One Thing the Average Golfer Can Take Away from Maja Stark’s Incredible Sunday
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Maja Stark of Sweden tees off on the 6th hole during Day Four of the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics at Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Clubs on August 14, 2022 in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
This past Sunday, Maja Stark carded a remarkable 10-under 63 en route to a five-stroke victory at the ISPS Handa World Invitational. It was her first win, and her 20-under total set a new tournament record.
Maja did many things right on Sunday en route to her 63 but one statistic that stands out is that she hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation (83%).
So, what can the average golfer glean from the stark (pun intended) difference between her incredible play vs. rest of the rest of us? Perspective.
The Truth About Hitting Greens in Regulation and Your Game
Amateur golfers tend to get frustrated by not hitting more greens in regulation (GIR). They see professionals like Maja hitting greens at an 83% clip and want to get to that level of consistency and get upset when they don't. However, most amateur golfers largely inflate where they think they should be and where they are currently. The below data, from Arccos Golf, lays out greens hit in regulation by golfers of varying handicaps. Notice that even scratch golfers are well under Stark's incredible GIR percentage. Use this chart to help manage your expectations out on the course and to plan your practice.
Handicap - Average GIR %
25 - 16.23%
20 - 20.44%
15 - 25.98%
10 - 34.66%
5 - 45.39%
0 - 58.09%
Why Having This Perspective is Important for Your Game
It is important to strive to hit the ball better, and with that, hit more greens in regulation. However, the reality is that the vast majority of golfers will never have enough time carved out of their busy schedules to put in the practice necessary to reach the levels they wish to achieve. So don't get frustrated with your game. Perspective is everything, especially when time is limited for most of us to improve our individual play. What players need to do to improve their scoring is to start small — Work on improving your game from 50 yards and in. Put an emphasis on getting up and down at a higher rate. Dial in your putting. Use this new perspective to practice smarter. Continue to work on your full swing, but focus more of the time you have practicing the areas where improvement will be seen more realistically and at a faster pace.