May 2017 Update - New Comparisonand Membership Options

New Comparison and Membership Options

GolfStatLab released some new features today. One is some new comparison stats we've been working on for quite a while, and the other is the way multiplayer accounts work. We've also added another stat for strokes gained called "Strokes Gained PGA".

New "Strokes Gained PGA" stats

We heard from our members a lot about our strokes gained stats - some people liked that we adjusted it to each player's performance, some wished we showed it only based on PGA tour averages. Well, we think both have their place, so we now have both.

Strokes Gained PGA is, as its name suggest, the strokes gained calculation based on PGA tour averages only - unadjusted for the player. This is a good stat for comparing a player against another player or to track improvement over time; however, to identify opportunities for improvement we still suggest using the Performance DNA and player adjusted strokes gained (labeled "strokes gained" in the reports section). If a player cannot reliably and consistently drive distances like a PGA Tour player, then trying to bring down the Driving Strokes Gained PGA stat may not be a good use of energy - that's why the adjusted numbers are a better indicator of what to work on.

If your Strokes Gained stats and the Strokes Gained PGA are the same, don't worry - it's not a calculation error. It just means based on your past performance, no adjustments are needed and the PGA numbers are the best standard for you. 

New Multiplayer Memberships

We have changed the way multiplayer memberships work to make it more flexible. We used to have a 5 player membership and a 10 player membership (etc...), each with a different price. But what happens when you have 11 members? You'd need to upgrade to the 15 member package and not use 4 of your player seats. That was fine because at 15 players you'd receive a bigger per-player discount, but it always felt there were players that were getting for that didn't need to be. So we changed it.

Now we only have one paid membership and anyone can add any number of players to it. If you need one more player, you can just add one more player. You can now scale your membership up or down as you need to, and we even prorate the charges to what you actually used. Adding a player mid-month means you only pay half a month for that player. You'll never pay for a player seat you're not using.

What about the discounts? Don't worry, they are still there. When you get to your fifth player the first discount kicks in. Then when you need a sixth player, just add them and it will be at the same discounted rate. When you hit 10 players, a bigger discount shows up and so on. No need to get a 15 player account for 11 players - just add 11 players to your membership and get them all at the right discounted rate.

All multiplayer accounts have been transitioned to this new set up, so feel free to scale yours up or down as needed. 

Increased Membership Rate

You may have also noticed with this update the annual membership for GolfStatLab went from $59.95 a year to $89.95 a year. This is the first price increase we've ever had, and it's time. We now track over a million shots and have upgraded the servers we use many times to keep the service reliable and able to handle the calculations on all those shots, holes and rounds. 

The good news is that this increase is for new accounts only. Anyone who has a current active membership with GolfStatLab has the current price locked in. As long as your account stays active, it will remain at the $59.95 a year rate. Multiplayer accounts will also stay at this base rate with the appropriate volume discounts applied and will stay that way for as long as the account is active. It's our way of saying thanks for helping us get to where we are. 

March 2017 Update - Groups, Maps and more Trends

New Features and more stats

Groups, Golf Course features, more trend charts, new stats and better filtering in reports.

Golf Stat Lab released some new features today. Most of these updates are customer requests, like groups - one of the most requested features.

To help you find insights, we have also redone the way the reporting filters work and added some stats (Tactx). We've also released many new trend charts to the reporting section. Everyone likes data visualization, right?

We also reworked the golf course management part of the app. The biggest change here was the addition of mapping and Point of Interest searching. This should help add and manage golf courses faster.

We also re-organized the site to make it easier to find what you're looking for.

Groups

Under the new "Players & Groups" tab in the app, you will find the new Groups feature. Groups are probably what you imagine, a group of players in Golf Stat Lab. You can have as many groups as you want. Players you coach, friends you play with - how you organize your groups is up to you.

Anyone you add to one of your groups can see the group and its members. But only the people you allow can manage it (rename it or add and remove members). After adding members, each group will rank it's group members according to a set of stats. The rankings are based on the most recent rounds from each member and include stats like Scoring Average to Par, Strokes Gained, Shot Accuracy, Hole Score Results, our new Tactx stats and Putting performance.

Golf Course Management

The first thing you'll notice is that you can now add a golf course to Golf Stat Lab by finding it on a map. Just go to where the golf course is located, click on its pin and select "Add Course". We will import the information about that course and instantly, it's available. This assumes that the course you want is in the Google Point of Interest database, but most are.

