What Is Strokes Gained?

With the help of Peter Sanders, the founder and owner of ShotByShot.com, which powers SwingU Versus, an integrated strokes gained analysis system available to SwingU Premium subscribers, here’s an easy way to understand how strokes gained metrics work.

Strokes gained is a detailed quantification of each stroke played as it relates to par. Each position (Tee, Fairway, Rough, Sand) and distance from the hole has what we call a “down-in” value. This is the exact number of shots it takes for the scratch golfer to hole out.

Picture a large board with the image of a golf hole. As one moves from place to place, closer to the hole, they land on smaller down-in values. The bigger and more positive the jumps, the more strokes that are gained.

Example: An approach shot from 150 yards in the fairway carries a down-in value of 3.00 meaning that the average scratch golfer will hole out from there in 3 strokes. If the golfer hits the green with a 27-foot putt (the distance at which the down-in value is 2.00), the golfer’s strokes gained for his approach is 0.0 – he advanced a value of 1.0 position in 1 shot. The golfer has not gained or lost strokes with the approach.

The formula is: value start position – (value of finish position + strokes to get there). If the golfer were to have hit the approach from 150 yards in the fairway to 7-feet (down-in value 1.50), the golfer would have gained half a shot. 3.00 – (1.5 + 1) = +0.5.

This precise quantitative system of analysis has transformed the analysis of golf from a slightly educated guess into a certainty. We can now accurately determine a player’s true strengths and weaknesses as well as exactly why. This allows them to play to their strengths and focus on improving their weaknesses.


SwingU Versus is an integrated strokes gained analysis system available to SwingU Premium subscribers that tracks and analyzes every facet of your game from tee to green. For the first time, SwingU Premium subscribers can keep and analyze their stats as if they were a Tour pro, but at a more relatable and productive level.

Whether you’re a scratch player trying to reach elite amateur status or a bogey golfer trying to reach a single-digit handicap, choose a target handicap and find out after each round what area of your game should receive your highest priority for immediate improvement.

SwingU Versus will let you know how you stack up across five key areas of the game: Driving, Approach Shots, Chipping & Pitching, Bunker Play and Putting. Each facet of your game will be given a “relative handicap,” so you can easily and accurately identify the area of your game that needs the most attention.

In addition to the data, SwingU’s AI-driven algorithm will assign you a prescriptive drill, focusing you on the game-improvement priority that will lower your handicap and scores fast!

The quest to play your best golf just got smarter, faster and easier with SwingU Versus.

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