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post #19 of 27

Re: Fairways hit, Putts/hole, and GIR goals for a mid handicapper?

Originally Posted by The Recreational Golfer View Post
Let me speak one more time on stats. I said fairways hit and GIR are less useful stats than we think, but I didn’t say they’re useless. Bump-n-MI is a low handicapper, probably breaks par a lot, and these stats are entirely appropriate for him. We expect him to hit fairways and greens, so we should measure that. But we don’t expect most recreational golfers to, so we should measure what they can reasonably be expected to do, for three reasons.

First, we’re still trying to learn a swing that leads us to expect a straight shot. All these two stats show is that we don’t do that very well. But then we already know that.

Second, when I break 80, which I do several times a year, it’s because I’m hitting lots more fairways than usual, and hitting more greens or missing close to the pin for an easy up-an-down. When I shoot my average score, I don’t hit the ball that well. The correlation is so direct that I don’t have to keep track of the details. Once (if ever) I start moving into single-digit handicaps (mine is 11-12), then I’ll need to move on to a more discerning set of stats.

Finally, measuring our game by goals that are set too high can hide the true progress we are making. A lot of improvement can be made between beginner and mid-level player without the GIR budging very much. We need stats that measure the beginning and intermediate states of our game - more forgiving stats. When my son, who is just taking up the game at age 33, hits a few greens in regulation, they’re lucky accidents. Why start counting them when we have no expectation yet that he’ll get any?

I keep track of three things when I play: on each hole, number of full swings, number of short shots into the green, and number of putts. With a little thought, you can pull a lot of information (including GIR) out of the interactions between these three numbers. I spent my career in data analysis and know that even the best descriptive statistics hide important details. That’s why I write down every shot when I get home and evaluate it, so I know where I need to improve. If you truly want to analyze your game, that’s the best way.
If someone plays golf just for the exercise and doesn't care whether he improves, there is no reasn to keep stats, or even to keep score. But I think most, if not all, people on this forum want to improve their game, whether they play off a 30 or a +. To imply that beginner golfers won't see a benefit in tracking their progress is doing them a disservice. Golf lends itself to statistical analysis. Data points such as Fairways Hit, Green in Regulation, Up & Down Percentage and Putts per GIR are excellent indications of a golfer's game, for good or bad. They won't make you a better player, but they will let you know what part(s) of your game you should be working on. Surely the data analyst in you can see that.

The Golf Digest article mentioned in Post #12 above is a good starting point to see what is necessary in order to attain a certain level. For example, my GIRs are way down so far this year (I blame the colder than average temps and the constant wind). And my scores have shown it. I need to hit 2 more greens each round in order to get back to scratch. Similarly, a higher handicapper can see what areas of improvement they need to make to reach that next level.
post #20 of 27

Re: Fairways hit, Putts/hole, and GIR goals for a mid handicapper?

I've been thinking about this a bit, as I haven't had time to play many rounds recently.

I think I'm going to start keeping track of these things:

1) % Drives with Open 2nd Shot - My thinking here is similar to what people above have said. My strengths (relative to my handicap) are iron play and short wedge work (<40 yards). I'm a mediocre putter and inconsistent driver. One thing that kills my scores on bad rounds is going 14 par 4-5 holes and only seeing a handful of 2nd shots without a tree in the way. As a mediocre putter, if I punch out to mid-long iron distance, then I'll usually be close to the green sitting 3, but def not guaranteed on, and then because I'm not a great putter, even if I pitch to 6-8 feet, that's usually a 2-putt, for a double. I try to play the course smart and aim for the more open side of the fairway and whatnot. I'm going to keep track not of whether I'm in the fairway but whether I have an open look (not from a bunker) to where I want to put my second shot.

2) Total shots from 40-80 yards out - I struggle with the wedge from this distance. I mean, I can put it on the green, but my distance control is bad and I pull it sometimes, so I don't have good percentages for getting it close enough to expect a reasonable chance at a 1-putt. So I want to keep track of total shots remaining from this distance, wedge+putts, so I can see whether I'm getting those shots closer to the hole

3) Total shots from <40 yards - Basically keeping track of the same info as an up-and-down percentage but counting all times I end up off the green but within 40 yards.
post #21 of 27

Re: Fairways hit, Putts/hole, and GIR goals for a mid handicapper?

Originally Posted by Randy4h View Post
If someone plays golf just for the exercise and doesn't care whether he improves, there is no reasn to keep stats, or even to keep score. But I think most, if not all, people on this forum want to improve their game, whether they play off a 30 or a +. To imply that beginner golfers won't see a benefit in tracking their progress is doing them a disservice. Golf lends itself to statistical analysis. Data points such as Fairways Hit, Green in Regulation, Up & Down Percentage and Putts per GIR are excellent indications of a golfer's game, for good or bad. They won't make you a better player, but they will let you know what part(s) of your game you should be working on. Surely the data analyst in you can see that.
I'm not sure which post you're responding to, because mine never said beginners shouldn't keep stats that track their progress. I did say all golfers, including beginners, should keep stats appropriate to their level of play. GIR doesn't show beginners what they should be working on. We know they can't hit greens. They're beginners!

