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What's a good "Putts per round" average?


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Through 21 rounds this year, I'm averaging 33.8 putts per round.  This really seems high to me.  I'm currently sitting at a 15.6 handicap.  Today, I had 6 birdie looks and only converted 1 of them and shot an 84 with 33 putts.  I know I can get better here but, what would be a good target number for me to shoot for?

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First, how do you define a "birdie look"?   With a GiR, if I'm within 15ft of the hole (5 paces) I define it as a birdie chance" and if I'm within 10ft, it's a good birdie chance. 15ft~20ft

HANDICAP AVG. PUTTS PER ROUND AVG. SCORE Best pro 27.7 69.1 Scratch 31.5 75.7 1-5 3

Putts/round or putts/GIR are linked to other aspects of your game; if you are looking for a number or percentage that isolates a putting skill you need to develop your own metrics, and it's not that h

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First, how do you define a "birdie look"?

 

With a GiR, if I'm within 15ft of the hole (5 paces) I define it as a birdie chance" and if I'm within 10ft, it's a good birdie chance. 15ft~20ft is an "outside look at birdie", but occasionally I'll include a longer putt in this range if it fairly straight and, say, uphill.

 

Now, you've missed 11 greens in regulation, and got up and down twice (that included a sand save, right?). A simple question here is, when you didn't save par, was it because you didn't chip close enough, or because you missed a short putt. A third option might be was it because you had no chance of saving par (due to poor tee shot or second shot).

 

Now, if the answer to that question is 1) didn't chip close enough to leave a realistic par save, then work on your short game. If the answer is 2) missed a short putt, then you have a putting problem. And if the answer is 3), then work more on your long game.

 

Finally, did you have any three-putts?

 

I'm simplifying it a lot, but that's roughly how I'd approach it.

 

Incidentally, for me the answer is 1) with a little bit of 2). I also tend to 3-putt from mid range and for me 33 putts is a reasonably good putting round...😭

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The historical putts per round that is still around and kicking is less than 30. Then of course you can analiza each and every component of your round but under 30 always shields a good to very good score. High 20s is good, and mid 20s is simply gold. You’ll shoot 68 or less net. 

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Others have touched on it, but putts per round is a misleading stat.  I am guilty of tracking this too, and always felt that my target should be 32 putts per round or better.  That said, it's really not the statistic we need to track... because if you hit 18 greens and two putted every single one of them, that's 36 putts which looks bad, but unless you're scratch or a plus handicap, you would be THRILLED with that.  

 

What I try to focus on is how many putts I make inside of 3 feet.  I want to be automatic at that range.  I also want to feel that no matter where I am on the green, I can lag a putt to at least 3 feet.  Granted, sometimes I'll miss a 3 footer.  And sometimes I won't be able to lag a putt to within that distance.  But I also will sometimes make a putt outside of that distance so that's "stealing" one back to compensate for the misses.

I'm far more concerned with GIRs than putts.  Whether or not I hit a green tells me way more about how I was playing.  I played 9 holes earlier this month and hit 8 of 9 greens, and had 18 putts and felt GREAT about it because I shot 1 over.

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Posted (edited)

Good info from everyone, thanks.  Some answers to some of the questions:

 

I play 18 holes 3-4 times a week.  I played in high school in the 1990's at an avg. score of 95.  After high school, I put the game away for almost 25 years.  I started again about 2 years ago.  I played about 30 times 2 years ago and then last year, I only played 3 times.  This year, I've played 21 rounds so far and have a much more regular playing schedule

 

I count a birdie look as a birdie putt inside of 20ft.

 

Avg. first putt distance is probably 20-30ft? 

 

I guess my approach shots could be a bit tighter.  I drive on avg 250 and from the white tees, that leaves an avg. approach of 150ish?  That's going to be an 8 or a light 7 for me. 

 

The greens I play on are FAST and HARD.  Almost nothing sticks.  I get about 11,000rpm off my sand wedge on a full shot and with that it's still normal to get 10' of forward roll.

 

Moving back from the green on the course, I've adjusted a couple of things on my swing and it has helped my accuracy but, it has hurt my distances.  I'm still trying to nail down iron ranges.  When I get that done, my approaches should get better.  Right now, I feel like I'm coming up 10-20 yards short on some approach shots leading me to chip in for a third shot and hurting my GIR stat.

 

Intermediate putting is a big negative of mine.  I can normally lag a long one within 5' or so.  5'-10', it's an absolute nightmare for me.  It's been so bad that I'm really inside my own head at those distances and I know that's not helping.  Inside of 5' can get a bit shaky sometimes too.  I have been tending to push shorter putts to the right.  I believe this is an alignment issue and I'm working on it.  I have just recently started using the alignment lines on the ball and it's helping.

 

Downhill putts are kicking my a**.  As fast as the greens are where I play, dinging one just a bit too hard shoots the ball way past the hole.  The slope downhill really scares me and I tend to really under hit the putt, leaving me short and having to work with the downhill putt again for putt #2.

 

3 putts are not uncommon for me.  Only 1 yesterday but past rounds sometimes have anywhere from 2-4 3 putt holes

 

Thanks again guys for all thee help

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My target for putts/round is 30 and I am averaging just over 30 right now. It all depends on how many greens I hit, proximity to the hole, how good my short game is when I do miss a green. This year I have ranged from 26 to 35. For a better judge of how I am putting I use putts per GIR, and I'm currently at 1.9. I'd like to see that be a little better.

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(GIRS/2) + 22 (round up) =  Putting Benchmark for that round. (Scratch golfer)

 

I’d increase the +22 incrementally as handicap of player increases as well.

