Review of 2016 to Date: Tracking Improvements

May 10, 2016
Jake Nichols

This is the time of the golf season to review performance over the first four months. The early build-up of the Desert swing, events in Asia, Australia, and South Africa, and the US based WGCs are complete and Danny Willett’s Masters win will be remembered for years to come. Ahead is the summer sprint of three major championships in seven weeks, the Olympics,  and final qualification for the Ryder Cup.

Now is a great opportunity to take stock of the first third of the season: how is my game overall, how does it compare to my previous performance, and how am I positioned to succeed going into the rest of the season?

One way to judge how the season has gone to date is to compare your performance in 2016 with performance from 2015 (and even earlier seasons – it’s important to place any stretch of play in the right context!). At 15th Club, we often highlight the narrow margins inherent to the professional game. Even small improvements in separate elements of your game can add up to career changing gains.

The key to improvement is judging which changes to make to get those gains and then putting a plan in place to work towards them. 15th Club has developed our Performance Index which judges play across all worldwide pro rounds. Performance Index places each round within the context of the strength of the field and difficulty of the course to measure performance at a high-level. Below are the 25 golfers who have improved their Performance Index most when compared with their play in 2015 (European Tour and PGA Tour golfers with more than 20 rounds only).

Improvement in 2016

  • Both Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel have recovered from more disappointing 2015 seasons to win already on the PGA Tour, while Phil Mickelson may well join them by the end of 2016.
  • Brandon Stone and Soo-min Lee are both young golfers who won their first top level event this season.
  • Some like Rafa Cabrera-Bello have completely changed the trajectory of their seasons and even careers by improving their games in 2016. Rafa looks like a strong contender for a Ryder Cup place and he has contended in several WGCs – earning his way into the remaining major championships and other elite events for the rest of the season.
  • Others find themselves better positioned than last year in the Race to Dubai (Joost Luiten) or FedEx Cup race (Luke List and Aaron Baddeley).

By comparing your performance this season to your play from last season you have an objective marker to judge your performance against. We suggest using our Performance Index as it gives you a high-level view of your performance in all rounds – in the context of field strength and course difficulty. But the important part here is taking an objective look at how your play has changed from last season and building a plan to either continue your improvement or get back on the right track to play better.

Next week we’ll take a look at how to interpret performance when it diverges from results.