Gap's in skillset, division and region

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Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby BLURR » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:50 am

So, I have been traveling this week for work and so I am in Sioux Falls, SD this week. When I got into town, I decided to go play a couple of rounds out at Tuthill DGC. There were a couple of advanced players hanging out at the practice basket and so I went up and threw a few practice putts. Started talking with these two guys and they invited me to play a couple of rounds with them. Before we started, I asked what a good round is at this course and they said the pro's usually shoot around 5 to 7 down usually. Having never played the course, I thought these guys were full of crap. Now keep in mind, I am a 940'ish type disc'er. So, we go and play the first round and I end shooting a -12 and these two guys were going nuts. Myself, I felt like I left a fair bit out there because all 18 holes are reachable. In my opinion, if all 18 holes are reachable, I would think that the bar would be set a bit higher than 5 to 7 down. We played a second round and I shot a -14 this time and the guys were still talking about it. To me, after having played the course a couple of times, it would seem that a decent Advanced player should be consistently shooting -9 to -11 on this course. So my question or pondering is...how is there such a disparaging difference in skillset that local players align themselves with versus other regions of the US? For example, in Des Moines, IA top advanced players(Non-sandbaggers) usually rate around the 940-950 mark, but in say in KC it seems like the top advanced players ratings are 10-15 points highers. The same can be said for players from NC. But in head to head competition, these guys are on the same level for the most part. Is it an educational thing? Is it a difference in how TD's file the paper work that kind of fudges the numbers a little bit for ratings? Or is it just that various regions really lack the skill sets because their local courses may or may not require them to learn these?
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby keltik » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:38 am

Dude you were in South Dakota! I'm surprised you weren't playing object golf in a sunflower field...

okay that was a bit crass, my apologies to the good people of South Dakota.

I don't think it has to do with ratings paperwork but maybe more to do with ratings propagators. IA, NC, and MO have a larger concentration of talent and I surmise that this could make the ratings seem inflated. just a guess on my part.

but if you look at where you and the lay of the land you can sometimes see the skills difference. I think big distance is more often found in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and other plains states because the course have fewer trees (or at least they appear to in the pictures on DGCR). I think line shapers are more readily found here on the east coast due to the prevalence of shorter more wooded courses. Could be an antiquated opinion on my part.

Another thing to consider is that maybe the locals you ran into were really lower level players just trying to sound big and bad to the visitor. or maybe they just don't have athletically talented people playing disc golf in the Sioux Falls area.

I owe you some Comets I think.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby BLURR » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:56 am

Maybe I'm just naturally athletic :lol: :lol:

I looked teh two guys up and they were both in the 930-940 range. So who knows.

Let me know on the comets when you get time.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby PMantle » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:39 pm

No one in our regular group breaks par at our course. That only happens when tournaments are held there and people from out of town play. We have to have the worst local group skills wise anywhere around.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:05 pm

I designed the original Tuthill course (which has been changed somewhat) and to my knowledge they have never installed the longer Advanced tees. I heard they pounded a rebar stick in the ground to help remember where those longer tees were located when they got around to it. The Adrian course 25 miles east of the MN/SD border is a dual tee, longer course but maybe they don't get over there.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby JHern » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:29 pm

Yes, ratings vs actual skill can vary greatly between regions. Ratings from one region can only be statistically coupled to ratings in another region if players from each one play tourneys in the other, to produce overlap that couples the system together. Ratings from a virtual island, in which players only play local tourneys (and only locals play) with no cross-fertilization with any other place, would be completely uncoupled from ratings in any other place. In reality we have a patchwork, with some regions being better coupled to the whole than other regions.

One other problem is that the coupling that does occur between different regions is biased toward higher rated players, since better golfers typically travel further for tourneys.

