There's no such thing as an "Average Golfer"

Smash FactorsSmash Factors Members Posts: 3,668 ✭✭
edited Jan 9, 2018 in Instruction & Academy #1
It's fairly common on this forum to see people asking about the average golfer when trying to do some type of comparison. Have you ever seen anyone ask how far the average golfer drives the ball? Or, how many putts per round does your average golfer take? What's the up-and-down percentage of your average golfer?



We live in a world where we are constantly compared to averages. Our education system is designed around the concept of average learners. Were tested and graded, then compared to the average. Our employers review our performance and compare us to an average. Our FICO scores are based upon our deviation to an average.



Because of this, the concept of "averageness" regarding people has filtered it's way into virtually every aspect of our life, including golf. And while it seems like discussing average golfers is a logical thing to be doing, it actually turns out that there is no such thing as an average golfer. Nor is there such thing as an average person. Here is why.



Back in the early 1940's, the US Air Force measured the bodily dimensions of 4000 pilots, 140 different ways. This included shoulder width, arm length, height, waist size, head size and basically every possible thing that could be measured. Their plan was to take the averages of all those measurements and design a fighter plane cockpit that would fit basically all pilots.



Shortly thereafter, a fellah from Harvard came along and discovered how incredibly wrong it is to do such a thing. He discovered that not a single pilot from the group of 4000 met all 140 of the measurements. It begs the question, what good is the average when nobody actually IS average?



He wondered if finding an actual "Average sized person" is even possible. To find out, he measured the pilots again but used only 10 basic measurements this time instead of 140. He crunched the averages and discovered that not a single pilot out of all 4000 possessed all 10 of those average measurements. In short, not a single pilot was actually "Average".



So basically, the Air Force was getting ready to design a cockpit that actually fit nobody.



So instead, they designed a cockpit with an adjustable chair and other adjustable features so that virtually any sized pilot could get comfortable. This was the birth of adjustable seats and steering wheels in the automotive industry.



How does this apply to golf? Well, you could always just use handicap and compare yours to the average. The problem is that handicaps are based upon a singular dimension.....scoring. As we know, golf talent is not based upon a singular dimension. As with football, baseball, basketball or any other sport, golf talent is comprised of many, many things which make it a multi-dimensional phenomena.



So, if you wrongly decided to venture out and determine what an average golfer is, you might create a list of 30 golf shots and see how 4000 people do on each of those shots. Then, find the average performance of each shot and you will have your average golfer, right?



Well, just like the guy from Harvard discovered, there is no average person because not a single golfer from your group of 4000 (Or more) would actually meet all those averages. Nobody is average! If you then tried to create some type of golf instruction program based upon those averages, your program would in fact be designed to accurately instruct nobody.



The reason for this is that golf talent is multi-dimensional being comprised of many, many skill sets, where the depth of each set is more vast than the set itself. You cannot possibly compile them all and come up with an average that actually describes even one person no matter how many people you survey.



The short explanation is that we are all individuals that have our own unique way of not only learning, but also using our mind and body to do things. Golf instruction should probably follow along this guideline. There are no standard moves or standard actions that work for everyone. Because we are all unique, we need to be treated uniquely dependant upon our own tendencies and characteristics.



There are no average golfers, and you certainly are not an average person.
Whatever driver happens to be working at the time
Some random 3 wood
My same, old irons
A few wedges...
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«134

Comments

  • MarkripMarkrip Boss fan 62 Members Posts: 1,595 ✭✭
    I knew I was above average!
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  • MedicMedic Members Posts: 9,421 ✭✭
    Sort of like the concept of average height, average weight and such.



    So long as there are reasonable highs and lows I could see where "averages" would come in. If I play with 9 friends who all shoot different scores I can add the 10 of our scores together and come up with an average. Having done this if said average is, say 84, then anyone shooting an 84 or so could be considered "average" in our group.



