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bkuehn1952

Higher Handicap Because of Terrible Putting

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The process of putting always struck me as one of the least athletic activities in sports.  Putting requires no great strength or timing. The actual movement for almost everyone is a fairly simple back and forth of the putter.  It has always seemed to me that other than people with excessive nerves (yips), almost anyone should be reasonably competent in putting with a moderate amount of practice. Yet all the reports I hear about otherwise excellent golfers who can't putt would seem to shatter my assumption that competent putting was a skill that should be mastered by all but a few people with mental or physical difficulties.

If there are any people out there who would be willing to share their story, I would really like to understand what the issues are.  If someone play 5-10 times a year and never practices putting, I can somewhat understand averaging close to 40 putts.  If a player frequents a golf course with diabolical greens like Augusta National, 40 putts starts to make sense, too.  But for the average avid golfer who plays regularly, puts in some practice time and plays a typical public-access course, how does one not become competent enough to get by with something under 36 putts?

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As of recent, I never really spent a lot of time on putting, and I do make quite a few 3 putt bogeys.

I feel like when I was a beginner, I was a better putter than I am now. That might have been because I spent much more time putting as a beginner? IDK for sure, but my putting is pretty bad right now. Some days I putt really well with 30, and some days I putt 40.

For example, if I am looking at a 25 foot downhill putt, I usually come up short, and long on uphill putts. Aimpoint express helps a lot with lag putts, but conditions change so much I have no idea how to estimate the stimp. I think there's an art in doing that. I also recently changed to "putting with my shoulders" and the claw method for less than 15 foot putts, and the two changes seems to give me more control?

I definitely don't spend enough time practicing my putting. It's way more fun to hit full swings on the range and watch the ball make a nice flight after a nice solid strike. Putting and chipping are not really all that satisfying.

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I've been perhaps the most outspoken bad putter on TST.

I'm a relatively new player (coming up on 5 years now), but in those years have played about as much as a person can play and remain gainfully employed.   After about a dozen putters and all this time, I'm finally starting to feel comfortable on the greens.  My lag putting has improved dramatically this year, and I now make many more than I miss from 3-4 ft.  Still don't make many from 6-10 ft, but that's ok, I'm rarely 3 putting those now.

I have a theory.

Many here may disagree ... I'm interested in hearing feedback.

I think putting REQUIRES REPS.    A $hit ton of reps.     Far more so than striking the ball.    Now I'm not talking about becoming a really good player (which I'll never be), which obviously requires ball striking reps, bigtime reps.       Speaking for myself, putting has required far more time to catch up to the rest of my game ... and I think it just required far more time and reps as it's a feel thing , as opposed to a whole body, large muscle athletic full swing thing. My $.02 ... thoughts ?

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Having the right putter can help also. Different shapes, sizes, styles, and alignment visual aides all can have pretty sizable impacts on how well you control aim and distance control.

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I think the person whose putting is holding them back more than a stroke or two is extremely rare. I think it has to do with perception. People expect to make 5 footers, but actually that's pretty difficult. You miss one or two 5 footers and make 2 others, and you think you sucked. In reality, that's average. But you dwell on the misses and think you're a horrible putter.

Going along with that, I rarely see dreadful putters. Even playing with complete hackers, a 4 putt is very rare. And I can't remember the last time I played with a guy and thought that his putting was truly holding him back. People routinely overestimate how good their driving and approach shots are, so to get where their scores are, they have to assume that they are bad putters.

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I was taught to sink 3 putts from 3ft, then three from 5ft, then three from 7ft. If I miss I have to start over. While I'm still a terrible golfer, putting inside 5ft is not a problem with this drill.

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I think the person whose putting is holding them back more than a stroke or two is extremely rare. I think it has to do with perception. People expect to make 5 footers, but actually that's pretty difficult. You miss one or two 5 footers and make 2 others, and you think you sucked. In reality, that's average. But you dwell on the misses and think you're a horrible putter.

Going along with that, I rarely see dreadful putters. Even playing with complete hackers, a 4 putt is very rare. And I can't remember the last time I played with a guy and thought that his putting was truly holding him back. People routinely overestimate how good their driving and approach shots are, so to get where their scores are, they have to assume that they are bad putters.

Out of the last 8 rounds I've played I 4 putted 3 times. It's possible, and I just read the breaks wrong or over/under hit the putt. I double bogeyed all 3 of the holes, so they were almost all regulation doubles. One was a fringe putt. They were weird. 1 of them left me with a 2 footer too! The other 2 were like 1/2" tap ins.

