Entries Tagged as 'Statistics'

Eighteen holes is TWO nines!

Weather: mild and slightly overcast, with a gentle but cool breeze.  Course condition: good, with greens a little slower than usual but no frost. Company: three good golfers that I had played with previously.  All set for a good round of golf!

Forty minutes on the practice fairway the previous night allowed me to experiment with a slight adjustment to my swing. The new swing thought brought a little more consistency to my ball striking, and a better swing path. Twenty minutes warming up on the practice range confirmed the change and confidence was high as tee time approached.

Nine holes later, 5 of seven fairways had been nailed. Two poor tee shots caused some difficulty but six of nine greens were reached in regulation, and one birdie had resulted. At one over the card things were going well.

Just why the wheels fell off I am not sure, but 21 points on the front doesn’t compensate for a struggling 11 points on the back.  Zero of seven fairways hit, six bunkers explored, and seventeen putts contributed to ten dropped shots in nine holes.   My concentration was thrown over a minor issue, a few shots were poorly executed, and my thinking was poor on a number of occasions. It added up to a poor nine.

Even so, one over on the front nine reminds me that my present handicap is a temporary aberration, and things are soon to turn around.

Shots to remember:

  • Three wood off the tee at 14.  The hardest hole on the course requires a good straight drive. With a poor history off the tee on this particular hole only one image was entertained – a good swing and the ball flying towards my chosen target. A good strike resulted in the ball finishing in the middle of the fairway two hundred and thirty metres from the tee and leaving a comfortable six iron to the green.
  • Gap wedge from 75 metres on 17. After splitting the fairway off the tee a good shot was required to the pin in the back third of the green. Rhythm was good as I concentrated on my two key swing thoughts. The ball started on my aiming line just left of the pin and finished two metres beyond the pin to set up a birdie opportunity.
  • Four iron on eight. At 175 metres into a gentle breeze it was at the  limit of the iron. Good rhythm, the left foot planted and the right arm coming through on the inside and the ball flew straight at the pin, finishing on line about 7 metres short of the hole.


FIR: 5 of 14    GIR: 8 of 18    Putts: 33   Points: 32

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Still going the wrong way…

For the first time in weeks my Fairways in  Regulation hit 50%.  Unfortunately the statistic that didn’t move forward was Greens in Regulation, a mere 30%.  Alongside these numbers were 29 putts, an overall result that was passable but included two three-putts on my back nine.

The bald statistics only tell part of the story, and three holes blew my stroke score out of the water.  I did not think that the cold I was struggling with was a factor, especially after being only 4 over at the turn. Two double bogeys, two three putts, and a shanked chip conributed to bogey golf over the last nine holes, and a final score of 85.  It is not a score that satsifies, and the impact on my handicap was severe. Another 0.6 was added and at 6.8 the handicap is as high as it has been for over 7 years.  A combination of new handicapping system and a new (and tougher) course has all contributed to this dose of reality.

At the turn  things were was positive. A front nine of 4 over (including two penalties) was not disastrous, and I had been playing fairly consistently.  What followed was a litany of bad luck and poor golf that did not reflect the first nine holes, nor my ball striking.  As always, it’s not how – it’s how many.  How many? Too many!

Memorable moments:

On the par 3 15th a pushed tee shot ended in the tea tree. With an unplayable lie I oicked the ball up and retreated about 30 metres – there were no alternatives as the ball was deep in the  scrub. Faced with a 50 metre pitch my aim was to get the ball on the green.  Unfortunately I came off the shot a touch, and hit it low and straight into the tea tree again. I found it 10 centimetres from where I had picked it up just moments before.  Another drop, a pitch and a 10 metre putt had me marking a 6 on the card. It was a good six!

Shots to remember:

  • A pure 8 iron on 4 that covered the pin, and settled 8 metres past the hole and directly on line.
  • A chip from the rough on 18. In the rough and fifteen metres from the hole the chip landed neatly over ridge and stopped just over one metre below the hole.
  • My focus on the 6th tee was good. I selected my line, established my key swing thoughts and swung through the ball. despite hitting into a slight headwind from the back tee the ball started just right of centre and drew slightly into the left half of the fairway. With just over 200 metres left to the green the 230 metre drive was one of my best for the day.

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Last Saturday…

After a few weeks of improved golf my last round was approached positively.

