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Mark Broadie's Insights on Putting


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Mark Broadie has studied the best putters in the world and shared some of his findings:

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The best putters have something in common: They're aggressive. They one-putt more often, they leave fewer putts short, and they leave slightly longer comebackers. "In my great putting rounds," Faxon said, "I noticed that when I missed, I always had to mark the ball, because it would go far enough past the hole that it wasn't a tap-in. I made most of those three-foot comebackers, but it always made for a little more angst than just tapping in."

Brad Faxon was the #1 putter on the PGA Tour from 1992-2002. He and Broadie are saying that golfers will gain more if they focus on making the first putt instead of worrying about three-putting.

Here is his summary:

Quote:

Takeaway 1: Get short putts to the hole. The better-putting 80-shooters leave 12 percent of their 10-footers short, compared with 17 percent for 90-shooters. [For pros, it's only 7 percent.]

Takeaway 2: Short putts [say, three to eight feet] matter most. Better short putting leads to more one-putts and fewer three-putts.

Takeaway 3: Distance control matters. As Pat Goss, Luke Donald's short-game coach, has said, "I don't think there's a more important skill in golf than controlling distance in putting."

Takeaway 4: Compare your putting with the benchmark: 80-shooters average about one three-putt per round, 90-shooters average about two, and 100-shooters about three. If you average more three-putts than your benchmark, consider a putting lesson.

http://www.golf.com/instruction/these-are-secrets-worlds-greatest-putters

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Thanks for posting.  I still fall a bit short more than long on my putts.  My putting objective this winter is to work a bit more on visualizing the putt's path going through and past the hole instead of just dying in.

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This pretty much goes along with what @david_wedzik and I have been saying:

From 15 feet and in , absolutely, get the ball to the hole. Amateurs leave a surprising number of shorter putts short of the hole. Those are the putts you actually have a decent chance of making, so get them there. Even bad speed should leave you a high, high-percentage putt (like 3 feet and in) if you miss.

From 25+ feet, we encourage everyone to hit the ball the exact distance of the hole. If you're trying for three feet past and you're off by three feet, you'll three-putt far too often. If you're shooting for the distance of the hole, and you're three feet past, you'll still make that putt a lot more often.

So yes, try to make the makeable putts, and do what you can to two-putt the three-puttable putts knowing that they'll occasionally go in anyway.

Edit: Just read the article. Pretty goofy that he based the ranking on putts per round. Brad Faxon never really hit a bunch of GIR. Yeah, he was a good putter and all, but still a goofy way to base the stats. But there was also no ShotLink, etc. back then, so… maybe the best he could do, and if the results match the "eye test," maybe they're "good enough."

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This pretty much goes along with what @david_wedzik and I have been saying:

From 15 feet and in, absolutely, get the ball to the hole. Amateurs leave a surprising number of shorter putts short of the hole. Those are the putts you actually have a decent chance of making, so get them there. Even bad speed should leave you a high, high-percentage putt (like 3 feet and in) if you miss.

From 25+ feet, we encourage everyone to hit the ball the exact distance of the hole. If you're trying for three feet past and you're off by three feet, you'll three-putt far too often. If you're shooting for the distance of the hole, and you're three feet past, you'll still make that putt a lot more often.

So yes, try to make the makeable putts, and do what you can to two-putt the three-puttable putts knowing that they'll occasionally go in anyway.

Edit: Just read the article. Pretty goofy that he based the ranking on putts per round. Brad Faxon never really hit a bunch of GIR. Yeah, he was a good putter and all, but still a goofy way to base the stats. But there was also no ShotLink, etc. back then, so… maybe the best he could do, and if the results match the "eye test," maybe they're "good enough."

One addition that needs to be reiterated for sure. From inside 15 ft-ish (maybe even 10-12 feet depending on player level) focus on trying to make them all as typical distance control will leave most players only 1-3 feet past the hole anyway and that is a very high percentage make zone. The reason I mentioned some players moving this "go for it" distance down to 10 feet is that they may not all have "typical" distance control :-).

I'll agree with Erik that the putts per round is a bad benchmark though I'm not even sure if these matching with an "eye test" carries any weight. I'd throw it out there that we have always seen this list of players with lower putts per round than most and then "look" at them as the best putters. Consider when you buy a new car and then notice everyone else who has one of those cars (never happens to me as I drive a Lotus...err... a SMART car with Golf Evolution wrap :-D). You hear all the time how great of a putter Faxon is because people have seen the stats and then you "notice" him making more puts than others.

A quick glance back at the statistics of Pavin, Frost, Crenshaw and Faxon show them as FAR BELOW average in the GIR category (Furyk had some very good years mixed in with not so great years early on). Many years during that stretch they had rankings b/w 100-180 in that category. So, the number of putts clearly shows them as relatively good putters (since there were also a number of other tour players in the same range in GIR ranks) but saying they are the best 5 is misleading at best IMO. I realize that nothing I bring up here is backed with 100% certainty but, at best, this is a surprising use of statistics from Broadie.

The important stuff in the article is clear. Go for it inside 10-15 feet (depending on skill level) and hit the ball the correct distance outside 25 feet. You shouldn't care if you make those... just NEVER three putt.

