Sunday, January 14, 2024

2023 Golf Season Review

This past year I got back into golf. In fact, I enjoyed it enough early in the season to want to install a nifty little app on my phone called Golfshot. It's designed to help a golfer keep their scores and also track a number of informative stats throughout the year.

Now if the paragraph you've just read has made you groan, this post might not be for you. And that's fine. Golf isn't everyone's cup of tea. And golf stats and terminology definitely aren't everyone's cup of tea. (Feel free to scroll down to the bottom of this post to see some cool golf cards in my collection.) However, there will be some fun graphs and charts next, so if that stirs your interest, great!
Let's get to the data from the Golfshot app, and see what it revealed about this past season of golf.
This is an analysis of the percentage of fairways I hit from the tee. I could be a little better here, but the fact that my misses were about half to the left and half to the right indicates that I don't have one big swing flaw that rears its head all the time, so I'll consider that a positive.

GIR (greens in regulation) means that you've hit the green with at least two shots remaining to make a par. For example, on a par 4, it would mean hitting the green with your second shot. That way, you have two putts to make your par. The bottom line is that if I want to shoot lower scores, I've got to hit more than 30% of the greens. Doing so would give me more putts for birdie. Currently, I'm scrambling too much just to make a par.
When I don't hit a green in regulation (which usually means I'm near the green, but have to chip the ball on and try to make that first putt to save par), I'm only successful 33% of the time—even lower from sand traps around the green. I've got to do better here, too. Saving par from around the greens is an art form. It requires lots of feel and imagination. And even after you visualize the shot, you've got to actually pull it off. I enjoy this part of the game, so I was a little disappointed to see the low percentage here. I'm motivated to do better next season.
I'm pretty happy with my putting stats. The fact that I'm averaging less than 2 putts per GIR means that I'm making more one-putts (birdies) than 3-putts (bogeys). For the record, I can't stand 3-putts. You can be 175 yards away from the green and hit a beautiful shot that lands 20 feet from the hole, and then proceed to take out your putter and dink the ball 3 times from that 20-foot distance. Blechh.

  Anyway, back to the stats.


I've never looked at my scoring numbers this way—average score on par-3s, par-4s, and par-5s over the course of the entire year. It's really interesting. The par-5 data isn't that bad, but on the par-3s and par-4s, on average I need an extra half a shot in order to finish the hole. That's also not bad, but I think I can bring those numbers down a little bit next season.
I like that a majority of the pie chart consists of pars and bogeys. (As a simple example, putting up 9 pars and 9 bogeys on an 18-hole, par-72 golf course would give you a score of 81, which I'd be very happy with.) If I can bring the birdie numbers up and the bogey+ numbers down next season, I'll also be happy.
Finally, here's my best score of the season.

I had a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 79, but just missed it. I'm determined to break 80 next year.

Okay, stats portion over. 
If you've been reading all the way up to this point, thank you. Here are a couple of golf cards that I added to my collection recently.
1981 Donruss #2, Lee Trevino

1978 Sportscatster #38-05, Tom Watson

Tom Watson and Lee Trevino are two legends of professional golf who influenced me while I was first learning the game as a teenager. I even had a couple of instructional books written by Mr. Watson that really helped shape my game back then. Here are some stats for both players:
Tom Watson
British Open champion: 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983 
Masters champion: 1977, 1981
US Open champion: 1982
Total PGA Tour wins: 39
Lee Trevino
US Open champion: 1968, 1971
British Open champion: 1971, 1972
PGA champion: 1974, 1984
Total PGA Tour wins: 29
So why such a detailed post about golf?
Well, similar to the softball season reviews that I've done here on the blog, I'm posting this golf version so I can have a checklist to look back on next season. That way I can see if I'm improving in the areas I've resolved to improve. 
Another reason is that I hope some of you folks who have been thinking about getting into golf can take some encouragement from it. Golf is a great activity. You're out in the fresh air. You're with friends or family. You're challenging yourself mentally and emotionally even more than physically. You're learning life lessons. For example:

There you are, on the golf course. You're on your own. The golf ball is just sitting there. All the decisions are yours to make. All the golf swings are yours to make. If you make a good decision, make a good swing, and that golf ball sails through the air and lands right where you wanted it to, you can claim that. You did it. You can feel good about it. However, if you make a poor choice or make a poor swing and your golf ball ends up in the woods or in the water, guess what? That's on you as well. You can't blame anybody or anything else. You've got to hold yourself accountable.

