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The Significance of Distance?


Tony Covey MGS

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I'm going to be vague except to say that GolfSpy X and I are hard at work on something that, if it comes to fruition (feel free to donate now), will be a significant game changer.

 

One very small piece of the larger puzzle involves ways to look at data, so to that end I ask...

 

Is 5 yards (for example) more meaningful/significant/statistically interesting for a slower swing speed player than for a higher swing speed player?

 

Here's what I'm thinking about.

 

Golfer A hits one driver 200 yards and another 205 yards?

Golfer B hits one driver 280 yards and another 285 yards?

 

They both were 5 yards longer.

 

Is 5 yards 5 yards, or is that 5 yards more significant for golfer A since, as far as the percentages go, his 5 yards was more significant than player B's.

 

Two schools of thought..

yards are yards are yards

it's the not the yards, it's the relative improvements

 

What say y'all?

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I don't think 5 yards is enough for either Golfer A or Golfer B to tell a difference. I think we need to look at it more from a 10-15 yard perspective because that means the golfer will be using 1 less club. In that scenario, I think Golfer B (hitting it 280 to 295 yards) would feel a larger difference because Golfer A will still have long approach shots. Golfer B is now making those long par-4's shorter and making those long par-5's reachable in two shots.

 

Where I think Golfer A (short hitter) would see the difference is if his distance *precision* improves. If he's removing those terrible drives that only go about 150 yards and is now getting a tighter distance dispersion.

 

 

 

 

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I think depending on hitter Bs game that extra 5 yards could be helpful or very hurtful to them. If they have good touch and feel from 150 then that 5 yards can give them a huge advantage but if they struggle with short game then the 5 yards might end up hurting them.

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Would the 5 yards be more signifanct if it was for the approach shot rather than off the tee?

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Let's look at a 390 yard hole. I think that 5 yards is nothing to Mr. Longer. The only real effect for him is that maybe he is now choking down to the steel and hitting a "easy" Gap Wedge to the green.

 

However, for Mr. Shorter, it could be a much more significant number. If Mr. shorter is hitting driver 200 yards, then he probably does not have a realistic chance of reaching a green if he is 190 out. I doubt seriously that he is hitting a 3 wood consistent enough to reach the green from 190, and more importantly, he probably doubts it also. But since he can now hit the driver 205, now he is inside 190, he might can hit a FM 185. While it might not make a statistical difference it certainly makes a psychological one.

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I don't think 5 yards is a difference maker when you're talking distance. Dispersion, though, absolutely.

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Distance gains are more proportionally signifigant the higher the percentage of distance gained to expected distance is. They're getting more of numbers benefit ergo the gain must be more signifigant.

 

The follow up question as noted above a few times is whether said distance gain is actually relevant to change on course club selection. 5 yards? Maybe not. 8 or 10 yards if we're talking irons? Absolutely.

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The question simply was whom does it benefit more.

 

My answer the shorter player and I think Rover Rick nailed it - the difference between 190 or 185 into the green could easily be a deal break for him - for Mr. 280 its a 5 or 6 iron - for Mr. shorty its go or no go.

 

I totally disagree with those who say 5 yards doesn't make a difference - assuming the 5 yards is a usuable (read accurate) 5 yards. 5 yards means that I can carry that trap on 10 that I lay up short of now because I'm in it with a slight miss hit - 5 yards means go or no go on some long par 4's or short par 5's -

 

I hit 11 fairways a round - I'd go to 10 for 5 yards and be on the plus side of things beyond a doubt. Sign me up for the 5 yards.

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Nobody said they wouldn't take the 5yds, hell I'll take 5yds and I don't need any more. The question was if it was "significant"...........and the answer to that is no. If someone is only hitting it 200yds off the tee, then they are most likely a higher handicap. Short hitting high handicaps are not playing par 4's that are over 360yds.....or they sholdn't be anyway. 5 yards is 15 feet, measure thought out with a tape measure, it's not very far. If someone only hits their driver 200, it's not going to matter to them if they have 190 or 185 in. When you're talking "significant", that more in the 15yd range.

