Chart your game to determine what area needs most improvement. All golfers want to shoot lower scores, but we misdiagnose what parts of our games that need the most help. How can we chart our games? First of all, gather data, lots of data. This means play numerous rounds and look back on them, objectively, and see what you did well and, more importantly, not so well.
- Count your putts. The easier and quickest way to shoot lower scores is to make more putts and, more specifically, short putts. For example, how many three-footers do you miss per round? If you are missing two three-foot putts per round and spending all your time hitting your driver on the range and no time practicing three foot putts, you have misdiagnosed your game. Another good putting goal to have is a specific goal for total putts. Check out the PGA and LPGA Tour stats and see how many putts per round the pros average. The higher the average, the lower on the money list is the usual relationship. 30 putts per round is a good goal to begin and then see how low you can go.
- Next up is short game, chipping, pitching, and bunker play. It’s a lot easier to have under 30 putts in a round if you are chipping the ball closer to the hole. If you cannot get your ball within 5 feet and in the hole more times than not, then perhaps this is a good place to start your practice.
- Wedge play. How many times do you miss a green with your wedges? Whether you hit your gap wedge 50 yards or 125 yards, missing the green is a big no-no. This is a club for scoring, and getting realistic chances to make putts after using it can really save strokes.
- Next up is greens in regulation. How many greens in regulation do you hit per round? 4? 6? 10? 12? This total is a bit tougher to improve, but can be achieved through better swing mechanics and also improving your course management. Some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you shoot at every flag even if it’s tucked behind a bunker or close to the edge of the green?
- Do you take enough club from the fairway?
- Do you hit “down” on the ball?
Discovering the answers to these questions can increase your % of GIR’s.
- Now let’s talk about your tee ball. How many fairways do you hit per round? How many wild out-of-bounds type drives do you produce? Is there a way to find another 10 yards on the longer holes? Getting this information can set you up to get your ball in a position off the tee to make the hole much easier to manage.
Gathering information about your game can help lower your scores. All of the above data can tie into together or be dissected individually. For example, hitting more fairways will generally lead to hitting more greens. Chipping the ball closer to the hole will certainly lead to making more putts. At the same time, focusing on one part of your game is also beneficially. Practicing from 50-125 yards on the range for a couple of months will lead to more scoring opportunities during your round. However, if you do not have proper data about your game, knowing where to start your improvements will be hard to do. A dog chasing its tale would be a good image.