Golf Statistics and Harry Potter

So I told you about the Golfshot GPS APP I downloaded for my iPhone, right?  I can track my scores, my fairways hit, putts taken, GIR (I learnt that this is “Greens in Regulation…who’d have known?).  Now here is the amazing thing about statistics…it will really blow you away…

But first let me delay my pearl of wisdom and give you the tedious background.  A buddy of mine (quick aside, why are they buddies when I play golf?  I never use this word unless I am playing golf or talking to one of my Northern Californian Friends…), anyway, a buddy of mine is in Market Research.  He makes statistics up for a living.  Really, there are people that do that for a job…and I used to laugh when he introduced himself to people and told them what he did.  I mean, digging ditches, breaking horses, selling things, making things, hell, even playing golf, these are things that men do…an occupation.  70% of people I surveyed told me that Market Research wasn’t actually a job.  Of course  I don’t have the most macho job in the world (can you all spell “non-profit”?  Does that come with one cardigan or two?) but in my job we still make things, DO things.  If I want to do something new I have a think about it myself and decide what I should do.  That is what my bosses pay me for.  Asking OTHER people what they think and then getting the people who are paid to know to pay you for asking those other people, I mean, come on…hey…wait a minute…come to think of it, that is pretty smart if you can get away with it…

(For those that think I am being too down on my buddy’s job…hey I tease myself too, and that makes it alright…my Mum always said if you can’t say anything nice about anyone then at least make sure you say nasty things about yourself too…or something like that…)

Anyway, back to my epiphany.  After years of wry smiles and subdued snorts every time my buddy tells people what he does for a living I suddenly had the importance of what he does slap me in the face with the same clarity you get from pressing your tongue against a cut on the roof of your mouth after eating an Altoid mint.  (I did say in a previous post that I like metaphors…in fact I like metaphors like an analogy likes a simile).  ANYWAY, (get to the point I hear both of my readers say) I suddenly realized that knowing stuff can help you to DO stuff better.  And how did this happen?  I watched a very annoying man on my new favourite TV station the Golf Channel (Does shouting make you an expert?  But honestly he was annoying mainly cos he could play the same shot fifteen times in a row with no discernible differences, whereas I would be changing my grip each time just to make sure) who talked about the importance of practice.  In the lead up to my next game (this Saturday, another chance to get this resolution put to bed!) I decided to practice.  Practice hasn’t really worked out that well for me so far this year but I guess you have to do it a lot before it starts to help.  And the man on TV told me that me that I had to know exactly what is was that I needed to practice before I practiced (Wow, this is hard).  What I really like to practice is blasting my driver into the back of the net on the driving range and then turning nonchalantly around to see how many people saw it…but there may be more to it than that.

So I checked my two games worth of stats knowing in my mind already what they would tell me (wry smile and snort already done); that I am a good iron player, a less than decent driver of the ball, great on par 5s cos I hit long (ish), not bad from the sand, and a lousy putter.  Hereafter my stats (bigger than the pictures above so you can actually read them…)

You are kidding me, really?

I can actually putt?

So what do you know…turns that for my handicap (15…still, despite the 102 and the 103 this year) I am a decent driver of the ball hitting around half the fairways, a lousy iron player cos I don’t get to Greens in regulation and NEVER hit a par 3 green, lousy at par 5s cos I keep going OB, horrible at sand saves (6%!!!), and a pretty good putter averaging just less than 2 putts per green.  And nearly half of my holes were double bogeys or more…that is at least 9 strokes right there just converting to bogeys!  18 shots if they were pars…I am no mathematician but isn’t that, like, the difference between 102 and 84?

So I learnt two things today…my friend has good job that helps people, and I intuitively understand nothing about my own game…

So I went to the driving range and blasted my driver into the net and turned around to see if anyone noticed…they didn’t…and hitting the side net is not all that impressive – or useful – as it turns out…

I love stats now….and I have bought an Anorak online! (For any non British buddies an Anorak is a piece of clothing often worn by nerdy or geeky people who collect stats…basically all your smart, rich friends who did computers and for whom you now work).

What has this got to do with Harry Potter?  Well, nothing really, but I bet that smug little kid would be really good at golf; you could carry just one club that changed into any club you needed, and I often wish I had a magic wand during a round of golf…and…okay, I did it for the internet search engines…

Next game this Saturday morning at a course called Bali (Seriously, Bali is a place in Taiwan…I am not flying to Indonesia), down by the coast…the optimism is starting to build again…this could be THE ONE!

About THE Steve

I work, I play golf, I write, I have opinions, I try to be nice to animals and small children. That's me.
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