It may be better to focus on how you get here...
Putting Schmutting
By klangdon on 4/19/07
How many times has someone stuck a putter in your face and said, "This accounts for 2 strokes on every hole, it IS the most important club in your bag."? Too many times for me, so I decided to see what the numbers had to say about all this putting talk.

Based on the concept of GIR you are expected to hit 2 putts per hole. Assuming that on an average course you are also expected to hit 72 strokes, that means putting accounts for 50% of your strokes. Wow thats pretty convincing. But lets break that down some more and compare it with some real data.

First, lets correct the above two numbers. The average golfer on oobgolf does not actually use 2 strokes per hole, instead its 1.95 putts per hole. Also the average golfer isn't a scratch golfer. In oobgolf the average handicap is 17.8. Based on those numbers you can expect to hit 35.1 putts out of a total 89.8 strokes. So, putting truly only accounts for about 39% of your overall strokes.

But thats still not the whole story. Even the best putter in the world isn't going to have alot of 0 putts (maybe the best chipper in the world will). So to know what putting really means to your overall game you need to compare the difference between the best golfers (scratch) to the worst (>25 handicap).

Here is the raw data:
Hcp Putts
per Hole
per Round
per Round
per Round
% Difference
< 5 1.74 31.28 0.88 12.20 0 0%
5-15 1.79 32.15 1.05 11.10 10 8.7%
15-25 1.81 32.58 1.06 11.09 20 6.5%
> 25 1.97 35.37 2.53 3.84 31 13.2%

What's that all mean? Well if a person with a handicap of 25 is playing a person with a 5 handicap, then the better golfer can expect to have 31 less strokes but only 4.09 less putts. Therefore, putting only accounts for 13.2% of the difference between a good and bad golfer.

[ comments ]
DeepRough says:
Can you show us the average # of three putts (or worse) by handicap? Along with the GIR%?

Not that you have the data, but it would be neat to know what the average first putt distance was for a < 15 player vs the first putt distance for a > 15 player. I'm sure the >15 handicap players are 'chipping' onto the green more often, and getting a shorter first putt distance than say a <15 handicap guy with a decent GIR %.
klangdon says:
DeepRough, I added those two columns to the chart above.
Snyper says:
Putting alone may not be the biggest difference between a scratch golfer and a 30 handicapper, but it's the most important facet of the game for sure. If you're shooting in the 100's, forget about putting. If you're shooting in the 80's, you can forget about the 70's till you learn to putt. There's a much bigger difference between 76 and 80 than there is between 96 and when comparing scores and handicaps, 1 stroke isn't always 1 stroke.
klangdon says:
But its actually a smaller % between shooting 80s and shooting 70s?
Your talking about a 10 strokes difference, but based on our data that difference only includes less than 1 putting stroke. Its only 8.7% of the difference between shooting 80s and 70s. So yes its important, but no where near being "the most important facet for sure".
trgoyne says:
I'd be curious to see similar comparisons for chipping and putting.
Kickntrue says:
I think the most interesting part of the chart may be the difference (or lack thereof) between 5-15 handicappers and 15-25 handicappers. The numbers on the green are almost identical, including # of 3 putts.

So where is the difference between these groups? A lot could be chips- something we should clearly look into finding a way to track- but I think a lot of this is concentration.

15-25 handicappers hit the ball as well as 5-15's but just not as often (sounds obvious, right?). I wonder if the better golfers are "better" at chipping and iron shots, or if they just find a way to concentrate for all 85 shots in a round.
golfgirl says:
Really an interesting analysis, and quite thought provoking.

However, regarding your last comment Andrew, it's nice to suggest that it's "concentration" that's lackin, but I'm inclined to think it's more often a lack of skill that leads to the inconsistency. I know from whence I speak, unfortunately.

BTW , I like the new photo. Looks appropriately fierce.
Cal says:
There's lies, damned lies, and then there's putting statistics... :P

I like your conclusion of there being only 13.2% difference in putting between a good and bad golfer.

However the bad golfer has more than likely taken between 1 and 2 extra strokes to get to the green due to mis hits (topping, hitting in the rough, etc).