Chuck Kennedy has all the data in-hand and could analyze regional coupling using graph theory, if he wished to do so...still encouraging him to look at this issue further.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:18 pm

Even if some areas are out-of-line with the bigger mixing pot such as a newer area of PDGA play, it's not that big of a deal since the players in that area are still rated properly relative to each other. You only get paid based on your actual tournament performances not your rating so those more isolated players would still be playing against those with similar local ratings. Eventually the ratings in those isolated areas will integrate with the big mixing pot but then only because more players from that area travel and have their ratings "adjusted" in that arena. When Europe and Japan were starting to ramp up their international play against U.S. players, there was a feeling some of them were overrated and took those ratings back to Europe and "artificially" boosted European and Japanese ratings. There may have been a little of that at the time. But the intermixing of players at big events like USDGC and Worlds over time seems to have adjusted International ratings among the top DG countries accordingly.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby JHern » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:04 pm

Chuck Kennedy wrote:...Eventually the ratings in those isolated areas will integrate with the big mixing pot but then only because more players from that area travel and have their ratings "adjusted" in that arena. When Europe and Japan were starting to ramp up their international play against U.S. players, there was a feeling some of them were overrated and took those ratings back to Europe and "artificially" boosted European and Japanese ratings. There may have been a little of that at the time. But the intermixing of players at big events like USDGC and Worlds over time seems to have adjusted International ratings among the top DG countries accordingly.


Definitely, these melting pot events are great for coupling, and should help a lot. But I still think there are some residual issues, owing to players with a higher rating doing most of the coupling between different regions...

The ratings system is essentially a linear map between scores in a round and the ratings of players. To describe a line, you need 2 parameters: a baseline, and a slope. The novelty of your approach is that you set these 2 parameters for every rated round to best match the propagators, and then apply the ratings to all the players who played that round. It's a great system, and works great especially in terms of being self-referential and self-correcting in a well-coupled population.

Now, when considering the coupling between different regions with players who travel further and thus provide more overlap, you have to consider how well they carry over each the 2 linear parameters, in terms of their coupling of ratings between the regions. If the distribution in ratings of the coupling set of players is small, then you are likely to get a very good coupling for the baseline (but only around the mean ratings level of the coupling players), but you're unlikely to obtain a good coupling of the slope. To obtain good coupling of the slope, you need a broader distribution of ratings among the coupling set of players.

For example, imagine if the only 6 players who played shared events between 2 distinct populations had ratings of 1000, 1001, 998, 999, 1000, and 997. This distribution of ratings does not provide enough spread-leverage to constrain a robust mapping of the slope. However, players in the 2 regions with ratings near 1000 would be very well-coupled, and you could probably compare them to one another with few worries. But these players do little to couple players at the 800, 900, or 1050 levels, which could be very far off when comparing the one region to another.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:39 pm

While I agree greater global precision could be developed, the original and ongoing purpose for the ratings is not necessarily absolute precision but getting players of similar skill levels in the same division. So if a pocket of player ratings are off on an absolute scale, they are still likely ranked well amongst the players in that isolated pocket. The players where you want more global precision are the higher rated ones, many who are sponsored. Since they travel or at least play against travelers in their area, their ratings naturally gain global precision. So it works as intended on both levels. Making the effort to discover regional ratings pockets might be interesting but I'm not sure I see the benefit other than a stats exercise?
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby smelly » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:05 am

keltik wrote: because the course have fewer trees (or at least they appear to in the pictures on DGCR). I think line shapers are more readily found here on the east coast due to the prevalence of shorter more wooded courses. Could be an antiquated opinion on my part.


I can tell you as a beginner in one of those east coast wooded courses I am definitely putting way more effort into learning multiple styles of throwing and really gauging my power. I don't think I would put as much effort in learning so much control in an open course, but I would probably put that energy in long putts.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby Stringbean » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:45 pm

North Carolina will probably be the front runner for a long time due to the following...

- High concentration of players
- High concentration of 4-5 star courses
- Good weather conditions for the majority of the year
- Good mix of elevation, water, trees

My good state of Wisconsin has all of the above with the exception of the weather. This is a huge factor. Yes, you can play in the dead of winter, but most people don't. As a result, there are less people that play year round which lowers the overall skill level in the region.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:04 pm

Actually playing in colder weather including snow is an added skill northern players develop which gives them an advantage over Carolina players IF they come north to play in December. It's just that northern players are more likely to go south for winter events and are rusty at events like the Memorial.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby Stringbean » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:44 pm

So while a northern player is getting rusty for 4 months, a southern player has a chance to improve over those same 4 months. I personally only played 18 holes in Wisconsin between December and March. And it took me another month to shake the rust off. The only improvement I made was from putting in my basement.
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Re: Gap's in skillset, division and region

Postby PMantle » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:50 am

I actually play more in winter. I can play at lunch in my work clothes with no problem. Rounds go down once we get highs in 70's due to sweat.
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