Case Study – Proximity to the Hole from 60 yards vs. 120 yards
Introduction: I hit it closer to the hole with a full shot versus a half shot. I am sure that you have either said this yourself or heard one of your playing partners say it. As an instructor I hear it all of the time. I want to finally debunk or confirm this statement using quantifiable data on TrackMan. For this I asked 10 club members to hit 3 balls to a 60 yard pin and 3 balls to a 120 yard pin and measured the finished proximity to the hole for each shot.
Variables: The ten golfers I asked were between 0 and 30 handicapped players. The wind was 13 km/h into the face. The temperature was 13* Celsius. We were using range balls off of a flat range deck. The 60 yard shots were hit before the 120 yard shots.
Prediction: As an instructor I have always taught people to advance the ball as far as they can, as the shorter the next shot, the closer to the pin they will be able to get. I have a strong bias towards people having a closer proximity to the hole from 60 yards versus 120 yards.
Median proximity on tour (top 184) in 2015 from 50-75 yards: 16’0”
Median proximity on tour (top 203) in 2015 from 100-125 yards 20’9”
Average proximity of a club player from 60 yards: 39’1”
Average proximity of a club player from 120 yards: 43’10”
Conclusion: Club players are in fact better from 60 yards than they are from 120 yards. I firmly believe that it has been our expectation that has led us to believe otherwise. For example, if you were to hit a shot from 120 yards and your proximity to the pin was 25’ you would be satisfied with the result. If you hit a shot to 25’ from 60 yards you would be displeased with the shot. In conclusion, get it as close to the green as you can, every shot.