We've also added maps to the edit a course page. If you go to edit a course and it doesn't have all the information (address, website, etc) we'll try to locate it on a map using what info we do have. If a result is found, it's shown on the map. You can now update the courses information by clicking on the map pin and selecting "Set to this map place".

Finally, we have added total fields to the bottom of the hole distance table in the Tee Locations. Not a big feature, but it should help to verify that the information entered matches the score card. Another great customer suggestion.

More Trend Charts

We have added loads more trend charts in the reporting section. Now you can see the historical data with trend information for many more stats. Averages and total are great, but now you can see the data that produced them. Just look for the chart icon in the report section.

Tactx Stats

How risky of a player are you? How confidently do you play the game? Now you know with the new Tactx stats. You can find the Tactx Stats under the Approach section of the Reports tab. This group of stats will show you how often you are shooting for the long side (fat side) or short side (thin side) of the green. Shooting to the long side indicates you play safe and conservative. Continually hitting the short side shows more confidence and risk tolerance. It doesn't always make sense to shoot for the short side (it depends on the hole) but if you never do you may be playing it too safe. You may be able to shave off a few points by going for the short side more often.

New Report Filtering

First the old. In the middle of last year, we changed the way reports are filtered. Instead of only being able to include one dimension of each filter (one player, one weather condition, etc) you can now add multiple. The combinations of what you can look at are now greater than ever. Want to see how you did on rounds where the course condition was both easy AND normal? Now you can. Want to see Morning AND Midday tee times? Go for it.

Now the new. The groups mentioned earlier are now a filter. By setting a group to the filters you can see how the group as a whole is performing. This is particularly handy if you use the "side by side" reporting feature. You can filter one report to a group and the other to a player and see how one person compares to a group. We also added another filter - golf courses. Now you can see how a player (or group of players) performs on the same course over time.

January 2016 Update - Golf Stat Lab gets faster

Golf Stat Lab gets an Update

Faster speed, distance select and a few other new features

Golf Stat Lab got a big update this weekend, and it's all about speed. We had a lot of growth this last year (particularly in Europe and Australia) and when we got over 500,000 shots entered into the system, well, it got a bit slow. No one likes slow, so we went back and rewrote nearly all of the reporting code to make it faster. No more waiting for valuable data. It's not quite Google fast, but its much better than it was.

We also moved to a new bigger server to help with speed, but over the next few days while everything moves over, you may experience some delays. Don't worry, this will get better.

We also addressed a few requests we have received from you, our valued members. What follows is a few of those new features.

Yards or Meters - whatever you want

The number one request this year was from our European and Australian members - distances in meters. Done - meters are in. We redid the way distance is stored in our databases so it does't matter how you enter it, yards or meters, you can see it however you want. Conversion happens immediately so no page reloads are needed to switch between them. If a player enters their shot information in yards, their coach can see it in meters or vise-versa without changing anything. Putts are still measured in feet as requested.

Home is where your Home Course is

Another highly requested feature was the ability to set a "home course". You can now do just that by clicking on the button "Set as my Home Course" on the new round page. Whatever golf course is selected above the button becomes your home course, so the next time you go to enter a round it defaults to that course. 

If you don't a home course set yet, the new round page will load up the courses that match your address (from your profile). If you didn't enter an address, then it does what it used to - so set your address on your profile page and set a home course.

New and Improved Strokes Gained

One of our most popular statistics is Strokes Gained (and Performance DNA). Not to toot our own horn, but we were one of first (if not the first) stat system to implement Strokes Gained. We have heard from quite a few of you that Strokes Gained is one of the reasons you choose us over the other stat programs - so we made it even better.

Strokes Gained is calculated based on how many strokes the average PGA Tour player holes out from a particular distance and shot type. It's a great metric to be sure, but not everyone can hit as far as a PGA Tour player. We have taken that into account by adjusting the Tee and Approach Shot calculations of Strokes Gained based on the history of each player. If you hit, on average, 80% of the distance of the average PGA Tour player, your strokes gained is adjusted accordingly. This has always been true for Performance DNA, but now this adjustment is available to all strokes gained calculations throughout the system. As you improve, your adjustment will change ensuring that you are always given an appropriate goal.

We have also added a new chart to the round entry page showing the strokes gained for each shot type by hole. With this new chart, you can see how performance changes throughout a single round.

