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Golf Shot Pattern Dashboard

I built this tool to help you shoot lower scores. It will take a few minutes of work, but I promise it will be worth your while. It’s the same approach I use when working with elite amateurs and pros, reduced down into one dashboard that is free for you to use whenever you want to use it.

One of the key problems golfers have is not knowing where their golf shots actually finish. I know this might sound strange, as you’ll be well aware of the time you’ve spent hunting around the bushes. However, after 18 years of coaching at all levels, I can assure you most golfers (even very good players) don’t understand the patterns that are present in their golf game.

If you knew these patterns you would shoot lower scores, just by making better decisions. This data also informs what you should practice and how you should practice with each club.

How to use this tool

Enter your data from a round of golf (or many rounds) and within seconds you’ll have five useful outputs that will help you shoot lower scores. I’ll explain each output below before we meet the dashboard or click here to jump to the dashboard.

Let’s run through what this tool gives you as a golfer searching for lower scores. The data we’ll look at is the most recent round I played at The Berkshire GC.

1. Understand how far you hit clubs & club usage

The top table calculates the average distance you hit each club on the golf course (where it counts). It also shows your min and max distance for each club. As you add 2 or more rounds of data in, the ‘Average’ number should become your go-to gapping yardage for each club.

Golf gapping calculator

The second really interesting output you’ll find is the ‘Shots’ column (right). This tells you how many times you use each club on the golf course. I generally know that I need to practice my driving and wedges, but before I filled out this form I had no idea I didn’t hit one 6-iron or 7-iron all round!

Use this data to ensure you are practising with the clubs that you actually use most on the golf course. This is such a simple win to help accelerate your practice resulting in lower scores.

2. Gapping chart – Under vs Over-clubbing

The second chart shows your target distance vs the actual distance you hit each club (colour coded by club). If your dots are all on the diagonal line, you are a distance control expert! If your dots fall below the line you are under-clubbing. If they are above the line you are over-clubbing.

Once you have your data, take a moment to look at the patterns. Here we can see the dots are pretty evenly spread around the line for most clubs, but my lob wedge shots didn’t travel as far as I estimated them to.

I can simply make an adjustment for the next time I play. My driver was also travelling further than expected, but the fairways were pretty firm.

3. Lateral error

The next chart shows you the lateral error for each club in boxplot form. The narrower the boxplots the more consistent you are, the wider boxplots are suggest more varibility. Check out the Lob Wedge vs Driver boxplot size. This is what we would explect, but you can see it isn’t a standard increase as we move towards the longer clubs.

If your boxplots are left of the line, you tend to miss that direction of your target, a prime example is the driver data below. If you boxes are more to the right, this is your most common miss.

This tells you if you should aim more left or right of your intended target. Or, if you are working on improving a slice, hook, pull or push it also tells you which clubs are most affected by your lateral error.

In the table above you can see a couple of hooky drives and one very left Pitching Wedge. However, the long to mid irons are generally straight or slightly right.

This allows me to focus my accuracy and technical work more on wedges and Driver (guess what I normally use for swing drills…5, 6 or 7-iron…whoops). This tool is useful for me as well as you guys!

4. Shot Pattern vs target

Most golfers can stop with the three charts above and get great value from this tool. As you collect more data into your spreadsheet the charts below will become more useful. This chart takes all of your distance and lateral information and breaks it down by club.

The cross in the middle is your target, with all the colour dots representing where shots finish relative to your target. By default you have all clubs shown, but under the chart, you can toggle to remove woods, or just look at 5-iron to wedge shots (right-hand image).

In an ideal world, you would have a lovely scatter, evenly distributed around the middle cross, but we play golf…

The left-hand chart is pretty balanced, but when we look at just of 5-iron to Wedges (right image), you’ll see I have a pattern of missing short and left. Useful information I can take into my play and practice.

ps – in the menu, you can filter all charts to just look at one club. If you collect lots of data this will be super handy.

5. Club consistency table

I really hope the outputs so far give you lots of useful information you can apply to your practice and play. I wanted to create one final output that gives you numbers rather than visual charts. Numbers allow you to check back and see if you are getting better.

