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View Poll Results: Which of these best describes Hole 18 at the Utah Open?
A par 2 where 38% of throws are errors, and 1% of throws are hero throws. 6 25.00%
A par 3 where 24% of throws are errors, and 33% of throws are hero throws. 16 66.67%
A par 4 where 16% of throws are hero throws, and 23% are double heroes. 1 4.17%
A par 5 where 37% of throws are hero throws, and 21% are double heroes. 0 0%
A par 6 where 16% of throws are hero throws, and 62% are double heroes. 1 4.17%
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  #4021  
Old 08-17-2020, 03:47 PM
Steve West Steve West is offline
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Originally Posted by TAFL View Post
When does the margin of error for throws from the tee become small enough that we can say that missing all the trees is a matter of chance and not expert play?
That's really the crux of the problem. Not margin of error, but how many experts need to get that 3 on #17 before we can say they would be expected to get a 3 with errorless play.

For example, on #17 we have enough data to be confident that between 35% and 39% of 1000-rated players will get a 3. The issue is not that there is a 4% range, the issue is whether the max of 39% is enough to say that a score of 3 can be expected with errorless play.

In my formula I've set the cutoff for the most difficult par 3 at the point where if less than 45% of the experts get a 3, we cannot "expect" them to get a 3 and so par is 4.

I set that cutoff point based on the nice results it produces if applied to all holes. An even-par round will typically be rated between 990 and 1030 - depending on how punishing the course is. The value of a birdie will be equal to the cost of a bogey (across all holes, not for each particular hole).

My formula is not exactly the same as the definition of par. It's close and produces nice results, but hole #17 at Idlewild may be an example of where it differs.

It seems certain that 1000-rated players are able to get a 3 with errorless play. So, maybe par should be 3. Pushing it further, we know that 1000-rated players are able to get a 2. So, should par be 2? I don't think so; there is too much luck needed to get a 2.

If about 3% of players getting a 2 isn't enough for par to be 2, is 39% of players getting a 3 enough to call it par 3? Where do we draw the line? Can we draw the line based on scores alone?

Is playing for 2 and being willing to settle for a 4 errorless play? Does that make par equal to 4?

The phrase in the definition is "would be expected" which frees us from actually observing enough players getting that score. We just need to think they should be able to get it a lot, if they played right.

Should the impact on the game and on total scores be taken into account at all? Should we figure out which score is plausible with errorless play and set par that low no matter how low that makes par? Or would we prefer that holes have the narrowest possible range of difficulty-to-get-par across all holes?

Where I am right now is that the formula suggests a reasonable par. (This suggestion is almost certainly never too low because it depends on enough players actually getting the score that it cannot be argued an expert would not be expected to get that score.) Then, the TD needs to look at it more closely to see if there is a lower score which would be expected with errorless play.

If they do that, Idlewild #17 might be par 3. Can't experts be expected to make two 209 foot throws in a row without hitting a tree?

And Northwood #12 might be par 5. Can experts be expected to make four 262 foot throws in a row without hitting a tree? Hmm, maybe not. Maybe they can only be expected to make five 210 foot throws in a row without hitting a tree.

Which raises another idea: Maybe par should never be higher than (1 + Length/215) or something. No matter how poorly experts actually play the hole.
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  #4022  
Old 08-17-2020, 04:40 PM
ballgolfconvert ballgolfconvert is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve West View Post
2020 Las Vegas Challenge presented by Innova Champion Discs/Infinite Discs Course/7,050 ft

Another win for "All holes are par 3"!

The hardest hole in 2019 on the PGA Tour was played .35 strokes over par. Changing the hole pars to 3 on a couple of these holes would make them harder than anything the PGA Tour plays. #20 comes in at .311 strokes over par. Not really sure why you hate birdies? Instead of changing pars go with a different target to make it harder to make par.

https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2019/1...-tour-2018-19/
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  #4023  
Old 08-17-2020, 04:54 PM
Rastnav Rastnav is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve West View Post

Which raises another idea: Maybe par should never be higher than (1 + Length/215) or something. No matter how poorly experts actually play the hole.
Analyzing distance without analyzing line seems rather pointless to me. People may not like buttonhook/J-shaped par 4s, but they certainly exist.

To some extent the question is simply "why are trees?" If everything was an open layout, par would be easy to set by looking at distance.

One would like to say that par should be based on how a hole is "designed" to played, where each shot in the design is a high percentage shot. Maybe trees make that impossible, as sometimes there won't be any lines composed entirely of high percentage (>70%) shots.

And, of course, par is basically arbitrary anyway.
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  #4024  
Old 08-17-2020, 06:48 PM
Steve West Steve West is offline
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The hardest hole in 2019 on the PGA Tour was played .35 strokes over par. Changing the hole pars to 3 on a couple of these holes would make them harder than anything the PGA Tour plays. #20 comes in at .311 strokes over par. Not really sure why you hate birdies? Instead of changing pars go with a different target to make it harder to make par.

https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2019/1...-tour-2018-19/
Wait, so killing birdies with smaller baskets is OK? Why do you hate birdies?

