A Lesson Learned: The key to good scores

Charlie Wi, David Toms
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It was their work on the greens at Colonial that allowed Charlie Wi and David Toms to run away from the field.
By
Adam Smith, PGA
PGA.com

Problem Area: Putting
Series: Lesson Learned

During the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club, in Ft. Worth, Texas, Rickie Fowler, 2008 recipient of the Ben Hogan award and 2009 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, fired a scorching 29 on the front nine! He had his putter hot! David Toms, last week's winner at the Player's Championship, shot a pair of 62s on Thursday and Friday at Colonial. He made everything he looked at, sixteen one putts in his first two rounds. That's how you go so far under par on the PGA Tour. And how about Charlie Wi?! He was number one in putting at Colonial Country Club this week. Charlie had 20 birdies for the week and converted over 90 percent of his sand saves. There is a direct correlation between excelling on Tour and putting like a magician! Time for you to get out on the practice green, right?!

Rickie Fowler is currently ranked sixth in putting (27.92 putts per round). He is ranked 35th in scoring, with a scoring average of 70.71. David Toms is ranked eighty third, with 29.03 putts per round and a scoring average of 70.32. Charlie Wi is ranked forty fourth in putting with an average of 28.71 putts per round and is ranked seventy seventh in scoring on tour with an average of 71.20 per round. So, look at how well these men putted this week and understand how excellent putting makes for excellent scoring on tour. This is the key to lowering your scores! Check out the putting stats on PGATour.com for inspiration! Establish a personal plan of you own to be the best putter you
can be!

Mr. Hogan called putting, "the game within the game." The key to being the best putter you can be is to log time in on the practice putting green. Putting is the most used part of your game and also the most under practiced. I see it all the time at the Country Club where I teach, the range is full and the putting green is empty. The players on the PGA Tour know where their championships are won. On the putting green! How often do you practice putting?


Here's how you can improve your putting stats. Visit your local PGA Golf professional for a putting lesson. We can help, I promise. But before you do, help us both out by doing some research first. How? Easy, keep track of how many putts you have during your rounds. On your scorecard, write down your putts, under your score, hole by hole. Add up the totals of both your score and your putts. Remember that a putt is counted only from the putting surface. Once you have four or five scorecards collected, with this data documented, share it with your PGA pro. Together, you can develop a plan of action for lowering your putting average. Look at the facts written on your scorecard. This research may show that you always three putt the same hole, for example. Is that green on that hole particularly difficult? If so, take your lesson out there, on that hole! Perhaps your research shows that you have fewer putts on par 5's than par 3's? Is this because you hit short irons or wedges into par 5's, versus long irons or woods into par 3's, thus the putts are shorter? If so, work on your lag putting with your pro. Maybe there is no consistency in your putting, reflected by the stats you keep. Here's an opportunity to improve your putting technique, in order to gain accuracy and distance control and ultimately lower your putting average. Your PGA pro can help you improve your grip, stance, posture and swing path. The change will do you good!

Score 4 5 3 4 4 5 3 2 6 36
Putts 2 3 1 2 2 3 1 2 2 18

Once you are done with all that helpful golf instruction, it 's time to test your skills! Here's a fun game to play, next time you are in a friendly match with your foursome at your club. Announce that as a side bet, everyone is going to keep track of how many putts they have in the round. Clarify that a putt is a stroke taken with your putter, from the putting green. "Offies," also known as shots played with the "Texas Wedge," do not count. The player with the lowest number of putts during the round is usually, but not always, the player with the lowest score. The player with the lowest gross score is usually, but not always, the one who wins. Depends how the betting is arranged and how honest everyone's handicap is, right?! Make this putting competition a fun "game within the game" during your next 18 hole round. Take putting lessons from your local PGA Professional. And keep track of your putting statistics, so you too can become a champion of the game and ultimately realize a lesson learned in scoring.


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