Multi-player account setup

The multi-player accounts in Golf Stat Lab are designed so that coaches and teams can have one account that pays for multiple players access to the system. This builds off the data sharing capabilities already in Golf Stat Lab, and is just as flexible. You can share data between players covered by a multi-player account and with those who have their own accounts.

The data sharing between accounts works the same way whether the players / coaches have individual accounts or multi-player accounts, there is no difference. To see an overview of how that works, check out our video: Data Sharing on Golf Stat Lab.

To get multi-player accounts set up, everyone needs an account on Golf Stat Lab, the players covered by the multi-player accounts need to share their data with the account who is paying for them and the account that is paying for the multi-player plan then needs to "cover" the other players.

Lets go over the most common way this is done step by step. In these instructions, we will call the account that is paying for the multi-player plan "Coach", and the accounts that will be covered under this account "Players".

Step 1 - Everyone needs an account

The "coach" should start by signing up for a multi-player account. If the "coach" already has an account, they can change their account type from the "Profile" section of the site (when they are logged in) if they need to upgrade from an individual or free account to a multi-player account.

Next, the players need accounts. If the player already has an account skip this part, if not, there are two ways to do this. The first way is for the coach to send the player an email Invitation (from their "Profile" page). This will send an email to the player with a link to join Golf Stat Lab. When the player clicks on the link and signs up they will be set up with a "free account" (if they don't already have an account) and automatically be set up to share data with the "Coach" account. The invitation will NOT automatically cover the player - this way invitations can be sent to anyone whether they pay for their own account or ultimately get covered by a multi-player account.

The second way for the players to get an account is to go through the regular sign up process on the Golf Stat Lab website, but they should sign up with a "free account".

Step 2 - Share data

After everyone has an account, all the "player" accounts need to share their data with the "coach" account, which is done by adding the "coach" to the players Shared List - found in their "Profile". To see how this is done, see our video: Data Sharing on Golf Stat Lab.

Step 3 - "Cover" players

Now that all the "players" are sharing data with the "coach", the "coach" can now add them to their multi-player account by "covering" them. On the "coach's" profile page there will be two lists labeled "Cover a Player" and "Covered Players". As the names suggest, "Cover a Player" is the list of all "players" that can be covered by the "coach", and the "Covered Players" is the list of players already covered by the multi-player. Players can be moved between the lists using the buttons next to their names. You may notice that the players on the "Cover a Player" list are the same players that share data with the "Coach" - this is why step 2 is important. 

What happens if I stop covering a player?

If you remove a player from your "Covered Players" list, that player cannot enter more rounds in Golf Stat Lab until they either get added to another "Covered Players" list, or they set up their own membership plan from their profile page. Their data will not disappear or be deleted, and data sharing from the player will continue - everything will stay the way it is until they get new coverage. This is also true for players who have a laps in their membership plan (usually due to an expired credit card on file) - all their data stays the way it is and only the entry of new rounds is restricted.

Do I have to cover all of my players?

No. While data sharing is a prerequisite to covering a player, the two parts are separate. You can have as many players as you want share data with you, but only cover some of them - it's your choice how you set up your team.

Tips, Articles and Advise March 6, 2015

We like to keep up on the latest ideas, tips and drills from golf coaches around the world - and we want to share it with you.


How To Hit A Long Bunker Shot

Video from Gary Gilchrist - @GaryGilchrist


Proper foot position in golf swing

Video from Bill Abrams - @billabramsgolf


25 Yard Rope - Full Swing Alignment Drill

Video from Titleist Performance Institute - @MyTPI with Dave Phillips - @MyTPIDave


Keeping the club head where we need it

Video from Suzy Whaley - @suzywhaley


Tips, Articles and Advise Feb 22, 2015

We like to keep up on the latest ideas, tips and drills from golf coaches around the world - and we want to share it with you.


Worst Ball Workout

Article with Video from Jeff Ritter - @mttgolf


3 Point Finish

Article from Aaron Olsen - @AaronOlsonGolf


Swing Transition

Video from Brian Jacobs - @BrianJacobsgolf


TGPS Tip 14

Short article from Tom Patri - @TomPatri


Tips, Articles and Advise Feb 8, 2015

We like to keep up on the latest ideas, tips and drills from golf coaches around the world - and we want to share it with you.


Do our students want us to be Instructors, Coaches, or Mentors?

Or a wonderful combination of all three?

