The truth about putting

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Putting

Professor Mark Broadie of Columbia University invented the ‘strokes gained – putting’ statistic used on the PGA Tour and authored the book Every Shot Counts. His extensive research revealed the percentage of putts golfers of different standards really hole from five feet, eight feet and 15ft. How do your putting stats compare?

 

Putting

Is your putting above or below average? It’s hard to know, but Dr Lucius Riccio, Columbia University Professor of Business Analytics, has studied ‘average golfers’ for the book Golf: The Scientific Way to supply the answer. Here are the average number of putts per total score in a typical round.

 

Putting

During a survey published in 2004, American magazine Golf Digest compared the putting performance of 90 amateurs playing the Torrey Pines South Course with the putting performance of 154 PGA Tour pros playing over the same course in the 2003 Buick Invitation. They found tour pros averaged 1.78 putts per hole, while amateurs averaged 2.10. This equates to 5.76 extra putts per round.

 

Putting

The debate over whether it’s better to ram putts home or die them into the hole has raged for decades. But research from AimPoint Technologies has revealed how the pace of your putt affects the size of the hole in real terms. The faster the ball is travelling the narrower the width of the hole you have to hit for the ball to drop.

“These figures are based on the average club green speed,” says AimPoint senior instructor Jamie Donaldson. “They mean that if your ball hits outside of these ranges from the centre of the cup, it will lip out. As a rule, the most effective putts are travelling at a speed that will see them go nine inches past the hole.”

 

Putting

Golf researcher Colonel HA Templeton used a mechanical putter to discover that a 50-foot putt that was hit a quarter-of-an-inch off-centre would come off the clubface up to 0.5ft per second slower than a putt hit off the sweetspot. This difference in speed means it would come up two or three feet short of the target.


Putting

Recently uncovered ‘Vector Putting’ research conducted by US Air Force test pilot turned golf researcher Templeton in 1984 shows that the distance a putt skids for before settling down and rolling purely equates to 15% of the distance of the total putt. And the speed of a putt’s ‘pure roll’ is 71% of the speed the ball was travelling when it initially came off the putter face.