Shot Scope Case Study – Three-Putting Stats By Handicap
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Shot Scope Case Study – Three-Putting Stats By Handicap

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Shot Scope Case Study – Three-Putting Stats By Handicap

Putting – A Game of Its Own

Ever wondered why you’re three-putting more than usual? Could be a multitude of different factors. A shift in handicap, conidtions and even where in the world you’re playing.

I recently took a trip to Colorado for a close friend’s wedding. We had the bright idea to go golfing. For me, pure excitement. For the other two, a mixed bag of emotions. The groom has played before but still qualifies as a recreational golfer. The other guy, well … It was his first time.

Naturally, my inclination was that putting would be a struggle for both of them. For my beginner friend, that held true. He hit some awesome shots and I was extremely proud of him. However, putting was his ultimate downfall, as it is for most beginners or higher-handicap golfers.

As if golf isn’t already hard, putting is a game of its own. Over the years, Shot Scope has been collecting putter data from its users, all in an effort to help golfers improve.

Let’s take a look at some key putting metrics from Shot Scope’s database.

Putting Statistics

In this category, there are the following statistics:

  • Average Putts Per Round
  • Average Holes Per 3-Putt
  • Average Length of Putt Holed
  • 1-Putt %
  • 2-Putt %
  • 3-Putt %

Takeaway

Analyze the graphic above and draw your own conclusions. For me, the most telling data points are average holes per three-putt, one-putt percentage and three-putt percentage.

Average Holes per Three-Putt

For scratch golfers, it takes 39.2 holes on average to have a three-putt. If you tell me I won’t three-putt for two rounds plus three holes, I’ll gladly take that statistic and I assume you would as well . On the flip side, a 25-handicap golfer will three-putt every 7.6 holes. That is at least twice per round. It’s not the greatest statistic, especially if you already dread being on the putting surface. An additional observation is the 18.5 differential between scratch golfers and 5-handicap golfers. Five-handicap golfers will most likely three-putt every 20.7 holes. Not too shabby. However, it is a noticeable separation from scratch golfers. Furthermore, it demonstrates just how damned good scratch golfers are compared to the rest of the golfing population.

One-Putt Percentage

Scratch golfers have a 37-percent chance of one-putting whereas 25-handicaps have a 25-percent chance of one-putting. Sure, 12 percent might not jump off the page, yet it is enough of a differential that over time can lead to lower scores. Make more one-putts and see your scores drop.

Three-Putt Percentage

With a three-percent chance of three-putting, scratch golfers have a luxury afforded to them: less worry, based on the data. On the other hand, 25-handicap golfers are most likely to three-putt 14 percent of the time. Basically, one in every seven putts, they’ll three-jack it.

Make Percentage By Handicap

Greater Than 18 Feet

Regardless of skill level, dropping bombs is a rarity. Shot Scope’s data shows just that. From greater than 18 feet, scratch golfers make only four percent of putts. Individuals with a handicap greater than 15 make one percent of putts from greater than 18 feet. As you can see, making it from distance is as difficult as it seems and emphasizes the importance of lag putting.

Six to 18 Feet

This is where the rubber meets the road, ladies and gentlemen. Within this distance, a scratch golfer has a 31-percent make percentage. A 25-handicap golfer, an 11-percent make percentage. With a 20-percent differential, it really show where scoring can be won or lost for a majority of high-handicap golfers. Three-putting, enter stage left.

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Less Than Six Feet

Within six feet, there is still a reasonable separation in make percentages. Scratch golfers see an 87-percent make percentage. 25-handicap golfers 73-percent. Making seven out of 10 within six feet is a solid performance. Can it be better? Most definitely. And by increasing that make percentage, higher-handicap golfers can certainly see an improvement in their scores.

Proximity to the Hole After the First Putt

Why am i three-putting

More often than not, most golfers, regardless of skill level, are going to have putts from 30 feet or more. Scratch golfers average 4.6 feet from the hole after their first putt. We already know these golfers have an 87-percent make percentage from within six feet so it’s highly probable that a scratch golfer will two-putt given these statistics. The 25-handicap golfer, from 30 feet, is looking at 7.8 feet remaining. The data shows a 25-handicap golfer has a 31-percent make percentage from this distance. Thus the odds of a three-putt from 30 feet is quite possible.

