How do the PGA golf tour professionals know which parts of their game need work and practice? When is a hiccup turning into a trend? How can they target their practice sessions to maximise the benefits?
Its simple. The golf pros keep a record of each round they play. With just a few simple key statistics any problem areas can be discovered and corrected.
The great news is you too can record these key statistics as you play your round and then use powerful free online golf-charting software like Chart My Golf to do all the complicated calculations for you. Next time you want a lesson from your local pro or even if you want to practice by yourself, you will know you are maximising your time and potential.
So what should you be recording? Well, its really up to you. There is no wrong answer but the more you record the more informative the results will be. Here are some of the key areas.
Strokes: This is the total number of shots, including penalties, you have taken for each hole.
Fairways Hit: This is a percentage value telling you how consistently you are hitting the fairway with your tee shot.
This is recorded as a yes or a no for each hole. If you hit the fairway with your tee shot you record a yes and if you did not, if it went to the left or right, you record a no.
Note: on par 3 holes, where you are meant to hit the green with your tee shot, you do not record fairways hit, instead recording no-score.
Fairways hit is then presented as a percentage of successes against failures. The nearer you are to 100% the better you are at this aspect of your game.
Greens In Regulation (GIR): This is also a percentage value telling you how consistently you are reaching the green (the putting surface) within the expected number of shots.
This is recorded as a yes or a no for each hole. If your ball lands on the green surface within the par of the hole minus 2 shots you record a yes. So for example on a par 5 hole you would want to hit the green within 3 (5 – 2) shots.
Then, similarly to fairways hit, greens in regulation is presented as a percentage of successes against failures.
Putts: This is the number of shots per hole you hit with the putter.
Sand Saves: This is another percentage value telling you how consistently you are holing-out within 2 shots when you land in a greenside bunker. If this percentage is high the golfer knows hitting a greenside bunker has only a limited effect on their overall score.
When you land in a bunker beside the green you would ideally still want to get into the hole within 2 shots. If you do it is considered a sand save and is recorded as a yes. If you land in a greenside bunker but take 3 or more shots to get into the hole then a no is recorded. If you do not land in a greenside bunker you record a no-score.
Sand saves are then presented as a percentage of successes against failures, just like fairways hit.
Up and Downs: This is a measure of the consistency with which you hole out within 2 shots when you land just off the green with your approach shot.
When you miss the green with your approach shot, but do not land in a greenside bunker, you will still be aiming to get into the hole within 2 shots using a pitching wedge and then your putter. If you can get into the hole from this greenside location with just a chip or a chip and a putt you record a yes on this hole for Up and Downs. If you take 3 shots or more you record a no. If you hit the green with your approach shot you record a no-score.
Up and downs are then presented as a percentage of successes against failures, just like fairways hit.
These are just some of the statistics you can easily record while you are playing your round. When you get home, or in the club house on your laptop, you can enter these into the free online graphing software like Chart My Golf. It will make all the calculations for you and present your data in a multitude of colorful graphs, charts and tables.
Now you can see trends rather than just individual data. Now you will be able to react to problem areas just like the pros and even predict potential areas of concern before they fully manifest with their unique and simple green-is-good, red-is-bad Progress Charts.
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