Don’t you hate it when you go to practice your golf game but have no idea what to focus on? You might even feel that after some session, your game might have gotten worse.
If you’re like most golfers, you probably think:
- Should I hit at the range today?
- Should I hit chips and pitches?
- Or, should I work on my putting today or skip it and hit drivers instead?
Look, I get it. There’s a lot of different shots you have to master to play great golf. From hitting long drives, flagging irons, a sharp short game, and a consistent mental routine. Sometimes, it’s a bit overwhelming to practice it all.
But… what if you knew exactly what you needed to practice every time you had a chance to go to the range or short game area? What if you jumped out of your car eager to work on your weaknesses and so you could finally shoot lower scores?
Well, you can do that and you don’t need any fancy tools or expensive swing coaches. Nope, every golfer can start doing this today.
Simply start tracking your golf statistics every time you play. This will lead to effective practice like a tour player.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly what to track and how to track so that you can start shooting consistently lower scores.
Quick Note: Tracking stats is not to be confused with keeping a golf journal. Go here to read our full article on keeping a golf journal.
Track Golf Stats for Beginners
If you’re like the average golfer, tracking might be a brand-new concept. If it is, start slow and keep it simple. Even tracking a few things can have a massive impact on your average score.
Why Should You Track Your Golf Statistics?
If you’re like most golfers, you might be thinking… “Should I track my golf statistics? What’s the point?”
The short answer: YES.
Tracking your stats is like tracking your diet and exercise when you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape. If you aren’t tracking, it’s nearly impossible to figure out what’s helping you toward your fitness goals (and what isn’t). The same goes with golf!
If you want to improve your golf game and shoot lower scores, you need to know what to work on. Unfortunately, most golfers struggle and shoot in the 90s or 100s and never improve because they work on the same things at the range.
Instead, you need to spend 80% of your practice time on the parts of your game that are holding you back! But if you never track your stats, you will never know what to practice.
The cool thing is that the numbers don’t lie. After a few rounds of tracking your game, you’ll quickly realize your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you understand what to practice and how you can improve.
Average Golfer Statistics
Before teaching you how to track your stats, let’s first look at what is “normal” based on the average golfer. This will help give you an estimate of if you’re above or below some of the most commonly tracked stats according to My Golf Spy.
- 35 putts per round
- 48% of fairways hit
- 29% of greens in regulation
Remember, this is a benchmark for average golfers not tour professionals. The biggest difference with a Tour player is putting and greens in regulation!
Just ask Tiger and Phil, sometimes fairways don’t always mean a lower golf score. In general though, professional golfers statistics are pretty incredible and are usually shown while watching on TV.
What Should You Track?
Now that you can see why it’s important to track your stats and some benchmarks, let’s dive into the metrics to start tracking.
The first thing to track is your total score. While most golfers do this using the handicap system, it’s a fundamental to tracking your stats.
To make it more advanced, you can even break down front nine and back nine scores. This will help you spot any trends about how you score based on the holes in the round.
For example, you might find that your scoring average is 2-3 shots lower on the back nine. This could mean you need a better warm up or play the first few holes less aggressively.
Or, if you shoot higher on the back nine, you might realize that you get tired or lose mental focus. If this is the case, you can work on your fitness and/or mental routines as well.
Total Number of Fairways Hit
The second thing you should track is the total number of fairways hit aka your tee shot. Your tee shot is crucial to how well you play golf courses!
The total number of fairways hit is so important to track because you can start to see if your tee box game is helping or holding your game back. As you probably know, playing from the rough and fairway bunkers all the time doesn’t always yield the best results. While you can get away with missing the short stuff sometimes, other golf courses will make you pay big.
Don’t just track fairways either but which club helped your tee shot in the fairway. For example, it might look like:
- Driver = 5/8 fairways hit
- 3 wood = 2/3 fairways hit
- Hybrid = 3/3 fairways hit
Tracking each club allows you to figure out if you need to keep the driver in the bag more often. Remember, sometimes it’s more important to be in the fairway than 20 yards further but in the deep stuff.