Data is Your Friend

Shot Scope has collected some intriguing data regarding putting. Take a look at the charts and graphics. See where they apply to you. If you are a higher-handicap golfer, I encourage you to put more emphasis on practicing medium- to long-range putting. The data shows there is room for improvement in that area. Even if you don’t make more putts, at least you can gain more confidence from those distances. Making putts will come but, at the very least, you will give yourself better opportunities to make the second putt.

 

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Phillip Bishop

Phillip Bishop

Phillip Bishop

Cancer Survivor. Amputee Golfer. Essentially, a OneLeggedBoss. When he isn't facilitating testing or analyzing data, Phillip enjoys his family time, practicing and playing golf, unwinding with video games, capturing photos of nature, or devouring pretzels.

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      Andrew the Great!

      2 years ago

      Shot Scope V3 user, and very happy with it. But I don’t trust/use its data from greens because it’s impossible to be precise enough to the *foot* to be reliable.

      A sample of real-world (anecdotal) data, from last Wednesday (June 1), when I stepped off the length of each putt and made sure to set the pin location:

      Actual 8′, SS 11′
      A tap-in, SS 2′
      A 6′, SS 10′
      A 35′, SS 49′
      A tap-in, SS 6′
      A 50′, SS 59′
      A tap-in, SS 2′
      A 15′, SS 12′
      A 24′, SS 11′
      A 28′, SS 32′

      Reply

      Dr Strangelove

      2 years ago

      Yes, the stock measurements you will get are not up to snuff. I wind up walking off the distances of all my putts, writing them on my scorecard and then adjusting the measurements post round so they match. Until GPS accuracy gets better, not much we can do.

      Reply

      Andreas

      2 years ago

      Not that im an export on GNSS/GPS but I have worked with data collection for mapping and a consumer GPS device usually give a position that is within 2,5-3 metres.. Counting the number of steps to the flag would probably be an better idea than using such a device.

      Reply

      Richard Dean Johnson

      2 years ago

      I generally step out my putt distance and write it down on my yardage book I print out for the course I’m playing. 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, yep looks like this is an 18 footer. The number 18 and then 2 are written on the green for each hole in the general area the putts were taken. I mark an X for pin location. I then edit my ShotScope data after the round. It’s most important to note I had an 18 footer that was 2 feet short than nailing the exact pin location.

      Reply

      DKey

      2 years ago

      As a Shot Scope user for 3+ years I could not be more pleased with the product – including it’s treatment of putting. Sure, we would all like military grade precision with GPS, but we’re not there yet. Many greens are represented accurately with no adjustment. Timely editing – being fair with memory and placement – produces excellent data and feedback. With those caveats adjustments produce randomly distributed data, so putting stats provide credible and helpful feedback. As a 9 index, I am often + 1-2 strokes gained vs a 5 index, and Shot Scope feedback has helped me get better, e.g., percent long and short really helps dial in distance. Product is highly recommended.

      Reply

      Joost

      2 years ago

      Garbage
      I am a shotscope user myself, and I know that the putting stats for myself are highly inaccurate. The GPS-data are just not accurate enough to track putting, even when I really try to get it right.
      I assume this is the case with the majority of users, and therefor the stats above are really garbage. Garbage in is garbage out, as you know

      Reply

      Shawn

      2 years ago

      Never ever in my life have a seen a 25 handicap 1 putt 1/4 of all their putts.

      How in the hell is someone that averages somewhere close to 100 one putting 4-5 times per round? And then if they 2 putt 61% of the time it means they two putt roughly the other 11 holes…?? So then they only three putt 2-3 times per round??

      And by the stats, everyone regardless of HC two outts the same amount of time give or take a hole or two??

      Data is data, I get it.. but this isn’t a curate

      Reply

      John

      2 years ago

      Someone who shoots 100 isn’t hitting many greens in regulation. Most of the time his first putt comes after a chip or pitch. So it’s reasonably close to the hole quite often. He isn’t draining 25 footers for bird. He is draining 5 footers for bogey or worse and taking 4 shots to get on the green.

      Reply

      Mike

      2 years ago

      Interesting article. But I’m always leery of selected putting statistics as an indicator of how go to bed I’m playing. For example, if on the front 9, I hit every green and to put them all, I shoot 36. On the back nine, I miss every green chip up and one put every green. I shoot 36. Which nine have I played better on? You can make arguments for either one. I know this is an extreme example but it’s why I stopped counting pure putts as a measure of how good or bad I’m playing.

