PGA Tour players and their fans have a dizzying number of statistics to look at these days. But one measurement of a golfer's round will always mean a little more than any other: greens in regulation.
In my heyday during the 1970s and early '80s, when players saw each other late in the day, conversations started with one question: "How many greens did you hit?" The answer didn't tell the whole story, but when you combined it with a guy's score, it told most of it. If a guy hit 15 greens in regulation but shot 74, it meant his long game was good but he putted poorly. If he hit 11 greens and shot 69, it meant the opposite—he sprayed it all over but chipped and putted like a champion. I think the GIR stat is the one pros and even amateurs should look at first. Improve by three greens a round, and your scores will improve dramatically.