Long before I wrote the Six Spoke Approach, long before I met Peter Sanders who turned me onto Shotbyshot.com, I had a gentlemen in my life who taught me the importance of monitoring my “real stats” and what they meant. His name was Charley Matlock, my coach at Florida Southern College.
Sadly, as I write this we are just a few weeks removed from my old coach and dear friend passing away. I’d like to dedicate this month’s article to the life of Charley Matlock. Charley loved the game of golf and loved coaching it as only he could. He was an old school stat freak. What I mean by that is that Charley wasn’t a computer excel spreadsheet or stat program guy. Charley was a paper spreadsheet and pencil and hand-held calculator guy.
Charley didn’t force guys to record stats, but if you wanted to keep an eye on your numbers and would fill in a stat sheet, he would transfer them to his spreadsheet and share the running averages with you. This allowed you a focus you time to a more structured and directed practice sessions. I took my stat numbers to heart and they drove my practice time. Charley instilled in me that players are not good at looking at their own games without prejudice . People lie, numbers don’t.
After school, as I continued to compete, as a professional, I continued to track my stats myself on paper, by pencil, as Charley did. I have to tell you I enjoyed watching the numbers in specific categories evolve.
After my playing career ended and I began to teach and coach, I was blessed to coach one particular LPGA Tour player — Missie Berteotti. Missie was a wonderful student who had great passion for the learning process. It’s no wonder today that she does a wonderful job teaching and coaching in the greater Pittsburgh area herself. It was Missie who introduced me to Mr. Peter Sanders, founder and wwner of in my opinion the greatest stat program on the planet, ShotByShot.com.
Peter is yet another person who blessed my journey, opened my eyes and educated me as to both the truths and lies stats can present. Peter’s program is stand-alone awesome. However, it becomes more valuable in the fact that when you call ShotByShot with a question or concern, 99 percent of the time Peter himself answers the phone and loves to talk golf stats!
Here it is, plain and simple. ShotByShot did certain things for me from day one.
- ShotByShot told me the truth.
- ShotByShot allowed me in many ways to plan my lesson time with greater efficiency for my students.
- ShotByShot kept myself and my students on point. It kept us focused on specific goals (weaknesses ) as the numbers related to exact areas in each student’s golf game.
Please feel free to check out ShotByShot.com. You’ll be glad you did. Tell Peter that TP sent you .
As my knowledge of the importance and accuracy of a well-designed stat program grew, I insisted that my competitive and recreational players kept stats during their rounds. I also counseled with my players and insisted they stat their rounds and share them with me on a bi- weekly basis. This kept us connected and allowed me to better evaluate their chances to score based on the ShotByShot.com feedback — and the student’s desire to excel.
Stats are the brick and mortar that hold together your golf journey.
Stats — the “real numbers” — should open the student’s eyes as to what in fact (not opinion) is occurring during their golf journey. It allows the student to efficiently dedicate valuable time to the weakest link .
Allow me to make one very important closing comment. I’m a big believer in stats. Please strongly consider employing an accurate and efficient stat program to guide your journey. Use the program to structure your practice sessions and always remember that numbers don’t lie! That said, never sacrifice a chance to capture data that will help direct your golf journey .
Best of luck on the rest of your journey.
Tom Patri is founder of TP Golf. He teaches at The Esplanade in Naples, Florida. He also spends limited time both on Long Island, NY and Maryland June-October. View his teaching and coaching bio at www.tompatri.com and reach him directly at [email protected] or (239) 404-7790
Editor’s Note: This is the third of six in-depth instruction pieces in digest form from Top 30 Instructor Tom Patri’s 2005 book, The Six-Spoke Approach to Golf. Tom is one of the most-respected teachers and coaches in the game, and we’re honored to add his deep passion and knowledge to Golf Tips.