This was a key question on my mind during my research and then writing of my book, No 3 Putts. I had access to golfers of all abilities as well as some of the top teaching pros in the country and this issue was glaring. Most golfers don’t understand the true importance of putting in their score and therefore do not strive to improve. Here are my top three reasons for poor putting.
Putting by the numbers
Golf is set up to allow 2 putts per hole and still achieve par which basically works out to putting being about 50% of the overall golfers score. Most golfers are above this average while pros are at about 1.8 putts per hole, 32 putts per round or about 45% of the score.
Given this ratio, the putter is the most used club in the bag. Yet most golfers do not have a clear appreciation of this importance and do not have a practice routine for putting. Most golfers, if they practice at all, will spend hours at the driving range hitting a driver and no time on the putting green. The driver is important but perhaps the least used club in the bag, maybe only 12 times per round.
A proper putting stroke is an absolute crucial skill! At a high level this means a proper stance, aiming the ball properly and making a smooth putting stroke.
Andy Thompson, Golf Digest Top 100 Club Fitter of Totally Driven Golf states “90% of players that come into our shop cannot aim their putter over the hole from 6 feet away”.
Golfers need to work with their local pro to properly review their putting stroke and then prioritize time for putting practice as part of their training routine.
Managing the green for putting
Low stroke putting requires golfers to address the green beginning on the tee box and fairway to end up with easier and shorter putts on the green. With some greens being thousands of square feet in size just getting to the green does not guarantee low putts. Golfers need to assess the size and shape of the green to plan an approach that minimizes their putts. Once on the green golfers need to perform green reading and not just green guessing. Many golfers do not properly aim their putts and miss easy putts. This is tougher than is sounds.
Getting a grip on your putting
According to one of my pros in the book, Dan Schwabe (PGA Teacher of the Year – N California 2009), “That’s the fastest area in the game to save 5 shots a round. That’s where people can make the quickest improvement.”
To get a grip on your putting, start by making yourself a promise to elevate putting to a high priority in your game. Then have your local pro look at your putting and of course put in some practice time to improve your skills. In future Blogs I’ll be delving in a bit deeper into these and other areas to help you putt better, score lower, have more fun and play more golf.
Dave “No 3 Putts” Perry