The Relative Return of Golf Skills on the PGA Tour

Open Access
Beyer, Taylor Joseph
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • James Alan Miles, Thesis Supervisor
  • James Alan Miles, Honors Advisor
  • Joseph Randall Woolridge, Faculty Reader
  • sports economics
  • earnings determination
  • golf technology
The game of golf has changed significantly over the past decade due to advances in equipment technology and changes in course design. I study which specific golf skills are the best determinants of earnings given these changes. I review how technology has improved aspects of the game and how major golf courses are being redesigned as a result in order to set the stage for my empirical analysis. The study covers the top 100 earners on the PGA Tour from the period 2003-2013. My results provide some evidence that iron play and putting are good determinants of success on the PGA Tour and that driving ability is largely irrelevant.