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I would venture that something is always more precious to someone who doesn't have a lot of it. For the most part it doesn't matter what that something is. So the shorter hitter will value that 5 yds more than the longer hitter will. Just like giving $5 to someone with $100 to their name will mean more than giving it to someone with $1000.

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Let's put it this way....my average drive is 245.....I would NOT buy a new driver for 5 more yards....I WOULD buy one for 15 yards.

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I would venture that something is always more precious to someone who doesn't have a lot of it. For the most part it doesn't matter what that something is. So the shorter hitter will value that 5 yds more than the longer hitter will. Just like giving $5 to someone with $100 to their name will mean more than giving it to someone with $1000.

I tend to agree more with this...

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Depends on the course you're playing.

 

5 yards more can give you a direct line to all of the green or you may have to factor in some obstacle on the way to some part of the green or the whole thing.

 

In another instance, 5 yards more can shoot you past the ideal line to the green or, being 5 yards shorter, provide you with the best options for shots to the green.

 

Greater distance is never a foregone conclusive advantage, but I'd rather have it and deal with controlling my shot than not have it to call on if needed. The game is one of accuracy and control. Distance helps and is a significant advantage but not overwhelming where such small differences are concerned, unless the course involved dictates.

 

 

Shambles

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I think a lot of these posts are not looking at the question that is being asked. As I see it the question is not if 5 yds is significant in general, or if it's significant to you. In this scenario we are giving both players 5 extra yards, the question is who will be more appreciative of those yards. Or who would benefit the most from those yards.

 

No need to nit pick certain scenario's where it would be harmful, stop looking at the leaves on the tree's and see the forest.

 

I should probably also note that this is in no way directed at any individual post, more of a general comment that it feels like we are straying from the question that was originally asked.

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Here's a question for ya. Why not 10yds? Why not 12yds? How bout 15yds?

 

 

I asked about 5 for a reason, but the same thinking behind the question applies to 10, 12, 15...

 

 

 

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Haha, Dude, ya don't have to passively aggresively say it. Step up, pick a post & hit reply, LMAO.

 

Looking at the question, it would be the slower SS, cuz that individual should be appreciative of everything, anything and all realized benefits, whether swing related, equipment related and if a prayer happened to be answered.

 

It's kinda hard to go at any individual post when numerous posts said basically the same thing.

 

And I purposely chose to look at the leaves cuz the forest is sparse and there ain't much to look at, lol B)

 

Here's a question for ya. Why not 10yds? Why not 12yds? How bout 15yds?

 

5yds?

 

Unless you wanna see what distance, if promoted(ie., "17 more yards"), rates a zero on the "Boy, I've gotta hit/have that driver," meter, LOL.

 

 

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There were too many posts to pick just one :)

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Nobody said they wouldn't take the 5yds, hell I'll take 5yds and I don't need any more. The question was if it was "significant"...........and the answer to that is no. If someone is only hitting it 200yds off the tee, then they are most likely a higher handicap. Short hitting high handicaps are not playing par 4's that are over 360yds.....or they sholdn't be anyway. 5 yards is 15 feet, measure thought out with a tape measure, it's not very far. If someone only hits their driver 200, it's not going to matter to them if they have 190 or 185 in. When you're talking "significant", that more in the 15yd range.

 

And I would disagree with you for all the reasons mentioned about plus as we all know 5 yards is not just 5 yards on a straight line along the ground - that 5 yards must also include additional carry - perhaps 4 yards - for the person that hits it 200 (what if it's a low handicap woman?) they may well carry the ball 170 - It's too risky to carry a corner trap or hazzard that's 160 but not if they are suddenly carrying it 174 - now the margin of error is much, much greater and on and on it goes.

 

5 yards is significant - its way less significant than 15 which is more than a club - however it remains signifcant never the less.

 

The question also was whom is it more significant too and I would opt for the person who hits it 200 yards.

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Ok, so you hit it 200yds, now you can hit it 205 and you're suddenly changing lines on the course? If there's a bunker that takes 201 to carry and I couldn't do it before, then I'm sure as hell not going to be trying now that I'm hitting it 205.