Driving distance isn’t everything!
Total Number of Greens in Regulation (GIR)
The third statistic to track from the course is the total number of greens hit in regulation; this stat is based on 18 total greens. For par 3’s you must hit the green in one, for par 4’s you must hit on in two shots, and par 5’s you must hit on in three shots (or better). In general, hitting it on the fringe does not count as a green.
Tracking your greens will help you realize if your approach shot game is helping or hurting your score. It will make it pretty easy to realize if you’re hitting it great off the tee but your approach shot strategy is holding you back. Or, if you maybe need some more forgiving irons or something else.
Scrambling (Up and Down)
The fourth thing to track is your scramble percentages. This basically is figuring out the percentage of getting the ball up and down when you miss the green in regulation. I would argue that this stat and putting will make you realize how important it is to work on your short game. Scrambling will take form in chipping, pitching, long putts from the fringe, sand saves, and more.
For example, let’s say you hit 8/18 greens in regulation and make par or birdies on those holes. That means you miss the green ten times and have to scramble to save par. If you don’t get any of them up and down and make bogey, you shoot 82 or better. But if you get half of them up and down, all of a sudden you shoot 77 or better.
Plus, you also get the benefit of momentum!
While it’s not talked about or something you can necessarily track, momentum is huge. If you’re hitting it well, miss a green but manage to save par it makes you feel invincible. It helps free up your long game and give you confidence knowing that if you do miss a green, you can get it up and down.
The final stat that every golfer should track is the total number of putts per round. If you’re counting fringes as a “missed” green in regulation, you won’t count any putt that is from the fringe. If you’re like most golfers who aren’t tracking regularly, this stat will astonish you.
Because roughly 35-50% (or more) of all of your shots will happen with the flat stick. Remember, the numbers don’t lie and pretty quickly you’ll see how your putter is keeping the round going or making it impossible to shoot low scores.
Golf Tracking (Advanced)
If you’re brand new to tracking your stats, keep it simple and start with fairways, greens, scrambling, and putts. As you get more consistent and a better golfer, then you can add on more stats.
Here are some more advanced things you can track as well.
Where Your Drive/Approaches Missed
While tracking your total number of fairways and greens hit is eye opening, let’s take it a step further. For each drive, notate what side of the fairway you miss on. This can help you understand your tee shots and possibly evaluate your tee box strategy.
Then, do the same for your approaches as well. Notate if you miss short, long, left, or right of the green and see if you can spot any trends. This will help you improve your iron game on the range.
For example, if you’re like most golfers, you might find that your approach shots tend to end up short of the green. Studies have shown that most amateurs don’t take enough club the majorit of the time and miss short. Not so ironically, you’ll also realize that most club designers also realize this and put most of the trouble short of the green.
Think about it, if water or a deep bunker is short, most players tend to end up there instead of it being long. By tracking your stats you can see that by clubbing up you might have an easier up and down if you miss or a better chance at birdie!
The third advanced stat to think about is your bunker saves. If you constantly find yourself at the beach during the round, maybe it’s time to skip the range and work on your sand game instead.
The fourth advanced stat is the total number of strokes from hitting in hazards or out of bounds. This is an easy one to track and will help you realize how much penalty shots are costing you every single round.
Proximity to the Hole
The final advanced stat is your proximity to the hole. While I said that “numbers don’t lie” there is one caveat – putting. Sometimes, your putting numbers might be higher than averaged but in reality, your approach shots are to blame for poor performance on the greens.
Think about it, if you’re hitting greens but leaving yourself 40-60 feet all day, it’s hard to make birdies and not three putt. Similarly, if you’re always above the hole and leaving yourself tough putts, it will usually show up as more putts in your stats.
How to Track Golf Statistics
Now that you know what to record, let’s dive into the best ways to easily track your golf statistics.
Excel or Google Sheets
The easiest way to get started tracking is a simple Microsoft Excel or Google Sheet. Follow these instructions to get started:
- Open a new spreadsheet and title it “Golf stats tracker.”
