I don’t do any controlled trials personally anymore. Usually I’m quite busy teaching others, and sometimes they will perform trials. My work in that area was mostly done over a year ago. However, once in a while I get a chance to have some fun stretching the envelope a bit.

Well, yesterday, at Litchfield CC in Pawley’s Island… I had a real good day.

After driving over 400 miles, I stepped out of the car, and had more than a few minutes to get ready for a demonstration for a dozen PGA Professionals. I dropped balls on the green, and rolled 5 balls at a hole 110 feet away. The third ball went in. But, as the green mower pattern was at right angles to the putt, the ball wobbled back and forth as it hit cross-grain about 20 times over the distance hit. So I decided to putt East-West instead of North-South.

I looked at a tough 50 footer, from the fringe on one side, over a slight rise and a tricky little break right at the end. I looked at the balls on the green, and counted out the 25 balls. Now, making one or two of 25 from 50 feet would be good. So I thought to do a short trial… but only had time for maybe 25 balls, not the 100 I usually do. So my goal? 5 out of 25 would be great.

The first putt went in. So did the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 9th. Five already, with sixteen balls left. I smiled. Two minutes later, on the 23rd ball, the 10th ball to fall went in the front of the cup, and the hole was full to the brim. I rolled the last two… they both hit the front of the hole rolling slowly, and bounced a few inches to the side after hitting the pyramid of balls.

Twelve. Out of 25. 48%.

I know it was a short trial… but here’s the math. Plugged into the Bernoulli… If a Tour Pro could make 5% from 50 feet on average, what’s the odds of making 12 or more of 25? Go to stattrek.com, load in .05 probability, 25 attempts, 12 successes, look for… Cumulative Probability: P(X > 12). It’s a whopper.

6.87653045616798 x E-10… or, in other words… 7 chances in 10,000,000,000. Seven chances in TEN BILLION. Over a Billion to One odds against.

It’s no joke. It’s no fluke. And it’s simply the function of a Black Swan on the green.

Hey, it’s not me. It’s Putting 2.0.

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