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Form 14



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Golfers do not know the percentage of putts they sink by distance and by other conditions, such as slope direction and the amount and direction of the curve(s). When they miss, they have no cumulative data on that type of miss: short or long, right or left, above the curve or below it.

By collecting data on their error pattern, they know what result to change and how often it occurs. They learn to estimate the break more accurately and strike it on that line more often. If they discover from data that they leave too many putts less than 20 feet short of the cup, they strike it with a longer backstroke.

Knowing their past performance serves as a standard for them to beat or maintain. It makes putting practice more interesting and challenging. It tends to increase the number of their practice putts. They know where their three-putts are most prevalent and can practice those to reduce their frequency. They tend to practice more of their short putts than before, because the data tells them how prevalent those putts are and what percentage of such putts they sink.

Today, ShotLink, the PGA Tour’s laser measurement and computer program provides accurate data on the distance of each putt down to inches and the cumulative percentage of putts sunk by distance brackets, However, in a study reported by Sports Illustrated many years prior to the introduction of ShotLink, 19 of 20 PGA Tour players overestimated, often by wide margins, the percentage of putts they sunk at various distances. Ben Crenshaw, an outstanding putter, was the only one who knew accurately what percentage of putts he sank by distance.

My research shows that even top golfers have no idea of how often they miss on the low side of the curve to the cup. About 73% of their missed putts that reach the distance of the cup miss on the low side of the curve to the cup. One top golfer told me he missed 98% on the high side of the curve to the cup. It was actually 73%. Even more astonishingly, it was 73% on the low side of the curve, not the high side of the curve as he thought. I wish I had 10% of the tournament winnings that he left on the table by not realizing what his actual performance was.

Golfers should carry this form with them on the course and record data on the green as others putt or as soon as soon as they leave the green. It will produce more accurate data and it will often cause an immediate correction during the round. Their long term putting performance will improve and stabilize at higher levels long term.


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