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Golf Insider Stats by Handicap Dashboard

Welcome to the Golf Insider stats by handicap performance dashboard. A common problem golfers have when trying to get better is benchmarking aspects of their game. They often don’t know if they need to work on their driving, approach play, short game or putting.

To help with this question we’ve created the following tool that shows you golf stats by handicap – a big thanks to ShotScope for supplying the data.

Explainer video – Golf stats by handicap

The box below allows you to select your desired handicap goal and the dashboard will update to show the average performance of that handicap level. Want to get down to 16? Click 16 and compare your stats to the data. Want to get down to scratch? Change the tab to 0 and watch the dashboard show you how it can be achieved.

There are four sections:

  • General scoring
  • Off the tee
  • Approach play
  • Short game
  • Putting

*This dashboard works on all devices but is best viewed on a laptop/desktop.

Please remember, that this is just a guide to help you develop your golf improvement plan. No one player is average across the board, you will all have strengths and weaknesses. Work on your weaknesses, but keep working on developing your strengths too.

If you want to track these stats and more, head on over to ShotScope to check out their products or download their free stats app.

Enjoy, have a play and check how your own stats compare. For further details about how this was developed and some key assumptions, scroll down or click here.

Golf Stats By Handicap Dashboard

Key assumptions & limitations

Regular readers will know I’m keen on stating no models are perfect, but some are useful. This is a key example – some of these data points are hopefully useful in pinpointing your strengths and weaknesses and helping you improve. However, every player and every course is different, this ‘global mean’ of golf stats by handicap should be used as a guide.

How the data was developed

Shotcope reached out and offered to share some of their data – millions of data points collected across thousands of golfers. I would have loved the raw data, but was delighted to have their offering of mean data points for ~100 variables for 25, 20, 15, 10, 5 and 0 handicap golfers.

The fun project was then to work out how we could take these 5 discrete values for each metric and make them useful and interesting for golfers of all standards. I decided to start working on how we could fit linear and 2nd order polynomial functions to the data, then use a predict function in R to build out the data for handicap levels of 36 to +4 (the curvy black dots below).

graph showing fit of modelled data to original dataset
The red dots are the true date from ShotScope. The black dots are the modelled data.

This is not scientific work, you cannot produce robust models with 5 data points. However, after a few weeks, I was happy enough that the data were useful, and a solid representation of how different handicap levels generally play golf.

I decided to move forward and build out the dashboard above, teaching myself to code in R Shiny as I went. Apologies, I’ve never built an app, but I’m enjoying developing my skills. It works on all devices but looks far nicer on a laptop/desktop.

Key limitations

  • All data points were modelled individually, meaning FIR, misses left/right may sometimes add up to 98 – 102%, rather than summing to 100%.
  • As the graph above shows, the data between the true data (red dots) 0 – 25 handicap is pretty solid, but as we move further away (up to 36 handicap or down to +4) we can be less certain about the true trend.

If you would like any other metrics added just leave a comment below and I will ask ShotScope.

Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider

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Will Shaw, PhD, MSc, PGA Pro

Will is a PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. He spent 10 years lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in Biomechanics and Motor Control before becoming the Head of Golf for the University of Exeter. He currently runs Golf Insider UK, Sport Science Insider around wider consulting and academic roles in sport performance and motor control.

23 thoughts on “Golf Insider Stats by Handicap Dashboard”

  1. Really nice stuff, thanks a lot for the effort Will! I’m living in a place where I don’t have access to a real course, but only a trackman 4 to play with. This actually gives a great way to evaluate where I am with my game because some of these numbers are nicely comparable one-to-one with the output from the simulator. The trackman handicap itself feels way inflated (I’m nowhere near what I got there), but the estimate of ~10 hcp I can get from comparing the different percentages with the data here seems more realistic (when taking into account the sim conditions of perfect lie, no wind, finding all my off-line balls etc.).

    Also cool to see how the GIR % goes up way more than the FIR % when you go down towards single digits, and identifying that as something to work on (and approaches being a current weakness).

    • Thanks Ikka,

      Delighted it’s of use to you. It has been many weeks of work and learning new coding skills, but there are a few other cool performance tools I can hopefully build this year for you all.

      Yes, so distance off the tee increases, with FIR staying roughly the same, so ‘relative accuracy’ increases. You can read more here:

      Let me know if there are any other metrics you’d like added to this. I can reach back out to ShotScope and see what I can get.

      Keep up the fine work.


    • Hi Constanze,

      Great question – I wish I did! This is an overview of ShotScope’s entire userbase so men and women (I don’t have data on the breakdown, but will ask). I’ve only pushed this live a few hours ago, but it is proving popular. As long it is of use to golfers I will keep developing it, a toggle between men and women would be ideal – I’ll see what I can do.