    While the idea of having an average golfer is a vague concept at best because of the number of things that would have to be considered it still exists. Just my take on it.
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  • sdandreasdandrea Steve Members Posts: 2,347 ✭✭
    edited Jan 9, 2018 #4
    Nice to know I'm not average. Now I know nobody is. Interesting facts!
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  • DavePelz4DavePelz4 A golf course in the Chicago area.ClubWRX Posts: 24,312 ClubWRX
    My sons are 6'7" and 6'4" trust me when I say they they'd like to be average as they don't fit proportionally in the world.
  • Smash FactorsSmash Factors Members Posts: 3,668 ✭✭
    Medic wrote:


    Sort of like the concept of average height, average weight and such.



    So long as there are reasonable highs and lows I could see where "averages" would come in. If I play with 9 friends who all shoot different scores I can add the 10 of our scores together and come up with an average. Having done this if said average is, say 84, then anyone shooting an 84 or so could be considered "average" in our group.



    While the idea of having an average golfer is a vague concept at best because of the number of things that would have to be considered it still exists. Just my take on it.




    Yep. That works with scoring because it not multi-dimensional.
    Whatever driver happens to be working at the time
    Some random 3 wood
    My same, old irons
    A few wedges...
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  • bigfatantbigfatant Members Posts: 118
    edited Jan 10, 2018 #7
    Similarly: You are completely unique

    just like everybody else in the world...





    And I thought someone would have mentioned something about using standard clubs with regular flexes (which I do) while having an average handicap.. lol
    Do you really want to know WITB? Oh ok (talk about peer pressure!)
    My favourite clubs I use sometimes (A$480 total):
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    Srixon F45 15 degree fairway wood Stiff flex $150
    Srixon H45 18 degree 3 hybrid Mitsubishi Rayon X flex $75
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  • davep043davep043 Members Posts: 3,072 ✭✭
    I think averages do have a place in golf, specifically in evaluation of an individual's game. If you're a 12 handicap, you could compare your own statistics to the average for 12 handicaps to see where you perform better or worse than average. You can then develop an instruction and practice plan to improve the areas in which your performance is sub-standard, while not spending a lot of time on your strengths. If you putt like a PGA pro, but hit your driver off the planet, you won't improve your overall scoring by practicing your putting.
  • wkuo3wkuo3 RELEASE Members Posts: 3,852 ✭✭
    According to "Smash Factors", you are nitty gritty about the numbers image/good.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':good:' /> .....As most of the digital age generation.



    I do agree the "average golfer" does not match a singular person in that sense, but a categorized symbol representing the largest group of golfers. The definition for the "largest group of golfers" changes with time so it's also a variable.

    Numbers and statistics are there to assist decision making , for reference, for grouping information into something our intellectual ability could analyze but never the end of the explaining the fact. Strange isn't it ? Numbers does not always explain the fact >



    That's what we're doing now. We seemed to understand more with massive of information that's available these days, but not able to use the information efficiently , correctly. As in every facet of life in this moment of time of the human history.
  • HatsForBatsHatsForBats Members Posts: 1,532 ✭✭
    So a lot of words trying to convince people that it is very is unlikely to find someone who matches all of the criteria for the 'average' so therefore everyone is a beautiful, unique snowflake and special? Sorry, no. A person doesn't need to match all of the averages to be considered average. Besides our inner circle nobody cares about what makes us unique. At the end of the day we are just average. Even some of those in our inner circles don't care but at least they hopefully pretend they do.
  • zebra2955zebra2955 Members Posts: 560 ✭✭
    So does the average golfer wear jeans with his shirt untucked ?
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  • NJpatbeeNJpatbee Members Posts: 1,498 ✭✭
    In discussing golf statistics (or any other type of statistic) the "average" is the least meaningful of the measurements. We do not call people "median" golfers, but the median score or driving distance are more accurate measurements of a group of golfers. That being said, for myself an "average" golfer is someone who is not a low dingle digit handicap or better, but some one who plays a reasonable amateur game shooting between 80 and 95 (roughly). I look at "average" as a fairly wide window of ability.
  • 3ack3ack SCMembers Posts: 118 ✭✭
    NJpatbee wrote:


    In discussing golf statistics (or any other type of statistic) the "average" is the least meaningful of the measurements. We do not call people "median" golfers, but the median score or driving distance are more accurate measurements of a group of golfers. That being said, for myself an "average" golfer is someone who is not a low dingle digit handicap or better, but some one who plays a reasonable amateur game shooting between 80 and 95 (roughly). I look at "average" as a fairly wide window of ability.




