By Paul Myers
Even a beginning golfer understands just how damaging a three putt can be to your scorecard. It is hard enough work to get your ball on the green in the first place, you can’t afford to waste shots by three putting once you arrive. Of course you would love to make your first putt as often as possible, but at least getting off the green in just two putts should always be your goal. Simply by avoiding three putt greens you can quickly lower your average score.
If you would like to keep track of your ability to avoid three putting, it is quite easy to do so. Simply track the number of holes you play, and the number of times you have three putted. Divide the number of three putts by the total holes you have played, and you will have your three putt percentage. Obviously, the goal in this case is to have as low of a number as possible. This is a statistic that will take some time to average out, so try tracking this for a full season worth of round before you draw any meaningful conclusions from it.
Keep Your Card Free of Wasted Strokes
So what should you be shooting for with this statistic? To start with, make it your goal to three putt fewer than 5% of the greens you play. That would mean that you are averaging fewer than one three putt per 18-hole round. The best players on the Tour range between 1% and 2% for three putt greens, but that target is likely a little lofty for you at this point. Once you get your percentage calculated accurately, you can then work on working on elements of your putting to improve the number.
Try using a few of the following tips to cut back on your total number of three putt greens –
- It’s all about speed. Most three putts are caused by poor speed control, not a bad line. If you are faced with a long first putt, spend your green reading time focused on getting the speed of the putt just right. Even if you miss the read to one side or the other slightly, the putt should end up okay as long as you hit it the right speed.
- Practice short putts. Avoiding three putt greens means you need to confidently knock in your two and three foot putts hole after hole. The only way to build enough confidence to do this successfully is to practice short putts as often as possible. Make short putting a part of your practice routine so you have plenty of confidence during the round.
- Don’t get too aggressive. You can find yourself quickly in danger of three putting just by hitting a first putt that was too aggressive. There is a fine line between trying to make your first putt and making sure that you don’t three putt as a result of running it too far past the hole. Be smart about when you take your chances to be aggressive with a putt, and when you decide to just play safe and take your two putt.