New PGA TOUR Radar Stats in 2008February 04, 2008
PGA TOUR staff
The PGA TOUR is employing new technology at events in 2008, which will add an entirely new dimension to its robust statistical database (ShotLink).
A sophisticated radar system will be used on the tees of two holes per round to measure exact 3-dimensional club movement and ball flight. This rich data will provide more insight into how the world's greatest players are playing and how they differentiate themselves from one another.
The following new stats will be added in 2008:
• Club Head Speed • Ball Speed • Launch Angle • Spin Rate • Distance to Apex • Apex Height • Hang Time • Carry Distance
There will also be calculated metrics available based on these new stats:
• Smash Factor • Carry Efficiency • Total Distance Efficiency • Total Driving Efficiency
First Look: Driving Distance and Trajectory
The radar data gathered from the 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii shows interesting characteristics of tee shots hit by various players in the field.
J.B. Holmes led the field in both carry distance and total distance (including roll). Compared with the field, Vijay Singh hit a very high tee shot, ranking sixth out of 86 players with an average apex height of 106 feet. Rory Sabbatini played his ball much lower off the tee in the blustery conditions, ranking 82nd with an average apex height of 65 feet.
Figure 1 below contrasts the apex height and carry distance for J.B Holmes, Vijay Singh, Rory Sabbatini, and the field average for the Sony Open in Hawaii. On average, Singh hit the ball 41 feet (37%) higher than Sabbatini, and carried it 279 yards - 25 yards further than Sabbatini. However, Sabbatini averaged 57 yards of roll compared with 30 yards for Vijay, and both players netted approximately the same total driving distance for the event (see Figure 2).
Consider as well that J.B. Holmes averaged 299 yards off the tee - in carry distance alone. Add an average of 37 yards of roll to that and Holmes ranked first in the field in driving distance at 336 yards.