As coaching and training methods improve, the ranks of skilled junior golfers has grown steadily over the years. Just a few short years ago, it was uncommon to see younger players with tour level club speed and regularly shooting under par scores. That’s no longer the case. At our Academy, we have several high school players who swing as fast as the pros and I just came from a tournament in which there were 30 scores of 69 or lower. Therefore, junior golfers must look for and take advantage of every opportunity to separate themselves from the pack.
One of the easiest and best ways of gaining important insight on your game is with the use of a well-established statistical analysis program. The best among these programs will enable you to do three important things.
Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
A very basic feature of a good stats program will be to clearly identify a golfer’s strengths and weaknesses. The best golfers in the world know exactly how and why they play well. They no doubt attempt to lessen the impact of their weaknesses but they are typically more concerned with making sure they can rely on their strengths for scoring. In contrast, we see junior golfers spending too much time on their weaknesses with little benefit or reduction in scores.
Direct Your Practice Time
Once strengths and weaknesses are accurately identified with the help of a stats program, it’s easy to come up with an improvement plan that strategically divides up a player’s training and practice time. As an example, for a player struggling off the tee, it could make sense to allocate the bulk of practice time to this part of the game until there’s noticeable improvement in the stats. Better players with clear strengths and known weaknesses, still must be careful to spend enough time on all parts of their game to stay sharp and tournament-ready.
Pick Up on Trends
Because stats paint such a clear picture, they’re enormously helpful when it comes to spotting trends that could impact a player’s game in the future. Young golfers tend to focus too much energy and emotion on an occasional poor shot and often miss the bigger picture. By comparing statistics from one tournament to another or even from one season to the next, players can spot trends an act upon tendencies before they have a big impact on their game.
I can’t emphasize enough how valuable it is for a competitive junior golfer to be using a good statistical analysis program. As a coach, I insist that our students enter their stats after every round. I use the information to determine what changes need to be made to improve a student’s performance. There are several good stats programs from which to choose. We use ShotbyShot.com but also like the DECADE system by BirdieFire.com. Both rely on strokes-gained analysis, the same approach used by the pros.
Jeff Isler shares his observations, insights, and experiences on the game of golf and those that play it at a high level.