Every time you play a round of golf you keep track of your score, don’t you? Even
if it’s only to work out who’s winning the money.
But if you want to improve your game, logging the scores won’t help you. You need
information. You need meaningful data. You need to know how, not how many.
The strengths and weaknesses in your game will not be the same as anyone else’s.
That’s why counting scores won’t help. Just think how many ways there are to make
par... the perfect drive, the sweet long iron to the heart of the green, the putt
that hangs on the edge and then the final tap in... or, a topped driver, sliced mid
iron, hacked wedge and a dodgy chip stopped only by the flag getting in the way.
These are just two, you work out the rest. Which ever way you scored a four, how
did you play? The score won’t tell you.
Knowing how many fairways you have hit today, or how many three putt greens ruined
the card will not help either. Think about it. You’ve hit the fairway, there’s
a thundering great oak tree between you and the green and you know that you should
have been forty yards right of where you are. Now how useful is it to know that
you hit the fairway? Those 3-putt greens that bug you every round may not be just
the result of a poor putting technique. How many times do you find yourself putting
from just on the edge of the green perhaps fifty or sixty feet from the hole? Even
the pros sometimes take three on the long ones. The problem really started with
the previous shot.
It’s more important to know what your strengths and weaknesses actually are so that,
when time permits, you can work on eliminating your weaknesses, and when the match
is at a critical point you can play to your strengths. You need to know how you
are performing club by club, shot by shot.
The only way to improve your golf game is to think about what you want to do before
you play the shot and then consider the outcome afterwards. The jargon for this
is ‘measuring achievement against target’ or ‘why doesn’t it go where I hit it?’
Keeping track of the differences between vanity and reality is the key to unlocking
your game. By simply recording shot by shot, the actual finishing position of the
ball in relation to your preferred result, ie far left, left, right, far right, long,
short, on target you build up a picture of how you perform with each club.
When most people go to their pro for a lesson and he asks ‘What’s your problem?’
they just shrug their shoulders and look all forlorn. Whereas, when you go to your
pro with your stats you will be able to tell him exactly what you are doing wrong,
which saves him time and makes your lesson more cost effective.
The yourstats concept requires you to assess achievement against target with every shot that you play. By visualising the desired finishing zone for every shot - creating your target - and then assessing the actual resting place of the ball in relation to the desired position it is a simple matter to judge how far off your target you actually were. The target area changes in size according to the club selected and your ability, so as you improve your expectations become more finely tuned. This way, as you start to hit more shots on target you reduce its size in your mind therefore you begin again to miss to the left or right but now your positional play is getting better and you are hitting straighter.
Using this approach you can analyse how good you are at hitting the ball where you want.