Golf Statistics – What are they and which should you track and why?
Golf statistics are a way to keep track of your performance as a golfer and are separate to your handicap. Whilst there are dozens of different ways to track your performance using golf stats. The minimum ones to track are; How well you hit fairways, land on greens and how many putts you take on each hole.
These golf statistics have specific names and in this article I will share with you what they mean, how to calculate each one and which ones you should track to improve your score.
So let’s get started.
What do golf statistics mean?
What is Fairways in regulation (FIR)?
All Par 4’s and Par 5’s have this statistic. Par 3’s don’t. On these holes you’re meant to reach the green with your tee shot.
Hitting a fairway in regulation is when your ball remains on the fairway when it stops.
A fairway in regulation is not recorded when your ball lands on the fairway, and then rolls off.
What is Greens in Regulation (GIR)?
Hitting a green in regulation is when you land your ball on the green, within the required number of strokes.
On a Par 3. You should land on the green with your tee shot. Doing so would mean you hit that green in regulation.
On a Par 4, you should land on the green with your second shot. And on a Par 5, you should hit the green with your third stroke.
An easy way to remember your green in regulation statistic is like this. To hit par on any hole, you are allowed 2 putts. So simply subtract 2 from the holes Par and you get the stroke with which you should hit the green.
What is the Scrambling Percentage?
Scrambling is when you miss the green and still score par or better.
For example: If when on a par 4, you miss the green entirely with your second shot, yet still score Par. You are said to have scrambled the hole.
You do not need to have been in a bunker to successfully scramble.
What is Total Putts per round?
This is an easy one. Simply add up all your putts throughout the entire round.
Remember that if you are off the green. You shouldn’t record this stroke as a putt, even if you use your putter.
What is Putts per hole?
This is your total putts per round, divided by the number of holes you played. So for a 9 hole round it would be divided by 9 and for an 18 hole round, divided by 18.
What is Putts per GIR?
This golfing statistic is important as it tracks only your putts on a hole, if you hit the green in regulation.
What are Strokes Gained?
Strokes gained is calculated using every shot played by every professional golfer. And is referred to within tournaments as a measure of where a player scored well or poorly.
When any shot is played and the outcome is better than the average professional golfer. The player is said to have gained a stroke.
If the outcome was below average, then the player is said to have lost strokes.
In reality, strokes gained is not a statistic the average golfer can track. It would necessitate them to record every shot they make.
Then split that information into drives, iron shots and putts by distance. It’s best left alone to the more geeky of players.
How to calculate your golf statistics correctly
Many golfers have various GPS watches and devices to help keep track of their statistics. From the high-end Garmin Approach S62, which I have reviewed here, to the more budget-friendly Garmin X40 here. There is something for everyone. Yet you should still understand what each statistic means and how it effects your overall score trends.
How to calculate Fairways in regulation (FIR)
As explained above. Hitting a fairway in regulation is when your ball remains on the fairway when it stops.
You cannot count a fairway in regulation when your ball lands on the fairway, and then rolls off. This is a missed fairway.
However, you may want to record these times as it’s an unforced error, and an indication your club choice may be wrong.
Fairways in regulation are not recorded on Par 3 holes. Consequently, if the course you’re playing has 4 Par 3 holes. Then your FIR percentage will be calculated over the remaining 14 holes, not all 18.
Fairways in Regulation (FIR) is a measure of your accuracy off the tee no matter which club you use. So you should record this statistic even if you use an iron instead of your driver.
FIR is said to be directly correlated to Greens in Regulation (GIR.). The assumption being that if you’re on the fairway, then you will have the best chance to hit the green.
I don’t necessarily agree with this.
In my 30 years experience playing golf, you could hit the fairway, yet be on the wrong side of it to give yourself the necessary approach shot into the green.
Alternatively, you may miss the fairway on a parkland golf course, and still be perfectly able to get onto the green.
Whereas on a woodland course, missing the fairway would be much more of a severe penalty given the extra number of trees.
Whichever way you look at this statistic, basically, the more often you land, and hold a fairway, the better your chance to take an approach shot into the green.
Then it’s just a case of two putting for par!
Additional fairway in regulation statistics to track.
As I said above. Think about tracking the times you land on a fairway but roll off. Take note also if you did this through a ‘bad’ bounce.
Another useful stat to track, would be if you’re missing left or right of your target line. This may be caused by a swing flaw, excessive shot shape or alignment.
I have written an in depth article on how using a golf practice station can help you with these issues. I would recommend you take the time to read it ‘here’. I’m sure you’ll find it useful.
