THE Golf Mentor

Top Diagnosis Tips

Putts per Round

Counting the number of putts per round can be useful, but like all statistics, you need to know how to interpret the data. In particular, it is not meaningful to compare your putts per round with another player. For example, a short hitter will normally take four strokes to reach a par five hole and three strokes to reach a par four hole. A short hitter's shot onto the green on these holes is likely to be a pitch or chip shot. This means that a short hitter has fewer long putts. On the other hand, a long hitter will be hitting greens in regulation, but is more likely to have long putts. Given the long hitter has more long putts, they will have more putts per round than a short hitter, assuming the same putting ability. However, tracking putts per round can give you an indication of how much your putting is improving, and how many of your total strokes are due to putting.

How Many Strokes is a Bad Shot Costing You?

A useful way to think about your weaknesses is to work out how many shots you are losing per round from a given shot, relative to one of your better example of that shot. For example, suppose a good drive for you is on the fairway and is about 200 yards out. If you duff a drive and only go 100 metres, but are still in the middle of the fairway, then you have lost half a shot. If you hit it out of bounds, you have lost two shots. You can do a similar thing for your approach shots. Suppose a good approach shot for you puts you on the green and within 20 feet of the pin. Generally you can get down in two shots in that position. Suppose you hit an approach shot that is on the fringe of the green, and a long way form the hole. Typically you might get down in 3 shots from there instead of two so you have lost one shot. If you land in a bunker and it takes four shots for you to get down (one that sprays out to a long way from the pin, but three putts), then you have lost two putts. Once you get the hang of this, it is quite easy to see where the shots are adding up.

Five Simple Questions to Diagnose your Golf

Simply ask yourself eight key questions. 1) how many greens do you hit in regulation, 2) how many putts do you take in a single 18 hole round, 3) how many fairways did you hit, 4) How many pitch shots were within 20 feet of the green, 5) How many chip shots were within 10 feet of the green. Even if you cannot answer these questions today, by reading and thinking about them, you can go out on the course being more aware, so that in a few weeks time you can answer them.

Use a Top Down Approach

This post is worth a quick read as it advocates a top down approach to diagnosing your game. The idea is to identify first if your problems are mental or swing related. Once you have done that, you will know which side of the game on which to concentrate. This page comes from an extensive free web site that has all sort of interesting information on golf (plus opportunities to buy more detailed information).

A Tip from from Richard Pope

This tip comes from Richard Pope's golf blog, "A Walk on the Course". It is only very short, but it does cut to the core of the matter. The blog is an interesting read, sometimes humorous, sometimes insightful. In regard to your strengths and weaknesses, Richard points out that mostly you have a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses but it is occasionally useful to put your impressions to the test by keeping some statistics for a couple of rounds. Richard suggests keeping track of the number of fairways hit, your greens in regulation, your up and down from around the green, and putts. For beginning golfers, The Golf Mentor would modify this somewhat to count any drive where you still have a reasonable next shot, even if it is on the light rough.

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