Professional golfers can achieve greater success if they spend less time over the ball, according to the RSM Player Performance study conducted by RSM in collaboration with the European Tour.
The study collected data on 47 European Tour professionals over five tournaments, 304 rounds of golf and 22,579 shots. Led by Dr Matt Bridge, Senior Lecturer in Coaching & Sports Science at the University of Birmingham UK, the study revealed three key findings:
1. Spending less time over the ball could earn a European Tour player an extra €189k per season.
2. Quicker shots improve performance. A shorter time over the ball across all putts results in a 90 per cent increase in the likelihood of strokes gained.
3. Consistency of time spent over the ball leads to a greater chance of making the cut. When players are more consistent in rounds one and two they are 50 per cent more likely to make the cut compared to less consistent players.
Ryder Cup player Andy Sullivan said: “Could findings like these be a potential game-changer? Absolutely. As players in a complex game with so many variables, it’s crucial that we look at the data and how even tiny changes can help improve our performance. Personally, for my game, the findings have given me a lot to think about, but I think they’ll also be of interest to the amateurs that are looking for ways to get their handicaps down.”
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive, European Tour, said: “I’m constantly thinking about how the game of golf will evolve and what the future looks like. Without a doubt, data analytics and the kind of insights provided from the RSM Player Performance Study will be core to that future. The more data we can make available, the more the pro golfers, and amateurs, will be able to understand the nuances in their performance and hopefully gain that extra edge or advantage. The concept of understanding is core to the way RSM does business and I can absolutely see how that concept could support and help to shape the future game of golf.”
European Tour professional Paul Waring said: “The average figure of €189,000 more a year if players improve the consistency of their routines and spend less time over the ball will certainly open a lot of eyes in the European Tour locker rooms.
“Stats are so important in all sports and especially in golf, when you think of the range of elements we need to consider in our game. RSM is leading the way with player performance research and my personal results from the study have been fascinating. I’m looking forward to working with my coaching team to make improvements in my own routine ahead of the 2018 season.”
Understand RSM ambassadors Andy Sullivan and Paul Waring’s results and key insights
After a bit more information? Look at our in-depth results
RSM Player Performance Study
To further understand the effect of time spent over the ball at address on putts and tee shots, the study investigated what would happen to a player’s score if shots, where a player spent one second or more longer than their average at address, were adjusted.
Using the data from the 20 players with more than eight rounds of data for consistency, it was found that should these shots all be set to the outcome of an average putt or shot for that distance to the hole, they would finish the tournament, on average, 1.2 shots lower.
Each player’s 2017 tournament finishes were then adjusted based on the number of strokes lower their score would be at the end of a tournament. This resulted in an average increase in winnings of €189,000 for these twenty players.
RSM is a leading audit, tax and consulting firm to the middle market with 3,800 partners and staff operating from 35 locations throughout the UK. For the year ending 30 April 2017, RSM generated revenues in excess of £300m. RSM UK is a member firm of RSM International - the sixth largest network of audit, tax and consulting firms globally. The network spans over 120 countries, 800 offices and more than 41,400 people, with a fee income of more than $5bn.
Dr Matt Bridge has led the RSM Player Performance Study. He has been working at the University of Birmingham since 2001 where he lectures in coaching and applied sport science in golf and other sports. His research interests lie in gaining a greater understanding of what leads to maximal golf performance. This includes developing better performance analysis methods for golf and the optimisation of physical preparation for golf. Matt is also Director of Golf for University Birmingham Sport, working with students to run the university's successful golf teams.