Article from Sarah Stone - @sarahstonegolf


How to stop topped golf shots

Video from Ged Walters - @gedwaltersgolf


Stop Flicking The Hands Through Impact

Video from Peter Finch - @pfgolfpro


Golf lesson- side hill lies

Video from Dan Swomley - @danswomleygolf

Data sharing on Golf Stat Lab

You can share your round data and reports with coaches and team members in Golf Stat Lab, and we made a video that shows you how to do just that.

The data sharing tools can now be found under the "Players & Group" section, not the profile section.

The real secret to lowering your golf score

continual_improvement.jpgAnyone even half way serious about golf has one goal in mind - to shoot a lower score. With the number or books, articles, seminars, camps and radio programs all dedicated to this one idea it's easy to tell that it's on everyones mind. It all about better performance, and who doesn't want that? 

So how do you get there? What's the secret? The answer is not as glamorous or shocking as some would like. It's quite obvious, really - in order to score lower, you have to get better. So what does that mean? Better at what? The easy answer here is better at everything, but that isn't very actionable. So lets break it down a bit.

First the bad news - everyone is different with a unique mix of strengths and weaknesses, so what works for one person may not work for another. To complicate things even more, people change over time, both physically and mentally - so what works for a player now may not work in the future. You don't need to look much further than Tiger Woods return to competition golf after his back surgery to see this.

Now the good news - it doesn't matter. That path to lower scores is not found in a bulleted list of tips and tricks, its a process. Fortunately, its a well document process with a proven track record of success that can be implemented by anyone at any skill level. In the simplest terms, its a strategically directed continual improvement cycle. Quite a mouth-full and a little "buzz-wordy", but it's the best way to get to that new lower score over and over again. 

Several industries have different takes on strategically directed continual improvement cycles, there is Six Sigma, Kaizen and LEAN to name a few, and they have all transformed the companies that use them to drive up quality enormously. So basically, the same process that took Japan from the low quality, poor performing knock-off maker of the world in the 1950s to an industry leader in consumer electronics and automobiles today can also help you become a better golfer.

So what is a strategically directed continual improvement cycle, and how do you apply it to golf? Lets break it down.

First, it is a cycle - its a set of behaviors that repeat back on themselves. It's not an exercise in making charts or lists and then hoping something happens, it's a set of behaviors - actions done over and over again with purpose. Like any other behavior, it takes time and practice to get right and seem comfortable - just like a golf swing. Give it some time and persevere.

Second, its strategically directed. The actions taken must satisfy a strategic goal - it has to have an actionable purpose. Setting strategy starts with intent. Intent is the "what" - what do you want to accomplish. Strategy is the "how" - how can you achieve your intent. Strategy is what makes intent actionable. You can tell you have a good strategy (in principle) if it can measured.

So what about measurement? It's critical. It's been said that you can't manage what you don't measure and in golf the same rule applies. Without measurement your strategies are based on guesses and you have no idea if you have met or are moving toward your goals. Every continual improvement cycle requires a measurement framework in it to work - it's not really optional. This is the reason that Golf Stat Lab exists - but a pencil, paper and calculator can also work (if you're good at math and statistics). The point here is not what measurement framework you have (although we prefer you use Golf Stat Lab), but rather that you have one and its accurate.

The Steps of the Cycle

1. Set your intent

What do you want to accomplish. This can be anything from "Score Lower" in the largest sense to "Drive longer" or "Chip more accurately" in the smaller sense. Intent is about setting direction. Use you performance data to help. 

2. Create a strategy

Remember that a strategy makes your intent actionable and measurable. If you intent is to "Score Lower", then answer by how much to make it a strategy - like "Reduce my scoring average to 70". It's a good idea to keep your goals small - if you're current scoring average is 85, don't set a goal for 65 - break it down into steps. Start with 80, then go to 75, etc. This is a cycle, so keep the cycle going with smaller targets instead of getting stuck in one long cycle.

3. Identify Baselines and KPI's

KPI stands for "Key Performance Indicators". There are many many golf statistics you can track - just take a look at our Golf Stat Dictionary. The purpose of KPI's are so you know what to look at, and just as importantly, what to ignore. Your KPI's should be directly related to your strategy. A baseline is what your KPI's are at currently. If your strategy is to "Increase drive distance by 10%" then one of your KPI's has to be Driving Distance your baseline is your current average driving distance.

