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Culp's Corner

Consistent Gains: Trends

by Josh Culp
Updated On: April 24, 2020, 5:03 pm ET

Over the last month, I've had a look at consistency numbers in regard to gaining strokes in PGA TOUR rounds. 

I broke it down into the sub-categories off-the-tee, approach, around-the-green, and putting. From there, I look at the most consistent performers this season. It was a top-10 list, specifically, from each category. 

You can go back to revisit each category of strokes gained but in this final piece I will round up the stats from those golfers to see how each subset performs on the whole. 

Cut-Making Ability

The first way to grade these lists will be to look at each group's ability to earn a paycheck. 

Off-the-Tee: 93-for-120 (78%)
Approach: 84-for-103 (82%)
Around-the-Green: 98-for-147 (67%)
Putting: 78-for-112 (70%)

When looking at total volume you'll notice the around-the-green list has a higher quantity. That is because their "top 10" list turned into a top 13 due to ties. 

However, it's the ratio that is most important to us here. In that regard, it's approach play that leads to the highest rate of cuts made followed closely by off-the-tee standouts. 

Top 25s

We just saw which group of golfers can make it through the cut line but which subset can play over the weekend to knock out top 25s. 

Off-the-Tee: 61-for-120 (51%)
Approach: 58-for-103 (56%)
Around-the-Green: 47-for-147 (32%)
Putting: 40-for-112 (36%)

Again, it's strokes gained approach and off-the-tee consistency that is leading to better results. 

Top 10s

Diving a little deeper, let's see if there are any major differences when it comes to posting the real top-heavy finishes. You need to piece together at least 3 great rounds in a given week to collect a top 10 on the PGA TOUR. 

Off-the-Tee: 33-for-120 (28%)
Approach: 33-for-103 (32%)
Around-the-Green: 24-for-147 (16%)
Putting: 17-for-112 (15%)

Hopefully you've picked up on the trend by now. The leading indicator here tends to be approach-play consistency shortly followed by off-the-tee consistency. Ball-Striking. 

Par Breakers

Lastly, let's check in on a fantasy-scoring element. How often golfers are circling birdies and eagles. 

Off-the-Tee: ranked 52nd on average
Approach: ranked 54th on average
Around-the-Green: ranked 105th on average
Putting: ranked 52nd on average

This is where things a new contender enters the ring. The most consistent putters don't impress with their cut-making or top-heavy finish rates but they can deliver a bunch of birdies and eagles. 

Conclusion

This exercise was just one way to look at the data so none of the results or recommendations should be absolutes. That being said, it was obvious that consistent off-the-tee and/or approach play is the recommended route to success. 

It's important to have a tidy short game but if you are consistently gaining strokes around-the-green then you may be missing too many greens to begin with. The consistent around-the-green performers had solid stats (by TOUR average standards) but were easily the worst of the bunch when comparing them to standouts from the other three categories. 

Last but not least, consistent putting does not lead to consistent paydays or consistent top-heavy finishes, at least not compared to the off-the-tee and approach subset. However, it does lead to plenty of fireworks (birdies or better) which makes targeting steady putters a viable strategy when looking for DFS value on a week-to-week basis. That is the perfect format where hole-by-hole birdies and eagles are heavily rewarded and great putters generally go under-owned when you compare them to their ball-striking counterparts. 

Josh Culp
Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.