Going back to the example of my son, I was sitting with him when the pro set up the computer to track Fairways Hit, GIR, Sand Saves, etc. I just thought he has so much to accomplish before any of those becomes matter of skill more than luck, let's get some measurements that are more realistic given the state of his game. The data analyst in me says let's find something to measure that is measurable. When all he's hitting are cold tops or shanks, GIR is the least of his concerns. Let's let him track his progress in something he can reasonably be expected to do at this point in his development as a golfer.
post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 

Re: Fairways hit, Putts/hole, and GIR goals for a mid handicapper?

Just wanted to revisit based on my round yesterday. Shot 87, my new low score. Concentrated on NOT getting in trouble off the tee, hit a lot of 3 woods. Only had to punch out twice, and hit 8 fairways which is a new high for me. Only hit 4 greens (not a single one on the back), just a ton of trouble with my irons pulling left.

I got a Sabertooth this week, and it really seems to have helped my putting. I had 34 putts, but had two three putts in the first two holes as I adjusted to the new putter (much different then my Cleveland Classic). I got up and down three times on the back with decent 8-10ft putts, and birdied tough #8 with a sliding downhill 12footer. I don't usually say that equipment helps my game, but this putter REALLY gave me confidence.

So, just as many said on this thread, hit a few more fairways, got up and down more often, made a few putts, and I'm getting to where I need to be. Thanks to all.

Now to get my iron game figured out...
post #23 of 27

Re: Fairways hit, Putts/hole, and GIR goals for a mid handicapper?

Try average around 32 putts a round.
I hit 69% of fairways and 50% GIR but had 39 putts so I only shot a 85.
putting is the main thing
post #24 of 27

Re: Fairways hit, Putts/hole, and GIR goals for a mid handicapper?

If you want to lower your handicap your focus needs to be practicing religiouly 50/50..which means ball striking/short game (putting & chipping). When I was a 12 handicap I made this committment (I would always practice my short game first when I went to the range and then hit balls last) and within 6 months I lowered my handciap to 8. I average 30 putts a round and get up & down 39% of the time. My ball strking has been my weakness but at the end of last year I swithced to the Stack & Tilt and think I have found an answer for my swing. I expect great things out of my ball striking (unfortantely I had shoulder surgery in January and probably won't be able to play golf until June) going forward and allow my short game to help me lower my handicap as I aspire to be under 5.
post #25 of 27

Re: Fairways hit, Putts/hole, and GIR goals for a mid handicapper?

We use statistics reveal the patterns, trends, and benchmarks in data sets that are too large for these characteristics to be revealed by inspection.

A round of golf, or even four rounds of golf, is a tiny data set. Tiny. You can record a description of your round on one sheet of paper, describing each shot with letters, numbers, symbols and colors. You could say a black 5 means you hit the green with your 5-iron, a red 5 means you missed right, and a green 5 means you missed left. Be creative.

Design it right and you can put four sheets of paper on a table in front of you, one for each of your last four rounds, and se at a glance exactly what your weaknesses are and what skills you need to develop or shore up.
So you can count greens in regulation if you want to, but better if you have a visual description that shows you’re missing a lot of greens left. THAT’S what you need to know--not that you’re missing greens, but WHY you’re missing them. Summary statistics don’t reveal that.

Or for your short game, you don’t want to count up-and-downs and stop there. You want to dig deeper and find which shots you’re not getting up and down. Then you can work on those shots.

To assess and describe the state of your game, summary stats are just fine. Game improvement requires a more detailed set of information.
post #26 of 27

Re: Fairways hit, Putts/hole, and GIR goals for a mid handicapper?

Originally Posted by The Recreational Golfer View Post
A round of golf, or even four rounds of golf, is a tiny data set. Tiny. You can record a description of your round on one sheet of paper, describing each shot with letters, numbers, symbols and colors. You could say a black 5 means you hit the green with your 5-iron, a red 5 means you missed right, and a green 5 means you missed left. Be creative.

Design it right and you can put four sheets of paper on a table in front of you, one for each of your last four rounds, and se at a glance exactly what your weaknesses are and what skills you need to develop or shore up.
So you can count greens in regulation if you want to, but better if you have a visual description that shows you’re missing a lot of greens left. THAT’S what you need to know--not that you’re missing greens, but WHY you’re missing them. Summary statistics don’t reveal that.

Or for your short game, you don’t want to count up-and-downs and stop there. You want to dig deeper and find which shots you’re not getting up and down. Then you can work on those shots.

To assess and describe the state of your game, summary stats are just fine. Game improvement requires a more detailed set of information.
I agree with all said as the devil is in the details...for the last two years I have been keeping my stats (basic ones...FIR. GIR, PPR, U&D & penalty strokes) and I think it has helped drive my practice sessions but I think it order to go lower (handicap) I need to start evaluting my misses in more detail as you stated in your post above. I am especially interested in increasing my GIR's for 2010/2011 so I am going to start tracking my approach shot misses (left, right, long, short) so that I can see where the issues lie...
post #27 of 27

I am 12 handicap and my GIR is 22% which is not good. But my putting is ok, 32. I think short game is the key for most golfers like us. My goal for next year is 9 handicap and will practice short games more.

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