A Lively Discussion About Golf Stats

Two days ago I asked the question about which golf stat was the most important. With out a question, there was one that quickly rose to the top of the pile. It is the one meaningful stat because it connects to all the others. I have discussed this stat before and I am reassured to hear that my earlier thoughts remain true today.

There is a place for collecting golf stats. Which ones collected depends on your intent and use of the stats. Regardless, here is what the readers said:

As the poll was going on, several Grateful Golfers weighed in. The first that caught my eye related to the handicaps of the respondents. Their point was that at different stages of your game, you will track different stats. This is completely true; a 15 handicap player will find driving percentage more valuable than save percentage. It makes sense that if they cannot get the ball in play, the rest does not matter much. Where as a lower handicap player like myself focuses on GIR because the rest of my game is fairly solid.

Here is another great point:

The above tweet brings to light that all stats are interconnected. Although I think GIR is the most important stat, I can without hesitation say that I am right. However, it must add  one caveat: for my game.

Stats help point out challenges in our game. They allow us to actually see where precious practice time is needed instead of thinking where to improve our game. However, if not analysed properly, all players could be chasing their tail trying to find solutions to their woes. Golf stats are important especially if we are trying to lower our golf score.

The lower your handicap, the more in-tuned you are to your game. This does not mean that taking an objective look at your stats is not required, it means and more critical examination may be what is needed.

I use golf stats. I do not track them all the time, however approximately 4 or 5 times a year I will track the above stats. It usually lasts for about 5 rounds, then I compare. Last year, my GIR and putts per round continually jumped out as areas of improvement. Before I rushed to the practice range I examined how these stats were connected. This is what I found:

  • My putts per round were lower when my GIR was down. I missed the green more often, so I was chipping closer to the pin that gave me a greater opportunity to 1 putt.
  • My save percentage was up, because I missed the green more often, but only by a little bit. So, I was able to chip close and put the ball in on the next shot.
  • When my GIR percentage was up, I was in the fairway. The range of 130 yards and closer saw my highest GIR. This was a result of driving the ball well and keeping in the fairway.
  • When my GIR was down, my driving percentage was down.

I could go on and on. You can see that no one stat is independent. They are all connected. In case you are asking, I worked on my driving accuracy and putting. Although the stats pointed to improving my GIR, analysis showed that I was not putting the ball in play as I should and the cascading effects were clear. Never discount the 2nd and 3rd order of effects when conducting analysis.

Golf stats are fun, frustrating and informative. Depending on how you use them, depends on what and where you should improve your game. Regardless, using stats is part of my journey and I will continue to use them. How about you? Do you use golf stats to improve your game?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

7 thoughts on “A Lively Discussion About Golf Stats

  1. Pingback: 9 Things To Think About When Training For Golf | The Grateful Golfer

  2. Jim, I’ve been actively tracking stats for the last ten years. My universe rotates around GIR with my best rounds showing a high number and my worst a low. I also track total putts but am not sure why anymore, as they don’t seem to matter, and I’ve always been in favor of measuring what you can use and may discontinue putts for 2018.

    The funny thing about your GIR miss rate being correlated with your total putts; I’ve found the same but if you miss too much, it puts too much pressure on your short game and you find your total putts creeping up and your up-and-down rates declining. I know when I hit a lot of greens, I feel more confident in my up-and-down ability. Keep the debate rolling!



    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian

      We are on the exact same page. GIR is the king stat. I try to improve my GIR percentage by practicing 175 yards and in shots and some days it works and others not so much. However, I will say that club selection is a new area of focus. I think I have have under clubbed too much last year. We shall see in the spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do enjoy looking at them once in awhile, but I don’t use them for anything but the occasional bragging rights with a couple buddies who love to watch theirs.

    I don’t really find them beneficial to study. Not at this point anyway. At a 7 handicap, I still need to fix everything!

    My bad strikes are caused from sliding instead of rotating because I did it wrong for so long that it still sneaks in at times. My driver distance has dropped because my pro fixed setup has my hands neutral instead of the really strong grip I had when the driver was fitted which increases the effective loft quite a bit and sends the ball too high. My putting is better but there is still room to improve there too. The same could be said with my faiway woods. And I’m still guessing a bit with distance control with my 5 month old wedges combined with the now 1 year old neutral grip change. Fix those issues and I’ll have at chance at scratch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      I can see you are in-tuned with your game. Not many amateurs are. What golf stats does is allows for trend analysis and the ability for players to see root causes instead of surface stuff. In your case, you seem to have an handle on things, congrats.



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