Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Odds are Definitely Against It

Ben Hogan was not a mathematician so you'll have to forgive him but he once said, "I see no reason why a golf course cannot be played in 18 birdies, just because no one has ever done that doesn't mean it can't be done."

Here's what a golfer would be up against statistically.

Let's take a scratch golfer and assume he/she, on average, will birdie three times during a normal round. Applying some high order math we figure that out to be an average of one birdie every six holes, so the odds against a birdie on any given hole are 6 to 1.

Following that logic the chances of getting a birdie on two consecutive holes are 36 to 1 (6x6=36). That's not too wild to imagine.

Now here is where it starts to get scary.

For each consecutive birdie you figure the chances by multiplying by six, so three consecutive birdies would be 36x6 or 216 to 1. Keep doing that through nine holes and the chances for nine consecutive birdies becomes a staggering 10,077,696 to 1.

And now for the grand finale. For eighteen holes the chances of getting 18 consecutive birdies becomes an unimaginable 100 trillion to one.

To say that is unlikely would be a slight understatement, don't you think?

Ben Hogan was right in that statistically, it can be done, but realistically there's not a chance in H-E-Double Toothpicks someone will ever achieve it.

Sorry Tiger.

Golf Times


Blogger Kevin said...

Hey, you have a great blog. The content is very informative! You have obviously put a lot of time and effort into it.

I have a golf wedge site. It pretty much covers golf wedge related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

12:24 PM  
Blogger zafonic said...

Hi Mattb,

I'm from Spain, from de Galaxy Foro[http://foro.galaxiagolf.com/index.php]

Do you use to bet in golf events?

Great blog!!!

5:32 PM  
Blogger Greg Gauthier said...

Sorry, but you're no math major either. Accepting your precept of 3 birds in 18 holes means the odds are 5 to 1 on any given hole (five chances you won't, one you will). That means the chances of birdieing 18 consecutive holes are 5 to the eighteenth power, not 6 to the some as you posited. This means the odds on such a fluke are actually: 1 in 381,461,726,652,625 rounds of golf by scratch players. Still highly unlikely, but if this is your math, I'd love to play Texas hold 'em against you after 18 holes.

8:29 PM  
Blogger golftrainer said...

I just came across your blog and really like it. I will be adding it to my blogroll and hopefully you will do the same.

My Perform Better Golf Blog is all about improving your golf through golf training.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Mattb said...

Thanks for the comments guys,

Zafonic, looks like you guys have a great time at your forum. I wish I knew Spanish so I could enjoy it also. I can make out some words but have a hard time following a whole conversation. And to answer your question, no, I don't bet golf events, if I did I would bet Tiger every time.

Greg, thanks for your thoughts although I think you're in the wrong on this one. But I am checking it out so I reserve judgement until I can verify.

Mike, I saw your blog and it's really informative. I plan on referencing some of your posts if you don't mind and yes I will add you to my blog roll with pleasure. Also looks like you have a great product!

11:49 AM  

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