How to break the three putt habit and lower your scores

How to break the three putt habit and lower your scores

24 April 2022

Every golfer 3 putts, however some do it more often than others. Through analysis of the Shot Scope database we have found out exactly how many times each handicap category, from the 0 handicap golfer to the 25 handicap golfer, 3 putts on average. Unsurprisingly our data has found that the lower the handicap, the less they 3 putt…

0 handicap3 putts every 39.2 holes
5 handicap3 putts every 20.9 holes
10 handicap3 putts every 14.9 holes
15 handicap3 putts every 10.4 holes
20 handicap3 putts every 8.2 holes
25 handicap3 putts every 7.6 holes

Whilst a 0-handicap golfer can go over 2 full rounds of golf without 3 putting on average, a 25-handicap golfer 3 putts three times per round on average. While it isn’t a truly fair handicap comparison it is a considerable difference. So, how do you improve your game and get your 3-putt hole average up to that of a 0-handicap golfer? Well, there are 3 simple practice drills to try below that will hopefully have you 3 putting less in no time!

Practice Drill 1 – Lag Putting

From 30+ feet the typical 15 handicap golfer leaves their first putt 7.2 feet from the hole, not exactly a tap in! Compare this to a 0-handicap golfer wo leaves their first putt only 4.6 feet away on average. So, to get your first putt closer to the hole and have more chance of holing your second putt try the following drill the next time you are on the practice putting green.

Grab 3 tee pegs from your golf bag and select a hole on the putting green. Next, lay your putter (standard putter length is 33-35”) from the hole outwards facing up beyond the hole. Place one tee peg next to where your putter grip ends. Now do the same with one tee peg to the left of the hole and similarly one to the right. You should now have a semi-circle of 3 tee pegs within 3 feet of the hole. Putting within 3 feet across all handicap categories is over 90% so this is a good standard to aim for when lag putting. Next, take 3 golf balls and pace out a 30-foot putt from a hole (can try further from the hole as well if you wish but start at 30 feet). Now, read the green and take 3 putts. Try not to be too concerned with holing each putt but focus more on the pace of each putt. The aim is for all 3 putts to be within the tee peg semi-circle. Try this from various angles and lengths of putt. You should hopefully see your lag putting improve on course and your 3-putt percentage decrease.

Practice Drill 2 – Putting Clock

Improving your first putt pace is crucial for taking less 3 putts, however the 2nd putt is just as important. Try this simple drill that many PGA tour pros use the next time you are on the practice putting green.

Pick a hole on the putting green. Next, grab 8 tee pegs and place 4 of them 3 feet (roughly pace this out) from the hole. Place one tee peg at 12 o’clock, one at 3 o’clock, one at 6 o’clock and one at 9 o’clock. Next place the other 4 tee pegs 6 feet away from the hole at the same positions. Now, place a ball at each of the 3 feet tee peg positions. See if you can hole all 4 putts around the clock face. If you do, then move the ball to the 6 feet positions and see if you can hole them all. You can start the 6 feet tee pegs and work in the way or vice versa. See how many putts in a row you can hole. If you practice this drill even once a week you should see an improvement in putting average and 3 putts out on the course.

Practice Drill 3 – Putt to fringe

Quite often when practicing putting on the green, especially before playing a round, it is easy to get frustrated or concerned about your putting if nothing is going in the hole. Quite often this is down to not following your routine or reading putts rather than putting a bad stroke on it. The next drill eliminates you being concerned about missing putts and also improves your pace putting.

Grab 3 balls and stand approximately 20 feet in from the fringe of the putting green and face the fringe. Now place the 3 balls down and putt towards the fringe. The aim of this drill is to get the ball to finish as close to the fringe line as possible without going past it. You can try this from various angles and distances. This drill is great as it is excellent for pace putting, especially if you are playing a new course, but it also doesn’t leave any niggling doubts about you missing putts before stepping on the first tee. Try it the next time before you play and you should see you rolling it close to the hole every time.

Practicing the 3 drills above, regardless of your handicap category, should lead to a decrease in your 3-putt percentage as well as lowering your overall putting average. Try them the next time you practice and you will soon be the putting guru at your club!

Learn and discover detailed putting statistics like the ones mentioned in this article about your own game, by tracking your performance with Shot Scope. The range of shot tracking products from Shot Scope allow you to truly learn where you need to improve your golf.


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