If you follow sports at all, you know that statistical analysis has become increasingly sophisticated over the years. In every sport, player performance is broken down eight ways from Sunday. Yet, most amateur golfers do not keep any stats. Yes, some of us may write down how many putts we had on a card but more often than not, it gets chunked at the end of the round. Moreover, some basic stats, like total putts per round, can be deceiving without a relation to GIR – ie. the more greens you hit, the more putts you will have.
What do your numbers say about your game?
This year, I have started keeping much better stats and I am convinced it helps me at least understand my game. I use Golfshot to record stats, but there are tons of other apps available for iPhone, Droid, etc. What I do, is simply mark each hole with the score, number of putts, and where my drive landed (fairway, left or right). I then transfer that info to Golfshot when I get home. I could do it on the course with my phone but I think it would mess up my head.
Once you get enough data, you can easily see where your strengths and weaknesses are. You can also see why you go low one day and not so low the next. For example, I played the same course twice in the same day about two weeks ago. I shot an 81 and a 89. One is 3 strokes lower than my average and one about 5 strokes over my average. Why?
In both rounds I hit 57% of the fairways. My recovery performance was also very similar (the number of times I got up and down). However, in the low round I hit 3 more GIR. Moreover, in the low round I averaged nearly one less putt per GIR. What that tells me is:
1) I did not lag putt well when l I shot 89. That cost me 3 strokes.
2) I did not hit my irons well in the high round (four less GIR). That’s 4 strokes.
My takeaways are that I know I need to work on GIR and choose clubs that give me the best chance to hit greens because that is the best way to reduce my number of putts and get more pars. I also know that I must continue to work on lag putting.
Said another way, many of us judge our round on how we drive the ball when in fact that is not necessarily a good indicator of our performance. There is a reason Pros do so many things different than us – they are way smarter about golf than we are. Unfortunately, money and time stop us from copying much of what they do, but keeping statistics is cheap and easy. Basically, without understanding your stats, you end up in the world of Mr. Havercamp wandering the course with no direction.