By Paul Myers
One of the most basic statistics you can keep for your golf game is the number of putts you take per round. This is an easy stat to track while you play, simply by noting the number of putts you took on each hole right below the total score that you made. By making a habit of keeping track of your putting numbers, you can see how you are progressing over time and get a good idea for how your putting is affecting your game as a whole.
What’s Your Goal?
Of course, you need to have some frame of reference for what is a good number of putts per round in order to see how you are measuring up. The first thing that you should understand before looking at your numbers is that this statistic can vary based on how many greens you are hitting per round. So, for example, if you played a round of golf where you hit every single green in regulation, even having 36 putts would still leave you with a great round of even par. In this scenario, 30 putts would give you an incredible round of six under par!
Obviously, most golfers don’t hit all of the greens in regulation – even the best golfers. So, you need to frame your putts per round number in terms of how many greens you typically hit. The fewer greens you hit, the lower your putting number should be, because your chip shots will likely be closer to the hole than would an approach from the fairway.
The Pros Can Roll the Rock
With that in mind, let’s look at the PGA Tour statistics for the current 2015 season to see what the best players look like in this stat. Jamie Donaldson currently leads the Tour in putting average per round at 27.42. In 12 rounds, his best single performance is just 23 putts – quite impressive for a full 18 hole round. In total, 184 players on the Tour this season are averaging less than 30 putts per round. To say the least, those who are averaging more than 30 putts are likely having a hard time making their way up the leaderboard.
For your own game, you will want to gather a few rounds of data before you start to set goals for yourself going forward. Most likely, your current average will fall in the 30-34 putts per round range. What’s important is that you figure out how good of a putter you are currently, and then work to improve through practice and experience. Set goals for this statistic based on your past performance, and then work toward making those goals a reality. As they say, ‘drive for show, putt for dough’. It is an old expression, but one of the truest in the game.