• Who needs to putt like a Tour player?

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    BUDDY DE JOYA

    They say that professional golfers need to be great putters, in order for them to win the tour. This actually holds true at their caliber. Now, most amateurs aspire to be as good. So, is it really essential for the average golfers to putt like pro?

    Well, I have always been impressed with how TourPlayers putt so well. I cannot imagine how much time they spend in practicing and honing their putting skills. But definitely they practice diligently, focused and full committed. But mind you, there are days that even the best professionals miss their 6 or even 3-footer putts, consecutively. This makes you wonder!

    Does it mean that “putting” is impossible to master? Is it really the most difficult part of the game?

    Based on experience, putting seems to be a game within the golf game itself. Honestly, I have never mastered it! It is this part of the game that requires the most feel and analysis. Before doing a simple putt, you need to consider the distance, line of putt, slopes, direction of grain of the green, soft or hard surface, dry or wet surface, the appropriate stroke of the putter like tempo and swing size. To top it off, there is never a single shot that is ever the same. Having to seize up all these information definitely makes this part of the game most challenging.

    Mr. Ken Tannar of Probable Golf Instruction gathered some data on the length of putt as against the putting stroke averages from four categories. They are as follows:

    3-footer putt – 1.07 (Pro), 1.22 (HCP 0-4), 1.35 (HCP 11), 1.50 (HCP 26)

    6-footer putt – 1.32 (Pro), 1.46 (HCP 0-4), 1.62 (HCP 11), 1.86 (HCP 26)

    10-footer putt – 1.54 (Pro), 1.63 (HCP 0-4), 1.83 (HCP 11), 2.10 (HCP 26)

    15-footer putt – 1.75, 1.76, 1.98, 2.29

    20-footer putt – 1.86, 1.86, 2.10, 2.43

    30-footer putt – 1.96, 2.00, 2.27, 2.61

    40-footer putt – 2.00, 2.10, 2.38, 2.77

    50-footer putt – 2.10, 2.20, 2.50, 2.91

    You will notice that there is not much difference on the average strokes between all types of players. Considering, Pros actually putt on higher quality and true rolling greens. But this goes to show that putting is not easy after all. Comparatively, after the round, it can sum up to a difference of a few strokes, which can determine a loss or a win.But just the same, if amateurs compare their ability to Tour Players to help improve their putting, it is not much of a difference at all.

    Tiger Woods lines up a putt at the British Open in 2015. AFP FILE PHOTO

    In practice, it has been customary to sum up the Putts Per Round of a player to determine putting statistics. But there are too many variables and this makes it greatly irrelevant. We have numerous factors like number of greens you hit, the length of your first putt, the quality of your stroke, the difficulty of the green and the characteristics of the putting surface.

    Moreover, Putts per Greens and Regulations can also be unreliable. Most amateur players are having a hard time meeting these criteria. Besides, achieving more greens and regulations will mean more number of putts incurred. A player with the least green in regulations will have the least putts.

    Therefore, to really improve your scoring ability, you must improve on your drives, approach shots, iron accuracy, wedge shots, chip shots, and greenside bunker shots. Take note that it is recommended to get it down in two strokes within the distance of any wedge shots or chip shots.

    So, if you are putting good, it can be the result of good pitching, chipping and bunker play. It will help if you can acquire the ability to read a putt, aim the clubface correctly and control your ball speed to match up with your read.

    A good way to monitor your own putting statistics is to count the number of three putts you do per round. This will make you aware of the distance control factor that you can practice or drill on. As you know (maybe not), we cannot put a number to a certain feel. A putting stroke must be felt to establish a particular distance.

    You can also take note of your short missed putts. It is the short missed putts that shoot up your scores easily. When doing short putts, take your time and breath deeply. Simply tap and roll the ball to your intended target without hesitation.

    In addition, never attempt to sink your first putt into the hole like a Pro (not unless really close). It can actually build a certain level of anxiety during your routine. Imagine a 6 feet diameter hole and just attempt to keep it close to its boundaries. This will ease up the stress while on the putting green.

    The fact is, “putting” can never be mastered. It is a good mindset to settle with two putts per hole. When given the chance to sink the ball with your first putt, go for it!

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