Golf Data, Do we need it?

By Scott Murphy

Data is a four letter word and it is the key to understanding your business. Data drives decisions it’s that simple. When Lisa Lam contacted me to write an article, I paused and said to myself – that’s work to write about “data”! I thought what data? whose data? where do I locate the data ? After some initial trepidation I say sure I can write an article. I choose “golf data”, pga data specifically about “The Players championship”. Why? because I decided that I’d rather watch the tournament this weekend on TV vs. driving for one hour and then walking around aimlessly searching for water refill stations in the 90 degree weather. So here’s my first reaction to data this weekend what is that driving distance from my home to TPC Sawgrass is only 17 miles. What is the time to reach destination? 23 minutes. However, data can be misleading, some other factors that might actually triple or quadruple the time is unknown such as traffic and lack of parking. Data is sometime hidden or misleading this is just a silly example how other factors impact data.

Data in the raw, using rounded numbers, also can be misleading. Such as let’s discuss our second topic “pga data”. We can try to use deductive reasoning when comparing statistics but this doesn’t always compute with golf. For examples, let’s look at the top 5 driving distance leaders (totals are in yards of measurement below):

1. Trey Mullinax 320.01

2. Tony Finau 317.50

3. Rory McIlroy 316.76

4. Luke List 316.58

5. Bubba Watson 314.80

and compare to the top five money leaders :

1. Justin Thomas $5,298,300.00

2. Patrick Reed $3,818,952.00

3. Jason Day $3,757,166.00

4. Bubba Watson $3,690,454.00

5. Phil Mickelson $3,647,601.00

As you can see hitting the ball furthest has no correlation to earning the most in winnings !

Data is king ! It controls almost all decisions and things we do. How much does it cost? How much does it weigh? Will the golf clubs fit in the car? Do we need a new car? In summary , data has the answers to all sizes and shapes that we use measurements .

My final thoughts on the TPC Sawgrass this weekend, the course designed by Peter & Alice Dye, has a total length of 7,189 yards (6,574 m). If I had found parking, taken a ride in a shuttle, found a clear plastic bag and a water bottle, I would have walked 18 holes and taken approximately 10,783 steps on the course. If I had a fitbit activity tracker that would had been a great bet to see how many actual steps. Next week maybe we can explore more data and golf!

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