2012 Performance Analysis

With the 2012 golf season concluded it’s time to examine my performance against plan and compare this season’s playing stats against 2011.  The KPIs:

Year Total rounds Scoring Avg. GIR Avg. Total Putts Avg.
2012 33 78.85 8.74 31.88
2011 34 79.60 8.74 32.86

The primary objective in 2012 was better ball striking which should have translated into a higher GIR average.  It’s quite remarkable that the GIR is exactly the same across the two seasons, but no improvement is considered a miss.  My early season conditioning work left me feeling good, hitting it longer, but not necessarily straighter.  In the fall, I didn’t have enough time to practice or play and my ball striking went in the crapper.  I failed to reach double digit GIR in any of my last five rounds, and failed to break 80 as well.  It’s a no-brainer, but the key takeaway is that I need the reps and more importantly, reps from the right positions.  Interestingly, my scoring average dropped by 3/4 of a stroke, which can directly be attributed to better putting.  I’m not sure why because I practiced my putting less, but I suspect it was a mid-season change to a right hand dominated stroke that led to better distance control on my lag putts.  I’ve since abandoned that method and adopted one that helps me judge pace better on greens of varying speed.  Only five of my 33 rounds were sub 30-putt rounds and I’d love to get more of those, but the big picture shows a very consistent year with the putter, and I never took more than 35 in a round.

The great thing about the off-season is that you can battle test ideas for improvement and not feel pressured to abandon them because of one or two bad rounds since you aren’t playing regularly.  I’m very excited to work with my new custom fitted irons and have been doing a lot of reading and film study of myself, specifically in the down-the-line position with my driver and noticed some glaring flaws.

In this video you’ll see my swing plane is way too far inside on the takeaway and too flat throughout the back and downswing.  My position at the top is open with a cupped wrist and it’s no wonder I’m struggling to control my driver and am only slightly better with the irons.  It’s also clear that hoping a year of pure conditioning would improve my ball striking was a mistake.  The numbers don’t lie and neither does the film.  So I am humbled yet determined to improve in 2013 by making changes over the winter to key swing positions.  I’ll specifically focus on my position halfway back, at the top, and on the downswing.  I came across an excellent video I’d like to share at MySmartGolf.com of the one-plane swing.  Have any of you seen this one?

New equipment debut: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Christmas came early this year as I put my new set of irons and wedges through a full game practice yesterday and battle tested with a round at Poolsville this morning.  Let’s look at the Good, Bad, and Ugly.The Good Bad and Ugly

The Good:

Most noticeable change with the JPX 825 Pro irons and the H4 hybrid irons is the ability to attack the ball with confidence.  I was able to swing hard and not have to worry about hitting the big push.  I love hitting knock down shots into the wind and pulled off a beauty with the 6-iron from light rough on my third hole today.  Then I played an awesome 3/4 recovery swing from under a tree with the 3-hybrid from about 175 yards on #4.  These clubs hit the ball where you aim them and that is huge for me.

Big plus on the new 50, 54, and 58 degree Cleveland wedges especially around the green.  I hit the 54 and 58 from the practice bunker yesterday and both proved more than capable.  I’m looking forward to controlling distance out of the bunkers by having two go-to clubs.  Today I tried a lower running pitch with the 54 and got plenty of check on the ball.  Previously I would have played that shot with my old 56 and tried to carry it farther which is harder to judge because of the added air time.  Another plus is the crisp contact and straight direction chipping with the JPX 8-iron.  The low leading edge and classic look builds confidence and promotes crisp contact.  I’m absolutely giddy about building a new short shot repertoire with the Cleveland trio.

The bad:

Absolutely no complaints with any of the new equipment.  I will need to get used to the Cleveland 50 on full swings.  I reliably hit my old Cleveland 49 gap wedge 100 yards and the new 50 seemed a little hard to control trajectory and distance reliably.  Again, the sample size was limited to 15 swings on the range and one shot in play today so no worries other than the obvious lack of available practice time with winter fast approaching.

The ugly:

The dirty little secret about good scoring is that it’s set up by good driving and mine is a mess.  Over Thanksgiving and again yesterday, I spent time on the range trying to straighten out my driver and couldn’t.  I was all over the place today and finally pulled three wood on my last five tee shots to keep the ball in play.  The iron club fitting has opened my eyes about playing with properly fit equipment.  Everyone has got swing deficiencies but mine cannot be as bad as the results I was getting with the driver.  To capitalize on these new irons I need to be straighter off the tee and am going to get fit for a driver during the winter and make the purchase before the 2013 season starts.

Final verdict:

The jury is still out on full swing distances and yardage adjustments as one round in moderately cold weather is not enough time to make a judgement.  But playing any golf in December is a big plus 🙂