 

 

 

 

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As a 16 handicap you aren't going to make many birdies a round. 1 birdie per round as a 16 is probably above average. Work on the distance control to get rid of the 3 putts. Putts per round is highly variable depending on how much you spray it. A hole where you miss the fairway, punch out near green, flub a chip and then cozy next chip up to hole and make 5 is 1 putt but obviously the rest of the hole sucked, vs a FIR and GIR and 2 putt par is 2 putts. So it's a very subjective and poor look typically at putting performance. 

 

You want to make all aspects of putting better but avoiding 3 putting is basically the easiest thing everyone can do to become a better putter, which is primarily done by improving speed control. 

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5 hours ago, stephenmatt said:

I would say anything at or below 36 putts is considered good. 34-32 putts for an amateur would be in my book considered very good and anything 32-30 putts would be considered great. Anything below that is just insane for a casual golfer.


This is where my brain is at.
 

I follow this guy on IG:

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CNqxrWOMw5h/?utm_medium=copy_link
 

OP shot an 84 with 3 doubles and hit 7 greens.  33 putts wasn’t really the problem.  

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HANDICAP AVG. PUTTS PER ROUND AVG. SCORE
Best pro 27.7 69.1
Scratch 31.5 75.7
1-5 32.6 79.8
6-10 33.7 84.8
11-15 34.8 90
16-20 35.8 95.1
21-25 36.8 100.5
25+ 38.6 108.8
All 35 90.8

 

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Putter Cleveland Huntington Beach Premier 10.5C

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Just a simple way of it is ideal putt avg = (2xGIR)+GIR  That is basically making all your putts for par. Which means you need to need to really be good chipping for when you miss greens so you have very low stress pars and not getting too aggressive or scared of longer birdie putts.

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9 hours ago, stephenmatt said:

I would say anything at or below 36 putts is considered good. 34-32 putts for an amateur would be in my book considered very good and anything 32-30 putts would be considered great. Anything below that is just insane for a casual golfer.


depends what you mean by casual, I guess.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, iutodd said:


This is where my brain is at.
 

I follow this guy on IG:

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CNqxrWOMw5h/?utm_medium=copy_link
 

OP shot an 84 with 3 doubles and hit 7 greens.  33 putts wasn’t really the problem.  

It isn't perfect by any means but those numbers are just what come to mind. I follow Mike on IG also. He has a ton of useful content!

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For me putts per round is not a very good indication of how I’m playing. I’ve had some rounds that were on paper great in that total putts were <30 but in fact I was missing a lot of greens and was doing a lot of wedge work from just off the green, or putting from the fringe and getting a lot of 1 putts. 
 

One of my buddies is the world’s worst putter and he can still shoot in the mid-80’d to mid-90’s. He typically 3 putts 5-10 times a round. If he could just get past his mental yippiness he’d be a great player. 

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50 minutes ago, stephenmatt said:

It isn't perfect by any means but those numbers are just what come to mind. I follow Mike on IG also. He has a ton of useful content!


Golf is an imperfect game - I’m not super into the numbers necessarily - but when I think about my plan of attack for a course and how I want to play it I kind of start with these ideas.  
 

Which maybe sounds weird - but if you need to hit 8 greens to break 80 that’s something you can think through IMO.  I know when I’m on the tee if this is a hole that is one of the 8.  Although normally I have 10-11 in mind so I’ve got some room for error. 

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Putts per round? Meh. If you want to make it really simple track 3 putts and misses within 4ft. Still not perfect, but better than total putts. If you really want to see how good your putting is walk off your first putt then count number of putts from there. There are free sites online that will let you measure strokes gained putting if you know those two things. Also, you can walkoff the putts. 

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1 hour ago, DShepley said:

Isn't this only partly true?  What if a player sucks from 3-5 feet?  You also improve by avoiding two putts after you miss a green in regulation.

Yep, can't tell you how many times I chip one to 3 feet and miss the par putt. That's no different then 3 putting. It's an extra unnecessry putt, period.

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This weekend proves to me why putting stats are challenging to track / interpret. I played 18 holes yesterday and today at the local muni. Shot 73 each round.

 

Yesterday: A excellent day of golf with strong ball striking and as good of putting as I can remember. Only shot 73 cause of two bad holes early in the round; could have easily been 70 (easy to say, I know...). Finished with 3 birdies on last 5 holes, 2 from 15+ feet, and another pure putt that caught the edge and refused to go down. Hit 13/18 greens and had 31 putts. 

 

Today: Entire round was a battle. Couldn't hit my driver to save my life to start the round, was serviceable at best with my irons and left every single putt over 5 feet woefully short. However, I managed to scramble like mad and stiff a few wedges, so somehow scored the same as yesterday. My score was entirely the result of chipping the ball to within 3 feet again and again and again. Hit 10/18 greens (note: 3 greens were via knock down shots cause was stymied, so take those with a grain of salt) and had 28 putts. 

 

Now, looking at putts per round you'd say today was better, but it was not even close. Such a bad day putting today. Even putts per GIR was better today cause I hit a few close and made those 5-7 footers. 

 

I did track strokes gained putting with Arccos and yesterday was +3.2 and today was +1.1 (both vs. a scratch). Both good, I guess, but clearly better yesterday despite more putts and worse putts per GIR. 

 

Takeaway for me is to track strokes gained if you can, because that's the truest indicator. If not, use some combination of putts per round, putts per GIR, feet of putts made and, last but not least, feel. 

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