Newsletter: Scorecard Stats: Your Secret Weapon For Improving Your Golf Game

How To Set Your Priorities For a Better Golf Game

One of the keys to playing your best golf more consistently is to reduce the number of things you focus on in practice. This may seem counter intuitive, and you may feel as if every part of your game needs work and should be addressed in practice.  That concept is not only wrong, but also unproductive.  In fact, it’s the slowest path to improving.

You will make much more progress, much faster — and start posting lower scores sooner — through the simple process of prioritizing.

And, believe it or not, your score card has all the clues you’ll need to discover your priorities.

In this newsletter and accompanying video – Part 2 of the High Performance Game Improvement series – I’m going to show you how I use easy-to-keep statistics from the course to set my priorities. As I start to put some serious effort into improving my own golf game (coming off the long shoulder-surgery enforced layoff), I find myself asking exactly the same questions every golfer asks: What do I need to work on? Where should I spend my practice time to get the maximum results? What sort of practice regimen and drills should I be using on the range? How will I know if I am making progress?

This video will show you exactly how I answer those questions and how I am able to sharpen my focus on the most important aspects of my game – both good and bad – to determine my top priorities.   By selecting the one or two top priorities (both strengths and weaknesses) that will make the biggest impact on your scores — and then focusing 80% of your efforts on just those areas — you’ll give yourself a better chance of accomplishing your goals, and you can do it far faster than you imagine.


(Want your own copy of ScoreTracker? Click HERE)

Begin At The End

So let’s start with the end in mind and work backwards from there.

The goal of your course navigation strategy should always be to put yourself in situations where you are playing from your strengths.

Luke Donald (courtesy David Alison)Want the perfect example? Consider Luke Donald.

Luke Donald finished the 2011 season ranked the number one player in the world. But you’d never guess it from his driving stats. He finished 147th on the tour in driving – pathetic by PGA Tour standards.

So how did he wind up the #1 player?

By finishing in the Top 10 in a number of other categories:

    • 8th in scrambling;
    • 8th in accuracy inside 100 yards;
    • 2nd in accuracy from 50 to 125 yards;
    • 1st from 100 to 125 yards;
    • Top 5 in putting inside 15 feet, and;
    • #1 in putting from 5 to 10 feet. 

No other player is in the Top 10 in so many categories.

These are clearly his areas of strength, and he is smart enough to navigate his way around the golf course so that he is hitting from these distances as often as possible.

Do you think he is working on his driver? You bet. It’s probably his number one game improvement priority. But it’s not his only priority.

Clearly, he spends just as much time in his areas of strength, keeping his skills in these areas fine-tuned and sharp. How do we know that?  His scoring shot skills from 50 to 125 yards and his putting from 5 to 15 feet are the strongest in the world. And, when all was said and done, this is what earned him millions of dollars and the #1 ranking.

Do you have to be excellent at every aspect of the game? Luke Donald is proof that you don’t … provided you cultivate and continue to sharpen skill strengths you can rely on — with complete trust — when you play.

During your next round, use your scorecard as a tool for identifying your own strength/weakness profile.

In the next newsletter I’ll show you how I use my scorecard priorities to select specific targeted drills, frame my practice session, and then practice effectively.

RELATED POSTS

Here are links to the entire High Performance Golf Newsletter Series. If you haven’t seen the videos I recommend you start with the first post on establishing performance baselines. Click the link below to get started, then look for the links at the bottom of each post to continue with the next video:

High Performance Golf: Establishing a Performance Baseline
High Performance Golf: Scorecard Analysis and Setting Priorities
High Performance Golf: Driver Accuracy Practice (part 1)
High Performance Golf: Driver Accuracy Practice (part 2)
High Performance Golf: Determining Mid-Iron Carry Distance

LINKS TO RELATED POSTS AND PAGES:
Newsletters: Sign up Free!
Newsletter Archive
Consistency – The 5th Key To Better Golf

LINKS TO RESOURCES:
Dr. Glen Albaugh and “Winning The Battle Within”
The Orange Whip Tempo Trainer
Golf Fitness Training with Mike Pedersen

GET A FREE COPY OF SCORETRACKER

ScoreTracker spreadsheet image by Eric Jones
If you’d like a free copy of the ScoreTracker spreadsheet and instructions for using it, please click this link to the ScoreTracker Page.

PS – If you enjoyed the article, why not share it with a friend and leave a comment below? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. Wynn
    5 years ago

    I have started keeping the details of each round, as you have suggested in this thoughtful video. Transferring the data to the score tracker soon after the round gives me time to think about what went right, what could have been better and what was a disaster while the round is fresh in my mind. After today, slant board and right knee stack will be priorities at the next practice session.
    On another note, the downhill chip technique you taught me produced an up and down par to tie the first playoff hole in a match that I won on the next hole.
    Wynn


  2. Edwin
    5 years ago

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the reminder…it’s so easy to lose focus about what is really going to improve your score. Pounding balls on the range might be therapeutic for the mind and body, but honing skills where you need the most improvement is the way to better scores…period.

    Edwin


    • Eric Jones, MA, PGA
      5 years ago

      Thanks Edwin. Fixing the swing for the sake of having a better swing is a wild goose chase. Better to address swing issues for the purpose of improving specific parts of performance, and specifically one of the aspects of shotmaking: Direction, Distance Control, or Shot Shape. It’s even better if you can systematically measure whether your swing changes are improving your shot making. That’s when you know you are on the right track. If I am working on direction (as I am right now with my driver), I’ll measure my progress by hitting a set of 10 balls at a target and then track the results. Any swing change I make is for the sole purpose of improving consistent accuracy. As I keep hitting 10-ball sets I can track my progress and evaluate whether or not the swing changes are the right ones. I’ll have more to say on how to practice like this in the next newsletter. Thanks for your comment!


  3. jgary
    5 years ago

    Many thoughts on how to improve your game. Im always working on my game even while playing with my friends during a round of golf. This has brought up some interesting points which i will try, thank you for the advice!


    • Eric Jones, MA, PGA
      5 years ago

      Thanks for the comment. One thing I try to always do is keep a target focus when I play. During my post shot routine I observe the results as well as swing tendencies, but I resist trying to fix them on the course. Instead I take my post-shot observations and address swing issues when I am on the range. I’ve done thousands of on-course playing lessons and every time a student starts focusing on their swing their scores go south. I’d suggest a strategy of Observe and Adjust when you play, and address swing issues on the range. You’ll have a lot more fun on the course.


  4. Tom H
    5 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    This seems like a great system. It appears that you have offered us your system, but I can not find the excel spreadsheet of your Scorecard Tracker?
    Thanks,
    Tom


    • Eric Jones, MA, PGA
      5 years ago

      Hi Tom,
      The ScoreTracker comes as a bonus to all golfers who purchase The 5 Keys To Distance. But I’ll be happy to send you the spreadsheet if you send me a note at HelpDesk@ TargetCenteredGolf.com. Include your name and a short note requesting ScoreTracker. Please use it and come back here to post a comment about what you learn. Cheers!

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