Some golfers like to keep statistics on their game. All golfers who want to improve, should. The usual stats are fairways hit, greens in regulation, up and downs, and number of putts. While these stats tell you what, they don’t tell you why. I would suggest you keep a different set of stats that are more to the point.
A valuable exercise that will tell you what you really need to know about your shot-making and mental game is to evaluate every shot after the round is over. When you get home, the round should be fresh enough in your mind that you can sit down for a half-hour and make a notation about every shot, except, say, the one-foot or under tap-ins.
This is a scheme I use.
1. Given my skills,
a. I got everything I could out of this shot.
b. My head was there, but my body didn’t perform.
c. I wasted a stroke because of a mental miscue.
3. For 2c, 2d, and 2e shots, was I:
a. trying too hard,
b. upset about something,
c. intimidated by the situation,
d. losing my focus temporarily,
e. trying something I had never practiced,
f. in a brand-new situation with no clue,
g. trying to get too much out of the situation,
h. playing a shot I don’t know how to hit,
i. not assessing the situation fully,
j. not aimed properly, or
k. just making a bad stroke.
Every shot gets a 1 and 2 score. The shots you aren’t satisfied with get a 3 score. While poor shot-making is sometimes related to the skills you have developed so far, much more often they are due to mental errors. Being able to fill out part 3 means you are paying attention to the way your mind operates when you play. I guarantee that you could take four shots off your game right now by playing smarter and keeping your head in the game.
Pay special attention to 3j. A teaching pro told me once that almost half the swing problems he fixes involve nothing more than correcting the student’s aim.