4. Create an action plan (tactics)

Armed with your measurable strategy, baselines and KPI's, you now need to create a plan of action to achieve your goals. This is another step where your performance data can help a lot. Having a golf coach also helps in this step immensely. This step is all about creating a list of specific actions to be taken to increase performance - basically, a practice and/or workout routine.

Another helpful planning tool we can use to help create our action plan is a variation of the the SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym form Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and is used in strategic planning to help create action plans as well as determine if a particular objective (strategy) is worth persuing. The basic idea is to make some lists related to your strategy.

  • Strengths: what are you good at
  • Weaknesses: what are you not so good at
  • Opportunities: what can assist you in achieving your goals
  • Threats: what can prevent you from achieving your goals

For the purposes of our action plan the really important parts are the Strengths and Weaknesses. By identifying these we can create plans to support our strengths and work on our weaknesses. The opportunities and threats can be helpful, but they have less utility in this context as they normally do in organizational strategic planning.

If you find it hard to come up with action plan steps, or find your strengths almost non-existent while your weakness list is pretty long, it may be an indication to revisit your strategy. Sometimes a strategy is not specific enough to creae an action plan from. If that is the case you can either change it or create sub-strategies by following the process using your Strengths and Weakness (and coach if you have one) to guide you.

Make sure to include reasonable "deadlines" in your action plan to both thwart the tendency to procrastinate and to give a predefined interval to reflect. 

5. Put the plan into action

This step is both the easiest and the hardest - easiest to understand and hardest to actually do. This is where passion and commitment come into play because at this stage you are no longer planning but doing, and doing takes time and effort. Stay strong and work the plan. 

An important part of this step is to consistently track your performance. Don't spend too much time analyzing just yet - that is what the deadlines set in the action plan are for. Ear to the grind stone and write down (enter) your data.

6. Analyze results

When you reach the deadlines set in your action plan, take the data you've collected for your KPI's and see where you stand. If you reached your goals, great! Set new ones and repeat the process. If you didn't reach your goals find out if you are going in the right direction. If you are making progress but haven't reached the goal just yet, set a new deadline, make some plan modifications and set back to work. If you haven't made sufficient progress (or any), something is wrong. Revisit the plan at each stage of the cycle to see what might be off. A coach can be really helpful here. Fix the plan (or scrap it and make a new one) and repeat.

Example

  1. Intent: "Score Lower"
  2. Strategy: "Reduce Scoring Average to 75"
  3. KPI's
    • Scoring Average - baseline: 82
    • Score vs Par - baseline: 3
    • Strokes Gained - baseline: 1.3
  4. Action Plan
    • Strengths:
      • Driving Accuracy and Distance
      • Putting
    • Weaknesses:
      • To many Approach Shots
      • Poor Greenside performance
    • Devote 15% of practice time to reinforce driving skills
    • Devote 15% of practice time to reinforce putting skills
    • Devote 70% of practice time to improve approach and greenside shots
      Sub-plan
      1. Intent: "Reduce number of approach shots"
      2. Strategy: "Play a maximum of 2 approach shots on par 5, 1 on par 4 or less"
      3. KPI's
        • Hit Percents (Approach) - baseline: 60%
        • GIR Average - baseline: 51%
      4. Action Plan
        • Strengths:
          • Approach shots 125 yards or less
          • Good starting position from drive
        • Weaknesses:
          • Miss Left
          • Miss Short
        • Practice with club face alignment drills to correct left tendency
        • Practice approach drills for longer distance shots
  5. Review progress in two months
  6. Go over KPI stats with coach

The difference between coach and player accounts on Golf Stat Lab

There are a few differences between player and coach / team leader accounts on Golf Stat Lab. We made a video to show you.

Correlation and Causality: where are your real areas for improvement

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Ask any statistician and they will tell you that the biggest hurdle in data analysis is confusing correlation and causality. Getting these two idea mixed up can cause you to focus on the wrong thing waisting time and not yielding any improvement. Lets get our definitions in order first.

Correlation - a mutual relationship of stats - that is that they vary together.

Causality - the outcome of one stat directly effects the second stat - that is the first causes the variance in the second.