      Many thanks,


      • Sounds great, thanks.
        I think the rest of data should apply to both.

        I only stumbled over that number as I wanted to check where change is needed to get down to hcpi 1 and figured “Nope, I cannot drive 274 yds neither once nor in average!”
        (I am close to hcpi 3 currently but it seems so difficult to find these two shots?! 🙂 )

        • I can empathise with that problem. It’s always difficult to reach the next level until you do – then it seems obvious. Learning is non-linear so just keep doing the right things and a jump will come.

          My dream would be to have access to the raw data so I can split the data for men and women, but then show i) the mean and ii) where 90% of golfers fall for each stat for a given handicap – this would give you all a brilliant idea of if a given area of your game is good enough, or you fall well outside.

          Thanks so much for the feedback – I’ll see what I can do.


          • That would be great Will. I too am a woman golfer playing off 8 and trying to get lower – 7 is my initial target. It would really help to have data for women.

  2. Wonderful tool! Really appreciate all the work you have put into this. I was wondering if you had thought about tweaking “The Golf Insider Performance Diary” so that it aligns with the Golf Insider Stats by Handicap model. Pretty good already.
    Thanks Will!

  3. I recently purchased “The Golf Insider Performance Diary” and I am looking forward to utilizing it along with the dashboard. I recently started gathering more data during my rounds for analysis. I am presently a 15 and put 12 in the dashboard to see what my immediate course of action should be. One thing for sure is I am way too hard on myself when holding any kind of wedge in my hand. I expect a much higher percentage for GIR. That being said, in order for me to average around 31.3 putts per round, I definitely should be working on my up and downs to save par. Obviously, putting is key as well. The model says that within 6′, I need to have the mindset that they are going in the hole every time. Thanks for giving me some additional incentive to work on my game.

  4. Great dashboard. Very useful for game improvement targets and knowing where you should be actually. And (as said Doug) can stop you being too hard on yourself. You say not scientifique but the par 5 curve just looks right.
    However, the scores to par look low compared to other sources, I found 3 with handicap: scores to par of 5: 7.4/8/9.8 10: 13.5/14/15.1 15: 19/21/20.3 20: 24.4/26/25.7 25: 29.6/37/30.9 Just a comment as there’s nothing to say these are any more representative than the shotscope data.
    Do you have the standard deviation data for their scores to par ?

  5. Re: Approach Play This section highlights the greens in regulation (GIR) data for players of your desired handicap.

    The percentages given on GIR% per club not sure what this actually means as I thought it was which club you hit the green by percentage but that should add up to 100% if I am not mistaken so not sure what this stat means so for instance LW is 47% what does this actually represent?

    Regards Andy

    • Hi Andrew, great question. I will go back and update the code in the app to make this clearer, but for now…GIR by club (%) means what percentage of time a player hits the green when they use that club.

      There is the obvious trend that the longer clubs are used from further away and hit fewer greens, but at some handicaps, there are fewer greens hit with SW & LW, this might just be times when a player is hacking out. Stats are great but are never perfect.

      I hope that helps.


      • Thanks for the reply Will – It’s probably a stat I might look at but tweak it for myself to only be when I’m actually attempting to hit the green and I will probably discount anything < 25 yds

        PS – I find all your articles fascinating and so many of them- going to look into them hard this winter

  6. Lovely work thank you!

    I have an issue with average putts per round as a usable metric. I average 31 (8hcp), but see that number varies wildly based on how good my short game is on the day. If I’m getting good GIRs then I’m likely to be making closer to 36 putts whereas if my short game is a bit off and my GIR on the day is low, I’ll be chipping/pitching on and my putts will be closer to high 20s. So I can get a better av.putts but score overall poorly, or worse av.putts and score better.

    I understand the real value here is comparing my own numbers round against round, but is the average putt metric the best we can do? I thought maybe total distance of final putts could work but A, that tough for an amateur to calculate and B, same as above: if my GIRs are fabulous, my total distance of final putts made could be quite low, and visaversa.

    Your thoughts?

  7. Hi Will, great work, this is awesome. What does the “Make Rate Inside 6ft” mean? For a 8 hcp, it’s at 88.8% – is this the likelihood of a two putt or better from inside 6ft?

    • Hi Dan,

      Sorry for the late reply on this one.Make rate is holing out or one putt from inside a distance. The challenge here is that most of these putts will be from 1-3 feet which makes it a little hard to interpret. Sadly there wasn’t any further break down of the data.

      I have just gained access to some fresh data so I’ll see if I can improve this moving forward.

      I hope the golf is going well.



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