The final table ranks each club in terms of ‘Radial Error’ the average distance from your target This is the actual distance your shots finished from your target – quite important for any golfer. The smaller the number the better your performance.

There is also a toggle above the table that allows you to switch to ‘Average Radial Error %’. This allows you to look at how accurate your clubs are relative to the distance you are trying to hit them.

Golf shot pattern error tool explained

In the left image my 9-iron is the most accurate and my Driver the least (as expected). But when we hit the order by % error (right) you can see my Pitching Wedge and Lob Wedge were the least accurate clubs when we consider how far I had to my target and how far I ended up from my intended target.

These are the club I need to work on most, they are the least accurate and I use them often on the golf course. How do I need to work on them? In the right-hand table, you can see my Lob Wedge is all down to distance control, whereas my Pitching Wedge is a combination of distance and missing.

Over to you

Have fun, I really hope it helps you shoot lower scores. I suggest you collect 1-2 rounds, fill in the spreadsheet and analyse your data. Then if it is useful, collect another 3-5 rounds and look at how your patterns are improving and changing.

I’m a golf coach and a geeky scientist – not a developer, it’s the best I could do over 2 months. It works best on laptops and desktops but still functions on mobile. Let me know what is useful and what could be improved in the comments below.

If you find it of value please share it with a friend, or around the internet on golfing sites. If this proves to be valuable, let us know and we look at how we can integrate it into the Break X Golf app in the coming months.

Happy analysing – Will

How to input your data

This requires you to spend 5-10 minutes inputting your shots (tee to green). You have two options:

  1. Manually enter 1 shot at a time into the app below (best on your phone).
  2. Populate the pre-built Excel sheet below with a round of golf (or many rounds) and drag and drop the file into the app (much quicker if you are on a computer).

You can download this Excel, save it, and update it with however many rounds worth of data you want to analyse. Click this link to jump down to read more about how to fill in the Excel.

Frequently asked questions

This is a new tool, so I’m sure you have some questions.

How to fill in the spreadsheet

The video below shows you how to enter your data. Clear the data in the sheet, keeping the headings, then add one shot on each row.

  1. Select your club from the drop-down menu.
  2. Enter how far you were planning to hit the shot.
  3. Enter how far the shot actually travelled.
  4. Select if it went straight, left or right.
  5. Enter how far it finished offline.

This data doesn’t have to be perfect. Estimates are fine, don’t worry too much about target distance with driver and woods, but try to be more precise with irons and wedge shots.

Your lateral error is how far left/right you were of your intended target. Sometimes this might be the flag, other times it might be the middle of the green. You want to find out if you are missing left/right of where you are trying to hit the golf ball.

Spoiler alert – golf pros and elite amateurs often aim away from the flag and more to the middle of the green.

How many rounds of data should I use?

The tool will work with 9 or 18 holes worth of shots, but the more rounds you add, the more powerful the results will be. I love to analyse players’ shot patterns in 5 round batches, so that would be the ideal number to aim for.

I can copy the sheet or clear the data in the sheet if you want to asses your progress over time. Sorry, I couldn’t build a whole backend database and log in for everyone.

Should I include all shots I hit from tee to green?

For better players (18 handicap and below), I would include all shots tee to green, apart from chipping out from under a tree, bunker shots etc. This will give you a great picture of your long-game patterns.

For high-handicap golfers, I would follow the rules above but also exclude any complete duffs, tops etc. This should then give you gapping numbers and shot patterns that are most useful for what you intend to do. The small downside of this approach is that you’ll have less information of how many times you are using each club.

Club consistency table calculations

I don’t know how many golfers actually want to read this, but for those few geeks, here is how the numbers are calculated. On the right side of the table, we have ‘Average Lateral Error’ and ‘Average Distance Error’.

In this app shots finishing left are made into negative values and right misses are positive values. Shots short of your target are made negative, and long shots are positive. Simply averaging the data means the error (long/short or left/right) would be cancelled out.

