Is there such a thing as a good miss?

Is there such a thing as a good miss?

12 October 2023

We take a closer look at how the location of your miss impacts your scoring.

How does lie type affect the typical amateurs golf game when they miss the target, comparing scoring averages from the rough, fairway, and bunkers. 

50-150 yards Approaches

Short MissLong MissWithin 15ftShots to Finish
All Lie Types42.80%17.20%14.00%3.5

Interestingly, in terms of proximity, there is not a huge difference in the likelihood of hitting your approach shot to within 15ft when playing from the rough or fairway. As we would expect there is a large drop off when playing from a bunker.

We can see that players are most likely to miss short from all lie types – is this number higher or less than you would expect from this distance? 

In terms of shots to finish, we can see that playing from a bunker compared to a grass lie equates to half a stroke. The typical golfer successfully makes a sand save 17% of the time, so play shots that minimise your chances of going in the bunker to save strokes.

The difference between playing from the rough and the fairway is not as large so players should consider this when selecting their club on the tee. Is playing it safe off the tee costing you more strokes?

Find out more in this blog where we explore the trade-off in accuracy vs. distance to a greater extent looking at driver vs. 3 wood.

When we compare the data from 50-150 yds against 150-210 yds one thing that immediately jumps out is the increase in misses that come up short.

The most common miss amongst amateurs is short and this can be for several reasons, one of which is not knowing how far they hit their clubs. Shot Scope Performance-Average gives golfers a more realistic yardage that players can expect to hit their clubs.

Why is this important?

As we move further away from the green, we can see that the typical golfer is missing ¾’s of their shots short of the green. This puts greater pressure on their short game, which as we explore in this blog, can cause dropped shots. 

150-210 yards Approaches

ShortLongWithin 15ftShots to Finish
All Lie Types75.80%9.40%3.30%4

Based on this data, the typical amateur should consider doing one of the following:

  • Playing to the back of the yardage on their GPS, we offer a GPS watch to suit everyone.
  • Take an extra club compared to what they normally would
  • Make a note of their Performance-Average distances, if they track their game, available on the Shot Scope mobile app.

From 150-210 yards, players should be aiming to simply hit the green, and play to a spot on the green that gives you the best chance of finding the putting surface. Why? Well, the PGA tour average from 150-200 yards is 32 feet. 

Therefore, the chances of the typical golfer putting it to within 15ft would be a truly remarkable shot, as evidenced by the data above. 

As with the closer range data, there is not a huge difference between playing from the rough or the fairway at this distance. However, we do see an increase in the strokes to finish when playing from a bunker, as we would expect with it being a more difficult shot.

So what does this mean for the average golfer? 

If you want to save strokes then select a club that will take bunkers out of play. Avoiding bunker shots can save over half a stroke in some cases which throughout a round can add up to a few strokes. 

Likewise, playing from the rough as opposed to the fairway is not necessarily a bad thing so do not ‘shoot yourself in the foot’ on tee shots by laying up too far back. 

Hit it long. Avoid sand. Save strokes – simple.


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Did you know that 84% of missed putts over five feet finish short?

Or, that your typical drive is nearly 30 yards shorter than your Sunday best drive? These are just two intriguing statistics thrown up by Shot Scope’s performance tracking data platform.

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