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There's much more to learning this game than hitting it long and straight.

Tour quality putting will teach you how to read greens, read speed, develop and simple, consistent stroke, a sink more putts.

Tour Quality Golf

Tour quality putting will teach you how to read greens, read speed, develop a simple, consistent stroke, and sink more putts.



        Probable Golf Instruction

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January 17 /10

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Click on any of the following Newsletter topics or just scroll down the page:

Advantage High Handicapper or Low?
Golf Improvement Survey Results #1
What you Practice ... What you expect?
What to Practice this Winter

Going away on a golf holiday this winter with a group? Need a golf draw that pairs each player with each other player exactly once? or twice? or not at all? I have developed draws that meet those requirements. Take a look at them by CLICKING HERE, Golf Draws.

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Low or High Handicap Advantage?

So, you're playing a match, whether it be in a few weeks down south or during the regular season. There's a significant difference between the handicap of you and your opponent. Who has the advantage?

Many think a golfer's handicap is his/her average score. It is an average, but not the one to which you're familiar. It's the average of the golfer's 10 best scores out of his/her last 20. That means, its an average of the best half. Your ten worst scores don't contribute!

The handicap calculation uses what are called differentials (difference between your score and the course rating). And, there's Equitable Stroke Control (ESC), whereby you can't count big hole scores, like 9s and 10s. So, the differential is the difference between your "adjusted" scores and the course rating.

Example: You shoot 85 but with two big scores, so it's adjusted down to 82. The rating of the course is 71 so the differential is 82-71 = 11. You handicap is an average of the best 10 of these.

I did an analysis of the scores of three types of players: 5, 15 and 25 handicappers. I used real data from tournaments I have been involved with.

Here's what I found. The mean score (add the scores together and divide by the number of scores: most call this just the average) of the 15 Hcp is 12 strokes higher than the 5 Hcp and the 25 Hcp is 12.9 higher than the 15.

The standard deviation (st. dev = measure of the variability in the scoring) of the 15 and 25 is much higher than the 5. This means the 5 is much more consistent with his/her scoring. The high handicaps scores have a much larger range. For example, the 5 Hcp had differentials ranging from 3 to 20, while the 25 Hcp differentials ranged from -1 to 24.

Since the high handicapper has greater variability, his lowest potential net score is lower than a low handicappers. The 25 Hcp has a 5% chance of shooting a net 64. A 5 Hcp has a 5% chance of shooting a 68. If each has their best day, the 25 Hcp will win. Because of the consistency of a 5 Hcp, though, there will be more days when he will win.

Adjusting the 5 Hcp scores makes very little difference while adjusting changes the variability of the15 and 25 Hcp a lot. Note that the mean of the 25 Hcp drops almost 2 strokes when the ESC is used.

The Average differentials using the non-adjusted scores for the three golfers are 9.5, 21.7 and 32.7 respectively. This is much higher than the handicaps. This is because the handicap calculation eliminates the 10 worse scores.

Not Adjusted ESC
Adjusted ESC

The 25 Hcp is much more greatly affected with a 6.5 stroke difference while the 5 Hcp is the least affected with a 2.8 stroke difference.

So, if you're the 25 playing the 5, you receive 20 strokes based on your handicap differences. In actual fact, on average, you need 28.1-6.9 = 21.2.

Given 20 matches, the low handicapper will win more than half. So, if you're a betting person, bet on the low handicapper every time.

If you want more on fair handicaps and how to play fair birdie games an such when there are handicap differences, take a look at these:

Fair Handicaps & Birdie Games

You can look at all of my products here: Order Golf Tips & Accessories

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Golf Improvement Survey Results: Part 1

Over the holidays, I was working on tallying up the results of the Golf Improvement Survey I've had on my site. I'll spend the next few newsletters highlighting some of my findings and conclusions.

Firstly, some basic statistics about the survey:

Number of Participants
(69% from US)
Average Handicap
Handicap Range
+2 to 35
Number of Countries

*note that the average Handicap of 15 is in agreement with the NGFs survey (see below, next section)

One of the things I was most interested in discovering is whether the starting age of the golfer plays a significant role in how good the golfer becomes. My assumption was that earlier starters, in general, become better golfers.

