RBC Canadian Open

Hamilton Golf & Country Club


Here's a round tracking app that shows you the numbers on your mental game

April 19, 2016

These days, statistical self-analysis is all the rage in golf. From the PGA Tour’s data-rich ShotLink system for the best in the game to smartphone-driven GPS-based round trackers like Arccos and Game Golf for average hacks, golf is becoming more and more about understanding your personal numbers. There even are consumer swing analyzers like Zepp Golf and Swingbyte and a round analysis tool that gives you virtual replays of every swing you make in the course of your round like ClubHub.

But all this self-analysis overlooks one fairly critical component. What about the other 90 percent of the game, the mental side?

Enter a new app from Biirdie Golf that takes the analysis away from strokes and swings and focuses instead on each round’s thoughts and emotions. Through a series of post-round question, Biirdie Golf aims to produce a mental game scorecard for every round.

“There’s lots of terrific mental game content out there, but I didn’t see any products that were data oriented about the mental game,” company founder Jay Gilbert said. “By asking very specific questions about their process and their emotions and by documenting this we really believe that players are going to improve their awareness of this piece of their games.”

Gilbert worked with Andrew Parr, a former tour player from Canada and a performance coach, in developing the “round review,” a series of questions across eight fields that gets golfers thinking about the way they think during their round. The questions not only focus on score and playing conditions, but even elements like pre-round meals, mid-round hydration and the previous night’s sleep patterns. Largely, though, the questions deal with rating specific mental aspects like how well players visualized their shots, intensity levels and emotions throughout the round and where their weaknesses were.

Based on the numbers, the app produces a series of charts and graphs to assess the mental game of one round, but also stores the information so you can compare those numbers to previous rounds.

Gilbert said the round review takes less than 10 minutes and can be completed on your phone by answering the prompted questions.

“For instance, with the data, we can see how your emotions change when it’s a practice round or whether your risk tendencies are different when there’s lots of wind or bad weather,” he said.

The app also is available for coaches to track how multiple students are thinking on a regular basis.

“Golf is really a process,” Gilbert said, “and the more habitual we make our process, the more consistent we can be, and that includes documenting and reviewing. Golfers are creatures of habit and if we can improve those habits, we’re going to get better.”

The Biirdie app can be purchased monthly ($10) or on an annual basis ($100) through biirdiegolf.com.