How to stop 3 Putting: Quick fixes to improve your score

How to stop 3 Putting: Quick fixes to improve your score

1 February 2021

[Updated Feb 2021]

3 putts. Annoying and avoidable. How can you improve your putting and reduce the number of 3 putts?

GPS watch and performance tracking company Shot Scope, produce statistics on all aspects of the game. Their statistics and findings on putting arguably offer the golfer a big opportunity to save shots on the golf course. The high percentages of three-putting across all levels, coupled with evidence of poor distance control, indicates a fast track to lower scores. The image below highlights 3 putt percentages across 5 handicap levels.

3 putt percentage by handicap

A massive key for scoring for the handicap golfer is to avoid three putting – do this well and it can significantly reduce your handicap.  The 3 putt percentage is surprisingly high over all of the handicaps, with 20 and 26 handicappers three-putting 19% and 25% of the holes they play. There is a lot of room for improvement!

average distance of 2nd putt in a 3 putt

Even more surprising is the average distance of the second putt when three-putting. A 20 handicapper has a second putt of nearly 9ft!! This is predominantly a distance control issue, because the ball usually comes up short. Even Jordan Speith – one of the best putters in the world – only holes a 9 footer 24% of the time, so what chance have the rest of us got?

number of 3 putts per round

Holing Out

Holing out or make % is a huge factor in putting, particularly 3 putts. The image shows the significant increase in make % across all handicaps when they get inside 4ft compared with from 6ft. This is more noticeable among 14, 20 and 26 handicaps.

make % from 4ft and 6ft

As Shot Scope suggests, most three-jabs are cause by coming up short… which is most often a question of strike quality. A pure strike means optimal energy transfer into the ball; miss-strikes mean less energy and less distance. To improve your strike on longer putts, let your core take control of the stroke.

3 putt % from 30ft

The 3-putt % difference between an 8 handicap and higher handicaps is down to consistency of the putting stroke. An 8 handicapper is likely to have a more consistent putting stroke than a 20 handicapper, meaning they have more control over the distance they hit their first putt. We uncovered earlier that 3 putts tend to happen due to a poor first putt, which is often due to a miss-strike on inconsistent putting stroke.

Top Tip: When using the PinCollect feature, include all shots taken with a putter. For example, 1 putt from off the green and 2 putts on the green = 3 on PinCollect.


  • Higher handicaps have 3 times as many 3 putts a round compared to a single figure golfer
  • The average length of second putt in a 3 putt shows that the higher handicap golfer has much less distance control. It is a big ask to hole 9ft+ for a second putt.
  • The focus should be on getting the first putt inside the 4ft circle, as the make % significantly increases across all handicap levels from this range.
  • If higher handicaps can reduce the number of 3 putts, you will significantly improve your game.

About Shot Scope V3

The Shot Scope V3 is a stylish and lightweight GPS watch available in 4 colours. The V3 can be used on the course as an advanced GPS watch or simply use in watch mode for your daily life off the course. The Shot Scope V3 comes preloaded with the Shot Scope’s in-house course database of 36,000 worldwide courses, allowing changes to a course to be instantly uploaded within as little as 48 hours. The V3 automatically tracks each shot hit on the course, without interfering with your game.

what is strokes gained, final shot scope image
Shot Scope mobile app and performance statistics

Shot Scope V3 users have unlimited access to Tour-quality performance statistics with the touch of a button. More than 100 different analytics can be reviewed via the Shot Scope V3 mobile app or Shot Scope’s online dashboard on different clubs, tee shots, approaches, short game and putting.

My Golf Spy: Best Value GPS Watch 2020

Check out this review on Shot Scope V3.

V3 is available to buy at, Dicks Sporting Goods – USA, PGA Superstore – USA, American Golf – UK and Golfbox Australia.


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Did you know that 84% of missed putts over five feet finish short?

Or, that your typical drive is nearly 30 yards shorter than your Sunday best drive? These are just two intriguing statistics thrown up by Shot Scope’s performance tracking data platform.

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