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Feature Overview: Course Strategy
Feature Overview: Course Strategy

What is Circles' Course Strategy fetaure?

Hamish Mitchell avatar
Written by Hamish Mitchell
Updated over a week ago

Circles' Course Strategy is here to help you improve your game and shoot lower scores?

Playing golf is about more than just hitting the ball. It takes careful planning and strategic thinking to get the results you want. That's why we've created Course Strategy.

For each hole, Circles' Course Strategy will show you:

  • The suggested tee shot target line and length for lowest expected score

  • An indicative size of zone in which ~70% of your approach shots would be expected to finish, for different length approaches

Your Course Strategy is calculated using our algorithms that mathematically model your actual performance dispersions from past rounds, so you can make smarter decisions and improve your performance.

Our View On Playing Strategy

The Course Strategy document contains a strategy overview for each hole, including:

  1. Suggested tee shot target line & length for thelowest expected hole score.

  2. Indicative size of zone in which ~70% of approach shots would be expected to finish, for different length approaches.

The suggested tee shot targets and approach shots are calculated using our algorithms that use mathematical models with your actual performance dispersions from past rounds. The algorithms also quantify the expected score from different second-shot positions.

We provide a more detailed overview of our methodology below. In summary, the underlying principle is it isn't possible to hit a pin-point target every time, and there is a measurable pattern to the likelihood of different misses. For instance, we can calculate how much more likely it is that a 300 yard drive will miss 40 yards left, compared to a 250 yard drive missing 10 yards right.

The suggested tee shot target line & length is the one expected to result in the lowest score for the hole, on average, if you played the hole thousands of times.

Tee shot is inferred by Circles data from the past six months, taking the top 30th percentile.

Similarly, the ~70% dispersion zones indicated on the greens are the size of the area in which ~70% of ballswould fi nish if you hit thousands of balls at a target in themiddle of the circle.

Our Methodology

In reality, no player can hit a pin-point target every time. Virtually every shot will have some degree of direction and/or distance “error” (for lack of a better term) when compared to a pin-point target. Some people describe this as a 'shotgun' dispersion pattern.

We mathematically model the patterns in those direction and distance errors. This enables us to understand the probabilities of different outcomes and make predictions. For example, the likelihood of a player hitting a 20 yard wide fairway at 250 yards, or the odds that a player's tee shot will end in a bunker that is 30 yards left of their target line.

For each tee shot, we use these algorithms to calculate the probabilities of ending in different areas (e.g., fairway, sand, rough, trees) for a range of target lines and lengths. We then calculate the expected score for the hole from each of those different positions.

By combining these analyses, we can determine the tee shot targets (line and length) that yield the lowest expected score for the hole, on average. It's all based on probabilities.

It's as though we had a player play the hole thousands of times using different tee shot targets, and then selected the target which resulted in the lowest average score for the hole.

This process essentially mathematically balances the benefit of a longer tee shot (i.e., shorter approach shot)versus any increased risk of a longer drive resulting in an undesirable lie (either because a hazard is only in play at a longer distance, or because a longer shot has a bigger chance of missing further left or right of the target).

The analyses cannot guarantee the outcome of any individual attempt. The whole point is that there is uncertainty in the outcome of every shot. The analyses indicate the option with the best outcome on average .It's the "percentage play."

The calculations outlined in this strategy use the dispersion patterns from previous rounds you've entered in Circles, and so is entirely unique to you.

Target line & length analyses were calculated from the back of the tee that you outlined.

"No matter how good you get, you can always get better, and that's the exciting part."

- Tiger Woods

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