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Why Did I Do That? - Part 1

The first step in solving any problem is recognizing that there is one. And when we 3-putt, we recognize that there is a problem. That's just one too many putts on any given green.

But then you're left with figuring out why that happened...

In the first of this 3 part series, we're going to talk about why 3-putts happen. There are a couple of areas for us to look.

The Ball Striking 3-Putt

Sometimes we just hit it far away from the cup which just makes it flat out harder to get the ball in the hole in two strokes. You'll run into large slopes, tiers, and a player's dispersion just gets bigger as we get further away from the cup. Your full swing equivalent is when a player hits a wedge into a green versus a 7 iron. While we'd like both of those shots to end up 15 feet from the flag, it's just not the reality of the situation. If you're further away from the pin, your dispersion will get bigger. The same rules apply on the putting green. We can't get every lag putt inside of 3 feet; it's just a mathematical impossibility. The 60 footer will not consistently finish the same distance from the cup as the 40 footer. What we can do though, is manage our expectations. The Expectations

I've heard the 10% rule thrown around a lot. This is basically a putt from 60 feet should finish about 6 feet away on average. If you're a recreational player, that's a fine bench mark, but try not to make a habit of it. We do need to sneak one in there closer every now and again. Good strategies and technique help with that. My competitive players would benefit from using that 10% mark as a worst case scenario and recognize a good putt is 5% with an average putt falling right in between at 7.5%. No, you don't need to do that math before you hit a lag putt. It's just a point of reference for awarness after your round. If you don't have this point of reference though, it's tough to identify if that lag putt was really the problem.

Did You Know?

Did you know PGA Tour players are more likely to 3-putt than 1-putt starting at 33 feet? That's right. At 33 feet, the putting average on the PGA Tour goes to 2.001. So if you 2-putt from 33 feet and beyond for the rest of your life, you are better than a Tour player. 

Math can be hard to accept, but here's who really needs to accept this fact: Junior golfers and their parents. 

Mom and Dad, as your junior gets older, they're going to start hitting more greens in regulation. And in doing so, not every approach is going to be inside 15 feet. Your junior will see an increase in 3-putts as they start hitting more greens sheerly based on proximity, or the aforementioned ball striking 3-putt. Please do not panic or put any more pressure on them as this happens. It's normal and gives us an opportunity to develop an important skill for their long term growth like green reading strategies and key concepts for speed management like size and tempo.

And one more thing. Please stop counting it as a 3-putt if they used a putter from off the green. It's only a putt if the ball is on the putting surface. When Tiger putts with 3 wood from off the green, it isn't a tee shot. Therefore, a putt from off the green is not a putt.

What Can You Do?

Download The Putting Plan! The first 2 sessions really hammer home good strategies and practice plans for speed because they're that important to building your foundation. Check it out and join this great and budding community!


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