadie, the inventor of the Strokes Gained methodology, looked at the data during this time period, Tiger was gaining 1.28 shots per round on the PGA Tour Average and 0.73 shots against the average Top 40 player - see Broadie's stat table below. Tiger was hitting it considerably closer to the hole than his peers and that is where he gained his shots on the field.
Next week we are launching Enhanced Approach Stats to give Arccos Members a closer look at their approach distances and where they can look to improve. There will now be 7 fine-tuned “buckets” to see exactly how you perform at each distance when approaching the green. Here are the seven new ‘distance’ segments:
- 50-74 yards
- 75-99 yards
- 100-124 yards
- 125-149 yards
- 150-174 yards
- 175-199 yards
- 200+ yards
Understanding which distances you are weakest in conjunction with your other player performance analytics is critical to help set you up for success in your short game. While we all wish we holed out every approach shot, that is unrealistic… even for prime time Tiger.
The new Enhanced Approach Stats include:
- Strokes Gained Analytics by each distance
- GIR% across each distance
- And Outcomes (Leave Distance)
We won’t try to discredit the importance of putting, but in many cases..improving your approach stats will significantly help your putting numbers, by just getting closer to the pin. GIR% is a traditional stat players track, while it has its importance, the more accurate way to judge a players approach ability is to know Leave Distance, or Proximity to Pin. Being on the green is nice, but being on the green closer to the pin is even nicer.
RELATED: Enhanced Putting Stats
Ensuring you are collecting the best data on the course is easy with Arccos and its automatic shot tracking. However, there are a few ways you can ensure that the data you are collecting is even more accurate by spending a little time editing after your round or between holes. When looking at approach stats here are our top tips for making sure your data is more accurate:
- Ensuring terrain is accurate in the bottom left corner when selecting a shot to review (when you are in a small area like a bunker or close to the edge of the rough/fairway)
- Adding any penalties to the correct shot by selecting the stroke that caused the penalty
If you are trying to elevate your game and start sticking your approach shots closer to the pin, make sure you are taking advantage of the new Enhanced Approach Stats that will start rolling out to iOS users the week of September 4th. Don’t worry Android users, you folks will be next!