    My low dingle is NOT average sir!
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  • FergusonFerguson Members Posts: 4,663 ✭✭
    One thing I learned from my HS GYM Teacher -



    There is no such thing as average when it comes to low dingles.
  • disco111disco111 Members Posts: 987 ✭✭
    One thing I do know is that the older you get, the lower the dingles get.............. image/WTF.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':WTF:' /> image/cheesy.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':cheesy:' />
  • ChipNRunChipNRun Members Posts: 1,220 ✭✭


    It's fairly common on this forum to see people asking about the average golfer when trying to do some type of comparison. Have you ever seen anyone ask how far the average golfer drives the ball? ...



    ...Back in the early 1940's, the US Air Force measured the bodily dimensions of 4000 pilots, 140 different ways. ...



    Shortly thereafter, a fellah from Harvard came along and discovered how incredibly wrong it is to do such a thing. He discovered that not a single pilot from the group of 4000 met all 140 of the measurements. It begs the question, what good is the average when nobody actually IS average? .....



    The short explanation is that we are all individuals that have our own unique way of not only learning, but also using our mind and body to do things. Golf instruction should probably follow along this guideline. There are no standard moves or standard actions that work for everyone. Because we are all unique, we need to be treated uniquely dependant upon our own tendencies and characteristics. ....




    You are mixing up two topics, namely what good is average and the need to customize golf instruction to the individual. This intermingling is confusing.



    First, let's take a look at the definition of average - there's more than one kind.



    In the Air Force example, average is a statistic drawn from a representative sample of pilots. We use the sample statistics to make inferences about the population parameters (assumptions about the entire population). An average is meant to show the central tendencies of the sample.



    As an example, let's use something closer to home: the results of the Hero World Challenge.

    mean, the 281.3 figure in gold highlight. This the arithmetic average of the total scores - add the scores, and divide by 18.

    A second average is the median, which is the midpoint of the values displayed from high to low value. The two players tied for 9th place both shot a 280, or -8.

    A third average is the mode. This is the value with the highest count; in this case, we have a bimodal distribution: Three players each at 277 and 288.

    Fowler and Koepka would be considered outliers: subjects with extreme high and low values compared to the overall sample.



    In golf, the industry uses averages to determine the concentration of players with different swing and physical characteristics. My brother got fitted for clubs recently, and the fitter told him he was made for golf: a 34" sleeve length, and 5-foot-9 tall. For most companies, their average lie and length clubs fit a lot of people from 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-1 tall.



    Without averages and charting population trends, each golf club is an individual craft manufacturing task.



    Golf Instruction.

    Teaching people to play golf works best if you start with some general principles, and then tweak them to the characteristics of the individual.



    Now Smash maintains that There are no standard moves or standard actions that work for everyone. I tend to disagree. Again, different golf instruction methods have general principles they work with, and then offer tweaks so individuals can adjust these concepts to their own physique and swing.



    For example, the 5SK system maintains that there are five simple keys which are present in almost all successful golf swings. We are talking about five factors, not 140 from the USAF study.
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  • NJpatbeeNJpatbee Members Posts: 1,498 ✭✭
    NJpatbee wrote:


    In discussing golf statistics (or any other type of statistic) the "average" is the least meaningful of the measurements. We do not call people "median" golfers, but the median score or driving distance are more accurate measurements of a group of golfers. That being said, for myself an "average" golfer is someone who is not a low dingle digit handicap or better, but some one who plays a reasonable amateur game shooting between 80 and 95 (roughly). I look at "average" as a fairly wide window of ability.




