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Keep Golf Records

12th Secret

For Greater Pleasure and Improvement, Keep Golf Records. I have derived golf enjoyment in many ways, but as I look back I find that the greatest pleasures have come from keeping, tabulating, and examining my golf scores and records. I have kept such records for more than 20 years. Here are some of the many benefits I have derived which have contributed to faster improvement:

1. I know precisely what I am shooting now, and how this compares with previous shooting, and I can see what improvement I can hope to make in the future.

2. Since I periodically strike averages, every stroke is always important to me no matter how poorly I may be playing any given round. If I can eke out an 86 instead of an 87, this is just as important as getting 72 instead of 73 in a round that will have to be averaged in with nine other rounds. As a consequence, I have a very strong habit of being careful.

3. Since, in effect, my records force me into careful play, I have habitually played under a tension of my own making. I am thus habituated to pressure and do not feel that I am affected by it.

4. My records provide me with a measuring stick for the effectiveness of practice. My scores will reveal if any particular type of practice is paying off. In addition to round scores, I may also keep records of practice shots, just as a scientist does in his conduction of an experiment. These records help to keep me out of golfing blind alleys.

5. My records prevent golfing confusion. I do not underestimate or overestimate my golfing abilities merely because a few rounds are poor and a few are good. I know a genuine slump from a false one and do not abandon satisfactory methods of play for problematical new ones. Without records I could not tell how my general game has stood up for the past ten years. For instance, this past year I scored the lowest average I ever had, but, except for the totaling of games, I would never have known it. I do not "feel" that I am playing one whit better than last year, five years ago, or ten years ago. Often I have the delusion that in a previous part of my personal golfing history I was driving or putting much better, but the records fail to show it.

6. My records enable me to maintain a golfing equanimity, deriving a long-pull satisfaction from the game. I am not disturbed by events that do not justify disturbance.

7. There is a keen pleasure in posting scores, striking averages and noticing trends. This pleasure is superimposed on the pleasure derived from the golf itself.

8. Learning is more rapid if one keeps records. It has been found that students who are continuously aware of the standings of their daily and weekly grades perform better than those who are not so informed.

9. By keeping records, I have provided myself with a permanent golfing partner—myself. This makes golf so interesting that even solitary play is stimulating.  I have played many more rounds by myself than I have with others, and they have provided a unique and pleasurable form of recreation.