Golf & Metrics

With the PGA Championship starting today, it’s a great time to blend my two favorite topics… golf and metrics. I’ve recently read some articles that tell these stories well.

  • The first is a warning against using “bad metrics”
  • The second, a lesson to ensure you use the metrics already available to you

Bad Metrics

This article compares an old putting metric with a new. The old metric? Putting from inside 10 feet. This is simply the percentage of putts made that are taken within 10 feet.

It’s a metric that fails to accurately represent success in the shorter, makeable putts because the range of actual distances putted from within 10 feet can vary widely. The expected success rate of a two-footer is nearly 100%, whereas the pros make only half of eight-footers. Yet, they’re blended together in the same metric. For a given round, it’s possible that all a player’s putts within 10 feet are actually within 2 feet. Can you tell if the player putted well that round? Not with this metric.

The new, better metric discussed in the article? Strokes gained putting. It’s a metric based on actual distance putted. It puts higher value on putts made from longer distances, which offers a marked improvement to assessing actual putting skill.

Use the Metrics

Another article tells the story of PGA tour pro Brandt Snedeker, getting advice from a “numbers wiz”. The numbers themselves weren’t advanced statistics, just basic metrics. In summary, his drives are just okay, and his iron shots are just okay, but he putts really well. Armed with those metrics, Snedeker changed his strategic approach to attacking a course to capitalize on his strength — putting. He turned his season around, won the Tour Championship & FedEx Cup, and upped his ranking from 35th to 4th in the world.

In Summary

For those unfamiliar with the film, Moneyball, it’s a story about assembling a competitive baseball team based on statistics which better indicate player success — on-base and slugging percentages. It’s not hard to see we’re in the middle of the “Moneyball for X” revolution, where “X” is the domain of choice.  As in golf and Moneyball, it’s not always about advanced statistics… just using core metrics can drive results. 

Does your business identify with golf’s “putting inside 10 feet” metric? Are there valuable core metrics your organization is ignoring? Are you seeking access to new data or just beginning a metric catalog?

If you’re looking to expand your business’ use of metrics, but eschew the thought of another IT project, Panoptive can be the right fit. Our solution has mastered gathering metrics, and can start your program in days vs traditional tools require a minimum 3-6 months to deliver. 

Contact us if you’re ready to access the right core metrics for your organization.

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