Gloucestershire Golf Union

Performance Statistics - Why Bother?

Why bother recording statistics about the way you play?

  • So that you can understand how you play, not how you think you play
  • To see whether you are getting any better over time
  • To give you FACT based information that you can discuss with your coaches

How do you know whether all of the effort that you are putting in on the practice ground and putting green is making you better without recoding statistics?

Ah, "...but plenty of people have improved their game in the past without keeping stats, I'm not convinced" - I hear you say!

Well that's true (sort of), as they may not be conciously keeping records. But what is it that makes you so sure that they have improved their game - handicap, tournament wins, average score? All of these are just stats - we simply think that you should take the number in the bottom right hand corner of the scorecard down a level or two!

Keeping statistics about your game will enable you to create a baseline of your performance (a snapshot in time) and then monitor its improvement over time.

Just look at this graph which shows how one of the County players has improved his ability over the last three years to hit greens in regulation:

Keeping statistics will support you in identifying specific areas of your game for attention, putting improvement plans in place, and then measuring whether you have actually improved - it will help you get better faster - who wouldn't want that?

So what are your options?

If you've decided that it would be beneficial to keep some statistics then you first need to decide whether you'll do that in relation to your practice, your play, or both. It probably won't surprise you to hear that we think that you should do both!

To find out more about how you can test yourself and record information in relation to your practice then have a look at our recommendations for doing just that.

To learn more about your options for keeping statistics in relation to your performance on the golf course, then just read on.

What information should I record and how should I do it?

Like most things in life you have a choice - and the more effort you put in the more benefit you're likely to get out.

Our recommendation though would be to approach it in levels, much as you would any other game or challenge - that is, try and master the local pitch and putt course before you move up to Augusta!

Here are three different approaches that you could take:

Level 1 - Round By Round - 'The Club Golfer'
This might as simple as doing a quick review at the end of your round, and simply recording the number of fairways you've hit, the number of greens, and the number of putts on a simple record sheet. Have a look at this example.
To keep even this approach up for a prolonged period requires discipline - one of the key characteristics of high performing golfers, and it shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes per round.

At the end of the season you could simply scan down the sheet, see whether you've improved as the season progressed, and if you've been doing it for a while, see whether you've improved from previous seasons.

This a really simple approach, but without you doing plenty of maths of your own it's difficult to identify real trends over time, and some of the scoring patterns that more advanced approaches can offer.

Level 2 - Hole By Hole - 'The County Golfer'
Use a computerised system where you record a little more information than Level 1, and get an awful lot more back.

There are a number of these on the market, and the Gloucestershire County Stats System is a good example of one of these. Information is captured on a hole by hole basis, and the amount of information returned is extensive in comparison to Level 1.
It takes a bit more effort to record the information, but no more than five minutes per round - you'll probably have waited longer on one of the tees!
A really good system in this category would enable you to analyse all sorts of things about your play - for example, scoring patterns during the round (first 6 holes, middle 6 holes, last 6 holes etc), and scoring averages by the par and length of hole.

Most importantly of all, it should allow you to easily monitor your performance over time - quite simply, to find out whether specific aspects of your game are improving.

Level 3 - Shot By Shot - 'The International Golfer'
In a system of this type, you would record the details of every shot you hit, including the club that you use, and as a result would have access to a huge amount of information about your game.

Completion of the information required can take up to ten minutes per round, and a great degree of discipline is required to complete it - but the potential to find 'secrets' about your golf are undoubtedly greater than those at Level 1 or Level 2.

In a world where an improvement of one shot per round could have a huge impact on your profile in the game, then it would seem to be a small price to pay.

The only system of this type that we are aware of is Stroke, and we are happy to give it a glowing recommendation. There is absolutely no doubt that it can provide you with a huge amount of information about your golf.

Completion of the information required can take up to ten minutes per round, and a great degree of discipline is required to complete it - but the potential to find 'secrets' about your golf are undoubtedly greater than those at Level 1 or Level 2.

We have an arrangement with Stroke Average that allows members of the County Coaching Programme to use the system at 50% of the normal cost. For further information please contact David Hares (County Coaching Chairman) or Mark Sanders (Under 18 Squad Performance Coach)

A Quick Summary - Develop The Stats Habit
  • Recording statistics about your golf will help you understand how you play, not how you think you play
  • Recording statistics about your golf will help you understand whether individual aspects of your golf are improving over time
  • You can choose the level of information that you want to record - but the more you put in the more you'll get back
  • You can build up the information you record over time - baby steps is often a good way to approach things.

And Finally, A Word From Two Of GGU's Best

Andy Rudge

Andy Rudge, winner of the Duchess Salver in 2009 and runner-up in 2010 says, "Stats are good for your game as they allow you to identify your weaknesses and then constructively practice the areas you need to work on.
They also allow you to analyse your strenghts and then formulate a game plan for tournaments that allows you to play to those strengths for maximum results."

Nick Day

Nick Day, five time winner of the Duchess Salver says, "...they are a fantastic way of highlighting flaws in your game that you might have thought were actually perfectly good e.g. Sand Saves.
Without the stats to show it, nothing is clear regarding your game as its all about perception rather than truth".

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