My previous round (35 points, 20 of them on the back nine) was the best I had played for over a month. Statistically I hit 5 of 7 fairways on the back. Hitting fairways set up a sequence of 8  4’s that ended with a  missed birdie putt on the last.   After that sort of form I was looking forward to getting on the course again.

After 18 holes I signed for 30 points, and needed a birdie on the last to get that many.

What went wrong?  On six holes I was in excellent position for my approach to the green only to leave the ball in a greenside bunker, or even wide of a bunker. There goes 6 points.  There were other errors, but my approaches to the green  (usually sound) were just a bit off, and it turned out to be costly.

What do I want to remember?

  • My drive on 9.  With a little left to right breeze I planted my left foot to start the downswing and let rip through the ball.  A 250 metre drive left me with a chance at birdie on the 491 par 5.
  • Fairway bunker on 2. Ninety metres from the green with another yawning bunker a couple of meters short of the green. A crisp nine iron picked the ball off the sand but went a little longer than expected. It was on the green, even if I was left with a 20 metre downhill putt for birdie.
  • Greenside bunker on 17.  After three poor shots the 60 degree wedge came into play with a long bunker shot. I attacked it hard and was surprised when the ball landed pin high left of the flag, took a bounce forward and then spun back right of the pin to finish about a metre from the hole.

It was a good days golf. I struck the ball well off the tee (mostly), and my touch around the greens was very good.   The positive signs keep coming and a handicap reducing round is on the horizon.


FIR 47%  GIR 27% Putts 26

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Target 2…now further away.

Weather forecast 8-15 degrees, with showers in the afternoon.  It’s a little cold early in the morning, but 15 degrees seemed to be OK.  The day started with hope.  Another stableford at Royal Hobart, the course in good  nick and no breeze. 

My first (the tenth) was a wipe with a double bogey. After leaking my first tee shot right and having to hack out square, a poor chip blew away the chance at a point.  At the turn I had gathered my wits and started to play consistent golf. Two more poor chips had not been costly and I had 16 points on the card. 

A little bit of drizzle had come and gone, but the sky was  not looking good.  Drizzle turned to downpour as we ventured down the first hole and the game got harder. Putting through casual water was standard fare for the next four holes. I coped OK for the first two, despite drives just easing right. Then it fell apart. Three points over the next five holes effectively wrote off my round. What went wrong? 

  • Tee shots -three to the right, two to the left. Three shots gone….
  • Chipping – one badly short, one long. Two shots  gone…
  • Putting – a six foot downhill putt (on a dry section) became a nine foot putt back that missed. One shot gone…

At least I finished with three pars (two realistic birdie chances) in the last four holes!


FIR: 28%  GIR: 44%  Putts: 34  Score: 28 points Handicap: 5.5/playing off 6

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  • Three holes
  • So near and yet…
  • Goal for 2010
  • Kew Golf Club
  • Ratho – oldest golf course in Aus
  • Greenacres
  • St Helens – Tasmania
  • Three holes…

    It only took three holes to destroy my round.

    For 11 holes I had battled, and yet has stayed within range of my handicap. After a great opening hole played in regulation it was 11 holes before I managed to drive the ball on the fairway. Even so I was just 6 over the card and a birdie on 12 improved the situation.  From there it was only up…or so I thought. A bit of luck on 13 (my second bounced off a tree into the light rough) was followed by a weak approach into the bunker. Unfortunately the ball just rolled in and rested on the down slope. Two poor bunker shots followed, and the third one left me with a 7 metre putt for a double bogey. I missed!   Down 14 I missed the fairway left (all the other had been on the right) but had an eight metre putt for par. Three putts  followed.  On 15 I was pin high but right, and a soft lob wedge meant another chip was required. Two putts later and the triple, double, double sequence was complete.  To cap off the round another three putt on 18 took my total putts for the day to 36.

    So how did I play? Remarkably I thought I did well to walk off with a net 80. (Par is 72) I finished  mid-field in the monthly stroke. With five putts that lipped out (one is rare, five unheard of…), another that stopped on the lip, and a chip that was 3 centimetres short the score could easily have been seven shots better, even with two wasted bunker shots and a lousy chip. Golf is a game of centimetres, and the final score doesn’t ell all the story.


    FIR: 21% GIR:33% Putts: 36  Score: 85 Handicap: still 4.9

    The future: 

    The next round to drop off my best ten is a 2 over. It will be replaced with an 8 unless I break 80.  Potentially my handicap could go out to 5.5 with another poor score.  Roll on Saturday!

