How many times have you been watching a golf tournament and the announcer says, "Harry Hooker is a great ball striker---he's number three on the tour in ball striking." And you think to yourself: That's great, but I wish I knew what they meant by ball striking.
Or the announcer will say, " Sammy Slicer leads the tour in total driving." What exactly is "total driving?"
Let's delve into the statistical language of the PGA TOUR for an understanding of "Ball Striking" and "Total Driving." A basic understanding of each term will require an understanding of several other terms. But, for now, let's try to keep this as simple as possible.
"Ball Striking" is a pretty simple concept to grasp if you know the underlying components that go into the computation of that statistic. It is computed "by totaling a player's rank in both Total Driving and Greens in Regulation." For example, in 2012, Boo Weekley was number 1 in Total Driving and number 5 in Greens in Regulation for a combined value of 6 in overall Ball Striking. The lower the combined value, the better the overall rank. Jason Dufner was number 2 in Ball Striking with an overall value of 12 (number 4 in Total Driving and number 8 in Greens in Regulation.)
OK, but what is meant by "Total Driving?" Total Driving "is computed by totaling a player's rank in both Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy." Again, the lower the overall value is the better the rank in the category. In 2012, Boo Weekley was number 1 in Total Driving with a value of 74 (number 36 in Driving Distance and number 38 in Driving Accuracy.)
Greens in Regulation Percentage is quite simple. A green is considered to be hit in regulation "if any portion of the ball is touching the putting surface after the GIR stroke has been taken." The GIR stroke is defined as two strokes less than par. On the green in two strokes on a par 4 is on the green in regulation; on in three strokes on a par 5 is on the green in regulation. To arrive at the GIR percentage, the computation is greens hit in regulation divided by number of holes played.
Total Driving gives us two more terms to understand: Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy. Thankfully, before our brains explode, these two terms do not incorporate other terms into their computations.
Driving Distance is "the average number of yards per measured drive." Let's clear up a common misunderstanding. The PGA TOUR does not measure every single drive hit by every player. To compute Driving Distance, drives are measured on two holes per round. The Tour selects two holes which face in opposite directions to counter the effects of wind when measuring drives. Finally, remember that "drives are measured to the point at which they come to rest regardless of whether they are in the fairway or not." Bubba Watson was number 1 in Driving Distance at 315.5 yards per measured drive .
Driving Accuracy is defined as "the percentage of time a tee shot comes to rest in the fairway (regardless of club)." Jerry Kelly was number 1 in Driving Accuracy in 2012 as his drives hit the fairways 73% of the time (814 fairways hit divided by 1,115 possible fairways.)
I hope this explanation helps you better understand some of the golf terms used on golf broadcasts and makes your golf viewing more pleasurable.