Handling Random Situations
With golf, sometimes you hit a good shot and get a bad bounce. Other times you hit a bad shot and get a good bounce. The sooner you learn not to allow any of that to frustrate you or cause you to lose your focus, the better. Get a good bounce? Don't feel guilty about it. Take advantage of it. Get a bad bounce? Don't get upset about it. Figure out a way to recover from it and get yourself right back on track.

Accepting the Challenge
One of the great things about golf is that you can play the same golf course 10 days in a row, and it's going to present a different challenge each time. The flagsticks might be placed in different locations on the green from one day to the next. The tee markers can be moved forward or back to a certain extent, making some holes play longer than the day before, and others play shorter. One day it might be windy. Another day it might be rainy. Another day it might be hot and sunny. It's easier to play golf under perfect conditions, of course, but when the wind is blowing, or it's cold, or you're just not playing your best, do you tell yourself there's no way you're going to shoot a good score and just mail it in? Or do you accept the challenge and push yourself? Golf is such a mental game, and if you're up for it, the whole experience can strengthen your mind, and you can carry that strength over to the real world.
It's really a fantastic game.
Okay, I've done enough talking. I hope some of you enjoyed this post. And I hope some of you will get out there on the golf course next season. If you do, let me know!


  1. Sounds like a great year of golf. Best of luck on breaking 80 in 2024. Golf will always be a special sport, since it was my father's favorite sport. Unfortunately playing regulation courses causes me more stress than joy... and it usually wrecks havok on my back, so I typically stick to the short courses (par 27). My plan is to play once a week this upcoming summer at the course down the street from me.

    As much as I like to play the sport, I actually mainly like getting out on the course and taking an early morning stroll with mother nature while gathering some fresh air. Hitting a few pars and the occasional birdie is a bonus.

    1. Thanks very much, Fuji! You're absolutely right about getting out on the course and being in the fresh air. I always try to remember to look around a few times during the round to enjoy the scenery. (We saw some deer and wild turkeys on the course last year, too.)

  2. I play mini golf and enjoy it. Though it's been years!

    1. Mini golf is definitely fun, too! Get out there next year ;-)

  3. I think that I will be hitting the ole clubs this summer.. maybe even spring. It has been 11 years since I played a round. I stunk then so I should feel comfortable.

    1. Hah! When it comes to golf, we all stink in one way or another, at some point or another. It's the good shots in between that keep us coming back. Have fun out there, my collecting friend!

  4. Wow. +10 is a great score. Best I ever shot was a +14 (86 on a par 72 - and that after a rather pedestrian front 9 to have the back 9 of my life). The league I was playing in during 2022 changed the start time to earlier in the day for 2023, and with working, I couldn't resolve the conflict, so I played muc less this past year (and scores when I did play showed it). Golf is a great sport.

    1. Thanks very much, Dan! Sometimes front 9s and back 9s work that way, right? It's both frustrating and exhilarating at the same time. Hope you can get out on the course a little more this coming year!

  5. Charting your progress is always helpful. Hope you continue to improve this year!

  6. I didn't groan during the first paragraph because golf was brought up, but did when the app was mentioned. Although, to be fair to you, I groan every time someone brings up apps. I often think that I'm one of the few people left who doesn't use them.

    1. You know what, Jon? Golfshot is one of three apps that I've ever installed on my phone. So I'm not that far in front of you, heheh.