Lets get a little less abstract and look at a few stats to put this into perspective - Score to Par and GIR Percent. These two stats tend to move together, which makes sense - the idea being that if you have a high GIR Percent your Score to Par should be pretty good as well. The opposite is also true, if you have a low GIR Percent your Score to Par will tend to be higher. There is a correlation between these two stats, but is there a causal relationship? While it may be true that a players Score to Par may be changed because of their GIR performance, it isn't always the case. Good up and down performance can overcome missing a green in regulation and still make par. By only looking at Score to Par and GIR Percent it could be assumed that to improve Score to Par a player should work on their GIR shots, but that may no be the whole story.

The first place I would check is the Performance DNA (or strokes gained if your stat program has it) to see where the most stokes are being gained. It may turn out to be that the players driving performance is the real issue, causing both the GIR Percent and Score to Par to be less than desirable. If that is true it would show that the driving performance has a causal relationship (causality) with GIR Percent and Score to Par, and that GIR Percent and Score to Par are correlated.

When looking to improve skills, it's important to look deep enough to see what is causing the performance gaps and what is correlated. This means looking into the stats enough the see the whole picture and trying to use the numbers to support different possible scenarios to see which is most likely. Always looks for the cause instead of assuming it - one stat may turn out to be correlated and not causal.


What the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance taught me about golf statistics

bagger_vance.jpgIf you haven't seen the movie "The Legend of Bagger Vance" you should - it was a good movie, but it also had one line that provides a lesson about golf statistics that should be considered. First lets get those who haven't seen the movie caught up.

The basic storyline in the movie is about Randolph Junuh, a golfer from Savanna Georgia who was convinced to play in an exhibition match against two of the worlds greatest golfers in an attempt to save a newly built golf resort, and to some extent all of Savanna, during the great depression. Junnuh (played by Matt Damon) was from Savanna and showed incredible potential as a young player before he was drafted and sent to war. When he returned his experience in the war caused such internal strife that he could no longer play golf as he once did, but with the town of Savanna depending on him so much he decided to play. At this point a mythical caddie named Bagger Vance (played by Will Smith) appears and helps Junnuh to find his "authentic swing" by quieting his inner demons allowing him to finish the exhibition match one stroke behind the other two due to a penalty he called on himself. It was a good movie, but the lesson to be learned can be found when the narrator described the three players in the match.

The three players in the exhibition match were Junnuh, the main character from Savanna, Bobby Jones (played by Joel Gretsch) and Walter Hagen (played by Bruce McGill). At the opening hole in the exhibition the narrator says:

"Hard to imagine three more different approaches to the game of golf.
Bobby Jones' swing was a study of grace in motion.
He had a way of making the difficult shots look easy and the easy shots look even easier.
Hagen, on the other hand hit more bad shots in a single game than most golfers do in a season.
But Hagen had long ago learned one thing: Three lousy shots and one brilliant shot can still make par.
And Junuh? Well, even now I can't think of it without wincing."

"Three lousy shots and one brilliant shot can still make par" - it may not be the best strategy, but it is true. Every golfer has different strengths and weaknesses in their game, and tracking performance with a golf statistics tool can help make those clear. The fastest way to achieve better performance is to strengthen the weak parts of your game but sometimes you can hit a wall.

Watch out for the point of diminishing returns, that is, watch for the point at which working on a particular weakness stops producing improvement. Golf statisic and diagnostic tools like Golf Stat Lab are good at showing a player their weaknesses and suggest where to spend practice time, but they also show you where you are improving and where you are not. If you have identified a weakness in your game and work on it you should see those stats improve over time. If you see that your improvement stops in those skill areas you need to ask yourself if perhaps your training methods need to be changed, or do you need to move on and work on something else?

The good thing about having strengths is that sometimes they can compensate for a weakness. Don't ignore your strengths in practice because if you can make them your brilliant shots then you can sometimes cover for your lousy shots with them.

If you see that you can gain the most strokes on putting, then work on putting. If you continually work on putting and get a little better but then find that you can't seem to reach the next level of performance with your putts, then consider switching to work on your greenside shots. If you can make your greenside shots better to leave the ball closer to the hole, then your putting will be easier. Putting may still be a weakness, but because you have minimized its impact on total scoring with brilliant greenside performance you can still score better. You can go back and work on putting later but in this scenario working on your greenside shots was the better use of time.

Numbers tell us everything and nothing

gsl_heart_stats_forever.jpg

At Golf Stat Lab we love numbers. We love statistics and charts and data - but if we have to be perfectly honest, we have to admit that at the end of the day - numbers don't tell us anything. Numbers merely suggest.

