Thursday, January 25, 2024

Structuring a Closest to the Pin Competition

 

A recent two-day tournament awarded closest to the pin prizes on nine holes.  The competitors were allowed to use any of three tees (black, white, or green).  The total and average yardage from each set of tees is shown in Table 1.

Table 1

Total and Average Hole Yardages

Tee

Total Yardage

Average Yardage

Black

1,465

163

White

1,287

143

Green

1,147

127

 

One theory says letting players choose their tees is equitable.  That is, the good player from the black tees should be about as accurate as a poorer player from the green tees.  Let’s see how that worked out in practice.  If the theory is correct, the percentage of closest to the pin prizes won from each set of tees should approximate the percentage of competitors playing from those tees. Table 2 shows the actual results.

Table 2

Percentage of Competitors and Wins by Tee

 

Tees

Percentage of Competitors

Percentage of Prizes Won

Black

34

22

White

55

67

Green

11

11

 

The results are not far from perfect equity.  If a black tee player beat out a white tee player on one hole, the Percentage of Prizes Won would be black 33%, white 56%, and green 11%, or almost a perfect match to the Percentage of Competitors.

Results will vary depending on the difference in distance between tees and the quality of players choosing each set of tees.  An alternative would be to set aside holes where only players from one set of tees can compete.  This would not be recommended.  A hole with a closest to the pin prize releases endorphins that brings pleasure and excitement to a player.   The more holes with prizes, the greater the enjoyment even though it may reduce the player’s chances of winning.  This recommendation assumes the prizes are sufficiently low that the club champion does not let avarice overrule pride and play from the green tees.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I like your blog a lot and also am interested in sports analytics/statistics. Do you have an email or contact info listed anywhere? I'm thinking about doing a handicap project and I would like to run some stuff by you.

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