How to Use Golf Stats to Improve Your Game

Just like all other sport in the world, there are statistics that matter in golf. And as a player, you have the opportunity to monitor the stats and improve your game with time.

Sure, you can record yourself while playing and look at the clip after you’re done. But there’s nothing more accurate than data-driven approaches when it comes to golf.

So, in this post, we’re going to look at the data that matters the most for players and what they mean.

We’ll also go over a course of action that’ll help you overcome any of your inconsistencies based on the numbers.

Let’s get deep with what the statistics factor does for your game.

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What are the Stats in Golf and What They Mean

There are certain aspects of the stats that have the most impact on your playing style. If you haven’t done any prior research about it, it’ll be harder for you to understand what they mean. But that’s why we’re here for.

Let’s take a closer look at different statistical concepts in golf.

Greens in Regulation (GIR)

It simply means that you’re hitting the green by staying in the regulation. You need to land the ball on the green within the required number of strokes permitted.

For example, if you’re playing on a par 3 hole, you should be landing directly on the green from the tee. It’ll ensure that you’re complying with the GIR. If you’re not, then you need to improve your tee game.

When it comes to a par 4, you should be getting on the green with your second stroke. On a par 5, it should the third stroke. And so on. This is how the GIR works.

The thing is that these concepts are fairly straightforward if you understand how it works. But if you hear GIR out of nowhere, it won’t make any sense to you. And making sense of things to you is exactly the purpose of this post.

Fairway in Regulation (FIR)

You can already guess from the name that this statistic is very similar to our previous one, can’t you? 3 par holes don’t have this statistic because you’re supposed to land on the green with your first shot.

Par 4s and par 5s are where the FIR matters. The fairway regulation is only recorded when your ball stops on the fairway. If it lands on the fairway and then rolls off to another area of the golf course, the FIR is not recorded.

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Total Putts per Round

For each of your golf rounds, you need to add up all of your putts. It’s as simple as that. However, we’ve seen many players who record the strokes from just outside the green (sometimes known as the fringe) as a putt. You shouldn’t do that because it’ll give you inconsistent numbers.

You should only record a putt when you’re using the putter from the green.

Putts Per Hole

This statistic is related to the previous one. You need to divide your total number of putts per round by the number of rounds you played. You’ll get a number that says how many putts you played per hole on an average.

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Strokes Gained

Gaining a stroke in golf is a fairly broad statistic. It’s measured based on a tournament basis for the majority of the professional players out there. But you can also keep track of your strokes to see if you can top your own score or not.

When Do you Need to Track Your Statistics?

If you’re a normal human being, you must despise complex numbers. And it’s completely normal. The majority of the golf players won’t think about tracking their statistics at all. Then, when should you track your stats?

To answer this question, we need to understand what category of golf player you are. If you often get confused between whether you need to hit the driving range or not, you might need to take a look at your statistics for a while.

So, if you’re confused between what to include in your practice sessions, for example, whether you should practice with your driver or your wedge, you need to look at your statistics.

If we have to summarize what we’re trying to say in this section, we’d say that look within yourself. If you’re a player that thinks that you can benefit from improving your playing style, you should definitely be keeping track of your stats.

After you’ve diagnosed what are the areas that you’re truly struggling with, you can tune your practice times accordingly to overcome those struggles.

What Are Some Average Stats for a Golfer?

Before we go any further with what and how things should be, need to understand the baseline values. According to My Golf Spy, an average player hits 35 putts per round, hits the fairway 48% of the time (FIR), and hits the green 29% of the time (GIR).

These are numbers taken from average golf players. The numbers for professionals are significantly different. If you want to achieve a professional level of efficiency, we respect your passion and dedication. But you need to start small if you want to succeed in your venture.

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What are the Things You Need to Track?

Now that you have a precise idea of what different golf statistics mean, you may start with your own tracking. But what are the things you should track? And how do you do it?

Let’s find out.

The Total Score

This one is quite obvious. Every golf player on planet earth should understand how they score. The majority of the players use the handicap system to keep track of their scores. You can do the same.

To simplify the concept even further, you can break it down to nine for the front and nine for the back. Using this method, you’ll be able to figure out any inconsistencies with your score and fix them.

As a scenario, suppose that you are staying below the average number of shots on your back nine. It may mean that you’re taking things too harshly on the first few holes. Or, you may simply need to warm up better.

When the opposite happens, you will need to take things slowly throughout the holes.