This doesn't mean that numbers, tracking, trends and statistics are any less important, they are vital if improvement is your goal, but there is a hidden danger in numbers, and that danger is misreading them.

This danger exists in any analysis done to a set of numbers, whether it's managing a business, dissecting website traffic, managing finances or  looking at your golf performance. It's important to remember that when looking at numbers, they only mean what they are - a number.

Let's look at some Golf Stats to illustrate this point because after all, thats what we do and why you're reading this.

Let's assume for a moment that you downloaded a free golf stat program onto your smartphone instead of using Golf Stat Lab (shame on you), and that program allows you to track a few statistics like score to par, GIR (green in regulation) and number of putts per hole. You play a few rounds of golf, enter your data and now you want find out where you can improve. Here is what you see in your golf program:

Average by round
Score to Par5.4
GIR30%
Putts per hole3.4

By looking at these numbers we can see that we are scoring to high, we are 5.4 stokes over par per round. We can also see that our GIR is low, we are only getting a Green in Regulation 30% of time and missing it 70% of the time. And finally we can see that we have too many putts per hole, we want that at 2 or less and we are at 3.4 average putts per hole. We can definitely see that there is room for improvement - we can safely say that the number suggest that, but the real problem here is what do we do to improve our performance? These numbers can't tell us that.

We're not trying to pick on free golf statics programs, after all any statistics are better than none, and in all truth, no set of numbers can tell us what to do - they can only suggest where else to look. The problem we have in this example, is that while we know our score to par is too hight, our GIR percent is too low and our putts per hole are too high, we don't know why - and we don't have anything else to look at to help us figure it out.

Our GIR percent may be low because our approach shots are less that desirable, but it could also be because our drives are leaving us in areas of the course that make it impossible to hit a GIR no matter how good we are at approach shots. Both of these scenarios are possible, but with the stats we have here, there is no way to tell. The same is true for our Putts per hole - are we bad at putting or is our short game leaving us so far from the hole that we need the extra putts to make up for it? On the surface it's easy to assume that if our Putts per hole are too high, we should work on our putting - but if it really is our greenside shots that are causing the extra putts then we could work on our putting until the cows come home and still not see any improvement.

When doing analysis on a set of numbers, it's important to have enough information to check the suggestions each number is giving us. In Golf Stat Lab there are many other numbers, segments and calculations to check against each other to see what the story really is, like the Performance DNA and shot specific reports. Using our example above, if we see our GIR percent is too low we can also check the Performance DNA in Golf Stat Lab to see where we are gaining the most strokes. If our Approach Shots are are higher than our Diving Shots in the Performance DNA then we can assume that our GIR problem may be stemming from there, but if our Approach Shots are low and our Driving Shots are high, it may be time to hit the driving range to bring up our GIR Percent. In all truth we are still guessing as numbers don't tell us anything (they only suggest), but this guess is much more educated and likely to improve performance.

Remember to investigate several stats to try and test your assumptions (if you have more stats available) and you will be more likely to drop some strokes and improve your scores. If you need help, don't be afraid to get your coach involved, or ask the Pro at your local course for guidance. If you have any questions on the stats here in Golf Stat Lab feel free to check our our Stat Dictionary or drop us line using the form on the Contact Us page.

Reports and Analysis Filters

The Reports and Analysis section of Golf Stat Lab is one of the most power tools you have to improve you game, and mastering the filters on the reports is critical to gaining great insight.

Fortunately, they are pretty easy to use, so we made a video to show you how to get the most out them.

Tour of Golf Stat Lab

Want to see a tour of Golf Stat Lab behind the login? Your wish has been granted - here is a video tour.

Round Entry Overview

We made a video overview of round entry including not only how to enter rounds, but also how to speed up your round entry using only the keyboard (no mouse needed) to move through the form even faster.

What is Golf Stat Lab

Heard about Golf Stat Lab, but not sure what it is? Have no fear, we have an answer.

Simply put, Golf Stat Lab is the most advanced web based golf performance diagnostic tool available. We made a video to explain what it does, and how it can help you.

Golf Stat Lab helps you improve your golf game by showing you the best areas to focus on to lower your score.

You can easily identify what is working and where your gaining the most strokes using the dashboard, and you can drill down into hundreds of individual stats to see exactly what you should work on next.

You can also share your data with your coach or team leader so that everyone is on the same page and you can work together towards incredible improvement.


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