New goals are often set at the end of the year, and/or at the end of the playing season, in preparation for the next, and this is no different in golf. With good intentions to keep a record of all your golf practice, you open the first page in a brand-new notebook. You log your driving range session from earlier in the day, recalling the clubs used and the number of shots hit, filling the neatly drawn table ready for your stats. Like most New Year resolutions, you start with excitement at creating something useful, high motivation to use the data, and looking forward to making it your best golf season yet. However, whether or not you manage to maintain the motivation to record months’ worth of practice sessions (accurately!) or in fact never bought a notebook to start with, have you then ever considered how you would have used the data?
Golfers, typically, don’t do a very good job of recording their practice data, furthermore, not enough golfers understand why knowing their workloads from all their practice, playing on the golf course, their strength and conditioning sessions and other physical activity is key to helping them improve. Why? Perhaps because there’s never been a platform to do this easily, accurately and live on your mobile device alongside your range session, round, or training. Perhaps because they’ve not seen it as a necessary process to go through. Perhaps because their coach has never asked to discuss the data. Whatever the reason, it’s time to consider the benefits of this and make a start with your first, accurate, efficient golf practice log.
So what are the benefits of logging whether you warm-up physically, exactly how many balls you hit with each club (and the order!), how long you spend on the range, how hard the session was, and how many minutes you spend putting?! There are many, and below we present five of the top benefits to monitoring your practice sessions on the driving range:
1. Avoiding ball bashing and practicing without purpose! Knowing how many balls you’ve hit and logging what clubs you are using provides you with the opportunity to reflect on the purpose of your practice and if each session is appropriate.
2. Improved communication between you and your coach – Being able to show your coach what you do when they are not there for practice sessions provides a valuable opportunity for them to help you structure your practice sessions to be more effective in achieving your goal(s).
3. Ensuring your practice drives performance gains and not increase risk of injury – is your practice consistent, do you go weeks without hitting a ball and then hit 300 balls in preparation for your next competition? Or do you make sure your practice is organized and increases gradually (which can help to reduce your risk of injury)?
4. Insights into how your golf practice contributes to your overall workload – knowing how much stress your practice is putting on your body relative to all the other activities you do can help you better understand what changes you might want to make to either your practice, training, or other physical activity.
5. Ensuring that the amount of practice matches your priorities – throughout the season you will have different priorities, making swing changes, course-management, long-game consistency, short-game accuracy, etc. Monitoring each practice session will help you understand if you are using your time wisely relative to your current priority.
Now we know the top benefits, the question is how do we make sure we log this information efficiently and optimally? The AMI Sports: Golf app was designed by golfers for golfers. The interface allows you to quickly select the club you are using and how many balls you hit with it. You can record them in the exact order you hit and enter more shots if you go back to a club you used later – this allows you to quickly log during natural breaks in your practice rather than trying to remember what you have done with each club at the end or hours after your session. At the end of your practice session you can then log the total time you were practicing for and your rating of how much effort the session took (sRPE). Visiting your ‘Personal Monitoring’ area allows you to assess all your summary data and the ‘Daily Log’ area provides a record of all your sessions. What’s more, by adding your coach into the ‘My Team’ section in your profile, they will receive a PDF monitoring report, each week, straight to their inbox. Packed full of data summaries and graphs, this will allow them to work with you to optimize your practice and ensure your goals are achieved.
Dr Ben Langdown is a Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching at The Open University and has published various journal papers in the area of golf and sports science. Specifically, Ben's research focuses on athlete monitoring, warm-up protocols, and training interventions in the sport of golf. Ben is also a Strength and Conditioning Coach for England Golf and over the past 15 years has provided biomechanics and S&C support to golfers from amateurs through to European (Men’s and Ladies’) Tours and a European Senior Tour Season Champion. Ben has presented at 4 World Golf Fitness Summits and the 2018 World Scientific Congress of Golf, where he also acted as an invited review panel member supporting education for >150 academics/coaches. He has delivered various invited keynote workshops with international organisations, including England Golf, The PGAs of GB&I, Spain, Czech Republic and Slovakia with all adopting his applied approaches. Most recently, Ben has developed the AMI Sports: Golf athlete monitoring app allowing further insight into golfers’ practice, tournaments, training and daily wellbeing.
Tim Roberts is the Director of Science + Innovation at Therabody and the Co-Founder of Scientific Athlete. At Therabody, Tim specializes in the development and execution of effective science and innovation strategies that translate to improved business functions. Prior to this role, Tim was Senior Sports Scientist with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and was based at their laboratory at IMG Academy (2011-2020). He continues to work with golfers at every level in both lab and field settings, whilst collaborating with several international golf organisations. Furthermore, Tim works with professional golfers providing sports science, nutrition, and strength and conditioning support.
Tim has presented two invited presentations at World Golf Fitness Summits and at the inaugural Golf and Health Symposium in 2018. These presentations covered the application of research into nutrition and hydration, sport science methodology and athlete monitoring in golf
In addition to this work in golf he has led the development and execution of both research and applied strategies for athlete monitoring in several other sports including with the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, and elite basketball, soccer, and baseball organisations.