Do we really care for golfer scoring statistics?

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BUDDY DE JOYA

I am very keen to frequently consider my golf scoring statistics during a practice round of golf. It makes me aware of what to fine-tune in my game with the least amount of time and effort. Thus, enjoying the game even more.

What about you?

If and when you intend to just unwind and take it easy on the golf course, most probably not. On the other hand, if you dream to score an even bogey or an even par game, then you must!

I accidentally ran across an interesting analysis of scoring statistics for the “average golfers” by Dr. L.J. Riccio, PhD. The data was based from over one hundred golfers, ranging in the ability of Jack Nicklaus to a 35 handicapper. It was basically designed to determine which aspects of play separates the average players from the top amateurs.


Looking at the statistics, I was actually a bit surprised that percentages of fairways hit and putts per round, were the least points to improve on. More importantly, it was emphasized to focus more to improve your greens in regulation (GIR), chipping, pitching, sand, percentage of iron accuracy, and acquiring more birdies and pars.

What does this mean?

It is imperative that you hit your shots far enough to achieve your GIRs. It is also crucial that you intensify your practices on your chip, pitch and greenside bunker shots, and percentage of iron accuracy, at the same time focus on shot direction and establish accurate yardage for each iron. By doing so, you will relatively achieve more number of pars and birdies. Tough job but it’s the only way to be a top amateur.

Based on the table below, if you score 89, and you aim to move down to a 79, you must meet the following criteria:

GIR – from 3, increase to 8

Pitch/Chip/Sand – from 15.6, decrease to 9.8

Birdies – from 0.1, increase to 1.8

Pars – from 5.1, increase to 8.8

Percentage of Iron Accuracy – 20%, increase to 53%

These are what you need to work on to cut 10 strokes out of your game. Overwhelming, I reckon! (See chart)

Looking back, I have always focused on improving my putting skills. According to the table, it is one of the two categories that is weakest to improve on. Now that I am aware of it, I definitely agree that it is difficult to be precise in putting all the time. Making 2 putting strokes per hole will not be bad at all.

Why? These are mainly because of the various essentials you need to consider like speed, grain of grass, slopes, mindset, feel, current state of emotion, psycholological considerations, and sometimes even wind intensity. This applies to each putting stroke at different holes and golf courses. At the end of the day, to achieve mastery in putting is impossible.

Based on a story by Jaime Diaz of Golf Digest, Shotlink’s data (laser technology measurement) on tour events, the best players advantage is only 15% in putting. Meaning, 85% of the game is attributed to hitting your shots straight, meeting your GIRs, mastering your distances for chipping, pitching, sand bunker shots, and middle approach shots.

Now, I totally understand why putting is a game within the game. Let it be a given factor that your average number of putts per hole is two (2).

To those who are serious in getting better, you can refer to the table as provided. The main goal is to lower your score, right?

So, keep your shots on the fairway by using shorter clubs. The more back spin you can produce, the straighter your shots will be. If at some holes you cannot meet your GIRs, that is fine. Practice with your sand shots, wedges and short irons at least 50% of the time. Spend at least 30% of your time with your driving clubs. It doesn’t mean you only need to practice with your driver, but also your fairway woods and hybrids.

Do you think it’s about time to be mindful of your scoring statistics?

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