Strokes Gained Dropping


I feel as though this topic should be covered by the likes of @ClubProGuy, But after listening to the Mark Broadie pod, I came up with the silly idea of strokes gained dropping. Now this started off this joke that I’d lead the Tour in strokes gained dropping when I’d execute a flawless drop after rinsing one in the creek at my home course, dropping into 4in thick rough and getting a propped up lie setting me up for yet another dazzling bogey.

Obviously strokes gained dropping would negatively affect my other strokes gained stats but it got me curious into thinking if this stat would actually be calculated? There are many options after a drop and you can definitely give yourself an advantage if your ball ends up in a good lie or you chose a drop location that is more likely for you to get up and down from.

My initial thoughts it would essentially just be an exotic strokes gained category that would be similar to strokes gained scrambling except would only occur after a player has hit one out of play.


I understand your idea, but I don’t think it would be possible because the type of lie the ball is in doesn’t affect strokes gained. Fairway vs rough affects SG but the actual lie doesn’t. Say there’s two balls in the rough and one is sitting down in a terrible lie and one is fluffed up. The average strokes from that position is the same because it’s the same yardage from virtually the same type of lie in rough.


I think you are looking at it from the angle (and maybe they already do this). How about, “Strokes gained after penalty”?

Ex. I hit an iron into water in front of island green. Hit from the drop area to two feet. Make putt for a four. Rest of field averages 4.75 from drop area. Strokes gained after penalty? 0.75

The idea behind this stat would be to identify players who can avoid a HUGE number on a hole. Someone who would probably be really bad in this category is fan-favorite John Daly.


The new rules update could dramatically alter everyone’s dropping strategy. Didn’t they say you’ll be able to drop from literally any height starting next year? Figuring out the optimal height to drop from so the ball sits up nicely in the rough will be an important part of my practice sessions next season.


Performing a flawless drop is one thing. Negotiating where to take drop is where you will gain strokes.

Dropping takes a lot of skill and bravado. You have to be able to stand your ground and argue against your fellow competitors and possibly a rules official. Fortunately, most of the time, no one will end up caring which side of the cart path you drop on or how far up you drop along the hazard.

A couple quick tips to maximize your SGD. First, NEVER ask a playing partner where he/she thinks you should drop it. Always pick where you want to drop first, and then ask for confirmation. And don’t even be that specific about it. “You think somewhere around here?”

Second, if you think your ball might have crossed the hazard, announce it immediately after your shot. Don’t wait until you get up to the hazard. Do it first. Get it in their head immediately. Inception.

Third, if you can, take your drop when no one is around. You can avoid any debates altogether if you simply do it while your fellow competitors are focusing on their next shot and away from your ball. If necessary, try the “go ahead and look for yours I’ll just look for a couple more seconds” line to get them off of your back.

Finally, don’t be afraid to stand your ground. No one that you are playing with cares about your score as much as you do. This isn’t their hill to die on. Even though everyone and their mom knows that your ball definitely didn’t cross the hazard, don’t give up. Cause a scene if you have to. They’ll back down. Don’t drop 250 out behind a tree when you have an argument that you should be dropping from 150.

In case you don’t take this seriously, just remember how that bum Jordan Spieth dead cat bounced himself into a UK British Open Title last year in large part due to leading the field in Strokes Gained Dropping.


Strokes Gained Dropping is one of those little things, like scripting your first few holes, that amateurs overlook but which Tour Pros execute so consistently.

Everyone should have a reliable, “go-to” drop in their bag.

For instance, your match play opponent just striped one deep up the left side and has a chance to get home in two. You’re already down two, may have just crossed the buzzed/drunk sweetspot, and just fanned your drive way off line. It’s not in terrible shape, but you’re blocked out just barely by a tree. If you don’t pull off a shot, this one could get away from you.

Option 1: tap those feet a little; yeah, you hear it, it’s a little squishy underfoot; sure, it didn’t rain last night and your muni hasn’t had it in the budget to water the course for weeks, but that’s a little casual water youre standing in. Call out to your playing partner 70 yards away to declare “taking a little relief - casual water!” and comfortably drop 10-15 yards left where you’ve got a look at the green.

Option 2: see that 30 year old tree that’s “interfering” with your swing? Wouldn’t want to hurt the nursery trees your course has been working so hard on - lift that ball and find some relief 10 yards away. The course and the super will thank you for it.


The strokes gained would only come from the choice in drop location say a 100 yard shot from the fairway were the average is 3.0 and then a 30 yard chip shot where the average is 2.5 you would gain 0.5 strokes droping for the 30 yard chip. As @Waldorf98 said the intent of my comment though was to see how good of a lie you can get from dropping but since that is not factored into shots gained it wouldn’t be possible.


I don’t get the debate about Speith being overrated, he may go down as one of the best players ever in the strokes gained dropping category. At Birkdale what the coverage did’nt show you is while other pros such as Kuchar are foolishly practicing driving the ball on the range earlier in the week, Speith was out in the middle of that range practicing that drop. Now that drop may have seen unique to the naked viewing eye but in reality Speith had made that drop a thousand times and was as cool as a cucumber while executing in tournament play.


Sung Kang with a beautiful execution of the “stand your ground” method as he obliterated the field this week in SGD.


Additional strokes gained categories:

  • strokes gained after drilling a spectator/patron

  • strokes gained using grandstands as a backboard

this stat came to me after JT drilled that kid and kostis/mccord/some other CBS announcer commented “his drive hit that young fan with some force. He probably stopped it from rolling another 60 yards offline.”


Big Leish just got a big plus in the strokes gained after drilling a spectator. His drive was on the sidehill of a fairway bunker and he blocked the shot right. It hit someone in the galley and bounced hard left all the way onto the green. Then he drained like an 80 foot putt for birdie. The putt was nice but not being 40 yards short of the green in the rough was better. Strokes gained.


Anyone just see the rule controversy at East Lake with Xander? That was an excellent way to take a beneficial drop…too bad he wound up in a greenside bunker.


“That was my top three drops right there.” -JT

Moving up in these rankings this morning.