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Single digits...how to get there

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assuming you have a decent swing and can hit the ball (judging from your handicap)

There is nothing you can do to lower your score more effectively than learning how to sink putts.  If a course has a par 72 this means 36 of these strokes are putts.

My game really fell apart this year because of a few lessons (don't ask) but I was able to maintain a fairly consistent handicap because my putting was more effective.

hopefully next year I can forget what I "learned" in the lessons, go back to my old swing and get to single digits.

You need to read this this thread

And read this book.

http://lowestscorewins.com/

I average 31 putts per round.  My scores are lowest when I hit the most GIR.

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assuming you have a decent swing and can hit the ball (judging from your handicap)

There is nothing you can do to lower your score more effectively than learning how to sink putts.  If a course has a par 72 this means 36 of these strokes are putts.

My game really fell apart this year because of a few lessons (don't ask) but I was able to maintain a fairly consistent handicap because my putting was more effective.

hopefully next year I can forget what I "learned" in the lessons, go back to my old swing and get to single digits.


That is way off the mark. One assumes that anyone with a handicap in the low to mid teens is a decent putter.

You need to be able to drive it onto the correct side of the fairway to give yourself a chance of hitting as many GIR as possible.

You don't become a lower marker purely because of putting.

There are some excellent putters who  can't break 90.

On the other hand, anyone who claims to play off a handicap in the 20s but regularly has more than 32 or 33 putts on normal greens can probably get to a teen handicap by improving their putting.

And a low putting count is most often a result of bad iron play rather than great putting for good players.

Driving well is critical.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by CarlOwen

assuming you have a decent swing and can hit the ball (judging from your handicap)

There is nothing you can do to lower your score more effectively than learning how to sink putts.  If a course has a par 72 this means 36 of these strokes are putts.

My game really fell apart this year because of a few lessons (don't ask) but I was able to maintain a fairly consistent handicap because my putting was more effective.

hopefully next year I can forget what I "learned" in the lessons, go back to my old swing and get to single digits.

That is way off the mark. One assumes that anyone with a handicap in the low to mid teens is a decent putter.

You need to be able to drive it onto the correct side of the fairway to give yourself a chance of hitting as many GURs as possible.

You don't become a lower marker purely because of putting.

There are some excellent putters can't break 90.

Driving well is critical.

Shorty means GIR. :-)

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There is nothing you can do to lower your score more effectively than learning how to sink putts.  If a course has a par 72 this means 36 of these strokes are putts.

And how many of those putts are tap-ins? ;-)

You need to read this this thread

And read this book.

http://lowestscorewins.com/

I average 31 putts per round.  My scores are lowest when I hit the most GIR.

That is way off the mark. One assumes that anyone with a handicap in the low to mid teens is a decent putter.

You need to be able to drive it onto the correct side of the fairway to give yourself a chance of hitting as many GIR as possible.

You don't become a lower marker purely because of putting.

There are some excellent putters can't break 90.

On the other hand, anyone who claims to play off a handicap in the 20s but regularly has more than 32 or 33 putts on normal greens can probably get to a teen handicap by improving their putting.

Driving well is critical.

What these guys said. What separates a single digit from the average player is their ball striking.

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I disagree with you folks

as to Boogielicious, you must be a terrible golfer with a 13 handicap while averaging 31 putts a round. The PGA tour average is about 30 with a scoring average of about 71.

I'm a 12, and I average about 40 putts. The only thing that got me out of the 90's forever was getting 4 puts off my card, minimizing 3 putts, learning how to sink 3 and 4 footers 95% of the time and sinking a few 10 to 15 footers.

For a golfer who can play competently, and doesn't have major swing flaws and hit 1/2 or so GIR, getting putts per round down is the easiest way to lower a handicap. This is why many of those seniors at your club consistently sport low handicaps. They don't drive the ball 275 yards, they don't hit 2/3 of the holes GIR and FIR, yet they routinely shoot in the 70's

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And how many of those putts are tap-ins?

Further, how many of the remainder of those putts are between 8-20 feet?  A distance range where

A) Very few putts are made, even by the most skilled putters, and

B) It's very hard to not get down in two.

So when you go and consider where you can make up strokes, you first need to alter the "36" to the number of putts where practicing can make an actual difference.  Basically, only those between 3' and 8' and those outside of 20'.  How many of the 36 fall into that category?  Half maybe?

Now, how much practice do you really need at each of those skills?  I mean, how much more value are you getting out of your 7' putts if you practice them 5 hours a week vs. if you practice them 5 minutes a week.  How many more are you going to make?  One?