    OK, I meant single! (Tough crowd)
  • FergusonFerguson Members Posts: 4,663 ✭✭
    disco111 wrote:


    One thing I do know is that the older you get, the lower the dingles get.............. image/WTF.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':WTF:' /> image/cheesy.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':cheesy:' />






    I knew a guy with DLD. Distended Low Dingles.
  • SNIPERBBBSNIPERBBB Hit Ball Hard SE OhioMembers Posts: 2,188 ✭✭
    Average is such a useless statistic. A couple weeks into a stats class is all you need to learn that.
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  • Smash FactorsSmash Factors Members Posts: 3,668 ✭✭
    edited Jan 10, 2018 #20
    ChipNRun wrote:


    You are mixing up two topics, namely what good is average and the need to customize golf instruction to the individual. This intermingling is confusing.




    I don't see what's so confusing about this.



    Recent university studies have shown that when you design an educational environment around instructing people based upon their own individual needs, nearly everyone in the class scores at the top of the grading scale.



    One university study took a group of 30 people and taught them a subject they knew nothing about in a traditional classroom environment just like the one you and I had when we went to high school.



    They also took a separate group of 30 people and taught them the same subject in a classroom environment where each student was allowed as much time as they needed on any part of the instruction. It was catered to their own individual needs.



    The total time for both courses was the same (30 days I think), but the 2nd group was allowed to use that time as they pleased.



    At the end of the course, roughly 25% of the students in the first group scored above 85% on the final exam.



    In the 2nd group, 90% of the students scored above 85% on the same test.



    The reason this happens is because the traditional educational environment is based upon how an "Average" person learns. Only now are scientists learning that few people actually learn within these average parameters.



    The story of how averages became the norm of society is unbelievable. It goes back to the work of a man in the mid 1800's named Adolphe Quetelet (Kettle-Lay). He was an astronomer who wondered if a science could be developed to manage society. He thought that because astronomers used averages to make predictions about the movement of the stars, that averages could also be used to make predictions about people. His ideas were praised by basically every great, scientific mind from his era. As a result, averages have become the primary tool for everything in society from education to our professional lives. While it has been useful in many ways, studies are now showing that this devotion to averages actually does a very good job at one thing in particular.....hiding the true characteristics of our own individuality.


    ChipNRun wrote:


    In golf, the industry uses averages to determine the concentration of players with different swing and physical characteristics. My brother got fitted for clubs recently, and the fitter told him he was made for golf: a 34" sleeve length, and 5-foot-9 tall. For most companies, their average lie and length clubs fit a lot of people from 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-1 tall.




    A lot of people?



    Average loft, lie and length is a good place to start, but few people actually require those standard dimensions. I'd like to hear from a club fitter as to how many people he's fit over the years that actually needed standard clubs. I assume that most, if not all people have had some type of modification to standard clubs.


    ChipNRun wrote:


    Now Smash maintains that There are no standard moves or standard actions that work for everyone. I tend to disagree. Again, different golf instruction methods have general principles they work with, and then offer tweaks so individuals can adjust these concepts to their own physique and swing.




    I agree. That's a good way of putting it. That being said, you don't lay down a blueprint for instruction and teach everyone in the same way. We need to be taught according to our own tendencies.
    Whatever driver happens to be working at the time
    Some random 3 wood
    My same, old irons
    A few wedges...
    Scotty Cameron Fastback
  • bigfatantbigfatant Members Posts: 118
    ChipNRun wrote:


    As an example, let's use something closer to home: the results of the Hero World Challenge.




    You do realise you've used the averages and mean of players who played the best for the year?
    Do you really want to know WITB? Oh ok (talk about peer pressure!)
    My favourite clubs I use sometimes (A$480 total):
    Srixon Z745 10.5degree driver Mitsubishi Rayon X flex $100
    Srixon F45 15 degree fairway wood Stiff flex $150
    Srixon H45 18 degree 3 hybrid Mitsubishi Rayon X flex $75
    Srixon i302 3 - SW RIfle 5.0 Shafts $135
    Bridgestown 60 degree lob wedge $20
    Odyssey Two ball Fang (Gift)
  • sdandreasdandrea Steve Members Posts: 2,347 ✭✭
    zebra2955 wrote:


    So does the average golfer wear jeans with his shirt untucked ?




    That's the average "bubba" image/taunt.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':taunt:' />
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  • Johnny_FairwayJohnny_Fairway South Jersey (Philly Burbs)Members Posts: 548 ✭✭
    edited Jan 10, 2018 #23
    But my canned response to inquiries into the nature of my game is: "Average, probably a little less."



    Guess that's out the window.



    Perhaps I'll need to try on the more esoteric, "I golf, therefore I am."



    And then win the first couple of holes while people try to figure out if I'm batty or maybe just feel bad about taking money from a silly liberal arts major.
  • MedicMedic Members Posts: 9,421 ✭✭
    If no such thing as an "average golfer" exists then this would also mean, that because this would be the base measure, there is also no such thing as above or below average.



    In other words there are just golfers. We are all the same.
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  • naval2006naval2006 ArgentinaMembers Posts: 966 ✭✭
    Average is Golf Digest lingo for duffer
  • PowderedToastManPowderedToastMan Members Posts: 3,784 ✭✭
    Sounds like something an average golfer would say.
    Former professional golfer. Current amateur human being. Reformed club ho.

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  • MtlJeffMtlJeff MontrealMembers Posts: 28,360 ✭✭
    SNIPERBBB wrote:


    Average is such a useless statistic. A couple weeks into a stats class is all you need to learn that.




    I think if you understand the limitations and variables it can be useful. But obviously the larger the sample size the better. And also knowing the median helps a great deal.



    One great example i read was Bill Gates walking onto a bus with 100 people on it, and what it does to the average wealth of the bus. You need to know the median too



    I think averages help, Golf OEMs i am sure use average swing speed and launch characteristics to come up with their stock shaft offerings for example. And that is a very important aspect of selling clubs when many golfers do not get fit
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  • MedicMedic Members Posts: 9,421 ✭✭
    MtlJeff wrote:




    One great example i read was Bill Gates walking onto a bus with 100 people on it, and what it does to the average wealth of the bus. You need to know the median too






    Public service can be fiscally cruel. If I'm on the bus with Bill it'll bring that average back down to reason.



    : )



    Seriously, as usual, great reply Jeff.
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    Taylormade Rbz FW (17*)
    Callaway X-Hot Pro 20* Hybrid
    Callaway Steelhead 4-PW w/KBS 90s
    Titleist Vokey 50*
    Titleist Vokey SM-6 56*
    Titleist Vokey SM-6 60-08 M
    Tad Moore TM-1 35"
    Callaway Chrome Soft
  • MtlJeffMtlJeff MontrealMembers Posts: 28,360 ✭✭
    Medic wrote:

    MtlJeff wrote:


    One great example i read was Bill Gates walking onto a bus with 100 people on it, and what it does to the average wealth of the bus. You need to know the median too






    Public service can be fiscally cruel. If I'm on the bus with Bill it'll bring that average back down to reason.



    : )



    Seriously, as usual, great reply Jeff.




    It's crazy because even the first time i read the book you can't possibly fathom the result. I think the average would still be a net worth of 800 million dollars if everyone else on the bus was worth 50K LOL...Small sample sizes can just get killed by outliers



    Another question asked was "How much does the average actor get paid", and your initial reaction is that they are very well paid. But there are so many actors (most of whom serve you coffee) that it does even out, and the average isn't much different than many other professions.



    Both just good examples of keeping things in perspective
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    Callaway Epic Subzero 14* w/Matrix Black Tie 80
    Callaway Apex Hybrid 20 w/Diamana D+ 95
    Callaway 2016 Apex Pro 4-PW w/S300
    Callaway MD Forged 52,56 w/S300
    Callaway MD 2.0 60 PM grind w/s300
    SGC Northwood Center Shaft 400g
  • MedicMedic Members Posts: 9,421 ✭✭
    MtlJeff wrote:

    Medic wrote:

    MtlJeff wrote:


    One great example i read was Bill Gates walking onto a bus with 100 people on it, and what it does to the average wealth of the bus. You need to know the median too






    Public service can be fiscally cruel. If I'm on the bus with Bill it'll bring that average back down to reason.



    : )



    Seriously, as usual, great reply Jeff.




    It's crazy because even the first time i read the book you can't possibly fathom the result. I think the average would still be a net worth of 800 million dollars if everyone else on the bus was worth 50K LOL...Small sample sizes can just get killed by outliers



    Another question asked was "How much does the average actor get paid", and your initial reaction is that they are very well paid. But there are so many actors (most of whom serve you coffee) that it does even out, and the average isn't much different than many other professions.



    Both just good examples of keeping things in perspective




    Used to love reading articles all about Gates. His thoughts on business, management and success.



    Years ago he was asked in a magazine article who he would hire, a guy with 10 years of real world experience and no degree. Or a guy with a Master's but no real world.



    Paraphrasing...



    "I can always send the guy with experience to school and he will immediately benefit me and my company. The guy with the degree will need at least 10 years to catch up with the other fella."



    They summarized his thoughts - he would prefer experience over education because of its tangible value to the whole operation.



    I always found this interesting. He truly seemed to value what someone had already accomplished in their lives regarding real world experiences.
    Callaway Epic with Fujikura 62s in 45.25 set at 12.5*
    Taylormade Rbz FW (17*)
    Callaway X-Hot Pro 20* Hybrid
    Callaway Steelhead 4-PW w/KBS 90s
    Titleist Vokey 50*
    Titleist Vokey SM-6 56*
    Titleist Vokey SM-6 60-08 M
    Tad Moore TM-1 35"
    Callaway Chrome Soft
  • Smash FactorsSmash Factors Members Posts: 3,668 ✭✭
    Medic wrote:


    If no such thing as an "average golfer" exists then this would also mean, that because this would be the base measure, there is also no such thing as above or below average.



    In other words there are just golfers. We are all the same.




    That's a really good question. The short answer is no. There is no above or below average people.



    Scientists have been trying for many years to figure out a way to define "Average intelligence", but the more they try, the more they are discovering just how unique everyone one of us actually is.



    One method they've used is to take a group of people and put each person into an MRI machine to watch their brain activity while doing simple tasks. They would be shown different colors and different numbers one at a time. After a break, they would put them back into the MRI and and show them some numbers and colors all over again. Then, they would ask the person which color or number was shown to them earlier in the day.



    The idea was to monitor the brain activity of each person while recalling a specific color or number. The assumption was that each person would use the same neurological pathways to get the answers. If you monitored enough people and had them all do the same tasks, then the MRI results would show that everyones brains are using the same neurological pathways when doing the same tasks.



    The MRI images were gathered and a computer was used to create the image of an average brain. The problem is that nobodys individual brain images looked anything like the average. The same question arises: what good is the average when nobody actually is?



    As it turns out, there are no common roads when it comes to neurological pathways. In fact, every person has their own unique way of using their mind to perform the same tasks. The reason for this is that our intellectual development is based purely on our own life experiences as we age....which is unique to each of us.



    So if you're asking if there's above or below average people, the answer would have to be no, just because we all develop differently and use our minds in our own way to do the same things.



    Golf talent is a multi-dimensional phenomena. You can't average it or conclude what's above or below average.
    Whatever driver happens to be working at the time
    Some random 3 wood
    My same, old irons
    A few wedges...
    Scotty Cameron Fastback

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