Here’s one for the statisticians – did you know the PGA Tour average for successful putts outside 35 feet is only 1%?
This may seem surprising as on the TV players seem to hole putts from everywhere.
What may come as even more of a surprise is that the one-putt percentage is generally linear from there, in that it roughly doubles for each five-foot bracket closer to the hole – 30-35 feet it goes to 1.5-2.5%, 25-30, 4-5%; 20-25′, 8-10%; 15-20, 15-17% and so on.
Looking a little bit deeper into the stats, once the distance gets to 3ft the percentage of putts holed is almost 100%.
It is no surprise therefore that the most important distance and the one the majority of practice time should be devoted to is exactly that.
Unfortunately practice alone won’t be enough, especially if any of the three core principles of putting – aim, path and strike – are not consistent.
Check the following when you practice and you’ll find that you hole more of these crucial putts not to mention some longer ones too.
The most common fault among club players is not aiming the putter correctly. To help check whether the putter head is aimed squarely ask a friend to remove the ball and replace it with a credit card flush against the face of the putter. By going behind you will be able to see exactly where you were lined up and rectify the errors.
Ensure it’s centre
Another common trait is not having the ball positioned in the centre of the putter. This is especially true when the putters neck is in from the heel and is caused by the eyes finding the centre point between the neck and the toe. Even if you have a line in the centre of your putter don’t presume to be doing this correctly.
Set it flat
If the sole of the putter is not sitting flush to the ground and either the toe or the heel are up in the air, poor strikes and misses will inevitably result.
Proper eye line
Dropping a ball from the bridge of your nose is the simplest way to determine how far away the ball should be ensuring you’re neither too close or far away, both of which will cause issues with the stroke.
Avoid any leg or hip movement during the backstroke and remain in posture once the putt has been struck. Many club players are guilty of turning their whole body to watch the putt rather than swivelling the eyes to see the ball roll. Invariably movement such as this will result in the putter cutting across the ball.