4 Misleading Golf Stats To Ignore

Insights from our data partner Arccos shows that four traditional stats may not be as helpful as some golfers think...

4 Misleading Golf Stats To Ignore
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Insights from our data partner Arccos shows that four traditional stats may not be as helpful as some golfers think...

4 Misleading Golf Stats To Ignore

Us golfers love looking at statistics.

They offer up fascinating insights on our games as well as the professionals' games out on Tour too.

Fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts per round are all easy to calculate and give us a look at how we've played.

However, in the modern day we've been blessed with new technology and data - namely: Strokes Gained - that make some of the more traditional statistics redundant.

Here are four golf stats to ignore:

Fairways Hit

Yes, fairways hit is an interesting statistic to tell you just how good (or bad) you're driving the ball, but in actual fact it isn't very helpful.

For example, many drives will end up in the first cut or the rough with good lies and angles into the greens that will be just fine but count as a missed fairway.

Strokes Gained data shows that driving distance is actually more important as, on average, scores are lower when your tee shot is further up the hole.

In most instances, you'll be much better off hitting an 8 iron from the rough than a 5 iron from the middle of the fairway.

Related: How far do male golfers hit their drives?

Greens in Regulation

Just like fairways hit, Greens in Regulation can be a misleading statistic.

Of course, 18/18 greens shows that you're hitting the ball very well, but we all know that missing greens in the correct spot can often be better than finding the wrong part of the green.

Arccos data shows that proximity to the pin is far more important than just hitting it, as we can all putt from the fringe or get up-and-down from close positions.

Total Putts

Another statistic to ignore is your total putts per round, and instead look at your Strokes Gained: Putting data.

That's because the total putts stat is all down to how well you're hitting your irons, as you'll always have more putts if you aren't flagging it on every hole.

A round featuring 36 putts may have actually been a good putting round if you kept hitting the ball 50 feet away from the pin.

Likewise, a round of 24 putts might not have been as amazing as it sounds if your proximity to the pin was close and you were regularly putting from the fringe or chipping from just off the green.

Related: How far do female golfers hit their drives?

Up-and-Downs

We all love making up-and-downs and can rightly boast when we've had 100% success from around the greens.

However, the idea of an up-and-down is that you've combined great short game touch with a clutch putt to save your bacon.

When in reality, it is usually all dictated to the success of the chip, bunker shot or putt - so it is better to focus each individual aspect through Strokes Gained data.

If you've stiffed a bunker shot to two feet then of course you'll hole the putt, or if you hole a 15 footer then the chances are the chip wasn't all that great.

Looking into the Strokes Gained data might tell you that your chipping is super sharp and is regularly saving your putting, or the opposite.

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x