Putting Statistics Every Golfer Should Know

Putting Statistics Every Golfer Should Know

Watching players on the PGA Tour you might be forgiven for thinking that they never seem to miss. This might be doing your own game no favors because you put yourself under additional pressure.

In reality, even tour players miss plenty of putts. While putting stats have changed in recent years to use strokes gained putting as arguably the most important measure there are still plenty of putting statistics every golfer should know if they want to improve their game and reduce the number of putts they take on a consistent basis.

How Often Do Tour Players Miss Short Putts?

Tour pros miss short putts more often than you might think. In fact, many Tour pros will say that missing a short putt is one of the most frustrating things that can happen during a round. While it may seem like they should be able to make an 8-foot putt with ease, the truth is that even the best players in the world miss these putts from time to time.

Looking at the stats from the 2021-22 season, Yonas Blixt, was the best performer inside 8 feet managing to hold 76% but the tour average was only 54%. Yes, that’s right the best players on the planet missed almost half their eight-footers. So the next time you miss an eight-footer for par don’t jump to whack yourself with your putter! Guys that are spending all day pretty much every day working on their game miss half the time. They also have the advantage of playing on greens that are usually in peak condition. Many amateur golfers suffer greens that are not much better than the aprons at some top courses.

What Is Strokes Gained Putting

Strokes gained putting is a metric used to measure how much better a golfer is at putting than the rest of the field. The strokes gained formula was originally developed by Prof Mark Broadie from Columbia Business School. It uses the ShotLink data to work out whether a player has performed better or worse than the field on a given hole and cumulatively for the round.

From all the data that is collected at every tournament, it is possible to calculate the probability of a player holing out from any given distance either on the green or off it.

To give a simplified example the data would suggest that from 30 feet tour players will two put 88% of the time, they will one put 7% of the time and the remaining 5% will be three putts or more. This means a player putting from 30 feet would be expected to take on average 1.977 putts.

So if a player happens to hole their 30-footer they have effectively gained a shot compared with the probability.

There are a number of online calculators that will allow you to work out your strokes gained figure compared with the PGA Tour probabilities.

Jordan Spieth on putting

Key Putting Statistics

As the focus has moved onto strokes gained statistics the simpler old-fashioned stats aren’t referenced quite as often but for amateur players they can still be useful.

There are a few key putting statistics that can give you an idea of how well you are doing on the greens.

Total Putts Or Putts Per Round

The simplest putting stat to calculate. It is just a total of the number of putts taken during the round. If you’re taking more than 36 putts then you need to work on your putting performance. You are probably not getting your first put close enough to the hole to give you a good chance of making the next one. You may also be struggling to hole out those shorter putts. Try to work out which is your Achilles’ heel so you can work on your stroke on the practice putting green.

Lucas Herbert was the PGA Tour player with the fewest putts per round last season, averaging 27.7.

Putts Per Green In Regulation (GIR)

If you find that you are averaging around two for this particular stat then that might show that your approach play needs work in order to get you closer to the hole for your first putt. We’ve already seen that even the best players only hole half their putts from 8 feet so if your approach play consistently leaving you 30-foot putts then your arms of making them are going to be low no matter what your level of putting skill.

Three-putt Avoidance

This statistic shows how often a golfer is able to avoid those costly mistakes. For the 2022 season, Cameron Smith led the way with only 18 three-putts in 66 rounds which meant a 1.61% chance of him three-putting the holes he played. The tour as a whole averaged 3% or roughly one three-putt every two rounds.

A combination of better approach play and solid lag putting would give you a great chance of approaching these figures.

Birdie Conversion Rate

Gives you an idea of how often a golfer is able to take advantage of opportunities by turning them into birdies. This is usually also dependent on how close you are able to hit your approach shots.

Start by Getting Closer to the Hole

For the average golfer getting the ball closer to the hole for your first putt should lead to better statistics overall because no matter how good you are the percentage of putts you make outside 8 feet is pretty low most of the time.

Wherever possible try to give your putts a chance to drop. If you continually leave putts short then that going to affect your make percentage.

Putting Statistics Every Golfer Should Know: Conclusion

the beauty of statistics is they can usually tell whatever story you want by picking the most advantageous ones to your cause. While you’re unlikely to ever reach the levels of PGA Tour putting statistics there’s no reason why you can’t improve your three-putt avoidance which should directly influence your handicap index.

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