How to calculate Greens in Regulation (GIR)
Greens in regulation are calculated depending upon how many strokes were taken to land on the green. Unlike fairways in regulation, greens in regulation is relevant to every hole of the course.
The amount of strokes you are allowed in order to hit a GIR is determined by the Par rating of the hole being played.
As you are allowed to have 2 putts per hole. When playing a Par 4 for example, you are said to have hit the green in regulation, if you landed on the green with your second shot.
The greens on all Par 3 holes, should be hit with your tee shot. The greens on all Par 4’s with your second shot. And the greens on all Par 5’s with your third shot.
If you miss the green with the required shot, then you should be recording the outcome against the scrambling percentage. See ‘How to calculate you Scrambling percentage’ Below.
Additional Greens in regulation stats to track
You can track your approach shots outside of, and inside of 100 yards. This would help you determine your accuracy with both irons and wedges.
You can also track your tendency to be left or right of your target.
How to calculate your Scrambling percentage
Calculating your scrambling percentage is only done at instances where you missed the green in regulation. Here is how it is done.
On a Par 4 hole you land to the left of the green with your second shot. You have now missed the Green in regulation. But you still have two strokes to make par.
Your third shot is a chip onto the green, and it lands within 8 feet of the hole. You make this putt for Par and walk away with a 4.
You have successfully scrambled the hole because despite missing the green, you still scored Par.
If you had missed the putt and walked away with a bogey, then you have not scrambled. It is a simple yes or no statistic.
If you successfully scramble each hole that you miss a green in regulation on. You are said to have scrambled 100%.
If you miss 10 greens in regulation and successfully scramble on 4 of them. Then your scrambling percentage is 10÷4 = 25%.
How to calculate your putting statistics
Total Putts per round 7 putts per hole.
You are allowed 2 putts per hole, so therefore your total putts should be no more than 36 for an 18 hole round.
However this stat, along with putts per hole, is not very useful and I wouldn’t recommend tracking it.
You should spend more time on tracking the statistics for putts per green in regulation.
Putts per GIR
This is a golf statistic that directly reflects your putting accuracy as it only records putts when you have reached the green in regulation.
Your putts per green in regulation should always be 2 or below. The current top PGA player for this statistic is 1.73. I have a stat of 1.75.
A number greater than 2 means that you have a tendency to 3 putt. If you’re getting this number, then you need to work on your pace control and green reading.
What’s the most important golf stat to record?
In my experience it is useful to track all of the statistics for between 6 and 10 rounds.
You need at least this many rounds to get a good picture of your strengths and weaknesses within your game.
However, if you’re just starting to track your golf stats and don’t feel like writing lots of information down. Try recording them in this order.
- Fairways in regulation
- Making a note of when you use a driver or not
- Greens in regulation
- Making a note which side you miss
- Paying attention to you coming up short or going long.
- Putts per GIR
- Making a note as to your miss putts. Are they breaking left or right
What’s the best golf stat app?
If you don’t mind taking your phone onto the golf course. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to golfing apps to record your statistics.
Personally I prefer to play golf without the need to look at my phone as it’s all too easy to get distracted by texts or email notifications.
In my experience I have found using a GPS device a great solution. Something like the Garmin Approach S60 which I reviewed ‘here’. Or for the smaller budget, the Garmin Approach X40, which I covered in this review ‘here’.
I have used this for some three years to date, and it is still as useful now as it has ever been.
Using RF chips which simply screw into your clubs grips. The GameGolf tracker is unobtrusive and records all the stats that you could possibly need.
The GPS device clips neatly onto your belt or waistband. And is operated by simply tapping your clubs grip against it.
You can drill down in the information provided to see driver stats, iron and wedge statistics. GIR and scrambling percentages as well as putting stats.
I haven’t reviewed it yet, but when I do, I will drop the article ‘Here’.
No matter which golfing statistics you chose to record. Or how you chose to track them. Paying attention to your golfing stats will certainly give you the ability to improve your game play.
Not only will you be able to highlight areas that require immediate improvement. You will also be able to see if the practicing you are doing, is actually having the desired effect.
If you want to learn more about how to practice more effectively. Then my article ‘here’ will give you some great advice.
The other main area where tracking your golf statistics will make a huge difference to lowering your scores. Is with your course management.
I recently wrote an in depth guide to preparing a golfing strategy. Within it I highlighted how you don;t have to play to score well. And by knowing your game you shave strokes off your round.
You can read that in depth article ‘here’.
I truly hope that you have gained some useful knowledge through my sharing of this experience with you.
If you have, then please feel free to share it among your friends. And take a moment to read another of my useful articles.