Further, how many 3-putts does the average golfer have on those outside of 20' putts?  If he's a really poor putter, maybe 2 or 3?  Now, how much practice does it take to reduce that number to one or zero?

Bottom line:  Unless you are a horrendously bad putter, don't waste too much time practicing your putting.  It's a easy skill and you can't separate yourself from the field too much with it.  Spend more time on the full swing.

Lastly, I also recommend Lowest Score Wins .  Great book.

I disagree with you folks

as to Boogielicious, you must be a terrible golfer with a 13 handicap while averaging 31 putts a round. The PGA tour average is about 30 with a scoring average of about 71.

Yeah, and you know why?  Cuz they hit more greens.

You can disagree if you want, but then you'd be wrong. ;)

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he could hit HALF THE GIR and with 31 putts have a low single digit handicap. It makes no sense whatsoever. This tells me he hits only a couple GIR in an entire round, which if is true, shouldn't be offering advice to a new player looking to lower his score.

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I disagree with you folks

I read the rest of your post, and you seem to base a lot of this on your own experiences. Unfortunately, it's easy to succumb to a hidden sort of bias.

But this isn't really a matter of opinion. Better players separate themselves by hitting the ball better. There are bigger gaps there than in their putting. You literally can't get good enough at putting to make up too many strokes (I'm assuming you're not simply a TERRIBLE putter who is as likely to three-putt as he is to one-putt from 15 feet or something).

Simple question: if you were to take on a scratch golfer in a putting contest or a ball striking contest on the driving range, which would you do? How about a PGA Tour player?

You're either the world's worst putter, or you're wrong, if you answer anything but "putting." In putting you stand a chance. On the range with a 4-iron in your hands you've got no chance.

Lastly, I also recommend  Lowest Score Wins.  Great book.

Tell you what… just for you @CarlOwen : buy the book. If you don't "like" it, I'll arrange for someone else to buy it from you for half price and I'll make up the difference. You'll be out media mail shipping ($2.69). (This is good if you're in the U.S.)

Edit:

he could hit HALF THE GIR and with 31 putts have a low single digit handicap. It makes no sense whatsoever. This tells me he hits only a couple GIR in an entire round, which if is true, shouldn't be offering advice to a new player looking to lower his score.

Carl, c'mon man, now you're just being rude.

Just because he's a 13 doesn't mean he doesn't know what it takes to become a single digit player. If anything, he probably knows better than a lot of people as he's on the cusp and is working toward it. Besides, you're a 12. Does that mean @Golfingdad , @mvmac , and myself know more about getting to single digits than you do? (Though, in this case, we do…)

The total number of putts is one of the most irrelevant stats you can use.

Virtually everyone averages between 28 and 34 putts. Missing greens and chipping close offset the three-putts or missed four-footers, so players who can't break 90 often have about the same number of putts as a PGA Tour player.

Here's a stat that's gonna blow your mind. It's not mine, but Mark Broadie wrote about it:

  • The guy who shoots 90 will out-putt a PGA Tour player 10% of the time.
  • The guy who shoots 80 will out-putt a PGA Tour player 20% of the time.
  • The guy who shoots par will out-putt a PGA Tour player 30% of the time.

Page 56. And in case you think I mis-remembered something…


Now, I'm hoping you take this stuff as helpful advice, @CarlOwen . Disagreement can be good, particularly if you're able to learn and then improve as a result.

You're simply falling prey to one of golf's many myths. There's no shame in that. The only shameful act (which, let's be honest, hardly registers in terms of stuff that actually matters) would be to ignore possibly new and helpful information simply because it conflicts with what you think to be true.

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I disagree with you folks

as to Boogielicious, you must be a terrible golfer with a 13 handicap while averaging 31 putts a round. The PGA tour average is about 30 with a scoring average of about 71.

I'm a 12, and I average about 40 putts. The only thing that got me out of the 90's forever was getting 4 puts off my card, minimizing 3 putts, learning how to sink 3 and 4 footers 95% of the time and sinking a few 10 to 15 footers.

For a golfer who can play competently, and doesn't have major swing flaws and hit 1/2 or so GIR, getting putts per round down is the easiest way to lower a handicap. This is why many of those seniors at your club consistently sport low handicaps. They don't drive the ball 275 yards, they don't hit 2/3 of the holes GIR and FIR, yet they routinely shoot in the 70's


I've been as low as a 10.2 last year.  Thanks for the insult.  What raised my HC was my ball striking being off this past year and a half due to an injury.  I can't imagine having 40 putts per round.  Putting is the easiest part of golf.