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This pretty much goes along with what @david_wedzik and I have been saying:

From 15 feet and in, absolutely, get the ball to the hole. Amateurs leave a surprising number of shorter putts short of the hole. Those are the putts you actually have a decent chance of making, so get them there. Even bad speed should leave you a high, high-percentage putt (like 3 feet and in) if you miss.

What do you think causes amateurs to leave shorter putts short of the hole?

Is that due to poor putter fitting, or is it just an adjustment that golfers don't make?

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What do you think causes amateurs to leave shorter putts short of the hole?

Is that due to poor putter fitting, or is it just an adjustment that golfers don't make?

Putter fitting is certainly a small factor here but it's much more the mindset. Understanding the stats can change that. I would also say that if you find yourself leaving a larger percentage than normal short from inside the 10-15 foot range it may be because you lack confidence in the 3 foot range for some reason. Another reason why spending practice time on the 3-8 foot range is beneficial.

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Who is not supposed to make the short putts?  The  general expectation is that short putts are 'easy peasy' and ought to get in.  That mental expectation brings tension to the mind, and the stroke. We all know that every putt is make-able, and every putt is miss-able.

I'll tell an incredible story, true too.  Played with a chap, i know him well, on golf day, no pressure,  stableford winner gets hat so rules are bendable.  His technique very poor, putting too. On short putts his tension so great, his belief that missing the 3 foot putt would bring him such loss of face that he would not permit his stroked ball to reach the cup.  He would putt and swiftly   reach out with his putter to guide the ball into the hole. Poor lad was so full of insecurities that i, and the others, had no business addressing that day.

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Who is not supposed to make the short putts?  The  general expectation is that short putts are 'easy peasy' and ought to get in.  That mental expectation brings tension to the mind, and the stroke. We all know that every putt is make-able, and every putt is miss-able.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, or what question you're really asking.

I'll tell an incredible story, true too.  Played with a chap, i know him well, on golf day, no pressure,  stableford winner gets hat so rules are bendable.  His technique very poor, putting too. On short putts his tension so great, his belief that missing the 3 foot putt would bring him such loss of face that he would not permit his stroked ball to reach the cup.  He would putt and swiftly   reach out with his putter to guide the ball into the hole. Poor lad was so full of insecurities that i, and the others, had no business addressing that day.

So he had the yips or something. I'm still not sure what the point of this post has been.

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This pretty much goes along with what @david_wedzik and I have been saying:

From 15 feet and in, absolutely, get the ball to the hole. Amateurs leave a surprising number of shorter putts short of the hole. Those are the putts you actually have a decent chance of making, so get them there. Even bad speed should leave you a high, high-percentage putt (like 3 feet and in) if you miss.

From 25+ feet, we encourage everyone to hit the ball the exact distance of the hole. If you're trying for three feet past and you're off by three feet, you'll three-putt far too often. If you're shooting for the distance of the hole, and you're three feet past, you'll still make that putt a lot more often.

So yes, try to make the makeable putts, and do what you can to two-putt the three-puttable putts knowing that they'll occasionally go in anyway.

Edit: Just read the article. Pretty goofy that he based the ranking on putts per round. Brad Faxon never really hit a bunch of GIR. Yeah, he was a good putter and all, but still a goofy way to base the stats. But there was also no ShotLink, etc. back then, so… maybe the best he could do, and if the results match the "eye test," maybe they're "good enough."

Isn't relative pitching / chipping ability a major factor in lowering putts per round too?

Paul Runyan advocated a dual approach as well from about the same point where he said the 'never-up, never-in' principle gave way to the 'lag principle'.

Knowing what was realistically possible seemed to be important in managing his performance expectations so he wouldn't grind his confidence down with misdirected frustration.

With a go-for-it range out to 15' and a lag range starting at 25', how do you handle the in-between of 15'-25'? Would it depend on the amount of green pitch?

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Yes. Did you see Dave's post above?

I did, but must have missed something.

I read it as:

0-15' (or slightly less depending on skill) = don't leave any short

15' - 25' = ?

25+' = lag as close as possible

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So… what are you asking? Did you read LSW?

I'm asking about that in-between distance, wondering if there is a third strategy beyond never-up and lagging.

I haven't bought or read the book (yet). I didn't see the title of the book in the thread so I commented.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by iacas

So… what are you asking? Did you read LSW?

I'm asking about that in-between distance, wondering if there is a third strategy beyond never-up and lagging.

I haven't bought or read the book (yet). I didn't see the title of the book in the thread so I commented.

Christmas is coming.  Ask Santa for it!

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I'm asking about that in-between distance, wondering if there is a third strategy beyond never-up and lagging.

I haven't bought or read the book (yet). I didn't see the title of the book in the thread so I commented.

Paul Runyan suggests an approach where he adjust his distance 'target' such that he would expect ~ 80% of his putts to reach the cup without going past the hole far enough to make a 3-putt likely.

He doesn't say, but I expect this percentage would decrease and the 'allowable' distance past the hole would increase gradually until he was in his 'lagging' range.

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