      Reply

      Whitey

      2 years ago

      “ Ever wondered why you’re three-putting more than usual?”
      Didn’t find the answer to that question, even though it’s the question that leads the article and is the link in the email.

      Reply

      Dave S

      2 years ago

      Still confused how this article suggests three putting isn’t your fault… You three putt because you suck at lag putting. Go practice.

      Reply

      Mike

      2 years ago

      Or maybe you can’t make those four footers after a decent lag putt. BTW, I saw a lot of three putts at the PGA championship and I don’t think those guys suck at lag putting

      Reply

      andrew

      2 years ago

      putting stats for 10 handicap. So if I am supposed to average 6 foot from the hole with 30 foot plus putts then for every 3 foot leave I have a 9 foot miss to keep this average. This means a miss of 25 to 30 percent of total distance.. In 50 years of golf I have very rarely seen a ten handicap player miss a 30 footer by 9 feet. Got to be something wrong with these stats. If I leave 2 feet I’m putting like crap. If I missed by 6 to 9 feet I would quit.

      Reply

      SamtheGreek

      2 years ago

      The missing statistic is average length of first putt.

      Reply

      LOWEBOY

      2 years ago

      Cool data. Does this data take into account speed of the greens, terrain of the greens, location of the putts in relation to the hole on each shot? I have had 1 footers on side slopes that had to be hit exactly one-foot to the high side and watch the ball stop, then turn 90 degrees and drop. If played with pace to hit the middle of the hole, it had the chance of running off the green. There are holes at the CC I play, where, if you are above the hole, it is literally a one-inch back and through and the ball can go rolling off the green if the hole doesn’t “jump” in the way. A side hill 5 footer, 15 footer, 20 footer, or even 1 footer, each have their own challenges, and can be missed by even the most experienced players. Uphill, the same. It doesn’t matter what your handicap is, you can either read greens and pace, or you can’t. Even then, one day you are smoking hot and can hole everything in sight no matter the range, speed, straight, side hill, downhill, etc., and the next day you cannot drop the ball in a 5-gallon-sized hole from 5 feet away. Golf is such a fickle “B”!

      Reply

      Tom Griffin

      2 years ago

      The difference between 0 HCP golfers and 5 HCP golfers due only to the likelihood of 3-putts is noticeable, but not large. A 5 HCP golfer would only expect to lose 1 stroke due to an extra 3 putt in 40 holes of golf against a 0 HCP opponent.

      Something about this data doesn’t make sense. If a 0 HCP player 3-putts 3% of the time, you would expect him to have a long run average of 3 1/3 3-putts per 100 holes of golf, and the average holes per 3-putt would be 33 1/3. If a 5 HCP player 3-putts 4% of the time you would expect him to have 4 3-putts in 100 holes., and the average holes per 3-putt would be 25. The difference between them would not be 18.5, but only 8 1/3 putts.

      The problem with the data is that a 0 HCP player who has a 3-putt every 39.7 holes would actually have a 3-putt percentage of 2.5, not 3. The 5 HCP player who has a 3-putt every 20.7 holes would actually have a 3-putt percentage of almost 5, not 4. The 3-putt percentage is not consistent with the average holes per 3-putt.

      The difference between 0 HCP golfers and 5 HCP golfers due only to the likelihood of 3-putts is noticeable, but not large. A 5 HCP golfer would expect to lose 1 stroke due to an extra 3 putt to his 0 HCP opponent about every 40 holes of golf. I think the data shows how good the 5 HCP players putt! 3-putts account for only one stroke of the difference between 0-HCP and 5-HCP golfers. Something else accounts for the other 4.

      Reply

      Jeff

      2 years ago

      I’ll buy that a 20 HCP averages 32 putts per round if you say that isn’t counting the 5 his playing partners don’t make him putt.

      Reply

      Shawn

      2 years ago

      Yeah .. no way a 20 plus HC is averaging anything better than 36 putts. Most of my buddies, roughly 6 of them, are in the 9-11 HC range and probably average somewhere in the 32 ppr range ..