 

If the question is who is it more significant to, then yes, I'll go with Mr My7iron.

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A single club that gives you 5 more yards is not significant unless it fits a certain gap. A swing change or a set of clubs or shafts that gives you an across the board 5 yard increase is good. I went into the KBS C Taper Lite test hoping for a 5 yard increase across the board. While waiting for them to arrive a was so excited about this. Well, it did not turn out that way.

 

It was an 11 yard increase across the board and this was freaking huge. Couple that with some swing changes and it is a major game changer.

 

Would I get excited over a 5 yard increase with a driver? Perhaps, if it was also 5 yards straighter.

 

Would I get excited over a 3 wood that gave me 5 more yards? Man, I have a 3 wood I bomb off the tee but never know if it will go 140 or 240 off the deck. That kind of inconsistency means I do not hit if off the deck often and that means I should not waste a space in the bag for it. I can choke down on a driver and swing easier or hit the hybrid or 2 iron and accomplish the same thing as a 3 wood. IF it gave me 5 more yards and more consistency off the deck. I would bag it in a heartbeat.

 

Other individual clubs it is not significant because they are certain yardage clubs.

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Ok, so you hit it 200yds, now you can hit it 205 and you're suddenly changing lines on the course? If there's a bunker that takes 201 to carry and I couldn't do it before, then I'm sure as hell not going to be trying now that I'm hitting it 205.

 

If the question is who is it more significant to, then yes, I'll go with Mr My7iron.

 

Sorry buddy I'm going to stay on this one because its freaking hot here, I have church and so can't play this afternoon - it's like winter for me.

 

In my response I didn't use carry of 200 - I used 170 - because that's more realistic - are you going to change every line - of course not - but 5 yards could be huge - Richard gave an example - if suddently he can carry it 252 and the creek is at 240 he may go where he wouldn't at 247 -

 

Anyone who tries to carry an obstacle at their maximum carry distance is committing golf suicide - the question is what distance is a reasonable carry and certainly 5 yards may make a difference on a couple of lines. I know it does because I play courses where the wind often makes a five yard distance and it will change my lines and club selection all the time.

 

Regardless the question that started this thread was who will it benefit more and I'm still sticking with the shorter hitter and I'm still willing to take the extra five yards.

 

I think an interesting question and better yet an interesting test would be at what distance gain is a player willing to sacrifice some accuracy and how does that sacrifice impact one's score. I already stated that I'd trade a fairway a round for 15 yards - I think I'd end up on the plus side of that equation score wise because I think I have enough to control to make my miss in the rough rather than the woods or a hazzard.

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Sorry buddy I'm going to stay on this one because its freaking hot here, I have church and so can't play this afternoon - it's like winter for me.

 

In my response I didn't use carry of 200 - I used 170 - because that's more realistic - are you going to change every line - of course not - but 5 yards could be huge - Richard gave an example - if suddently he can carry it 252 and the creek is at 240 he may go where he wouldn't at 247 -

 

Anyone who tries to carry an obstacle at their maximum carry distance is committing golf suicide - the question is what distance is a reasonable carry and certainly 5 yards may make a difference on a couple of lines. I know it does because I play courses where the wind often makes a five yard distance and it will change my lines and club selection all the time.

 

Regardless the question that started this thread was who will it benefit more and I'm still sticking with the shorter hitter and I'm still willing to take the extra five yards.

 

I think an interesting question and better yet an interesting test would be at what distance gain is a player willing to sacrifice some accuracy and how does that sacrifice impact one's score. I already stated that I'd trade a fairway a round for 15 yards - I think I'd end up on the plus side of that equation score wise because I think I have enough to control to make my miss in the rough rather than the woods or a hazzard.

 

 

Seems to me the scenario you are describing is the difference between a strong 2 cap and a weak 2 cap. The strong 2 cap is, of course, the one with the extra tool...the 5 more yards. He is more likely to play to his cap than his weaker brother.

 

 

Shambles

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