Reduce your Handicap – 5hcp Law of Averages

Reduce your Handicap – 5hcp Law of Averages

12 March 2024

Next up in the Law of Averages series, we have the 5hcp golfer! As always, top level statistics and areas to possibly shave some strokes.

Previously we have looked at the stats of 10hcp, 15hcp, 20hcp, and more to see how the stats change from benchmark to benchmark.

Here are the stats of a typical 5hcp golfer:

Avg. Par 3 ScoreAvg. Par 4 ScoreAvg. Par 5 ScoreFIR%GIR%Up and Down %Three Putt %Make % from 0-6ft
5hcp Stats

Scoring averages

An interesting trend begins to form, although not unsurprisingly, that the lower the handicap, the better they score on Par 5s. Why might this be?

We have touched on this in previous editions, but the requirement to hit two consecutive ‘good’ shots covering a large distance is not easy. The 25hcp player in our Law of Averages series stumbles often on the Par 5 because of this.

The Par 5 requires a well played tee shot and is then followed up with either a carefully placed layup or an attempt to go for it in two – players can make or break their hole here. 

For all players, if you are considering a layup, it is worthwhile to keep in mind that the closer you are to the green, the greater the chance you have of hitting it. 

Whether its laying up, or where your tee shot finishes, closer is better.

Proximity (ft)41ft57ft
Green Hit %55%41%
50-100y vs. 100-150y – All lie types

When we leave ourselves beyond the 100y mark we can see that our chances of hitting the green are negatively impacted and likewise, so too is our proximity.

To further emphasise the importance of getting closer to the green, even when we move a 5hcp player to between 50-75y of the green, 35% of their shots will miss the green short. 

Side note: That may make higher handicap players feel somewhat better – even lower players have an issue with missing short!

So the next time you are considering where to layup to, remember the above information!

Are five handicap players the most accurate off the tee? Yes, kind of…

Interestingly, of all the Shot Scope Handicap Benchmarks the 5hcp golfer hits the most fairways, beating the scratch player by 1%. 

That being said there are fewer scratch players so if you were to take a sample of scratch players and 5hcp players then it is likely that the 0hcp would come out on top. But, we aren’t doing that, so for now, enjoy the victory all 5hcp players!

As we have seen throughout the series, there is a direct correlation between players that hit it longer and lower handicaps and the 5hcp is no different, although the 10hcp is very close. 

When we look at P-Avg. driving distance, the 5hcp is 2y longer than the 10hcp (not a huge amount) and 19y compared to the 15hcp. This highlights the jump from the 15hcp to high and mid single figure players. 

As with many golfers, one of the main targets on their golfing journey is to become a single figure golfer and so here we can see that hitting the ball longer off the tee is simply a must.

Looking to short game, and continuing with the theme of closer is better

If you were to miss a green, or layup, what is the difference between being inside 25y or between 25-50y?

Inside 25y25-50y
Proximity (ft)10ft23ft
Successful Up and Down %56%25%
Inside 5ft %45%15%
Inside 25y vs. 25-50y – All lie types

Immediately we can see how important distance to the green is when it comes to our short game. Proximity is more than doubled, likewise with converted up and down attempts, and when it comes to hitting it inside 5ft, you are three times as likely.

The next time you are considering where to leave yourself for your next shot if you can’t reach the green, remember this blog!

Inside 5ft is a key statistic here as it makes an enormous difference when it comes to putting.

On the greens as a 5 handicapper.

In previous editions, we have discussed the importance of being inside 6ft for make percentages and so we will extend our previously mentioned 5ft proximity to 6ft.

For the 5 handicapper, they have a 89% probability of holing a putt inside 6ft, from 6-12ft this drops significantly to 41% – quite the difference!

When compared to the 10hcp, the 5hcp player makes 4% more putts from inside 6ft, not a huge difference, but in a game of margins, it adds up. 

The same can be said for three putt % with the 5cp being 2% less likely to three putt on any given compared to a 10hcp.

One thing that frequent readers will hopefully notice is that the margins between the handicap brackets are becoming smaller, for better or worse.

What we mean when saying that is that, when we look at the benchmark accounts, there is a less obvious area that the benchmarks do significantly better from one to another, rather that they are just marginally better across the board.

When it comes to making these marginal improvements, getting repetitions in cannot be substituted – play more, practice more, and enjoy the process.

To finish, a video of Will Zalatoris that encompasses some of the messages we are trying to convey.


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