    So near and yet…

    A little extra bit of work and a serious start to lifting my mental game were part of this week’s preparation. Did it pay off?  Yes…and NO.

    Generally my driving was better.  50% of fairways hit doesn’t sound like a great deal of improvement, but only one of those five required a creative recovery. Even then it was only about five metres from the cut surface.

    My bunker play was good – with two sand saves, and one GIR from a  fairway bunker.

    For over two thirds of the round my thinking and approach was good – and my ‘course plan’ was sound.  At times I was let down by execution that was not quite right.

    So how did I go with this strategy? Answer: after the 15th I was on track to play to my handicap, despite missing a 2 foot par putt on 13. Three holes later another point had been added to my stableford score and five more shots had been taken than my handicap allowed.

    The statistics:

    FIR: 50%  GIR: 50% PPG in Reg: 2.22 Score: 31 points. Handicap: 4.9 for another week.

    Bad bounces and shanks…

    Week by week measuring of progress is humbling, but enlightening.

    Progress might be sensed on the practice range but needs to be realised on the course. The swing might feel more solid, the errors more ‘consistent’ (i.e. the default error is a fade, not a fade or pull), but the true test comes when the scores count.  On Saturday they counted. The strokes came out too high and the stableford points way too low.

    Looking back there are three glaring errors, a.k.a. shanks, which are not normally part of my game. The effect on my score was a needless three shots. What was most surprising was that two of them were ‘chip-outs’ from trouble! That should be an easy fix. The other shot I will discount as an aberration.

    The other aspect of my game that was disappointing was my driving – three shots ended up way right (two in trouble). After completing nine holes with my worst drive two metres from the short cut (sum total about 10 metres off the fairway from seven drives but only one actually on the fairway) I proceed to carve three of my next four drives towards trees on the right. But for a lucky bounce the pain would have been greater.

    Add in what were effectively two three putts (one from just of the putting surface) and the score wasn’t looking great.

    During the round there were two bits of bad luck. Approaching a bunker I was reflecting on the friendly design of the course bunkers and expecting to find my ball on a flat lie at the bottom of the bunker. Nope! I was plugged at the back of the bunker with a downhill lie in heavy and damp sand. I got it out, just. From there another shot was wasted as I took three to get down from the fringe. Two holes later and my 30 metre pitch landed close to the distance I wanted, but was half a metre left of the target area. Instead of bouncing softly off the grass it leapt into the air off a sprinkler head and bounded merrily across the green into a little swale.  The birdie opportunity quickly became a failed attempt to save par.

    With a little bad  luck and too many bad shots the end result was 30 points. Not the 38 I would like, but not the 28 it could have been. With three wipes and two one pointers on the easy par 5’s I walked away frustrated with parts my round, yet knowing that the good round could be the next one.

    The Statistics:

    FIR: 22%  GIR: 55% PPG: in reg 1.9  Putts: 34  Stableford points: 30 Handicap: 4.9 (unchanged).

    The Bad News:

    Under the new handicapping system one of my best scores drops off in three competition rounds. A good round is needed soon.

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    Kew Golf Club

    A drizzly Melbourne day, greens recently renovated, and I chose to play at Kew Golf Course.  It was just a week since the renovation, and the greens were slow, with a little bit of sand evident on most green. Despite this they putted truly. All the fairways were well grassed and the bunkers were all well maintained. On a fine day it would be a great place to play golf. In the conditions on the day it was still a good place to play golf.

    One view of the approach to the 15th green

    An easy par 5 if you don't go for the green with your second.

    The view from the elevated club house reveals a little bit of water, but most of it does not come into play for well it shots.  Tree lined fairways, well placed bunkers, and well shaped par 4’s and 5’s place a premium on the tee shot.  A trio of interesting holes complete this course – a reachable par 5, the longest par 4, and then a 165 metre par three up the hill towards the club house.

     Without the usual warm up, and using borrowed clubs again, the start was positive – my 3 wood of the tee split the fairway and set up my approach.  An overshot approach, a short chip and missed putt set the tone for the next few holes!  When the driving went off I started to hit the greens. Twelve stableford points for the front nine was not encouraging. With 20 putts, three missed fairways, and only 3 greens in regulation a good score was out of the question.  It looked like this round was not going to be counted for my handicap as I was 8 over at the turn.

    A delightful finishing hole.

