Teaching Tip #5: Putt Like a Pro
Putting accounts for 35-45% of your average round of golf. To put that into perspective, if you were to 2 putt every hole on a regulation 18 hole golf course, then on average you would have:
2.6 times as many putts as drives
2 times as many putts as wedge shots
2.5 times as many putts as long iron shots
6 times as many putts as bunker shots
In general, putting is the EASIEST and QUICKEST way to lower your score! Here is a trick to help you make more putts.
1. Use an intermediate target
Intermediate targets can be anything from a discoloration on the putting green to an old ball mark. Using an intermediate target, allows you to line up your putt to a target that is only 2-3 feet in front of you, making it much easier to check your accuracy and focus solely on distance control. Here’s the Golf Fix:
Start by reading the green and visualizing the target line. Imagine putting to a hole that is on the visualized target line.
Pick out a point on your visualized target line that is about 2-3 feet in front of your golf ball. Once you have aligned yourself to that point, all you need to do is worry about the speed of your putt. This makes putting 1-dimensional (focusing solely on distance control) instead of 2-dimensional (worrying about distance and direction).
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Through the first 6 tournaments of the 2013 season, I think its safe to say that short game is the money maker. Let me throw some statistics your way. The top 5 players on the PGA Tour in scrambling percentage are all ranked inside the top 12 money earners through the first 6 PGA Tour events. These names include Chris Kirk, Brandt Snedeker, Brian Stuard, Charles Howell III, and James Driscoll. All 5 of these players have converted par or better on more than 72% of their missed greens in regulation. Imagine what that would do for your game… if you are a bogey golfer and you made par or better three quarters of the time when you miss the green in regulation, you would probably lower your handicap from an 18 to a measly 4. And to top it all off, NONE of those same 5 “professional scramblers” rank better than 40th in average driving distance. In fact, only 2 of the top 5 of the longest drivers on tour through 6 events this year even break the top 12 in the money earning category.
So, the next time you feel like going to beat some golf balls at the driving range, think twice about what’s going to improve your score. Sure a 300 yard drive with a little draw that splits the fairway looks pretty, but I got news for you: there are no pictures on a scorecard, only numbers. If you get bored on the putting green, find someone to challenge. Play for nickels, quarters, and dimes on the golf course. Use training tools and drills when you are practicing your short game.
Kathy Whitworth once said, “It’s usually the player who misses those three-footers, not the putter.” With that in mind, remember that a 300 yard drive counts the same as a 3 foot putt.
If you would like more statistics and standings, visit the PGA Tour homepage.
What portion of every practice session do you spend on or around the putting green?
Photo via The Washington Post