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  • Jonathan Zajicek

How strokes gained can help your business

Those of you that know me well, know that I’m a very passionate golfer. I LOVE Golf. Playing, practicing, tournaments, YouTube and countless other golf content platforms. One of the more recent (relatively) developments is the introduction of the strokes gained concept on the PGA Tour. For those of you unfamiliar, think moneyball but for Golf.


For more information on strokes gained, please visit https://www.pgatour.com/news/2016/05/31/strokes-gained-defined.html


What I want to talk today about is how introducing those advanced analytics changed the game….. and maybe how it DIDN’T. I’m going to tie all this back to your business so you can see how strokes gained can help you.


TL;DR

The learning that all businesses can take from the PGA Tour pro’s is not to become obsessive with the minutia of every individual number but to leverage the data to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your business, prioritize improvement and make strides against the field. That is how you move up the rankings.


What’s changed:

I grew up in a time where stat tracking for golf was relatively simple. Fairways, greens, putts, sand shots. Shotlink was introduced on the PGA tour in 2001(with several enhancements since then) which provided precise locations of a players ball for every shot in the round. So introducing more granular data was great for TV and statisticians but it didn’t really change how players actually PLAYED.


As strokes gained has now become the common lexicon in Men’s professional golf (the ladies do not currently have shotlink technology), the way the game is played is actually being played. Players are seeking more clubhead speed because the strokes gained methodology showed the importance of driving the golf ball. You can see in the below article how it’s actually translating into $$$$ (https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2018/04/22/golf-by-the-numbers-distance-off-tee-pays-dividends/).


An analytics framework was introduced and every individual player could identify where they were weak relative to the field and what elements of the game actually drove the outcome. There was an old adage, “Drive for show, putt for dough”, that’s been all but blown up.


So, data has gotten better and an analytics framework was introduced in a relatively easy to engage way to actually educate people about what is driving results. Sounds like a great roadmap for most businesses. 


But I think the biggest learning is that the players aren’t worried about changing a particular stat from +1.435 to +1.634 but rather, using the framework to prioritize improvement in different facets of their game.


What hasn’t changed:

The object of the game is still the same, get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. 

A player must still hit the ball far enough

A player must still hit the ball accurate enough

A player must still have a good enough short game


The learning that all businesses can take from the PGA Tour pro’s is not to become obsessive with the minutia of every individual number but to leverage the data to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your business, prioritize improvement and make strides against the field. That is how you move up the rankings.


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