What are we really measuring (part 4)

This is the fourth part of our “What are we really measuring?” Series. For the previous parts, click here for part 1, here for part 2 and here for part 3.

Up and Downs is a generally used term without a crystal-clear definition.

Up and Downs is a generally used term without a crystal-clear definition. Loosely it can be defined as ‘every time you are off the green, then hole out in 2 strokes or less’. However, in the loose definition we don’t have a set distance that we include, and in my experience we are somewhat subjective in what is actually a ‘proper up and down opportunity’. This makes it very difficult to measure over time and also to compare with other players. Instead, let’s use the Scrambling statistic, which has the following definition: “The percent of the time a player misses the green in regulation, but makes par or better”. While similar, it has a slightly more narrow definition, but still experiences the same problems of measurement as the other statistical variables mentioned above. With Scrambling, the issue is that we are measuring the skill of two shots: first the shot from off the green, then a shot from on the green. Consider these two situations:

1. A player is in the rough 20 yards from the hole. The player chunks his chip shot to 30 feet, then makes the putt for par. This is a successful Scramble.

2. A player is in the rough 20 yards from the hole. The player hits a phenomenal chip to 1 foot, then taps in for par.

These are two successful scrambles, but with widely different components: in the first example the player had an awful chip and an outstanding putt; in the second example the player had an outstanding chip but merely an average putt (since everyone makes almost all 1-foot putts).

These nuances are lost and because of this it makes it impossible to know what exactly you are really good at.

These nuances are lost and because of this it makes it impossible to know what exactly you are really good at here: are you a good chipper of the ball, or a great putter? Since these two shots are intertwined in this statistic it is impossible to tell where your strengths and weaknesses lie around the green.