- On the first tab, add a column for fairways, greens, scramble, putts and total score.
- Then, on each row, log the course and date that you played (you can notate a tournament if you’d like as well).
- Finally, after each round log your stats in each column.
- Optional: Add columns for the advanced stats from above.
If you play a lot of golf, you can add new tabs below for each month or year as well. Finally, I suggest creating a box below each column for “average” using the proper function so you can start to understand your averages for each stat.
Golf Stats Apps and Programs
While you can do it old school and write in a journal or use Excel, there are tons of apps to help you out too. Not only is it easier to keep everything in one place but you can also get certain numbers and percentages you can’t with manual tracking.
So what is the best golf stat tracker app?
Here are some of our favorites (some are free and some paid).
Golf Status App – The All in One Golf App
Golf Status has everything you need to play better golf and has a built in GPS to help you during the round as well. Plus, it has advanced scoring to help you learn more about your misses, strokes lost to hazards, and more advanced stats.
It also syncs up with the GHIN so you can post your round directly once you log your stats. Click here to learn more about the Golf Status App (available on App store and Google Play) .
Golf Stat Lab
Golf Stat Lab isn’t an app but it’s an incredible tool to help you track your stats. This computer based diagnostic tool will help you learn more about your game so you never waste time practicing again.
Simply sign up, log the golf course, and enter your data after you get home from the course. It will then spit out all kinds of statistics like driving distance, par 3/4/5 averaged and more (over 200 to be exact). It’s trusted by top amateurs, USGA champions, PGA Tour players, and more.
Get Real Golf Stats
This is as close you’ll get to Shotlink which you see on the PGA Tour as it calculates over 250 stats per 18 holes. For each shot, log in and enter where your shot was hit from and the result.
Plus, you can choose to record the distance to the pin, club used, and more. Then, it logs everything from driving distance to greens in regulation and more into a central dashboard to view all your statistics.
Get started for FREE for 30 days (no credit card needed). Try it out today!
While I’m a big fan of the old school tracking, there are golf gadgets that make tracking even easier. For example, SkyCaddie is a great gadget that will not only help you during the round but also with your stats.
While playing, it will help you identify hazards, find the right distances, and more. But as you play, you can opt for it to keep track of your scores as well. Using the GPS, it will help you with fairways, greens in regulation, and number of putts.
Tracking stats is one place a handheld gps unit excels over the standard rangefinder.
FAQs About Keeping Golf Stats
Do you have more questions about tracking your stats? Check out the answers below.
How do you keep track of your golf score?
The easiest way to keep track is on your scorecard after each hole. You can also track your fairways, greens, scramble, and putting as well. If you find this distracting during play, wait until later when you’re home from the course.
How do you read golf stats?
Hopefully, using the stats above and/or the apps, it should be pretty easy to now understand how to read golf statistics. Remember, tracking them is important but you need to make sure to analyze them so you can learn what you need to work on in your next practice session.
Don’t simply track your stats and not use that valuable information to not improve your game.
Wrapping Up Golf Statistics Tracking
As you can tell, tracking golf statistics is one of the most valuable things you can do to improve your golf game. The biggest reason it’s so important is because numbers don’t lie!
Taking a few minutes afterward to track your stats will help you identify your weaknesses and strengths. You can then use that information to improve certain parts of your game and hopefully, track your progress over time.
Remember, golf has a lot of moving parts and is arguably the hardest game in the world. You have to learn how to hit all kinds of golf shots, master your mental game, and play in all kinds of crazy weather conditions. Plus, play at all kinds of courses.
If you’re serious about shooting lower scores and winning money from all your friends, start tracking your stats. This will help you figure out how to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Eventually, your game will be so strong that you can play virtually anywhere and know that you have what it takes.
Heck, it might even help you become the scratch golfer you’ve always wanted to become. Finally, make sure to keep it simple, schedule some time to log everything, and spend 80% of your next practice on your weaknesses.