    18th green and clubhouse at Kew

    A regulation par on 10 was followed by a shocking tee shot on 11. It was not looking good.  Seven holes later I finished the back nine with 22 points – one under the card – after missing a 1.5 metre birdie putt on 18. What changed?  Just my swing thought – and the result was all six fairways hit and eight greens in regulation. Two one putt greens completed the story.  I signed for 34 points – and was happy to do so.

    I look forward to playing Kew when their greens are running at their normal speed.


    FIR: 78%  GIR: 61%  Putts: 36  PPGinReg: 1.9

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    One golfing goal for 2010 has been achieved. Today I played Ratho Golf course, the oldest course in Australia.

    Located just outside Bothwell, Tasmania, the course surrounds a working farm. New holes have been added and the greens and bunkers are not original, but the course has been on the same piece of land since 1822. With six new holes added (with plans for a further three to complete the eighteen) the course well grassed, well cared for, and offers a good variety for a short course, and a number of interesting – perhaps even novel – challenges.

    Too much trouble to go for the green off the tee

    Risk is high, reward is low at the 6th

    The first few holes are relatively flat and straight with a drainage channel crossing the second, fourth and seventh.  The short 260 metre fourth is a dogleg right with a blind landing area. Rough left and right means the wise choice is to lay up and rely on a 120 metre approach. The risk factor is high here, and the reward is low.

    Hole 6 is a shorter  par 4, just 220 metres! The tee shot is over the crest of a hill and a drain/channel snakes across the fairway dividing it neatly into three sections. Again discretion is called for, and I chose an 8 iron for safety. Even though it was a wise choice poor execution on my next two shots left me a 7 metre putt for par. It didn’t drop.

    The six new holes include some remarkable challenges and one excellent par 3, the 180 metres 11th.   Ten starts near the road and requires a tee shot over a mustering yard. The green, some 500 metres from the tee, sits precariously on the edge of the  river. It does not pay to hit a long wedge to this green, but a short wedge means the putt must traverse a small valley to get into the hole.  A few paces from this green is the 11th tee. The river is just metres away for the entire length of this long par 3, a danger for slicers, while too far left will leave the ball in deep rough.

    View from 15th tee at Ratho

    Make sure you clear the hedgerow - and watch the sheep around the green!

    On 13 and 15 a hedgerow stands between tee and green, and a poor tee shot can be disastrous. On the 197 metre 15th sheep provide a further hazard. While local rules allow a replay if the ball hits a sheep it is hard to see the contacat through the hedgerow!

    The Ratho course does not make the top 100 courses in Australia, and never will. As a keen golfer it was good to play on the oldest course in Australia (and the third oldest in the world).  How do I rate the experience? On my scoring, just OK. For enjoyment and interest – Very Good.

    If you are a golfer, and are in Tassie, make sure you visit Bothwell and play the oldest golf course in Australia.  While in Bothwell, take the time to visit the Australian Golf  Museum as well.    For an all up cost of $20 it is great value and affordable golf.

    My statistics:

    FIR: 8/11  = 72% GIR: 10/18 =  55%  Putts: 29 Score: 71  (4 over) 6 birdies, 6 bogeys, 1 triple bogey!

    Progress toward the goal

    A social round at a new course with borrowed clubs was an opportunity to test out my game – technically and strategically.  For most of the day things worked well, but some poor course management and a couple of slight lapses my thinking and concentration hurt on the score card.

    My stats:

    FIR  38%   GIR 41%  PPG  1.61 (29 Putts) Score 79  (8 over)

    A well trapped green.

    The par 5 8th is reachable in two - if you can hold a three iron on a well trapped green!

    The driving stats don’t look good, but most of my drives were close to the fairway when they missed. Only one drive left me with chip out, and that was caused by lack of course knowledge.  GIR isn’t great either. From good fairway position approaches often came up short – and that might be attributed to failing to adjust to the strange clubs.

    Three holes cost badly. Three putts on two of the par 5’s were  major blemishes, and a double bogey on 6 hurt on the scorecard. The double bogey came after missing the green from 70 meters. Without a lob wedge the recovery shot was almost impossible, so I took the soft option and accepted the double.

    My other learning experience for the day came in the sand.  A wide sole on the club is not helpful when there is little depth to the sand. All three bunker shots were long by at least 1o metres! Not good when the pin is six metres from another bunker.

    Overall I was happy with my ball striking and course management  despite it being my first outing on the course and my first use of this particular set of clubs.

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