By Paul Myers
One of the best stats on the PGA Tour that indicates how well a certain player is performing is their conversion percentage of birdies from the fairway. The equation is quite simple – of the total number of approach shots that a given player hits from the fairway, how many of them are converted into birdies? Obviously, the more times that a player is taking advantage of their scoring chances, the better they are going to fare week in and week out.
Customize as Needed
If you are a pretty good player already, you might be able to use this same statistic in your game. Track how many fairways you hit, and how many of those end up as birdies when all is said and done. It shouldn’t take too long to establish a percentage for your own performance. However, if you aren’t yet to a level in your own game where you make birdies very often, you might want to consider tracking pars instead. The idea is the same, only you will be seeing how frequently you can convert a good drive into a par, rather than a birdie. You can use this measuring tool to track performance and then switch to birdies later on when you start to make them more often.
It should be no surprise to learn that one of the best players in the world is also one of the best at turning a fairway hit into a birdie on the scorecard. Jimmy Walker, who has really developed into one of the top players on Tour over the last few years, has turned 32.48% of his fairways hit into birdies so far in 2015. That is almost one out of every three tries – which is quite remarkable. That kind of number requires a few elements to come together perfectly. First, he is hitting long drives to set up shorter approach shots. Next, he is hitting those approach shots within a good distance of the hole. Finally, his putter is doing its job and closing the deal on the birdie. Making birdies is never easy, but Jimmy Walker makes it look that way.
An All-Around Indicator
As it relates back to your game, this statistic is really a measure of overall quality – long driving, good iron play, and good putting. So, the best way to improve on this number is simply to practice all parts of your game and work toward converting more and more chances with each passing round. The same reason that this stat is such a useful one to look at is the same reason that it is difficult to improve on – because it measures so much of your game in one number.