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Dave Pelz's Fast New Ways to Lower Your Handicap

Robin Griggs

Professionals roll a higher percentage of putts past the hole and hole more makeable putts than amateurs.

Your big problem
You leave too many putts short

My New Research on MAKEABLE PUTTS
Touch for distance, getting line-locked and not reading enough break are hurting your putting performance


Percentage for Makeable Putts (10-25 feet)


Putt length PGA Tour 0 Handicap 10 Handicap 20 Handicap 30 Handicap
10' - 15' 30% 22% 19% 14% 25%
15' - 20' 19% 5% 10% 17% 0%
20' - 25' 12% 12% 13% 4% 0%


Approach Putt Performance (putt left after first putt from 10-25 feet)


  PGA Tour 0 Handicap 10 Handicap 20 Handicap 30 Handicap
2nd putt length
2'5" 6'7" 7'11" 6'5" 9'6"


Why your numbers are bad

1. PROS Rarely leave makeable putts (10 to 25 feet) short of the hole.
YOU would score significantly better by not leaving so many makeable putts short. Look at the scatter patterns of second putts remaining after the first makeable putt is missed. This "leaving-it-short" phenomenon was surprisingly consistent across the handicap range of amateurs but almost absent for pros.
(The amateurs actually did themselves proud when it came to makeable putts. Their performance almost across-the-board was closer to the pro level than in almost any other category we measured.)

2. PROS Play more break and miss more putts on the high side of the hole.
YOU almost never play enough break and leave a high percentage of missed putts below the hole.
(This was very discouraging to me. I have been preaching to amateurs to play more break in putts for the last 10 years, but this new data shows no evidence of anyone having listened.)

How to make them better

Forget the line
Too many golfers complain of pulling or pushing after missing a putt. These complaints are indicative of too much focus on line, with not enough attention paid to speed or distance. The truth is, a putt's speed determines how much it breaks, and therefore usually controls its line (left or right) as it approaches the hole. In addition, most golfers don't read the right line in the first place.

Having said this, do me — and your game — four favors this season: (1) Focus on rolling putts beyond the hole on average; (2) Allow for a little more break on every breaking putt you see; (3) Recognize that for every putt you leave short you've thrown away a chance of holing it; and (4) Realize that until you miss as many putts above the hole as below, you're STILL not reading enough break on average. Do these things for me and you just may start putting like a professional.

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