By Paul Myers
If there is just one stat within your golf game that you could improve, one-putt greens just might be the one you would pick. Obviously everybody would love to hit longer drives, or hit more greens in regulation, but increasing how many greens you complete in just one putt probably would have the biggest impact on your scorecard. There is nothing quite like one putting a green to give your round a boost – whether that putt was for birdie, par, or even bogey.
Save Time and Strokes
In order to improve on your number of one putt greens, you will first need to know how you are doing currently. This is a simple stat to keep track of, because you are probably already tracking your overall putting performance. After the round, add up your number of one putt greens and log that information somewhere. After a period of time, you can compile several rounds to come up with a percentage of one-putt greens. Simply take your total number of one putts, and divide that figure by the total number of holes played.
Taking a look to the PGA Tour, we can see that there are some truly incredible putters playing on the Tour today. For example, the current leader for the 2015 season is Troy Kelly, who is one-putting an amazing 46.91% of his greens. While that performance stands out, the truth is that many Tour players rank quite well in this important category. 88 players are currently one-putting more than 40% of the time, which goes a long way toward explaining the great scores they can shoot on a regular basis.
Find the Magic Touch
The best way to improve your own percentage is to work on your putting from 10’ – 30’, as that is where many of your first putts are going to come from. You will never make all of these putts, but rolling them nicely up to the hole will give you the chance to knock in as many as possible. From this distance, it is all about getting the speed right on your putts. Make sure to read the slope of the green between your ball and the hole to determine exactly how much up or downhill the putt may be. Knowing the change in elevation on a given putt is vital when it comes to hitting the putt the right distance.
One word of caution, however, is important as it relates to one-putt percentage. You can quickly undo the good you have done through improving your one putt percentage if your three putt percentage goes up at the same time. It is only good to one putt more often if you are still avoiding three putts as much as you can. Don’t get so aggressive in pursuing one putts that you start to three putt too much. Spend time on the practice green, learn to control your speed, and the one putts should start to come with greater frequency.