Do You Play Better At New Courses Or Your Home Club? What The Stats Say...

Data shows home advantage exists, with over half of away rounds registering negative strokes gained by at least one stroke

Golfer hits a shot into a downhill par 3
(Image credit: Future)

When you go and play a new course you might think that you have an advantage of a free mind, not knowing where the danger is and without the memories of past disasters.

"I always mess up this hole" is likely something you'll hear in your usual four ball, with players sometimes mentally scarred by frequently struggling with certain holes or shots at their home club.

However, data from Arccos Golf, cleaned from over 750 million rounds, shows some very interesting insights when golfers with 30+ rounds at their home club travel to play other courses.

So, do you player better home or away? On the whole, the answer is home. Clearly course knowledge does pay off, knowing where not to go and having experience of which strategies work best for certain holes that you've played time and time again.

Whether it's knowing to take an iron off the tee on a certain par 4 or that left is dead on a certain green, clearly knowing the course you're faced with is an advantage - and the stats back it up.

Golfers average two or more strokes gained worse when playing away 39% of the time, Arccos data shows.

And players average over one strokes gained worse more than half the time, with the stats showing 1+ strokes worse on new courses coming in 55% of rounds recorded.

The numbers confirms that home teams have the advantage in matches against away clubs, and perhaps you should ask for one or two extra strokes when your friend is taking you round their course.

For those golfers who enjoy a new challenge and the freedom of not knowing where the trouble is, the stats show that golfers average 1+ strokes gained at a new course 19% of the time.

And those really good rounds of 2+ strokes gained come 11% of the time.

So it's not like you can't shoot a good round at a new course, of course, it's just more likely that golfers will find a new test trickier than one they know well.

Playing a new golf course - what the stats show

  • Chances a player's strokes gained at the new course was 2 or more shots worse than their home course - 39% 
  • Chances 1+ strokes worse - 55%
  • Chances 2+ strokes better - 11%
  • Chances 1+ strokes better 19%

* Data from golfers who have 30+ rounds logged at their home course.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV