Golf's Most Meaningful Skills Assessment
Technological breakthroughs in golf have finally moved beyond the ballmakers and clubmakers. ShotLink and Trackman have introduced a level of precision that most would have never dreamed.
Mark Broadie's creation of the Strokes-Gained metric was golf's first step into the world of big data and a re-invention of player statistics.
Scott Fawcett took us one step further with his application of big data to customize our course management strategy. His DECADE system has revolutionized how golfers at the highest levels plan their round through the perfect union of raw skill and measured probabilities.
And now, the team at Collegiate Golf Labs introduces the Golf Skills Advancement Test to accumulate raw golf skills data across the entire collegiate landscape. The goal of which is to support collegiate coaches and ambitious junior golfers.
By defining a standardized testing protocol - utilizing a combination of launch monitor data and manually-scored chipping and putting tests - the GSAT will provide objective insights to facilitate a more thorough, objective assessment of a player's skill.
For college coaches, this means you will have objective data to help you further allocate recruiting resources. For junior golfers and their parents, this will provide you objective data on how your scoring potential stacks up against collegiate golfers across the country - know where you should invest your resources into getting seen.
The Golf Skills Advancement Test is administered by each school following precise instructions provided by the team at Collegiate Golf Labs. Consistent application of the GSAT testing protocol is required at each school to ensure the integrity of the data being collected.
Tests administered to junior golfers takes place at certified testing facilities to ensure the quality of testing data.
The GSAT is comprised of 195 shots split into three sections: driving, chipping, and putting.
Distance and dispersion on full shots are measured using an approved launch monitor device (Trackman, Flightscope, Foresight). Putting and chipping tests are manually graded.
Upon completion of the STEP, the test proctor and player will each certify the GSAT scorecard. For collegiate players, testing data is kept confidential and only the coach will know the scores of individual players.
Upon submission to Collegiate Golf Labs, our team will assign each player with a GSAT Identification Number. College coaches will be privy to the STEP ID of his or her players; however, the full benchmarking data accumulated from players nationwide will be scrubbed of any personally identifiable information.
Once we open to junior golfers, they will register online to take the Golf Skills Advancement Test at one of the GSAT-certified testing facilities located in major metropolitan areas across the country. This certification process ensures a consistent testing environment so that GSAT scores are comparable no matter which facility a golfer selects.
All GSAT-certified testing facilities utilize a pre-approved launch monitor used by professionals on the PGA and LPGA tours. This state of the art technology measures the precise landing mark for your golf ball to within 0.003125% of the starting position.
Upon completion of the GSAT, raw testing data is submitted to our team in Austin where your scores are loaded into our testing algorithm. Our algorithm takes into account your driving distance and accuracy, dispersion and distance control, and short game and putting skills to provide you a Section Score for each section of the test. Additionally, a Comprehensive Score takes into account the correlation between driver distance, iron accuracy, and short game efficiency.
The objective of the testing algorithm is to mimic a "strokes-gained" scorecard in relation to other golfers who have taken the same standardized test.
After receiving their results, golfers will know how their current skills stack up against collegiate players from across the country. Even better, they will objectively know the weaknesses in their game so that they can focus their practice time on those weakness.
For college coaches, you will quickly have a snapshot of how a recruit compares to your current roster and current athletes will have an objective assessment of where they compare to other collegiate players in each category.
College golf coaches perenially struggle with identifying junior golf talent within the context of their current team, fulfilling the goals they have for the future of their program, and all while managing a limited recruiting budget - and the popularity of junior golf does not make this any easier.
Each program offers approximately 2 roster positions each year so college coaches must filter through 150,000 junior golfers in the United States (and tens of thousands more foreign golfers) to fill their limited rosters.
Total Number of Teams
Total Number of Golfers
Leaderboards at top national and international tournaments provide college coaches with their target list of recruits, but competition is too fierce for all but a few programs to secure championship talent straight out of high school.
College coaches greatly increase their chances of recruiting success by identifying young talent that has not yet committed to a college program and by identifying junior golfers with great potential based on their raw golf skills - even if their tournament scoring averages don't have them highly ranked.
An intriguing trend in college recruitment is identifying multi-sport high school athletes with athleticism and golf skills, but who may not have benefited from private golf instruction or built an impressive tournament resume because of his or her involvement in other sports.
Lastly, college coaches know that not all tournaments are created equal and so they depend on a network of golf instructors and recruiting services around the globe to serve as a pipeline for collegiate talent. The problem with these channels is that they both rely on the subjective assessment of a junior's golf swing or ballstriking.
The GSAT provides college coaches with an objective assessment of a player's raw golf skills and can compare the score of a recruit to the scores of each roster position. The GSAT allows a coach to strategically take a chance on a player with above-average iron play and an inconsistent short game, but with a history of going low on occasion.
The Golf Skills Advancement Test is currently in beta development.
We have a classic chicken-and-egg conundrum with this test: college coaches will gain the most benefit when every high school golfer has a GSAT score, while junior golfers will want to take the test whenever their scores can be compared objectively with that of current collegiate players.
For this reason, we have developed a strategic, measured roll-out schedule to satsify the requirements of all stakeholders. We will be brutally transparent about this process so that both coaches and junior golfers understand our timeline.
Phase 1 - Data Collection and Algorithm Validation
We first need 25-30 collegiate coaches to test their players according to our testing protocol. This data will provide the foundation for our PhD's to finalize the algorithm. During this phase, we will not actively promote this test to junior golfers. However, if participating coaches would like their current recruits to take the test, we can arrange that testing.
Phase 2 - Junior Golfer Promotion
We will continue to on-board new collegiate programs to accumulate more data and more robust comparisons between collegiate and junior golfers. At this point, we will promote the GSAT to junior golfers and allow junior golfers to submit their certified GSAT reports directly to college coaches. However, at this stage, junior golfers will be provided with minimal data about how their scores compare to all collegiate players. College coaches will have access to all scoring data for any junior golfer who takes the test.
Phase 3 - Full Player Database
During our final phase, college coaches and junior golfers alike will access an online database that displays scoring data for all golfers taking the test. Golfer's are identified by a unique identification number so that golfers can only see how their score compares against other golfers based on non-personal descriptors. For example, Junior Golfer ABC is +1.22 strokes-gained in driving as compared to the average of #3-5 golfers of NCAA Division II schools ranked between 50 and 100, which places Junior Golfer ABC in the 60th percentile.
For coaches, you will be able to compare your golfers against other programs, but again you will not know precisely which programs and which golfers at those programs. Data is only comparable in such a way that there is no personally identifiable information except with your own players.