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I disagree with you folks

as to Boogielicious, you must be a terrible golfer with a 13 handicap while averaging 31 putts a round. The PGA tour average is about 30 with a scoring average of about 71.

I'm a 12, and I average about 40 putts. The only thing that got me out of the 90's forever was getting 4 puts off my card, minimizing 3 putts, learning how to sink 3 and 4 footers 95% of the time and sinking a few 10 to 15 footers.

For a golfer who can play competently, and doesn't have major swing flaws and hit 1/2 or so GIR, getting putts per round down is the easiest way to lower a handicap. This is why many of those seniors at your club consistently sport low handicaps. They don't drive the ball 275 yards, they don't hit 2/3 of the holes GIR and FIR, yet they routinely shoot in the 70's

Number of putts don't matter.

Player A: 33% GIR, 100% Scrambling, 24 putts he shoots even par

Player B: 66% GIR, 100% Scrambling, 24 putts he shoots 6 under par

Who had a better day on the course, they both had the same number of putts?

Also I would say Player B is the better putter because he probably made more putts at a longer distance since he wasn't relying on his short game nearly as much (6 scrambling attempts versus 12).

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I disagree with you folks

as to Boogielicious, you must be a terrible golfer with a 13 handicap while averaging 31 putts a round. The PGA tour average is about 30 with a scoring average of about 71.

I'm a 12, and I average about 40 putts. The only thing that got me out of the 90's forever was getting 4 puts off my card, minimizing 3 putts, learning how to sink 3 and 4 footers 95% of the time and sinking a few 10 to 15 footers.

For a golfer who can play competently, and doesn't have major swing flaws and hit 1/2 or so GIR, getting putts per round down is the easiest way to lower a handicap. This is why many of those seniors at your club consistently sport low handicaps. They don't drive the ball 275 yards, they don't hit 2/3 of the holes GIR and FIR, yet they routinely shoot in the 70's

I have no putting game whatsoever, at 33-36 putts, and because of my approximately 1.5 keys (5SK) I can get around on the course pretty well. I miss left and right of the pin with less than 1/4 of my shots coming up short. Unless, it's to lay up. Maybe 10% miss by going too far. This all just started happening in the last 3 months or so, but I had inklings of it as of 6 months ago.

Don't sell the long game short.

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OK,

I was a bit unnerved and rude and I apologise- but I find it completely absurd that a 13 handicapper averages 31 putts a round. I've been around awhile and I have never seen anyone but the best golfers average considerably less than 2 putts per hole.

I will stand by this.

As for the original premise of the thread, the poster wishes to get to single digits and wants to know how to get there with a reasonable amount of effort. I submit that decent golfers (low bogey players like myself) can be more effective shaving strokes practicing putting versus practicing on the range. If you've ever been to a tournament, watch the guys around the green and the incredible dilligence and amount of time they spend there. (remember the story of Rory practicing 55 straight putts from 10 feet?)

It is much easier learning to get rid of those pesky three putts and converting 95% of your 3-4 foot putts and lower your score by 5 or 6 strokes than anything else I know.

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OK,

I was a bit unnerved and rude and I apologise- but I find it completely absurd that a 13 handicapper averages 31 putts a round. I've been around awhile and I have never seen anyone but the best golfers average considerably less than 2 putts per hole.

I will stand by this.

As for the original premise of the thread, the poster wishes to get to single digits and wants to know how to get there with a reasonable amount of effort. I submit that decent golfers (low bogey players like myself) can be more effective shaving strokes practicing putting versus practicing on the range. If you've ever been to a tournament, watch the guys around the green and the incredible dilligence and amount of time they spend there. (remember the story of Rory practicing 55 straight putts from 10 feet?)

It is much easier learning to get rid of those pesky three putts and converting 95% of your 3-4 foot putts and lower your score by 5 or 6 strokes than anything else I know.

In my morning rounds, I have seen many a golfer hit woods/hybrids onto greens all the time and make a few of their 20-30 foot par and the rare birdie putts. It is pretty amazing to watch.

The OP already stated that he is making near GIR and not making GIR, so he seems to know what to fix. I think he simply wants to know how to be hitting greens again. The answers will be interesting to me as well. . .