Witnessed by one person on this site on one of the outings, I hit the green on a par 3 with 15 feet to the pin and 4 putted for a 5.

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Putting is easier to get to certain level.  Anyone can learn to make 3 foot putt at high rate.   But it has to be backed up by good chipping (getting it close to the hole), and good lag putt (getting it even closer to the hole for a tap in).   I average 31.5 putts per round this  month but most of that is due to getting close to the hole with chipping and 1st putt.  I have my 3-putts but they are usually from very long distance.

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Out of the last 8 rounds I've played I 4 putted 3 times. It's possible, and I just read the breaks wrong or over/under hit the putt. I double bogeyed all 3 of the holes. They were weird. 1 of them left me with a 2 footer too!. The other 2 were like 1/2" tap ins.

Maybe that should be a hint to practice your putting, then. ;-)

To be honest, I consider myself a below average putter. And I can only remember having two 4 putts ever. Last one was a year ago. But my putting is not what's holding me back from lowering my handicap. It's the length of my putts that's holding me back (i.e., my approach and short game need to improve).

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lihu

Out of the last 8 rounds I've played I 4 putted 3 times. It's possible, and I just read the breaks wrong or over/under hit the putt. I double bogeyed all 3 of the holes. They were weird. 1 of them left me with a 2 footer too!. The other 2 were like 1/2" tap ins.

Maybe that should be a hint to practice your putting, then.

To be honest, I consider myself a below average putter. And I can only remember having two 4 putts ever. Last one was a year ago. But my putting is not what's holding me back from lowering my handicap. It's the length of my putts that's holding me back (i.e., my approach and short game need to improve).

Yeah. :-D

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I am like most everyone else. When I putt well, I score well. Somedays are better than others. One thing I have learned about putting that really makes a difference for me is the time of day I play. Right after a fresh cut, the greens are faster, and just before a cutting they are slower.  If the greens have just been watered they tend to run slower. Drier greens will roll faster. So if I play close to the same time every day, I can usually get the same green conditions to putt on.

I practice reading greens by looking at the green, then putting the ball to see if it rolls like I thought it would. When I see a break, I purposely add a little more break, because I usually don't read enough break to begin with. I use a 500 gram putter which gives me more speed to help straighten out some of those breaks.

The best part of my putting when I miss the GIR, is my chipping, and getting the ball close enough for a one putt par. I am not a birdy machine by a long shot, and depend on pars to score well.

28-31 putts per round are what I am usually looking for. when  I am in that range, I stand a decent chance of breaking 80.

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Anyways, my point is, if you have a lot of 3 putts, you need to look at where you're putting from as opposed to your actual putting as the fault. Of course, 3 putts are no fun. But when you hit a green and are still 50 feet away from the hole, a 3 putt is pretty likely, even for the pros. If you're 3 putting from 20 feet constantly, then yeah, your putting is holding you back.

Again, I think I'm a below average putter. But my best rounds have not all featured great putting. For example, I've shot an 81 with 40 putts. I've shot an 82 with 31 putts. I'm guessing, if you looked at my average distance from the hole with approach shots, it would be very similar for both rounds.

Bottom line, I think the player who is a good player except for atrocious putting is pretty rare. I'd say it's similar to that rare person who always lays up 50 yards short of the green and gets up and down for par.

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If I understand the topic correctly, putting woes and putting better as one plays more rounds or practices? If so, my experience to become a good putter was through practice and playing (different greens). I consider for me a bad putting day at 30+, depending on the course played. When playing a Pete Dye or Tom Doak course with tiered rolling greens my putting stats and scoring go up. Due to a lot of down time I had lots of free time to practice putting over a two year period to try and improve on my putting.

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Go spend a couple of mid mornings on the putting green. Do the drill with the two tees in the ground and hit the ball in the hole to work on your putting stroke. Then do the 10 balls around the hole from 3 feet and hit all of them in. You'll have to remove them when you get four or five in, but keep going at it until you can sink 9 of 10. Then go back to 4 feet until you can sink 8 of 10. Then back to 6 feet until you can sink about 6 of 10. Also work on Lag Putting. Do this for about an hour and divide up the time. You might not be successful the first time, but you'll be a better putter after a few times and get rid of the 40 putt rounds.

I figure if I can get 34-36 putts per round my problem is what is happening before I get to the green. I have to look at how many of those were Up and Down.

I've shot 29 putts and still shot a 96. Up and Down for double bogey. Nice.

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Anyways, my point is, if you have a lot of 3 putts, you need to look at where you're putting from as opposed to your actual putting as the fault. Of course, 3 putts are no fun. But when you hit a green and are still 50 feet away from the hole, a 3 putt is pretty likely, even for the pros. If you're 3 putting from 20 feet constantly, then yeah, your putting is holding you back.