I just want to eliminate soft pars so the true birdies can be duly recognized. Even if smaller baskets raised the scores by a whole throw, if false rules like "every hole should be birdie-able" continue to be used, the pars will just go up by one at the same time. Par problem not solved.

Here is the scoring distribution for 1000-rated players for that ONE hole on the course which would average more over par than you might see on the PGA tour.



58.1% of the scores are 2s and 3s. The average is high because it also gives out scores up to 7 to 1000-rated players.

Would you ever see the following in a yardage book on the PGA tour?

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DROP ZONES: Disc must come to rest on an island. As approved by PDGA, if initial throw comes to rest O.B., take one-stroke penalty and next shot from the first D.Z. If any subsequent throws come to rest O.B., take one-stroke penalty and next shot from the second D.Z. Continue to use second D.Z., , with one stroke penalty, until disc comes to rest on final island. Follow normal penalty rules thereafter.
The fact that PGA golf does not have any holes which are this stupid doesn't make a case against having par be 3 on this hole.

(When I apply my formula to PGA holes, it reproduces the PGA pars, except for an occasional "Par 5" which is softened up specifically to generate too many birdies.)
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  #4025  
Old 08-17-2020, 06:51 PM
Steve West Steve West is offline
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Originally Posted by Rastnav View Post
Analyzing distance without analyzing line seems rather pointless to me. People may not like buttonhook/J-shaped par 4s, but they certainly exist.

To some extent the question is simply "why are trees?" If everything was an open layout, par would be easy to set by looking at distance.

One would like to say that par should be based on how a hole is "designed" to played, where each shot in the design is a high percentage shot. Maybe trees make that impossible, as sometimes there won't be any lines composed entirely of high percentage (>70%) shots.

And, of course, par is basically arbitrary anyway.
All good points.

What should we do when players rarely play the hole as designed? (Either because the players overestimate their own skill, or the designer over-estimated the players' skill.)
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  #4026  
Old 08-17-2020, 07:02 PM
Rastnav Rastnav is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve West View Post
All good points.

What should we do when players rarely play the hole as designed? (Either because the players overestimate their own skill, or the designer over-estimated the players' skill.)
That sounds like a hole design problem (maybe)? Rather than a par for the hole problem?

Par is arbitrary. Designing the hole so that it provides the appropriate payoff of scoring separation for excellent vs. good shots is the real goal.

So maybe everyone is trying to pull off that excellent shot because the good (designed) shot doesn’t provide appropriate reward. Or the excellent shot isn’t actually excellent.

Last edited by Rastnav; 08-17-2020 at 07:04 PM.
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  #4027  
Old 08-24-2020, 12:30 PM
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Olorin Olorin is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve West View Post
What if a hole does not allow an expert to expect to play errorlessly?

Certain holes seem to have been made so difficult that even an expert can't get through them without expecting a tree hit or OB.

Hole #17 at Idlewild is the purest example of this. The scoring distribution of 1000-rated players is 2x3%, 3x34%, 4x39%, 5x19%, 6x5%. According to the standardized formula, that would not be enough 3's to call it a par 3. (Each throw only had a 72% chance of being part of a score of 3 or better, but the cutoff is 76.6%.) So, the formula would call it a par 4.

However, we know that there were 234 OB penalties out of 390 players. Combine that with the unknown number of tree hits, and it is very likely a lot of the 4s were not the result of errorless play on this 418 foot hole. So, errorless play would call it par 3.

Should we call this the most difficult hole to get par (of 3)? Or does the requirement that an expert be "expected" to get par override the requirement that it come from errorless play, so this is a fairly easy par 4?

Or does the design of the hole mean it is not an error to go OB or hit a tree?
Which layout #17 that you have this data for? The Gold layout? And is the Gold layout truly a Gold level course? Is the Blue layout a true Blue level course?
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  #4028  
Old 08-24-2020, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve West View Post
What if a hole does not allow an expert to expect to play errorlessly?
This question is really clouding the issue. To meet the definition of par is does not matter one bit what a player expects to do. It is very simple-- to get a par a player must have errorless play. After errorless play then par is the expected score. I have never believed that par is determined by percentages, statistics, or averages. Those are merely tools to evaluate the correct par, not to set par. The answer to your question is very simple, to get par you must have errorless play. What any player is expects to score has nothing at all to do with par.

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Or does the requirement that an expert be "expected" to get par override the requirement that it come from errorless play, so this is a fairly easy par 4?
I think you put way too much weight on the word "expected". No player is every expected to get par. Par and difficulty are two entirely different matters (even though necessarily related). It is theoretically possible to have a hole that is so difficult that with errorless play only 1 in 100 expert players will ever achieve par. I think that the key term in the definition of par is "errorless".

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  #4029  
Old 08-24-2020, 01:19 PM
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What is the effective length of the Idlewild 17 in question, taking elevation into account? What is the elevation change on that hole?
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  #4030  
Old 08-24-2020, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve West View Post
...how many experts need to get that 3 on #17 before we can say they would be expected to get a 3 with errorless play?
1. I'm dead serious

But a more important question is "what is an expert?"
The first step for this hole is answer "what is the player level of this layout at Idlewild that #17 is part?" Can someone please tell me the designers intended player level for this layout at Idlewild?
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