Improving Your Golf Game With Statistics

Statistics don’t get as much coverage in the golf world as they do in other sports. Check the fine print in the sports section of any newspaper and you’ll find detailed listings for baseball players, in-depth descriptions and scoring summaries for every football game, even the number of minutes a player was on a basketball court. But golfers barely get one line, just a hypenated set of numbers that represent a round filled with great shots, bad lies and maybe even a dramatic moment or two.

But if you’re serious about improving your golf game, you should start tracking more than just your score. An extra scorecard or a small notebook is all you need, or you can invest in a handheld score tracker to simplify the process.

Here’s a short list of what you’ll want to record for each hole:

  • Par
  • Number of strokes
  • Number of putts
  • Fairway in regulation
  • Green in regulation
  • Drive distance (estimated or measured w/ GPS)
  • The next step is to collect your rounds, either with a spreadsheet or an online stat service. Once you get a few rounds entered, you’ll be able to see interesting patterns emerge: Average number of strokes, fairway hit percentage, greens hit percentage, average number of putts per round, etc.

    This level of analysis lets you isolate (and work on fixing!) the weakest parts of your game. For example, if your GIR is solid but you’re averaging close to 3 putts per hole, you’ll obviously want to spend more time on the putting green. Or if your short game is steady but your drive distance or accuracy is poor, you’ll want to invest in a few extra buckets at the range or a lesson with an instructor to get back on track.

    But chances are some of my Rock Heads know more about this than I do! Any Rock Heads keep detailed stats? If so, share your experience! How long have you been tracking your stats, what metrics are a must to record, and do you think it’s helped your game? Rants or raves for online stat tracking services would be great, too!


    PS: If you’re interested in reading more on golf stats and just how deep some of the latest studies get into the data, you’ll want to read this article from Slate.

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    One thought on “Improving Your Golf Game With Statistics

    • June 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm

      I try my best to keep tabs of everything during a round, to help me think about it after. making notes during a round is like making notes in Poker. It helps a heck of a lot.

      Any of you guys at the office want to join me in Myrtle leaving tonight, last minute cancel.

      *** Response From Scratch ***

      Thanks for the post AND the invite John, but no chance of getting away from the Cave. Hope you have a great trip and take lots of pictures!


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