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Total Fairway Hits

The number of fairway hits is a great indication of how good your tee shots are. If you make the FIR number every time, it means that you have great control over your playing style. As you already know, this is a measure that only matters on par 4s and up, not on par 3s.

The score will also differ from course to course. On some courses, it’s very hard to avoid the roughs and bunkers. In other courses, you have the opportunity to play big and overcome the hazards easily. The discrepancy between the two is a huge reason why you can’t get accurate results on your statistics.

Along with the number of fairway hits, you’re also going to need to track which club was responsible for the hits as well.

For example, you may hit 5 out of 8 shots to the fairway with your driver. The same number can drop to 4 or 3 with your fairway wood or the 3-wood, whatever you may want to call it.

The reason we want you to track your shots based on the clubs is to see how well you play with different types of clubs. Based on the results, you’ll understand exactly how many drivers, fairway woods, or irons you need to keep in your bag.

Total Green Shots

Based on the same principle as our previous point, you need to track your total green shots as well. It’ll show how well you can reach the green from your tee box. It’s related to the GIR calculation we’ve done in a previous section.

This statistic is by default based on the 18 total holes on a golf course. When you keep track of your ability to reach the green as early as possible, you’ll be able to diagnose if you have any problems with your tee shot or your fairway shot. Because when you do have problems, you won’t be able to land on the green under the GIR.


The scramble percentage is somewhat a complex calculation. It helps you diagnose how much you’ve gone over or under the GIR. The scramble is also a very good indication of how well your short game is.

For example, if you hit 10/18 greens for the holes, it means that you’ve missed the green 8 times. And to compensate for the miss, you needed to scramble.

Tracking Golf Stats but on an Advanced Level

The points we’ve covered so far are quite good for beginner to intermediate players. But how do you track those data for advanced players? You’ll soon improve on your FIR, GIR, scramble, etc. statistics. And you’ll need to move forward in line to find more advanced datasets to improve your game even more.

Here are some starting notes for you.

Start with Where You Missed the Drive

From our previous calculation with the tee shots, you now know how many times you miss with your drivers, 3-woods, and irons. Now, it’s time to break the data, even more, to understand why you are missing them.

You can take note of things like which side of the fairway did you miss. The landing zone of your missed hit can tell you need to tweak if you want to bring the percentage of failure down. If you’re falling short, you may need to speed up your swing. Or, you may need to dial in the sweet spot correctly.

If you’re landing on the left, you might be hooking the ball without even realizing it. Things like this will only become visible in your eyes when you track each of your shots and take notes.

Bunker Saves

Do you often find yourself amid a bunker? Is it really hard to come out of it? If you think your answer is yes, then maybe you should keep track of your sand shots as well. Things like how long it takes to get out or how often you land on a bunker can tell you what things to change with your playing style.

Hazards/Out of Bounds

The same principle as the bunkers will apply here. You’ll need to figure out how often do you end up in these zones and how do you approach these shots. The numbers will tell you how you need to change your practice routine and whether you need to invest in rescue clubs or not.

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Tools to Track Your Data

So, you’ve kept all your data and took notes. But we live in an era where we easily lose paper trails. So, what do you do? Well, there are a few amazing digital tools that you can use to store and compare all the numbers.

Microsoft Excel/Google Spreadsheet

These are two amazing free tools that people have been using for years now. They are best at keeping track of numbers and comparing with each other. If you own a smart device, like a smartphone or a computer, you can easily use these tools and sort them by dates or games. Your imagination is the only limit on how you want to manage your data.

Golf Apps

Whether you own an Android device or an iOS device, all you need to do is visit your app store and search for golf statistics apps. You’ll be amazed to see how many developers have thought of your problem and came up with the perfect solution.

Based on the description of the apps, you can download and install the one that you think will suit your needs the best. And if you think the tool is not working out very well, you can simply change it down the line.

GPS Devices

Sure, manual tracking of statistics sounds nice. But how would you feel if there was a device to collect the data by itself and give you the results? Spectacular, right?

Well, lucky for you, there are devices like the SkyCaddie to help you monitor your game and keep track of all the important numbers. The device will help you navigate through the bunkers, roughs, and other hazards on the course as well.

Final Words

We know keeping track of any statistics is hard. Especially when it comes to golf, the chores seem to be very tedious. But it’s the only way if you want to squeeze out every bit of skill you have. Only working on new techniques and comparing the results with previous ones will help you become a better player.

Golf Practice System for Lower Scores

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Nick Foy, Instructor

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