So once everyone is on the green they're pretty much equal.
falcon50driver says:
This is a great analysis. Thank you very much. This is what people, I think, are coming to this site for, Golf information, based on the number of comments. Videos of morons using golf equipment for self mutilation caused at least one member that I know of, to withdraw.
Snyper says:
It should also be considered that the stats may be slightly skewed by inconsistant data. For example, I know a ton of 20 handicapers that NEVER finish a put. They miss by 6 inches or 3 feet, they pick it up. Most of your 5 handicappers are probably (at least should be) finishing everything out. That may not sound like a big difference, but when you're talking about 2 or 3 more putts a round, it could be signicant. It is the high handicaps that are most likely to miss more than 2 or 3 of those "gimmies" every round. Just remember, you can make 3 perfect shots on a par 5, but make par because you missed 1 three foot putt. You can also make par on a par 5 by hitting 4 bad shots but sinking 1 twenty foot putt. It's like they say, drive for show, putt for doe. Compare stats as you will, but if you can't putt, you can't score. And if you can putt well, you can make up for a lot of mistakes elsewhere in your game.
golfclutz says:
Good point Snyper- as far as people not finishing out putts. I must admit I'm as guilty as anyone of doing this. I've been known to miss a 3 footer or two per round.
golfray says:
I'd rather putt for Dough,I'm not too fond of Venison.
falcon50driver says:
Don't be so critical Ray... Being a good speller isn't all that SIGNIFICANT when you're a good putter.
Snyper says:
My bad...clearly I was watching the outdoor channel while writing that!!! My secretary apparently missed it when she proof read it. It's hard to find good help!
golfray says:
Just picking....that's our job....especially on Klangdon's spelling
d2jay1 says:
Really looking at the numbers and I wish I could see the raw numbers, because using your numbers and lets assume (a 18 handicapper) that there are 18 par 4 (par 5 and par 3 averaged out) you are saying that on 11 holes a person would have a par (44 strokes based on 1.81 puts and 11 GIR) and then on the other 7 holes a person would have a average score of 6.52, or a double bogey on 5 holes and a triple bogey on 2 holes. Do not buy that I think your GIR numbers are way off for the 15-25 handicapper.
TaylorFade says:
That old saying should go, "Drive for show, approach for dough." I agree that the difference in putting between me and my 15 handicap friends is probably only 2 or 3 putts, but there is no way they are hitting 11 greens. Thats only a green short of tour average.
ronphoto says:
Based upon what I see in my own crummy game and the games of others, GIR is a far better indicator of scoring than putts per round. I no hit greens, I no score. Period.

I also see that most players report fewer putts than are actually taken; 4 putts is an embarassing number to admit to. Also, since I made the decision this year not to accept gimmes, period, I've had to put some embarassing putting numbers down. I missed twice from 18 inches or less in the last two rounds I've played.
skulptor says:
I notice in my development report that my strokes over par are almost an exact mirror image of my GIR. Hmmmm...I think I need to focus on more GIR's!4 minutes ago
sigmapete1 says:
It all depends on your handicap. Increasing GIRs is more important for a 10-20 Handicapper but for a low handicap or scratch golfer, short game and putting are by far the most important factors in scoring. Putting is the difference between a 75 and a 70 but keeping it in play and hitting the green is the difference between a 95 and 85.

I find it very odd that according to your numbers, a 25 handicapper hits only one less GIR than a 5 handicapper. Perhaps your ranges are too wide? Also, to group 5 HDCers and scratch golfers together is not accurate as there is a HUGE difference between the two.
kidputter says:
I played a round today. I hit 5 GIR and had 34 putts. I shot 88. I'm a 15 HCP. That's 51 shots to get to the green.

By your chart, golfers are getting GIR 11 times and 2-putting MOST of the time. That would be 11 pars. Even if it were only 9 pars, that would mean that on the other 9 holes, they were scoring around 54, using double bogie as the benchmark. That would make scores of, on average, 90.

Maybe the stats are off by a little. I know of NO 15 HCPers who are hitting that many greens and putting so few strokes.
nickmomrik says:
Would be interesting to see updated or live data in a chart like this somewhere to see if things have changed since this was posted 2 years ago.

I have to agree with others though. I find the GIR hard to believe. I'm a 13 handicap and don't remember the last time I hit 11 greens.
kwjenkins says:
Not sure if this was covered above(did not read all comments)but one flaw i've noticed in the stat keeping is that if you choose hole by hole scoring but do not fill in putts per hole it seems to count that a "0" putts instead of "null" if you will. iv discovered this bc I often record each hole scores for a round but do not do the FH and PUTTS therefore GIR so I wonder if those stats are effected too?
[ post comment ]
    New Products
    Caption This
    World Am
    How Bizarre!
Most Popular: