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Does Practicing More Make You Better At Golf?

We wanted to create a data study into practice habits and how they linked to golfers getting better.

We have 92 golfers at the time of writing, but we need closer to 500 for some good insights (and to break it down by handicap groups). Here are some fun trends and insights so far. We’ll do a proper analysis with all the data (and some proper stats) if/when we get to 500 responses.

If you have 5 minutes please fill in this questionnaire and then enjoy reading the fun trends so far.

Trending so far:

Practice Hours vs Improvement

Practising more (self-reported) does not correlate with lowering your handicap.

There are some really interesting sub-trends in practice habits, but the numbers are too low currently.

Golf Equipment Spend vs Improvement

Golfers who improve spend more on golf equipment?? Or spending on golf equipment more makes you better at golf…Let’s go with the latter and you go treat yourself to that new Scotty Cameron, set of irons and TrackMan simulator… Joking obviously.

P.S. No geeks ruin this by explaining the R2 number to those who don’t know.

Practice Hours Vs Handicap

On average, better golfers do not practice more. Does this surprise you?

Practice Hour Vs Got Better or Worse

Just to confirm the above, here are the average practice hours of golfers who got better or worse over the past 12 months.

Golfers who practice more, on average, got worse.

Is Practice Bad for you??

All of the above doesn’t mean practice is bad for you. Rather it suggests how you go about your practice is far more important than the hours you put it.

I hope this cheered up your inner golfing geek.

If you have 5 minutes to spare I’d really appreciate you filling in the questionnaire and sharing it with any golfing buddies.

Thanks so much.


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Will Shaw, PhD, MSc, PGA Pro

Will is a PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. He spent 10 years lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in Biomechanics and Motor Control before becoming the Head of Golf for the University of Exeter. He currently runs Golf Insider UK, Sport Science Insider around wider consulting and academic roles in sport performance and motor control.

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