Patrick Reed took the lead at the Masters on day 2 and held that lead the rest of the way to win his first Major Championship (US Open, Masters, PGA and British Open).
Every part of Reed’s game was obviously working well last week, but his win was largely due to exceptional putting throughout the tournament. Putting is obviously an important factor at the Masters with the speed of their greens and the slopes and undulations that the pros encounter at Augusta. But putting is also the key to the score that you post at Old Greenwood and Gray’s Crossing or anywhere that you play.
After 36 holes it was pretty clear that Reed was going to be a factor come Sunday because of his putting stats. After two rounds (36 holes) Reed had twenty 1-putt greens. And he had just 51 putts for the first two rounds. That’s an average of 25.5 per round or 10.5 one putts per day. It’s tough to shoot a high score when you are putting that well.
The first step in improving your putting is to track your putting stats. So it would be a good idea to record your putts per hole on the scorecard along with your score. And then calculate your putting average per round on a spreadsheet. Your goal is to average 30 or fewer putts per 18 holes. Every putt you take above 30 is a stroke you could easily shave off your score.
Then you have to make a plan on how to improve your putting, if you are not averaging 30 putts per round. Improving your putting could require that you make some changes to your putting stance or stroke. We can help you with that at the Academy with a private lesson or by attending one of our 90-minute Putting Clinics.
Making putts requires three basic things:
1. Read the green correctly
2. Start the ball on your intended line
3. Hit the ball at the correct speed
Probably the most important quality of the three items listed above, is your “feel” or the ability to control how far the ball rolls. If you have the correct speed, you will have fewer 3-putt greens (on Tour they call that 3-putt avoidance) and you will make more 1-putts. So it would be a great idea to practice some drills on the practice green designed to improve your feel.
The problem that I see after 35+ years of teaching, is most golfers rarely take a putting lesson or spend enough time on the putting green improving this important part of the game. Most golfers spend the bulk of their practice time on the range hitting full swing shots. But because 40% of your score is putting, you should spend 40% of your practice time working on improving your putting skills.
Improving your putting is the easiest way to quickly lower your score. So this summer, make a plan to become a great putter. If you do, I guarantee that you’ll shoot lower scores and be a happier golfer.
Keith Lyford, Director of Instruction at the Golf Academy at Old Greenwood