How much does putting really matter?

It does, but maybe not quite as you thought.

Drawing on our database of millions of scores, we are able to pose and answer questions that bring you interesting insights.

So we asked ourselves – how important is putting for your handicap? Some people think it’s quite important (how many of you own or have read Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible?). Others believe it makes no difference and don’t even bother hitting the practice green.

So we took a look at our database and ran some numbers.

Average Putts vs Average Score Graph On average a 4-6 handicap will shoot a 79 and make 31.6 putts a round. In contrast, a 14-16 handicap will shoot a 90 and make 33.8 putts a round; a 24-26 handicap will shoot 102 and make 35.6 putts per round. Thus, approximately 16-18%, or one-sixth, of the difference in strokes is due to putting. That’s not that much – perhaps there are 5 other similar, but easier, things you can be focused on doing instead?

That seemed a bit funny to us. So we took another look – but this time only the scores that counted towards your handicap. In this case putting counted for almost 25% of the difference in strokes, a much bigger number.

What does that tell us?

When you play your best games to lower your handicap, putting plays a much bigger role than you would think. So perhaps hitting that practice green for a few minutes before a round and get warmed up may be the best investment you can make.

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