Jack Nicklaus began playing when he was 10. Tiger Woods was 2. Tom Watson was 8 years old, etc.

Two of the questions that were asked in the survey were: When did you start playing golf? What is your lowest ever handicap? This is what 547 golfers said.

I divided the players starting ages into 6 groups: Under 13, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, and 50-59. There were not enough players 60 or over to make up a group large enough to be statistically signficant.

I analyzed the average best handicap of players in each group to determine the mean (average) and standard deviation (range of handicaps) of each group. I then performed a statistical analysis test to determine if the groups were significantly different from another.

For instance, two of the groups means were 10.6 and 11.2. Even though there is a 0.6 difference, it is not significant enough to conclude the one group's handicap average is lower than the other's.

I only found that two groups were significantly different than the others. Golfers that begin playing golf before age 13 have significantly lower handicaps than the other groups. Golfers that begin playing after 50 have significantly higher handicaps

So, whether you start playing in your teens, 20s, 30s or 40s, doesn't make a difference, on average.

That doesn't mean, however, that starting in your 40s would make you the same handicap as if you started in your teens. It's an average of all the players that answered the survey.

In my next newsletter, I'll expand on these results and see if the elite golfers (Hcp 5 and under) more likely come from the under 13 starting age group.

Stay tuned in until February ?


Please complete this Golf Newsletter Feedback form so that I can provide you with more great golf tips you're looking for in 2010.

What you practice ... What you expect?

Golf Magazine commissioned the National Golf Foundation to survey the average American golfer. Here's some of what they found out.

Average Handicap = 15.1

The survey asked:

1. What area do you need to improve to shoot lower scores?
2. How much do you practice each week and on what do you focus?

The average golfer spends 71 minutes per week practicing. In the table below is a break down comparing what the golfer thinks is required for improvement and what the golfer actually does about it.

Short Game & Putting
Mid Irons to Fairway Woods
Swing Mechanics
What needs to be my focus?
What I actually do about it?

Dave Pelz and others have definitely gotten the short game message through to the average golfer with 59% of the practice time being dedicated to the short game. Still, too much time is dedicated to the Driver.


Another question asked was given unlimited time to work on the game, how low could the golfer lower his/her handicap?

19% I could be scratch
48% 1-9 Index
22% 10-14 Index
8% 15-19 Index

Given that less than 1% of the world's golfing population is scratch or better, I think a goal of 19% becoming scratch is a little unrealistic, even given unlimited time.

Check out the optimum loft for your Driver based on you club speed. You can even download a version of the spreadsheet I use for my research. CLICK HERE.

Trying to find answers on my website? Here's how.

1. Go to my Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. There's a link to it on my pages from the left hand menu near the top of the page, just below the Search icon. It's called "FAQs." You then click on the graphic icon and you'll be taken to my database page. For your convenience, here it is:

I've answered hundreds of questions over the past 6 years and have created a fairly large database. You can search it out. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, submit a question and I'll answer it.

2. On all of my web pages, there is a search feature in the top left section, right underneath my LOGO. Just place your search keywords in the search box, select "This Site" below it, and then press "Search." What will come up is a Google search of the pages on my site with relevance. You can also search the entire internet by selecting "Web" instead.
Go to my main page now: Home or just check the top left menu of this page.

3. Also, directly under the Google Search area, you'll find a pop down menu called "Your Topic." Select the topic of interest and press "Go."

I would suggest you bookmark my main page and/or your specific areas of interest so that you can find them easily in the future. On each page at the very top, there is a link you can click on:
"Click here to add this page to your favourites"

Hope you find all you're looking for.

You can learn more from NEW Titleist Pro-V1 by clicking HERE.



A list of resources that have been used to produce this newsletter can be found on my web site here.

Hope I provided some useful ways for you to become better prepared for you best golf season ever.

Ken Tannar

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