How tracking your golf stats can lower your score

  • Tracking your competitive rounds, says PGA professional Jim Sobb, is a good way to determine your strengths and weaknesses, which can make your practice time more productive. Just like the pros, keep track of your driving accuracy, greens in regulation, sand saves and more.

    Tracking your competitive rounds, says PGA professional Jim Sobb, is a good way to determine your strengths and weaknesses, which can make your practice time more productive. Just like the pros, keep track of your driving accuracy, greens in regulation, sand saves and more. Associated Press/file

 
By Jim Sobb
Special to the Daily Herald
Updated 4/4/2017 11:34 AM

I've found over the many years of playing competitive golf that the best way to lower my scores was to focus my practice time on the weak points of my game.

But first, I needed to create a best practice to determine what my weak points were.

 

Like the PGA Tour has done for years, I began keeping statistics on my competitive rounds. After each round, I would track and document driving accuracy (fairways hit), greens in regulation, sand saves, par saves (pars made without hitting a green in regulation), and finally birdies and putts per round.

I discovered that on average I hit a lot of fairways (drove it accurately) thus enabling me to hit the majority of greens in regulation. My putting was good (made more than my share of birdies) and rarely three putted.

Unfortunately, when I missed a green in regulation, I was making par less than half the time.

After evaluating my numbers, my course of action was simple: I needed to spend my practice time working on shots within 50 yards of the green. That included practicing my pitching and chipping both from rough and fairway lies, and spending time hitting bunker shots.

Since I began this regime of spending the majority of my practice time on the short game, my scoring average has improved.

If you really want to know what you specifically need to work on, start tracking your performance. After each round, record your statistics that reflect all the specific areas of your game.

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It's important to note that you should never record your stats during the round (keeping the proper pace of play is imperative).

This process costs you nothing, it's easy to do, and most important it gives you immediate feedback on the areas of your game that can use the most improvement.

Finally, there's no replacing the trained eye of a PGA Professional. Once you've identified a weakness or two, seek out your PGA mentor. He or she will not only give you the tools to improve, but through their expertise you will be motivated to practice.

Ask the Pro:

If you have a golf question, please submit it to golftips@ivanhoeclub.com for future consideration. While I can't answer every question, I'll include ones of general interest in future columns.

• Jim Sobb is the PGA director of golf at Ivanhoe Club in Ivanhoe, IL. A member of the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame, Sobb is a three-time winner of the Illinois PGA Championship, with eight major championships in Illinois PGA events overall, and is a two-time Illinois PGA Golf Professional of the Year. For more on Jim and Ivanhoe Club, the home of the 2017 Rust-Oleum Championship (June 5-11), visit ivanhoeclub.com.

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