SwingU Versus Frequently Asked Questions

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.

With the help of Peter Sanders, the founder and owner of ShotByShot.com, which powers SwingU Versus, here are some of the most frequently asked questions that may help you as you begin to navigate your journey to better with SwingU Versus.

Q: In the broadest and briefest terms, what is strokes gained and what does it accomplish?

In brief, 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 refer to as 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.

Q: How is each target handicap level within SwingU Versus calculated?

The SwingU Versus model is powered by ShotbyShot.com. The Shot By Shot model is based upon the scratch male golfer. We take all the rounds that equal zero differential from slope adjusted course rating (true par) from our database of now over 400,000 rounds. 

Next, we compile our Target Handicap Groups by grouping all the rounds in their scoring range. We run each Target through our scratch strokes gained model and determine the exact number of strokes that are being lost in each facet to the scratch player.

When any single player’s rounds are run against our scratch golfer database, we compare their strokes gained numbers to the averages of their Target Handicap. Strengths and weaknesses always stand out clearly.

Q: What portions of the game fall under each category?

We analyze the 5 major facets of the game:

  • Driving – Tee shots on all par-4 and par-5 holes.
  • Approach Shot – All attempts to hit the green from greater than 50 yards of the hole. (We do not consider driving attempts to hit the green on par-4 holes to be Approach Shots; they are still considered Drives.
  • Chip/Pitch – All shots within 50 yards of the hole, excluding sand shots from the same yardage.
  • Sand – All shots within 50 yards of the hole from a sand trap.
  • Putting – All shots from the green

Q: Driving: What constitutes a “good lie” versus a “bad lie” when entering my driving position?

A “good lie” means a good opportunity to fairly easily accomplish the next goal, be it to hit the green in regulation or advance the ball on a par-5. By contrast, the “bad lie” means that one could accomplish their next goal, but it will take a very good shot to do it.

Simply be consistent. Make the determination before hitting the shot so as not to be influenced by the outcome. There is not a large difference between the two values, but if you were to consistently overstate the difficulty of the shots, for example, it will impact the accuracy of your analysis by hurting your driving and overstating your approach skill, and vice versa.

Q: Driving: Will my strokes gained: driving be hampered if I hit less than driver off the tee?

Success in the strokes gained world is based upon a combination of distance and accuracy – efficiency in the number of strokes that it takes to hole out. We know that over 80% of double bogeys recorded by single-digit golfers follow a mistake off the tee.

Further, it is the frequency and severity of mistakes that do more to influence a score than do all the good and average shots – at all levels, including on the PGA Tour. We should all be hitting the longest club off the tee that we can keep in play and avoid errors.

Similarly, the direction in which you miss fairway from a purely statistical standpoint is moot. Whether you are right or left of your intended target, there is little actionable bearing from a numbers perspective, which is why that statistical function has been removed. 

Q: Driving: I’m going for the green on my drive. How do I record that?

Your drive must be marked as a Drive, not an Approach Shot. If you drove within 50 yards of the green, your Approach is “None.” Outside of 50 yards, then you have an Approach shot.

Q: Driving: I hit the fairway (or anywhere else) on Par-4 but have no shot to get within 50 yards of Green?

Record your Drive as a No Shot. The system will know that your next shot is an advancement shot.

Q: Which shot is the Approach shot?

The Approach shot is your 1st attempt to hit a green from greater than 50 yards, regardless of where it falls in your string of shots for the hole.

Q: Approach – Par-3 Holes – Is the tee shot on a Par 3 my Approach shot?

Yes, always, even if you cannot reach the green.

Q: Approach: When playing a par-5, how do I accurately input my approach distance, especially if I’m going for it in two?

The system assumes a second shot advancement on every par-5, so a data entry will not be required if you’re laying up.

The approach is the first attempt to actually hit green regardless of where it falls in the shot string. When going for the green in two, the second shot is the Approach, and should be recorded as such.  The system is intelligent and will know based upon the shot selection that follows as well as the score for the hole what categories should be impacted beyond the Approach.

Example: Faced with a 255-yard shot from the fairway for your second shot on a par-5, if the golfer hits a club that has a chance to reach the green, 250+ yards should be entered as the Approach distance. Conversely, if the golfer selects a 5-iron for the second shot that couldn’t reasonably reach the putting surface, the third shot will be considered the Approach. 

Q: Approach: I chunked my approach shot and still have more than 50 yards left. What do I record?

Your first attempt is your approach shot. Record the yardage and position. Also, check the Duff/Penalty in the Approach shot section. This will assign the correct cost in strokes gained to the Approach facet. We do not need to know the distance of the second approach. When you check the Duff/Penalty box, we know that this can happen. If you record the rest of your shots correctly, the system will know that there was a second approach attempt. The distance and position of the second shot does not matter, only the result matters.

Q: Approach: When would I record None for Approach?

You have a None Approach when you have no attempt to hit the green from greater than 50 yards. Example: Your Drive result is a No Shot requiring an advancement to return to play. The advancement gets you to within 50 yards of the hole (a Chip/Pitch shot). You had None Approach.

Q: My Approach shot landed in an impossible lie around the green. What do I record?

If you don’t have a legitimate attempt to make the green with a short game shot, then check the Penalty/2nd box in the Approach shot section.

Q: Chip/Pitch: How do I record a second Chip/Pitch or Sand shot?

There are three basic scenarios:

A. Two shots in one short game facet: If you miss a short game shot (either Chip/Pitch or Sand) and miss the green with your next shot from the same facet, and it is successful, simply record the X – Error and the resulting putting distance. Our system will know that it took you two strokes to reach the putting surface within the same facet and calculate Strokes Gained accordingly.

B. A miss from one facet to the other: If you miss a short game shot from one facet into the other, mark the Error – X in the starting facet and the successful attempt in the other. Again, our system is programmed to understand what happened.

C. A miss in both facets: Let’s say you miss a Sand shot over the green, then chunk the chip, requiring a 2nd chip to reach the putting surface. Mark the error – X in both Sand and Chip/Pitch boxes, then enter your putting distance. The system will know that there has been a 3rd short game shot but it will not know in which facet. No worries, we divide the extra shot evenly between the two facets. If it happens enough to become a factor, your short game will pop up as one of your improvement priorities.

Q: Putting: If my approach shot comes to rest on the fringe of the putting surface, should I consider my next shot a chip/pitch or putt?

Similar to the “Good Lie” / “Bad Lie” and Hit Fairway when in the first cut of rough, the key is to be consistent and pragmatic. Every input you log will have an effect one way or the other on another aspect of your game.

If you feel you will be better served from a game-improvement standpoint by counting first cut of rough off the tee as a fairway hit and a fringe hit a putting opportunity, so be it. If you prefer to go by the letter of the law — in the fairway/on the green or not — so be it. Your output will be impacted somewhat however you decide to enter your information. 

Q: Putting: Why can’t I enter the distance of my second putt?

The distance determination of the first putt is important to the pre-shot routine and helps with managing distance control. The distance of the second putt is an afterthought and can be a distraction from the positive process of trying to make the putt. Don’t worry; you will have enough attempts from shorter distances for the program to properly assess your putting skills.

If you have further questions about SwingU Versus, please email us at support@swingu.com.