Again, I think I'm a below average putter. But my best rounds have not all featured great putting. For example, I've shot an 81 with 40 putts. I've shot an 82 with 31 putts. I'm guessing, if you looked at my average distance from the hole with approach shots, it would be very similar for both rounds.

Bottom line, I think the player who is a good player except for atrocious putting is pretty rare. I'd say it's similar to that rare person who always lays up 50 yards short of the green and gets up and down for par.

This is so true. That's why I'm working on my full swing to improve my putting. . .this is why the separation value for approach shots is so high compared to actual putting practice.

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I've been perhaps the most outspoken bad putter on TST.    I'm a relatively new player (coming up on 5 years now), but in those years have played about as much as a person can play and remain gainfully employed.   After about a dozen putters and all this time, I'm finally starting to feel comfortable on the greens.  My lag putting has improved dramatically this year, and I now make many more than I miss from 3-4 ft.  Still don't make many from 6-10 ft, but that's ok, I'm rarely 3 putting those now. I have a theory. Many here may disagree ... I'm interested in hearing feedback. I think putting REQUIRES REPS.    A $hit ton of reps.     Far more so than striking the ball.    Now I'm not talking about becoming a really good player (which I'll never be), which obviously requires ball striking reps, bigtime reps.       Speaking for myself, putting has required far more time to catch up to the rest of my game ... and I think it just required far more time and reps [U]as it's a feel thing[/U], as opposed to a whole body, large muscle athletic full swing thing. My $.02 ... thoughts ?

I agree with a lot of this. The other thing I will say for those of us that aren't scratch golfers is that game management is so huge on the putting greens. If you have an 8ft+ putt, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS FOR (unless it's a tournament and you need it or you are trying to break a certain personal best score on the last hole and need to sink it) then you should focus 90% of your attention on speed so you don't waste strokes. I can't tell you how many times in my life I have had a 10 or 15 foot putt and zoomed it by the hole and left myself with 4 or 5 feet coming back or left it halfway to the hole and three putted. Lagging is the most important skill for most of us in my humble opinion. I have never putted better than when I first took up golf again early this spring and focused entirely on lag putting. Now I am back to my old ways of forcing unnecessary 3 putts. Time to focus on speed again for me.

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In previous years I've had some issues with putting, but now I'm pretty dialed in for me it really started to turn around when I focused on distance control. If you think about it distance is the biggest factor in putting, if your leaving yourself within 3' on a putt your almost guaranteeing a two putt. I try to have the putt stop at the hole or a few inches past, it does result in some short putts which will never go in but you almost always have a two putt, even if your line is off your usually within 5'. It took me awhile to get good at distance control but one thing that worked really well is putting top spin on the putting stroke which putts more centrifugal force on the ball. With top spin it allows you to use less force to get the same distance, it makes the ball roll down into the hole on fast putts instead of hopping out, it reduces the amount of break you putt will take, it reduces skipping thus allowing you to control distance more accurately on long putts, and it reduces the effect of inconsistencies in the putting surface(like punched greens).

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I have a theory. Many here may disagree ... I'm interested in hearing feedback. I think putting REQUIRES REPS.    A $hit ton of reps.     Far more so than striking the ball.    Now I'm not talking about becoming a really good player (which I'll never be), which obviously requires ball striking reps, bigtime reps.       Speaking for myself, putting has required far more time to catch up to the rest of my game ... and I think it just required far more time and reps [U]as it's a feel thing[/U], as opposed to a whole body, large muscle athletic full swing thing. My $.02 ... thoughts ?

I disagree. The full swing far more complex a motion to train than putting and requires a significantly higher amount of reps. Either you're not putting the proper time in, or doing the right kind of practice. Good putting requires 3 Keys: Read, Bead, and Speed. Read is easily solved with AimPoint. Bead can be worked on with some knitting needles and some string, or better yet, see an instructor with a SAM PuttLab. You're close enough to @pcombs21 that you should be able to see him and sort out these two. Speed requires reps, but can also be a stroke issue. Practice hitting lag putts 15' to a string. I was hovering around 36-40 putts for the longest time, then I actually spent some time on my putting and I'm down to 31-36 putts. By time, I mean 5 minutes before each round to calibrate my speed and AimPoint, and 20 minutes a week practicing my setup and stroke. I'm surprised when I don't make 4 footers now, as opposed to expecting to miss them earlier in the year. Figure out what's holding you back and work on it.

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Note: This thread is 1895 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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