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Practice Line, Path and Tempo to Avoid Pesky 3 Putts

By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Published on

Most amateur golfers know the gaps that exist between their putting performance and that of Tour Professionals. Unlike other areas of the game, where gaps between Professionals and Amateurs are much, much wider (driving, iron play, etc.), putting is an area where most amateurs can get closer to Tour levels, simply through more dedicated practice.
The Numbers…
Putts Per Round
While it’s hard to get a true average number of putts per round for amateurs, an attempt to quantify this has been made. Research by MyGolfSpy shows the average number of putts per round by a scratch golfer is 31.5 while a 16-20 handicap is 35.8. 
3 Putt Avoidance
The PGA Tour average is 3.13%. Obviously, for a 10 or 25 handicapper, that percentage is much higher. Besides a less reliable putting stroke, reasons for the higher average include statistics such as proximity to the hole on approach shots. Obviously, Tour Professionals hit it much closer. Regardless of that key fact, it really boils down to this…Tour Professionals are much more proficient putters than you. Why? Because they focus far more practice time on the putting green than you do.
What do the Professionals Practice on the Green?
Line, Path and Tempo.
Working on getting your Line correct and focusing your attention to the apex point of your line is key. Getting the ball started on your intended line is critical. Mark your golf ball with a line on it so you can set it to your intended line of the putt.
Path is another key factor to becoming a better putter. Making sure you are swinging the putter head back and through down your intended line is a must. Many golfers struggle with an out to in or in to out path with the putter much like they do with their full swing. By simply using alignment sticks as a guide, you can train your path back into health.
Tempo is critical. Did you know that most of the best putters in the world putt at a 2:1 ratio, regardless of the length of the putt? That is, the rate of their downswing is twice as fast as their backswing. What changes with the length of the putt is the length of the stroke. The tempo, or rate remains 2:1. A great training aid for this is the Blast Golf sensor and app.
Spending at least 40% of your practice time on the putting green is recommended by most experts. If you are having more significant issues with the short stick, spending closer to 50% of your time would not hurt. Doing this for a few weeks will undoubtedly start to show dividends with lower numbers on your scorecard.
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Brendon R. Elliott, PGA


Executive Director/Founder

Sorrento, FL

Brendon Elliott is considered by his peers in the industry as one of the top youth golf coaches in the world. He is a multiple, local, state, regional, national and world award winning instructor with a focus on junior golfers ages 3-18. With numerous appearances on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, local TV, nationwide radio and countless publications, Elliott is one of the foremost experts in the youth golf arena. His Little Linksters 501c3 nonprofit is recognized as an example for introducing children as young as three to the game as well as how to help introduce youth with disabilities to our golf. Elliott has been recommended by industry titian's such as Nicklaus, Player, Floyd, Sorenstam, Speith and more. Among his numerous accolades, Elliott was named the PGA of America's 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award Winner in 2017.