Why missing putts long can help you hole more putts

Why missing putts long can help you hole more putts

8 April 2022

Hole more putts, lower your scores and reduce your handicap – give every putt a go!

A recent analysis of the Shot Scope database, encompassing more than 170 million recorded shots, has revealed that lower handicap players get the ball past the hole more often when putting, thus holing more putts.

An analysis of Shot Scope putting data has shown the following breakdown of stats when looking at all putts comparing the putts missed long percentage compared to putts left short:

Handicap% missed long% missed short

As you can see the 0 handicap category misses long more than they leave it short. By getting the ball to the hole more often that not the 0 handicap golfer will make more putts. Moving to the 5 handicap golfer the percentage of putts missed decreases to 48%, a whole 9% lower than the 0 handicap golfer, meaning even at this good standard of golf they leave more putts short of the hole and they do beyond it. While they may leave putts within a tap-in range short of the hole, they obviously do not have the same chance of holing the putt with it coming up short. Perhaps a little surprisingly the 10 handicap group get the ball beyond the hole 1% more often than the 5 handicap golfer. It’s great to see that this handicap category is ever so slightly more bold with their putts, however it may be that they are too bold at times and the one coming back is a little longer on average resulting in some more 3 putts and slightly higher scores on average.

HandicapAverage distance remaining after 1st putt
01.9 feet
52.3 feet
102.5 feet
153.0 feet
203.1 feet
253.1 feet

Indeed, Shot Scope data shows that a 10 handicapper leaves the ball 2.5 feet from the hole on average when putting from 0-30+ feet. Whereas, a 0 and 5 handicap golfer leave the ball 1.9 feet (0 HCP) and 2.3 feet (5 HCP) from the hole on average. Whilst these figures do not amount to a lot of footage left, those extra few inches on each putt do increase the chances of missing the follow up putt.  The 15, 20 and 25 handicap categories drop down in small increments from 42% (15 HCP), 41% (20 HCP) and 35% (25 HCP). The aim for all of these handicap categories would be to increase these percentages to as near to 50% as they can.

While it is easy to say, “be more aggressive with your putts”, it is often hard putting this into practice. A simple drill for getting the ball to the hole more often is to create a semi-circle of tee pegs 1 foot beyond a hole on the practice putting green. Set up 3 balls on the putting green away from the hole, one at 20 feet, one at 10 feet and one at 5 feet. Now practice getting the ball to within the 1 foot semi-circle beyond the hole, if the putt goes in the hole then great, however if it misses do your best to make sure it goes beyond the hole but within the 1 foot semi-circle. Practice this several times from varying distances and the next time you are on the course you should hopefully see a few more putts drop, lower scores and an increase in your miss long percentage.

The type of information and statistics in this article is easy to learn about your own game with shot tracking products such as the V3 GPS watch, H4 game tracker or the PRO LX+ laser rangefinder from Shot Scope. Start tracking your game and improve today.



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