PUTTING ONLY FEEDBACK
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
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.