During these months where the days are shorter and temperatures are lower, it is a great opportunity to focus closer to the hole. You can groove your golf swing and make those necessary adjustments, but a majority of players have trouble with their putting. Especially their long putting. Don’t discount this part of the game as the stats do not lie. The closer you are to the hole, the more likely you are to make the next putt. What does that mean? If you can lag your long putt inside a couple of feet the percentages go up substantially that you will make the next one.
There are tons of various data sources that discuss putting statistics and make-percentage but they are all relatively close. The reality is that most players make every putt inside of 2 feet. Somewhere in the 98% range. When you move back to 3 feet that drops several percentage points to roughly an average of 90%, give or take a few points. The alarming stats start to come in as you get 5-6 feet away from the whole. The make-percentage drops considerably to nearly 50% and your 8-9 footers somewhere in the 35% range. The fact that if you are outside of 10 feet you make only 1/4 of your putts and anything longer than 15-feet is 10% or less.
Now, these are just numbers and not perfect for every situation and player but these are Tour Player averages. They are a lot lower for the average handicap amateur.
So what does this mean? You can sit all day and work on your 3-8 footers (and you should practice them), but most amateurs are well outside of 15-20 feet on their approach shots into the green. If you work on your long putting it will limit your 3-putts (and 4-putts for some) and give you a chance to instantly drop several shots off your score.
Imagine having 18 birdie putts from 60-feet… How confident are you in your ability to get all of them down in 2 putts or less? Sometimes it doesn’t matter how great you hit it if your putting is not on point.
PRACTICE – The simplest drill you can do for your long putting is to pick a distance of 20 feet to start with and try to putt 5 balls inside of a putter length. If you accomplish this then you move to 30-feet, if not, try again from 20-feet until you complete it. Work your way from 20 feet all the way to 60-footers and test yourself on these. Try uphill, sidehill, and downhill putts for variety. If you do this a couple times a week through the off-season you will be amazed at how much more comfortable you are reading the greens and the speed of these long putts and rolling it close. You might even surprise yourself and start holing a couple of these putts too!
If you need any assistance with your putting please let me know. Have a wonderful holiday!