On the PGA Tour, the player that putts the best inside 8-10 feet during the tournament usually wins. Short putts have a much higher percentage of dropping than long lag putts do. Dave Pelz calls this area the golden 8, anything outside this distance will probably lead to a 2-putt. This means two things, you better make most of your short putts inside this distance and you need to do everything you can to get into this 8-10 foot circle. This gives you the best chance to shoot low scores day after day. Now, of course there is a chance of making a long lag putt, but putting from 30 feet all day makes it hard to score. Your golfing performance is directly related to how often you are inside this circle and how many short putts you make. Learning Aimpoint Express Green Reading will significantly improve your ability to master these close range putts.
Briefly I want to discuss some PGA Tour putting averages to help understand this part of the game and how it relates towards your practice and goal setting. First, take a look at the PGA Tour Average proximity to the hole. August 3rd 2011.
These stats clearly show the relationship between proximity and distance off the tee. No doubt, the longer you are off the tee, the easier it becomes to get closer to the hole. More importantly, take note that anything outside of 100 yards will land you outside of the golden 8. As I said earlier, your golf score more often than not, depends upon how often you putt from inside 10 feet and how many putts you make from this distance. What this means is you need to make sure from 100 yards and in you get into this circle.
The first step is changing your practice habits from the over-practiced iron shots, to putting more emphasis on wedge shots within 100 yards. A shot from 130 yards may appear to be better than one that’s 200 yards out, but once on the green both end in the same result of par. This is because anything outside the golden 8 foot circle (Dave Pelz) dramatically reduces the percentage to make putts.
These are PGA Tour Percentages for Putts Made. 2008-2009
Knowing this information gives you power and knowledge of what to work on that will help your game the most. This means, if you want to score your best, you need to be excellent at driving the golf ball, getting inside 8-10 feet with your wedges, and making more short putts within the golden 8-10. For example, when you find yourself with an iron shot anywhere from 130-220 yards, make sure not to make any decisions that are going to bring bogey into the equation. Think 2 putt par and move on, if you happen to drop a long lag putt that’s extra icing on the cake. Lucky you.
Most of your birdies are going to come from short par 4’s and par 5’s when you have the opportunity to showcase your new talents from inside 100 yards.
The last thing you want to do is miss your short putts, you should give every practice session time for putting tips and drills inside 8-10 feet.
I believe this is one of the best golf putting exercise drills someone has ever told me.
Practice this putting Tip/Drill and own this area.
To setup this golf putting drill you need:
- 12 golf tee
- 4 golf balls
- great putting attitude
Place 4 tees in a square around the hole each at 3 feet. Repeat the process at 6 and 9 feet, making sure each putt has a clear path to the hole without any other tee’s in the way. This drill allows you to run through your routine as you would on the golf course and insures a different putt each time. Your goal is to make anywhere from 10-12 putts every single time. You need to own this area, anything worse should be unacceptable.
You can even enhance your practice with certain putting training aids that deliver feedback and support proper fundamentals.