Instructors and students use this Scorecard form in three different
- The first is on the course before instruction starts. That is used to find
out where the largest potential is for stroke reduction and to record accurately
what the student’s performance is on the course, rather than in the
artificial environment of the practice area..
- The second is during the immediate period after the student begins to first
apply the instruction on the course. This is used to train the student in
the process of observing performance and recording data while playing.
- The third is after the lessons end and over the long term, as the student
attempts to maintain the application of the instruction.
It is important that the instructor and the student realize that golfers do
not know accurately what their performance is, but they usually are unaware
of how inaccurate their perceptions are. This is because they do not record
data that will be helpful to them in identifying the specific nature of their
problems, especially on a cumulative basis.
Ah, but you may be saying golfers do record data, at least some of them, such
as fairways and greens hit, number of putts per round and the percentage of
times they took only one putt from a shot hit from around the green. True. The
problem is that none of that data tells them what their specific errors are.
Did the student miss a fairway by hitting it out of bounds, into the water,
into a heavy wooded area or did the drive go only 30 yards into heavy rough?
Prior to the start of instruction, the objective should be to discover what
the largest potential stroke saving area is for reducing average score and make
that the subject of the lessons. It is, of course, better to measure performance
on the course, as opposed to what it is in the artificial environment of the
There are many options as to who records this data prior to the start of instruction.
The instructor can do this by observing the student playing six to nine holes,
but preferably 18 holes when there are few players on the course. The student
also can gather data while playing a round. This requires the student to receive
written or oral instructions on the use of the form and a list of the many benefits
for using it. The busy instructor can also train a young assistant, retired
senior or junior golfer to accompany the golfer and gather the data for a small
fee, which the student ultimately pays, directly or indirectly.
This form provides the raw data. From that information the instructor, the
assistant or the paid senior or junior groups the data into similar shots. Such
groupings over many similar shots provide a more accurate picture of the student’s
performance, which the student has never seen grouped this way before. Then,
the person analyzing the data compares it to a measurable standard to see where
and how much the student can potentially improve.
Whoever records the data should do it immediately after each shot, rather than
after the round is over. The data collection seems easier when you record it
immediately after the shot, which then takes only a few seconds, than doing
if after the round, when you have a backlog of shots to enter. In addition,
making entries immediately makes for more accurate data. There is plenty of
time in a round to record a few numbers or letters. About 2.5 hours is spent
walking, riding or waiting for someone to hit the next shot.
When changing a behavior, it is better to do it in smaller doses. For example,
have the student start by measuring only one part of the game during a round:
chips, irons or tee shots. Another approach is to have the student record data
for only a few holes. Another effective approach is to have the instructor go
on the course and have the student record data for a few holes during a slack
period of play.
The student needs to receive positive consequences for recording data. The
first is the recognition of some error pattern or its magnitude that the student
did not recognize before. The second is seeing improvement as a result of obtaining
the data. These patterns become more apparent when the student has data for
a full 18 holes or multiple rounds. What percentage of iron shots missed right
versus left, long versus short? The instructor can prompt the student to look
at such relationships.
The instructor should ask the student to bring in, or fax, a copy after a round
played without the instructor.
The student should take at least four or five copies of the recording forms
on the course to record data during a round and have more in the golf bag for