      Reply

      Lucky_Leroy

      2 years ago

      I use Shot Scope and the putting stats can’t be believed. I have to edit 90% of my putting stats. The flag positions are always wrong and the putt distances are usually way off. It’s hard to remember where every putt ended up when editing the next day and it’s difficult to edit short putts less than 2 feet. If golfers don’t edit their data to correct it or fail to keep manual stats to use to later edit the data, I don’t see how it can be useful.

      Reply

      Andrew the Great!

      2 years ago

      Yep. I started making notations on my scorecard about my putts, estimating the length, and using GolfLogix’ app to indicate whether my miss was long or short, left or right.

      I love my Shot Scope V3 but I don’t trust the putting data AT ALL.

      I mean, there’s no way the GPS data are reliable down to a few feet. No way it can distinguish accurately and repeatedly whether a 4′ putt is 4 feet or 6 feet or 8 feet or 10 feet. GPS just is not precise enough to the foot level.

      And then you have to consider that most green data are USER-provided, because the user has to mark where the hole was. How precisely do user stand directly over the hole when they hit the button on the device to mark the hole?

      IMO, Shot Scope’s putting data, data derived from what happens on the green, are unreliable almost to the point of being rubbish.

      And again, I love my V3 and Shot Scope in general. But I ignore the data from the greens.

      Reply

      Jason

      2 years ago

      It does clearly say <6ft, not 6ft. Article's main goal was to compare the scratch golfers to higher handicap golfers in the putting aspect., and the goal was accomplished without pouring overwhelming amount of data. and posting visually unappealing charts. I agree that the make percentage will drop significantly below 71% in 5-7 ft for the scratch golfers and it will be even worse for higher handicappers, obviously, but what difference does it make for the purpose of this article?

      Reply

      Andrew the Great!

      2 years ago

      Yes, but < 6 feet includes 5-footers AND tap-ins. Makes the data and any analysis resulting from that data meaningless, IMO.

      Also, is SS GPS really precise and accurate enough to be able to distinguish between 15 feet and 9 feet and 5 feet and 2 feet? If so, the US military may want to talk to them. (Or the UK military, given that SS is British, IINM.)

      Reply

      Bradley

      2 years ago

      Interesting data. The numbers seem quite high for 6ft putts across the board, but I’m assuming it is 6ft and in.

      I’m surprised that there isn’t a a bigger gap in putts per round.

      Reply

      Dr Tee

      2 years ago

      The flip side of this, is to hit the ball closer, so your first putts will be shorter. Focus on chipping from different sites and lies around the green, using different clubs and even the famous “putting with loft” with hybrids and 7 or 8 iron, and wedge play from 100 yards in !!!

      Reply

      Brad E

      2 years ago

      Putting data with Shot Scope is somewhat subjective, however, the trends are accurate to a degree and worth noting. As a Shot Scope user I sometimes forget to hit the button on my watch right over the hole and don’t want to hold up the group by going back to the exact pin location after everyone putts out so I just record the number of putts where I am standing at the time. Additionally, the location of your putt is often missed because the sensors have a hard time picking up the small taps as a stroke. Like movies, you have to try to fix it in’ “post”. This leads to inaccuracy in the data because the last putt could have been from 2 inches or 10 ft but you can’t zoom in tight enough nor can you remember the exact pin location hours later when you edit and signoff your round. That said, avoiding the 3+ putt is still likely “THE” best way to lower scores for high-mid handicappers.

      Reply

      Rolly Junio

      2 years ago

      Cool data … but I agree with Andrew the great regarding the numbers compared to PGA pros.

      I totally agree with golfinnut in regards to where people are just at true range seeing how far they hit it.

      I tell all my friends and family that are starting to play golf to emphasize their short game. If you can’t chip and putt then it’s not going to matter how far you hit the ball.

      Reply

      Sammy

      2 years ago

      I’m in the 10-13 handicap range and average almost 35 putts a round. My key takeaway is that my ball striking must be decent, but my short game could use some work (getting closer to the pin on approach shots, sand shots, little chips and pitches around the green, and better putting would go a long way). Now if I could just make myself enjoy practicing as much as I enjoy playing the course…

      Reply

      Phillip Bishop

      2 years ago

      Trust me, short game and putting practice isn’t nearly as fun as hitting the range. Try and give yourself some incentives during your short game/putting practice to enhance the fun. I like going out on the course alone and practice array of different short game scenarios personally.