To resolve this both calculations use a sum of squares approach before an average is calculated, resulting in the value you see ‘Average Lateral Error’ and ‘Average Distance Error’.

‘Average Radial Error’ is then calculated by walking from your target, down your lateral error, and then along your lateral error. You can now look back at your target and see how far you are away. This is the actual distance your shot finished from your target (in yards) and is calculated via Pythagaros.

Finally, we have ‘Average Radial Error (%)’. Knowing how far you are from your target is pretty important for golf, but how do you compare a 5-iron to a 9-iron, as you are attempting to hit a 5-iron further? Average Radial Error (%) takes your ‘Average Radial Error’ and divides it by your ‘Target distance’, then converts it into a percentage.

This allows you to compare apples to apples and see your relative accuracy with each club in your bag.

What are good numbers for me?

Knowing how far you are away from your target is a really important metric in golf. These numbers quantify that skill, but are rarely used. After searching the scientific literature and golf apps out there I can only find one use in a putting VR study – Good work Dr Gavin Buckingham.

This almost stopped me publish this table, but I decided it is worth sharing and pushing as a metric. So here are two tips to help:

  1. Are your radial error numbers getting lower over time? If they are great, you will likely shoot lower scores.
  2. I’m a Golf Pro who’s coming back from a year out injured. Take the numbers in the chart above as ballpark data for one round from a 2 to 0 handicap golfer.

A 10% error is not a bad aim if you want to get really good at golf. Meaning you’re on average 10 yards away from 100 yards away and 20 yards away from 200 yards.

Feel free to leave any comments or thoughts below. You can bookmark this page with the little widget in the bottom right.

Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK

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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.

7 thoughts on “Golf Shot Pattern Dashboard”

  1. I’m very much into keeping my statistics though not into such detail as this. Looks like I’ll have to take a notebook out with me so I can remember all the distance data. I look forward to your emails and whilst I am knocking on a bit (74 HI 6.9) I am still trying to improve where I can. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • Thanks Mike,

      This one is for the golfing geeks. What I would say is that you don’t have to be perfect with your guesses of distance or accuracy, just estimates. If you are 70-80% correct with remembering you’ll still build a very useful picture of your golf.

      Keep up the fine golf sir.

      Will

      Reply
      • Hi Will

        I tried out the tracker with three rounds and whilst a bit fiddly to use it was a bit of an eye opener. I’ve always known I have a tendency to hit my shots right but didn’t realise how many until I had inputted 2 rounds in their entirety. Based on this I made some adjustments and am pleased to say that in todays round my dispersion was much tighter and the radial error reduced. After using for 3 rounds I will be using the tracker say once a month for a couple of rounds to see how I am trending whilst also only entering shots that I have hit well. The not inconsiderable number of heel/toe shots and fats/thins I’ll miss.

        Great stuff, very useful and many thanks for your efforts.

        With best regards,

        Mike

        Reply
        • Hi Mike,

          Thanks for the message and feedback. I think your approach is spot on. It isn’t an every round tool, but once very few months adding in 2-3 rounds for a check up.

          Glad it is of use, it certainly wasn’t an instant hit with readers! But that’s the fun of building and writing, you just never know what will resonate.

          I know the golfers who do use this will improve.

          I hope your golf is on fine form.

          Kind regards,

          Will

          Reply
  2. Hi Will

    I assume this is just for full shots ..i.e. not little chips around the green with a 9/8 iron?

    Looking forward to start using this next round… Strangely enough I used another format to record distances/clubs but then lost access to it and removed the club data from my own cobbled together spreadsheet which I used on the course so I will have to add the club bit back into it…It’s a hard life

    Regards Andy
    Regards Andy

    Reply
    • Hi Andy,

      I hope you are well. Yes, just full shots, and I’d suggest collecting 2-3 rounds every 2-3 months and putting them in here. It is a lot of work for every round (even if you love spreadsheet). But there will be valuable trends that stand out when you use it.

      I hope you’re having a great summer of golf.

      Kind regards,

      Will

      Reply

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