“Practice smarter not harder, but you can't do that if you can't measure.”
That’s two-time Australian golf coach of the year Richard Woodhouse, one of the brightest minds in golf coaching and a leading coach of elite players.
Richard began his professional career as a New Zealand PGA member in 2002. By 2016 he was the Australian PGA Golf Coach of the Year and is now Head of Golf Instruction at KDV Sport on the Gold Coast.
He recently sat down with Toby McGeachie, host of The Golf Coach podcast, to share his valuable insights on how to get the most out of your golf game, and how to use statistics to improve.
As well as sharing how he uses Circles in his everyday training regimes, he offered up all his top tips and tricks on how to improve as an athlete.
He says it’s all about having discipline in building habits, and establishing your “why,” as in why you’re working hard. What are your goals? What’s important to you? What are your values? You’ll also need to accept you’ll have to make some sacrifices to get there.
According to Richard, consistency is also key when it comes to training. Set clear intentions on your training goals and benchmarks and break your training hours down into blocks.
But it doesn't have to be hard. Richard encourages golfers to make training easier on themselves by it’s all about removing decision fatigue on the golf course and in day-to-day life.
“The less decisions you have to make, the better,” says Richard.
“Lay out your gym clothes the night before, know what you’re having for breakfast. It all helps.”
But what helps Richard the most, is the Circles platform – he said he’s been “astounded” by its performance.
“I’m blown away by what Circles gave me insight into. The possibilities of this software and applicable training ideas are endless.”
He explained that he gets each of his players to use Circles to record their stats – e.g., where they hit each golf shot.
“If I don’t know what the player is doing versus what their benchmark is, I can't individualize their training. That’s why I give every player I train a Circles account and get them to enter five rounds of data, and once that’s entered I do an evaluation of their game.”
Richard uses Circles to gather data on all their strokes and metrics for every single category. He can then work out their benchmarks and identify the gaps between their benchmarks and their goals.
“We then design a practice plan that’s relevant to address those areas,” explains Richard.
“The players are then able to log in and view their practice log. Their goals will be set ten percent harder than their benchmarks need to be. They then have to achieve and record those goals and send them to me.”
Because the truth of the matter is, the majority of people don’t know what to work on until they start measuring and getting those statistics.
“Golf is the most poorly practiced sport on the planet,” explained Richard.
“When playing golf it’s impossible for the environment to be consistent because we’re playing on different courses every time. That’s why we need our game to be consistent – and we get there through understanding our game and our practice tendencies and working out how to practice properly. “
Richard urges all players, from rookies to pro, to use stats to improve their game.
“If you’re not keeping stats and you’re not aware of them, you definitely need to be - and encourage your coach to if they’re not already. Golf is a frustrating game if you don’t improve and you won't improve if you don’t know how to.
He says he cares deeply about his players and wants them to succeed – and that’s why he relies on Circles.
“If I can benchmark, measure and draw feedback, I can improve practice habits and time efficiency. Through that I can build players that understand the right areas.”
“And when players understand their game, it's incredible what they achieve.”