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Form 15



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For examples of completed data, look at the two other forms, one for putts and the other for all shots except forms. These are forms number 13 and 14.

This StrokeSaver Scorecard form allows you to record all of your shots from your drive to your final putt. I give you two other scorecard forms that allow you to record all shots other than your putts and another that allows you to record only putts. This gives you options to use in learning to record data. You will more likely begin to record data when you start by recording only one part of your game.

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. In a poll, 76% of the Top 100 instructors said that the biggest potential for reducing the average score of a player by the most number of strokes and in shortest time is to take more short game lessons. Since the short game is about half the shots in a round, the percentage of lesson ought to be about 50% of the lessons. It should be an even higher percentage if we follow the advice of the Top 100 instructors. Yet, my surveys show that lessons on the long game are five times as many as short game lessons.

Instructors and students use this Scorecard form in three different time periods:

1. 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.
2. The second is during the immediate period after the student begins to first apply the instruction on the course and during practice. This is used to train the student in the process of observing performance and recording data while playing.
3. The third is 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, to the right or to the left, 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 practice area.

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 a 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 student, the nstructor, 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, data 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 future rounds.

Recording data by distance is a key condition and should be done accurately by pacing the putt while walking to the putt from off the green and past the cup. Whoever does this should practice pacing to a known distance to improve accuracy. This can be down in one’s home or office. For a putt, this pacing can be done while walking to the putt, when taking out the pin or holding it for some other player.

The person recording should never estimate distance. If you do not pace it, do not estimate or record the data. The reason is that over a huge number of putts, there is a distinct pattern of sinking a lower percentage of putts as the distance increases. Thus, over a large number of rounds, you might sink 40% from six feet but only 30% from eight feet. If you only estimate the distance and record a putt as six feet when it is actually was eight feet, you will be not be able to accurately assess how you are putting.


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