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Editor's Letter

Instant Analysis

October 2012

The guy in the picture holding up a Golf Digest with himself on the cover isn't me. He's too slim and has too much hair.

I remember asking Sam Snead once who should play him if there was a movie made of his life. He said without hesitating: "Fred MacMurray; not a bad golfer." I thought that was funny. He asked me who would play me. I said Walter Matthau. Sam just nodded, which I took to mean he saw the resemblance.

We all dream of being so famous that magazines are written about us, and now I'm here to say it's a reality. Through the wonders of technology and a groundbreaking partnership with GolfLogix, the No. 1 GPS app for distance measuring in golf, Golf Digest has created the first personalized magazine for you, about you and by you. Forgive the self-serving subject, but I really think this is an innovation you'd want to know about.

The way it works is amazingly simple. GolfLogix is an app that you download on your smartphone (free for the basic service) that gives you distances for every hole on more than 30,000 courses worldwide. It also allows you to keep score and track your shots. The company has been around for 12 years and has 1.75 million downloads, so the recording is just about as sophisticated as you'd want to make it. The new Golf Digest Live upgrade (30-day free trial, then $19.99 a year) takes that data and delivers to you at the end of the round a complete statistical analysis of your game--broken down by driving, approach shots and short game--with comparisons to your past rounds, rounds played by golfers like you and PGA Tour averages in easy-to-understand graphs. Your outlying weaknesses are identified, and tips and articles are prescribed for you from the archive of Golf Digest. You can view this content on your phone or tablet or print it out in the form of a whole magazine that we call My Golf Digest. And it's delivered instantly after your round--you get a different magazine for every time you play.


Some Golf Digest content is accessible while you play--basic tips, rules videos, jokes and a panic button--but we're as concerned about slow play as anyone, so we've put our efforts into the post-round experience. You'll be able to view your personalized lessons and drills including demonstration videos at the range, too.

And all the content is provided by Golf Digest's best-of-the-best team: Lou Riccio, a professor at Columbia who has studied golf stats for more than 30 years, does the analytics and algorithms; former USGA executive director David Fay performs the rules videos; Todd Anderson leads our top teachers in instruction videos; Randy Myers handles warm-up and fitness, and articles come from Golf Digest's masthead of all-star teachers and tour pros, the whole process overseen by Matt Ginella, Peter Morrice and Anthony Aguila.

In one of the rounds I played recently on my home course in Connecticut, I learned my average drive was 221 yards (real yards, not the imagined 250 I thought I hit it), and my longest drive that day was 267 (must have hit a sprinkler head).

The 221 figure for the day was a couple of yards short of my average and 21 yards short of golfers who score 78, as I did on this particular round. I hit 69 percent of the fairways, 23 percent missing left and only 7 percent right--hmmm.

My best stat was in sand saves. I hit it in four greenside bunkers and got it up and down twice for a 50-percent average, twice my norm. I did better than golfers like me (30 percent) and even pros (40 percent), so I got no bunker tips. Much more detail and analysis followed, and I was sent a 33-page magazine personalized to my driving faults with articles by Rick Smith ("Shift Left & Let It Go") and Rickie Fowler ("My Keys to Great Driving") and some short-game advice from Raymond Floyd ("10 Rules for Becoming a Chipping Virtuoso") and Dave Stockton ("4 Things You Should Do, But Don't"). I actually went to the range, which is a breakthrough for me. With no apologies, I recommend it.

My wife has lived through every dogleg and practice round in the development of this technology and pronounces it a very guy kind of thing, as in "Only a guy would be so obsessed with golf as to want a complete postmortem on every round he's played." I get the feeling at times that she would prefer George Clooney to play me in the movies, but Walter Matthau is the one she's got.

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