Want to play better golf? Play more often



One of the great things about GolfingStat.com is that I have a wealth of golf data at my fingertips. Every once in a while I come up with a question and then can go run a few reports and pull data to see if the data supports hypotheses.

The question I asked myself today is “If I played a lot more golf then would I play better golf?”. According to the data…the answer to that question is Yes.

Here is a scatter plot of players on Golfingstat.com and how many rounds they have played. I removed some outliers and this is the plot:


The first thing that struck me about this plot is that there is a pretty big cluster of players around 50 rounds a year (playing once a week or twice a week in the summer) with handicaps between 10 to 15. It is also pretty clear that the best players are playing 100+ times a year and the worst players are playing less than 50.

Here is a table with average rounds per year for each handicap bracket:






Based on that data if your handicap is above 10 and you want to drop a stroke off your handicap then you need to play an extra round every month. If you are below 10 then it isn’t that easy and you probably need to spend time practicing in addition to playing more.


How To Score a Golf Card

Golf Score Card

A typical golf scorecard format.

Basic Golf Card

The basic golf card will have holes along the top with distances, pars and handicaps for each hole. Hole handicaps can generally be ignored for basic golf score keeping. The distances can also be ignored for now as distances are more informational and help the player while they are on the course.

Par is important however as it is the baseline that is used to calculate the users score against par.

In the example above there are five tees listed (Gold, Blue, White, Silver, Red). For each of these tees the distance, par and even handicap can be different. So it is important to know which tee you are playing from so that you know which tee to use on the score card.

Scoring a Golf Card
Now that we understand the information that is on the score card we can shift our focus to how to score a golf card.

Steps to Scoring a Golf Card:
1. Write the name for each golfer
• This goes along the left hand cell in the example above (just under the Handicap)

2. As you play write the result of each hole
• The result for each hole goes in the cell that intersects the golfers name and the hole which they scored the result on. If the golfer scores a 5 on the first hole then the scorer would mark a 5 in the cell beside the golfers name.

That is really it and with this basic information you can keep the score on a basic golf card.

While keeping the score for each hole is important, it is also important to add up the Out, In and Total correctly.

Out: The total score for the first 9 holes
In: The total score for holes 10 through 18
Total: The total for all 18 holes

Tournament Scoring
Generally during tournaments you will play with one or more player in your group. Each player will have another player keep score for them. So Player A will keep score for Player B and vice versa. Tournaments use this format to reduce the cheating and to add a bit of formality to the process so that scoring is as accurate as possible.

At the end of each round the player is required to sign their scorecard to indicate that the score that the other player has kept for them is indeed accurate.

Note: The signature is signifying that the hole scores are accurate but does not signify that the addition of the scores (Out, In, Total) is correct.

Use of Symbols
Commonly people will use symbols to indicate how a hole score relates to par. A score that is circled represents a below par (e.g. birdie or eagle). A score that has a square around it represents a score that is above par (e.g. a bogie). If a score does not have a symbol then it means that the score is a par. My score cards generally have a lot of squares on them.


Golfingstat.com Scorecard
Given that Golfingstat.com users like stats and need more information to drive the stats they need to capture more on their score cards. The way that we recommend you do that is to use a whole score card for each player. That way you have up to four rows to write information for each hole. Here are the three that I usually capture and how I capture them.

Score – As detailed above.
Putts – Similar to score. Just write the number of putts that you had for this hole. Then total them for Out, In, Total
Fairways – Fairway for each hole will either be a check to indicate a fairway hit, a X to indicate that it is a fairway missed or a – to indicate that it wasn’t an eligible hole (e.g. a par 3). I then usually add the fairways hit for in, out, total.

Golfingstat.com records greens in regulation as well but you do not have to record that on your score card since it is calculated automatically. You record a green in regulation if you had a birdie putt opportunity on the hole. Since you are recording your score and the number of putts we can easily calculate this without you recording it manually.

Golfingstat.com is a website that allows you to track your handicap and other golf stats for free.