Question of the Week

By the numbers

What statistics matter most to your game's improvement?

In an age when analytics are pervasive in golf, what statistics do you tend to track per round?

Forget those drives and chip shots. Once on the green, make that putt — counts the same as those other shots.

Kitty Russell
Houston

For me, it is the total of pitches plus chips plus putts. Sure, a 2 is ideal; but I'm a high handicap so I'm happy with a 3 (bogey golf). Unfortunately, too often it is more than that.

Mark Liquorman
Land O Lakes, Fla.

For me, the most important statistics that I track are how many strokes did I take from 40 yards away from the hole. There are typically 10 par-4 holes in a round and most average to good players will be within 40 yards of the pin after two shots. How well I score is dependent on how many strokes I take when I'm within 40 yards.

I usually will hit about half of these greens in regulation, so I am tracking the other 5 holes. My goal is to always hit only one chip/pitch and one putt. There are times I will be successful as high as 80 percent of the time and also times when I'm at zero. The difference in my total score at the end of the day will vary by as much as five strokes depending on my success with these short shots.

From 20-40 yards, my goal with my pitch shot is to get within 10 feet of the pin. From 5-20 yards, my goal is 5 feet and from less than 5 yards, I'm really pissed if it isn't within 3 feet. I've noticed that if I will just practice these shots at the practice facility for one hour a week — I play three times a week — I'm much more successful in my one pitch/chip and one putt goal than in the winter when I don't practice and just play.

FYI, I'm a 7 handicap index.

Bob Yang
Bee Cave, Texas

I check drive distance, fairways hit, greens in regulation, and number of on-green putts.

Fritz Schranck
Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Stats tracked on scorecard: Eagles, birdies, pars, bogeys, double bogeys, x’s and triple bogeys. Also, fairways hit, greens in regulations, putts, greens in regulation percentage and penalties. For sand saves and up-and-downs, I track number made and number of opportunities.

Stats tracked on running spreadsheet: Chip-in eagles, birdies and par with the course name, hole number, yardage, date, club used.

Most important stat for scoring improvement: Up-and-down par saves (chipping for easy putts holed and chip-ins).

Best stat: Percentage of fairways hit.

Stat most needing improvement: Greens in regulation.

Horace Hopper
San Antonio, Texas

Fairways hit, putts, up-and-down, and sand saves.

Jeff Omland
Oliver, British Columbia

Greens in regulation.

Luis Ruiz
Saint Johns, Fla.

Putting. I use my scorecard for stat tracking, specifically my 18-hole putting stats. If I could bring my putting down to 30 or below, I would be a much better scorer. For the past four years I’ve been using my scorecard and my average has been 33 putts per round. Greens in regulation is 67 percent. So I use stats to help identify the weaknesses in my game.

I know there’s plenty of wiggle room in my other stats, as well, but the putting is the one glaring stat that keeps holding me back. I’ll keep working on the putting until the day I can’t play anymore I guess.

Robert Hargrave
Canton, N.C.

Greens hit in regulation is the first stat I chart when I play. Up-and-down for birdie/par/bogey is the second stat I chart. Fairways hit is the third stat I chart.

I don’t play enough to worry about putting except to try to two-putt every GIR.

Ric Clarson
Dallas, Texas

Looking back to what I’ve consistently tracked throughout the years? Number of putts and number of penalty shots.

I have always thought that keeping track of those two bits of information speaks volumes about the rest of my game that day.

Rochelle Davies
SaddleBrooke, Ariz.

Please send your response to shall@morningread.com, and add your first and last name, along with your city and state of residence.

Read responses from the Jan. 2 question of the week: If you could look into golf's future in 2020 and predict something that will occur, what would it be?