Maybe You’re Just Not PGA Material (insert shoulder shrug and head tilt here)

We’ve all seen it happen, and most likely have been the one to do it. You just missed a putt, you are mad, you walk up to the ball and take a good ole’ swing with your putter at the ball. Unfortunately, your swinging skills are just as good as your putting skills and you end up taking a small chunk out of the green. In your eyes it was the greens fault, or the person that set the cup, or the Superintendent’s fault. When in reality, you just really aren’t that good. Hence why you are playing a local course or country club, and not on the PGA tour.

All courses deal with it, and in the past week I have seen 3 greens with chunks taken out of them because someone felt it necessary to act like a child. Most likely the same type of person that complains all the time, but then doesn’t take care of the course themselves.

This blog isn’t to try and throw someone under the bus, rather I am going to give you some data so that you can realize that you weren’t suppose to make that 20 foot putt.

Over the winter, I was able to listen to Dr. Brandon Horvath from the University of Tennessee speak on a couple different occasions. One of my favorite talks was when he gave us Shot Link data on putting percentages of PROFESSIONAL GOLFERS. The following link gives percentages of putts made at certain distances by PGA golfers. The other link is to show current stats of PGA golfers.

PGA Tour Putts Gained/Make Percentage Stats

PGA Tour Putting Stats

Dr. Horvath’s take on the data.
1) From greater than 25 feet, the average PGA Tour player on perfect greens, three putts nearly 10% (1 in 10 attempts) of the time.
2) From 4-8 feet, that average PGA Tour player is making about 68% (more shorter than longer in that distance category), so that’s 14 out of 20.
3) From 8 feet, “Average Tour Guy” is just better than 50:50 at 52% makes.
4) Putting is hard! Work on speed control, then line.
The next link is to an article that shows the percentage of putts made by a PGA professional, a scratch golfer, and a 90 shooter.
As the ball gets farther from the hole, the putt gets harder!! You are not suppose to make that 20 footer!! A PROFESSIONAL makes that putt 15% of the time. That is a person that plays nonstop. A person that plays in a local league should be thankful to even make that 20 footer, heck even thankful making an 8 foot putt that you will make 1 out of 4 times.
All this data is from picture perfect greens. Now here comes the people saying, “Of course they are making the putts, They have better greens than we do!!”
Dr. Doug Linde did research using a ramp to roll a ball to evaluate the potential of putts going in from 8 feet on greens that just had some type of cultivation work done. Meaning the greens had aerification done, or verticutting. Things of that nature that golfers complain about. The  research showed that regardless of treatment and surface disruption, a ball rolled with proper speed and line to go in, will go in over 90% of the time.
So with all this being said, A professional golfer makes an 8 foot putt on perfect greens 52% of the time. A ball rolled down a ramp on not so perfect greens goes in the hole 90% of the time. Is it the greens fault? Or is it our own fault?
Next time you step up and miss that putt, remember that you aren’t a pro and don’t take it out of the green.


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