If you are serious about improving as a golfer, the best way to do it is to set specific, measurable goals for yourself.
Using stats as a benchmark to determine what these goals are and tracking your progress makes it a no brainer for golfers who want to figure out ways to get to the next level in their game.
Let’s take a look at why I believe all golfers should keep track of their stats, and then what they can do.
Look in the Mirror
Most golfers typically do the same things over and over again, and get frustrated when their results don’t improve. A very smart man once defined that as insanity.
The number one reason to use stats as a part of your improvement plan is that it gives you a real understanding of where your golf game actually needs help, not where you think it does. Generally there is a big difference between the two.
If you have a detailed understanding of your driving stats, approaches, scrambling, and putting then it becomes clear where you need the most help.
I like to think of statistics as holding a mirror up to your game. If you are currently shooting in the 90s, and your goal is to be shooting in the 80s, a few things might jump out at you when looking at your top-level stats.
Are you three putting quite often during your rounds? Is your scrambling percentage close to zero?
Then there might be some low-hanging fruit waiting to be addressed at the short game facility.
Make a Plan
Once you have an understanding of your game through the use of stats, the next step is to actually make a plan and set goals.
For example, you could simply state that you want to average more greens in regulation per round. Using this specific stat as your benchmark, you could come up with the following list of two goals:
- Spend more time practicing your irons from the typical distances you are faced with on your approach shots during your rounds.
- Change your strategy on the course – become less aggressive and make your number one goal hitting the green. No more pin hunting!
Going through this process helps you get organized with your practice plan and on-course strategy. This is one of the main things that is lacking from most recreational golfers plan to improve.
When you are focused on a singular goal, you find ways to make adjustments in order to achieve it. Don’t just do the same old routine!
Measure Your Progress
Goals that are measurable help keep your eye on the ball (no pun intended). More importantly, you want to keep them realistic.
Using our greens in regulation example, let’s say that you started off averaging 4.5 greens in regulation per round. Expecting to start hitting 9 to 10 would be a pretty lofty goal. Seven might be more appropriate.
If you are keeping track of all of your rounds it becomes pretty obvious whether or not you are making progress.
Let’s say things were stalling, and you were still stuck on the same number. It is time to look a little deeper and think about what you can change.
Are you not spending any time practicing your iron play? Is there a particular pattern on the course developing? Perhaps most of your shots are landing short of the green, and maybe it’s just as simple as choosing more club.
When you have the information at your disposal, things become clearer, and you can make adjustments along the way. If you are simply playing your rounds, and not doing any kind of analysis, it becomes much more challenging to find out what you need to do to improve and lower your scores.
Wrapping it Up
There are a number of reasons why it’s a good idea for golfers of all levels to keep track of their stats on the course. But it really boils down to the following points:
You can make an accurate assessment of where your golf game is currently. Then you can do some analysis, make a plan, and then set goals. Most importantly, you can keep track of your progress and make adjustments in order to meet those goals.
It’s certainly much easier said than done, but statistics have become an important part of golf, and it should be part of every player’s plan if they truly want to improve.
About the Author
Jon Sherman is the owner of Practical Golf, a website dedicated to being an honest resource for the everyday golfer who is looking to enjoy the game more, as well as improve. He is the author of the bestselling book 101 Mistakes All Golfers Make (and how to fix them). You can find him on Twitter here – @practicalgolf, where he is happy to chat about golf with anyone.