The simplest way to see if something is True or Not, is to apply the Mathematics of Statistics & Probability to it. In Putting Performance, the metric that is most robust is “Make %” at various distances. The Distance of the Putt is the easiest and most reliable indicator of difficulty of a Putt. Is it everything? Of course not. Break, Speed, Read, Grain, Wind, Slope, Pressure… all affect Make %. But none are so critical as Putt Distance, or so easily Quantified.
Now… the PGA Tour has finally recognized what some of us understood decades ago. That measuring “relative performance” against a robustly designed benchmark system is the best way to see true performance, and to measure it objectively. They term their new statistic… “Strokes Gained Putting”. The only parameter used is Putt Distance.
When Jerry Pate was on the green with me at Grand Cypress nearly two years ago (his first look at the Future of Putting), he commented to me that in 1980 he won the “Putting Crown” on the PGA Tour, then measured as “Putts Per Round”. I commented to him… “With due respect Mr. Pate, your first putt proximity was way better in those days, as you hit your irons closer to the hole than anyone in history except maybe Johnny Miller a few years previously, and that’s really why you had the least Putts.” Putts per Round is too muddy a metric to mean much.
So… Strokes Gained? Simple and effective… at least over the long haul. As various relativity factors are taken into consideration (performance of the field) it’s hard to get far from the truth with this one.
The benchmark used is the “Make %” and “Three-Putt probability” at various distances. They use the Tour’s own statistics records of Putts Taken (1, 2, or 3 putt probability) at various distances.
We use the same measures to get a handle on how incredible the performance is with the Black Hawk & Black Swan Putters.
We compare PGA Professionals putting with their favorite putter vs. the Black Hawk or Black Swan in head to head trials. Because we know the likely probability of a make at a distance, the tests are easily understood as to the relative performance… against all others, as well as putter vs. putter. We test amateurs in the same way. When we see them putt far better than the Tour’s expected makes at a distance with our Putter, we aren’t surprised at all. Why? The Putter we designed is designed to make putts… and it does.
Taking it a step farther, like sequential makes… a 30 footer as an example… Tour Professionals make about 6-8% of their 30 foot putts. Even if we grant a 10% probability of a make on repeated attempts from the same location (which is realistic), making five in a row from 30 feet would be a 10 to the Fifth Power (100,000) to One occurrance. Not something you’re likely to see very often. However, I’ve seen it numerous times… as well as many other similar “impossible” occurrances… since testing the Black Hawk & Black Swan. By me of course… but by everyday amateurs as well. Have I seen even 10,000 such attempts? No. So it’s obvious that the old paradigm has been broken.
Aren’t you glad? The other Putter Manufacturers aren’t.