My last post talked about four common stats track by amateur golfers. These stats are easy to record while playing, however if find that your playing partners are waiting for you to record you data, I suggest finding a quicker way to record the data (little slow play plug). These and other stats can provide valuable indicators on where to focus your practice to improve your game.
The four stats in question are driving percentage, GIR, # of Putts, and scramble percentage. These particular stats are enough for most players to understand their strengths and weaknesses in their game. However, it is important to properly interpret the results to find the root problem that causes a lower stat percentage. As I analyze the data I make try to determine the root-cause of my challenges, not just the obvious!
Driving Percentage sets up every hole. Hitting the fairway is the obvious solution, but if you have trouble hitting the short grass you need to know more than just missing the fairway. The things important to track for this stat are:
- Did you normally miss to the left or right?
- How far to you hit the ball when you miss the fairway?
- Which club do you miss the fairway with the most?
Tracking the factors that affect driving percentage can lead you to realize which area of your swing requires improving to raise this percentage. In my case, I tend to miss left. Actually, when I miss left, my alignment is usually off. As a result, I try to align to the right side of the fairway and this helps improve my driving accuracy.
Greens in regulation or GIR is my favorite stat. Tracking all the factors relating to this stat has greatly improved my game over the years. These are the factors I track with this stat:
- I am short or long of the green?
- Do I miss left or right of the green?
- Did I miss on the short side or the wide side in relation to the pin?
- What yardage was I at when I missed the green?
- What club was I using when I missed the green?
All of this data helps creates the granularity needed to improve my GIR percentage. Through the years, I have found that my worse GIR percentage is between 140 – 145 yards. I am in between clubs at this distance and as such, to raise my GIR percentage, I employ a course management strategy to avoid that distance. If I cannot, I generally aim for the widest part of the green and rely on my putting to secure par.
Putts per round or per hole is the stat, in my opinion, that provides the least about of value. Some rounds I will have 23 putts and shoot in the 80s and other rounds I will have 32 puts and shoot in the 70s. I do use 27 putts per round as a benchmark, but do not really spend much time focusing on any specific number. During every practice session, I practice putting. I used a my 3-6-9 drill often and that helps keep my putting sharp.
The last stat of any real importance is your scramble percentage. Getting the ball up and down after missing the green on your approach shot really lowers your scores. I add a bit of a twist to this stat: I count all up and downs! Whether I finish with a birdie, par, bogey or double bogey, if I get the ball up and down, I count it. The following is what I track:
- Was it out of the sand?
- Was it out of the long grass?
- Was it from the fringe or fairway?
- What club did I use?
- How close am I to the hole?
Scramble percentage is my second most important stat. It helps me understand my strengths and weaknesses around the green. It helps guide my club selection and how aggressive I should play most shots. On a side note, if I am on the fringe or fairway and within 5 yards of the green, I like to pull the pin. You know the old saying “Pull the pin, it is going in!”
Golf stats can help your game. But to really make a difference, it is important to match the stats with a plan to improve your game. This is where stats can truly help you stay focused and on track. If you are looking for a comprehensive plan to lower your handicap, check out Golf is Mental. Josh has made an awesome plan that everyone can copy!
As you move forward to track your game, it is important to understand what to collect and what it actually means. If you do collect stats, drop back and tells us what they mean to you. We can all learn from each others experiences.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!