      Reply

      makersmark4

      2 years ago

      There is a 0 percent chance that all 20 handicaps are averaging 32 putts per round unless they just aren’t counting 5+ gimmies per round once they’re inside 3 feet.

      Unfortunately this data just isn’t correct. Several Shot Scope users already commented that the putting stats are inaccurate for a number of reasons. Your putting stats are going to much closer to the real number of putts a mid handicapper makes per round.

      Reply

      Golfingczar

      2 years ago

      I find putting data to be so corrupt. Not all putts regardless of length are equal as well as the surface. Low hccp players putt better then high hccp players. The big difference is in the middle. 5 to 10 hccp can make or break there hccp by being a good putter vs a poor putter.
      Those players would be better served to pay more attention to their approach shot and leave them more putts uphill then downhill since most greens slope back to front.
      I will say that everyone can work on making putts 6 feet and in but the data shows almost everyone has good success in that range.

      Reply

      Andrew the Great!

      2 years ago

      This causes me to doubt the value of the Shot Scope data (and I love Shot Scope; I have the V3).

      “Within six feet, there is still a reasonable separation in make percentages. Scratch golfers see an 87-percent make percentage.”

      No way.

      Tour pros only make six-footers something like 71% of the time (“6 FEET
      PGA Tour percentage: 70.21%)”. Scratch golfers – not even plus-handicaps, just scratch – make six-footers 87% of the time? Not possible, IMO. No way.

      Clearly, that 87% includes tap-ins and 1- and 2-foot putts that virtually no one misses, so including those “gimmes” in the “within 6 feet” stat completely distorts that stat. Let’s see scratch golfers’ make-percentage of 4-6 footers or 5-7 footers. It’ll be less than 71%, probably far less, because Tour pros make 6-footers just 71% of the time.

      https://golf.com/instruction/putting/pga-tour-putting-make-percentages-distance/

      Reply

      Golfinnut

      2 years ago

      Numbers don’t lie. But at the range or the golf course, where do you see most people? Beating balls at the range with a driver just to see how far they can hit it. Instead they should be fighting for a spot over on the putting green or chipping area practicing the short game. How often do people spend hitting balls … an hour or so, sometimes more? Conversely, how much time is spent on the putting green? 10 – 15 minutes, tops? These numbers should tell every high handicapper what they need to be practicing.

      Reply

      Jason

      2 years ago

      The 20 handicapper is giving up 2.9 shots from putting to the scratch golfer and 17.1 shots in the rest of the game. Putting is not their major leak.

      Reply

      Kyle

      2 years ago

      Generally speaking, I don’t think you’re wrong. I’ve dropped more shots after short-game emphasis than long-game. However, if you regularly play at one of those courses where accuracy off the tee and approach are critical, it makes sense to spend a lot of time focusing on staying playable. If you play in a casual league or simply play recreationally, you’re going to be given a lot of short putts so then that game just becomes lag to the 4ft circle and your buddies are probably going to tell you to pick it up. That’s a lot easier to practice than doing that AND grinding over 4-5ft putts. Long story short, I spend more time hitting at the range because when I look at scorecards where I didn’t play well, the trend seems to be hazard drops and approaches that come up short.

      Reply

      Jason

      2 years ago

      Gotta be able to get near the green first to be able to play the short game. lol

      Reply

      Shultzi

      2 years ago

      My golf instructor tells me to spend 30% of practice time on long shots; the other 70% should be spent chipping and putting those chips in.

      Reply

      Ryan

      2 years ago

      That 6 feet and under is a large basket. Tour pros have a 50% chance of making a putt at 7.5ft (was closer but tapping down spike marks has helped). Should be 1-3ft and 3-6ft, that’s where you’ll see the HUGE difference between scratch and a 25 handicap.

      Reply

      Andrew the Great!

      2 years ago

      Yep. It includes tap-ins and 1- and 2- footers which really, are gimmes and shouldn’t be counted in any putting stats because the make percentage AND the number of putts from that distance are so high as to completely distort the “6 feet and under” basket, rendering the info meaningless, IMO.

      Reply

      Matt Gallo

      2 years ago

      Completely agree. Sometimes it’s not about the data but how it is displayed. There is a huge difference between a 3 footer and a 6 footer let alone a 1 footer and a 6 footer. Making the bucket “under 6 feet” most likely has to do with the data provided by Shot Scope.

      Reply

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