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OK,

I was a bit unnerved and rude and I apologise- but I find it completely absurd that a 13 handicapper averages 31 putts a round. I've been around awhile and I have never seen anyone but the best golfers average considerably less than 2 putts per hole.

I will stand by this.

As for the original premise of the thread, the poster wishes to get to single digits and wants to know how to get there with a reasonable amount of effort. I submit that decent golfers (low bogey players like myself) can be more effective shaving strokes practicing putting versus practicing on the range. If you've ever been to a tournament, watch the guys around the green and the incredible dilligence and amount of time they spend there. (remember the story of Rory practicing 55 straight putts from 10 feet?)

It is much easier learning to get rid of those pesky three putts and converting 95% of your 3-4 foot putts and lower your score by 5 or 6 strokes than anything else I know.


Stand by it all you want.  You are incorrect.  I've averaged between 31 and 32 putts per round since taking Aimpoint a couple of years ago.  I get 4 to 5 one putts a round due to my pitching and chipping.  I rarely three putt.  It adds up pretty easily to 31-32 per round.  But because I miss fairways and greens, those one putts are for par or bogey, even double.  I have a good short game. I need to have a better long game to get to single digits, which is my goal.

Rory wins majors because of his long game, not his putting.  It is a fact.

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OK,

I was a bit unnerved and rude and I apologise- but I find it completely absurd that a 13 handicapper averages 31 putts a round. I've been around awhile and I have never seen anyone but the best golfers average considerably less than 2 putts per hole.

I will stand by this

Since I've been keeping a handicap, not only have I averaged well under 36 putts per round, but I can count on one finger the amount of times I've had more than 36 putts in a round.  Seriously.  One time have I taken more than 36 putts (and it was 37) in 3 years of taking the game, scoring, and stats seriously.

Oh, and in that time frame, I've gone from a 10+ handicap to almost a 5.  The vast majority of the strokes I've shaved have come from a better "long game."

Putting is not hard.  Never was, and never will be.  I could've spent the last three years trying to improve on my putting at the expense of everything else, and if I did that, maybe I'd gain 1 stroke or something if I was lucky, but I certainly wouldn't have gained the other 4 1/2 or so I've gained from the long game in that time frame.  I'd be a kick ass putter who averaged 29.5 putts instead of 30.5, but I'd play to a 9 handicap instead of a 5.

It is much easier learning to get rid of those pesky three putts and converting 95% of your 3-4 foot putts and lower your score by 5 or 6 strokes than anything else I know.

Completely agree with the first half of your statement.  If you actually have a lot of 3 putts and don't actually make most of your tap-ins, then yeah, work on those a little bit.  Most average golfers, though, will not be able to shave 5 or 6 strokes from putting because most of them don't take 42 putts or whatever per round.

Those that do are extreme outliers who should definitely practice their putting.

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OK,

I was a bit unnerved and rude and I apologise- but I find it completely absurd that a 13 handicapper averages 31 putts a round. I've been around awhile and I have never seen anyone but the best golfers average considerably less than 2 putts per hole.

I will stand by this.

Look at it this way.

If somebody wanted to give me a million dollars if I could have less than 20 putts in a round, regardless of score, I promise you that if I hit a green it would be by accident. I would miss the green in regulation by enough to let me chip to the fringe and then chip again from the fringe to as close to the hole as I could get (or chip it in).

Hmmm. Come to think of it I've have had rounds just about like that unintentionally just because I was playing like crap.

Total putts give no indication whatsoever of how well I'm playing (or what score I shot), except that if total putts is absurdly low I know I played like crap and didn't hit any greens.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by CarlOwen

OK,

I was a bit unnerved and rude and I apologise- but I find it completely absurd that a 13 handicapper averages 31 putts a round. I've been around awhile and I have never seen anyone but the best golfers average considerably less than 2 putts per hole.

I will stand by this.

Look at it this way.

If somebody wanted to give me a million dollars if I could have less than 20 putts in a round, regardless of score, I promise you that if I hit a green it would be by accident. I would miss the green in regulation by enough to let me chip to the fringe and then chip again from the fringe to as close to the hole as I could get (or chip it in).

Hmmm. Come to think of it I've have had rounds just about like that unintentionally just because I was playing like crap.

Total putts give no indication whatsoever of how well I'm playing, except that if total putts is absurdly low I know I played like crap and didn't hit any greens.

Same for me.  If a player hit all the greens in regulation and had 36 putts, he would make par for the round.  But if the same player hit half the GIR and had 30 putts, his score would be higher.

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Note: This thread is 1676 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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