Difference between PGA Tour and Nationwide is smaller than you think

Kevin-na After my week off I am back on tour, but I am not in Louisiana for the Zurich Classic. Instead, I am in Valdosta, Ga., for the South Georgia Classic on the Nationwide Tour, where I have several players playing, including Mathew Goggin, Bubba Dickerson, and Kyle Reifers.
I often get asked what is the difference between my students who play on the PGA Tour versus the Nationwide Tour. The first glaring difference is the extra zero the winner’s check has on the PGA Tour. But, for the most part, there is very little difference between players’ ability on the PGA Tour and the Nationwide Tour. However, if one skill is more refined on the PGA Tour, it is putting.
The players who make up a field on the PGA Tour are better putters as a whole than the players on the Nationwide Tour. I know that is a subjective statement, so let me try and quantify it.
If you look at the “putts per round” stats provided by both tours and select the player in the No. 1 position and the No. 100 position from each tour to compare, you will see that the PGA Tour players are clearly superior. (I am not claiming that “putts per round” can be used to properly identify the best putter on a tour, as there are many factors not taken into the calculation, including the number of greens hit by one player as compared to another, but for today’s discussion it will do.)
On the Nationwide Tour the player, or players in this case, topping the putts-per-round stat are Erik Compton and Daniel Chopra with an average of 27 putts per round. On the PGA Tour, the putts-per-round leader is Kevin Na (pictured) with 27.25. These two averages are very close, representing approximately a one-stroke difference over a 72-hole tournament.
However, when you compare the difference between the 100th-ranked player in putts per round from each tour, the discrepancy is much greater. On the PGA Tour the 100th ranked player in putts per round is Bill Haas, averaging 29.19 putts, versus John Kimbell on the Nationwide Tour who is averaging 31.43 putts per round. That means John takes two additional putts per round or almost nine more putts over the course of a 72-hole.
Given the competitiveness of both tours, one stroke can be the difference between playing the weekend or packing up and leaving town for next week’s event.
I know that I’m going to get a bunch of nasty emails to blog@mariusgolf.com complaining that I was comparing putting stats for two different tours that play different venues, However, before people rush to think that Nationwide Tour events are held on weak golf courses, please consider that this week’s event is being played at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club, a gargantuan 7,781 yards with waving greens. Yikes!
In other news, I am opening my second academy at Miami Shores Country Club in Miami, Fla. Miami Shores is in the process of being overhauled to return the course to its former glory. As part of this overhaul, I have been asked to provide some guidance regarding the redesign of the practice facility. This is a wonderful opportunity for me as I believe many of today’s golf course facilities lack proper allocation of space for short-game improvement. I understand the economic reasons for avoiding proper short-game facilities; however, this reluctance is prohibiting players from focusing on the part of their games that need the most improvement.
The new facility at Miami Shores will not be completed until after this summer, and I will keep you posted on its progress. As always check out my web site at www.mariusgolf.com and sign-up for the free member section. I also want to thank all the readers who have purchased my new Automatic Putting package (3-disc DVD set, Marius Putting Belt and Marius Metronome). I have gotten several hundred emails from folks sharing their stories of improvement, which are very rewarding to me. Keep them coming.
Until next time….cheers!

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