PGA Show – Improving Strokes Gained & Data Science

The annual multi-day PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando went off this year January 26-29 in an all-virtual format due to the coronavirus.

There were a number of insightful and thought – provoking presentations accompanying the usual equipment advances and golf industry news.  Here is a summary of one that might make you think about how you practice and track your results on the course.

Tour Prep Golf is about unlocking and improving your athletic ability to produce more efficient and effective golf swings.  We do this by training our body and mind to produce more effective biomechanical patterns, that in turn produce better ball-striking and higher levels of performance.  With the advent of the digital age and big data, we now have confirmation that this is a powerful way to improve performance – on the course, as well as on the launch monitor.

Most are familiar with the “strokes gained”  (“SG”) performance metrics used by the PGA Tour, and which is available to all at  The foundation for SG is Mark Broadie’s landmark book “Every Stroke Counts”, the pioneering analysis using historical data to compare one golfer’s performance to others.    Flightscope is a launch monitor producer, and its Founder & CEO Henri Johnson and Sr Sales Manager Alex Trujillo presented SG data analysis using the PGA Tour SG database and a large database of scoring by Amateurs. The speakers asserted

For PGA Tour Winners…

  • Putting SG Performance made a 35% Contribution to Victory.
  • Shotmaking SG Performance made a 65% Contribution to Victory.

For the Top 40 finishers in PGA Tournaments…

  • Putting SG Performance made a 15% Contribution to Scoring.
  • Shotmaking SG Performance made a 85% Contribution to Scoring.

For Amateurs, comparing the average 80s scorers vs the average 100s scorers….

  • Putting SG made a 15% Contribution to Improvement
  • Shotmaking made a 85% Contribution to Improvement

Takeaways (in plain English)? 

  • Improved Shotmaking ( better swings tee to green) has a larger impact on scoring improvement than previously understood before mass data collection, computing power. and analytics.   
  • A number of likely reasons including that better shotmaking yields fewer penalty strokes ( more penalty strokes originate from the tee and fairway/rough than from a green ( Ha!)), and proximity to hole after approaching the green has large impact on scoring ( fewer 3 putts/more pars & birdies).
  • We each need to track our own data to better understand where we are losing shots to others/our competitors, and to guide our improvement plan.
  • Putting is still important – accounts for one-third or more of shots in typical rounds, and a hot putter often distinguishes winners.

What do you think TPG Members?  Let us know by visiting our Contact Page and drop us a line!  We want to know how you feel and will share the results in future postings. 

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