Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands

How do you compare?

Are you a bad putter? This key putting stat could explain why


PKG Photographer

A few weeks ago at Royal Liverpool, Brian Harman did something truly astonishing.

Harman didn't just win the Open Championship, but did so with a whopping 11.57 SG: Putting. To put that in context, it means Harman gained nearly 12 shots more than the average player in the field, and almost double the next-best putter at the Open.

When you think of a number like that, you'd expect Harman to be dropping-in monster putts from all over the place. But interestingly, it was actually the opposite. The longest putt Harman made all week was from 40 feet.

Instead, Harman arrived at that number by running up the margins from inside 10 feet. He had 60 putts from inside 10 feet all week — and he only missed one.

Which brings us to the first statistic we're highlighting from our newly-launched How Do You Compare interactive (which you can check out right here!)

The amateur golfer data you see here is courtesy of our friends over at Arccos, and as you can see, there's a huge dropoff between pros and the rest of us: About 20 percent, from the PGA Tour average to the average scratch golfer. There's a slightly smaller dropoff between stats and single digits, and then it stays pretty stable.

You're missing too many 6-9 foot putts

The reason pros are so good from this range is because, basically, pros obsess over it. The rest of us don't spend the same amount of time practice them, and the time we do have is usually spent on the driving range, hitting 7-irons.

But the pros realize this is one of the precious few areas where you can feasibly gain an edge on your peers. Here's why:

  • Statistically, pros are more likely to make a putt than miss it starting at around seven feet.
  • Then, from seven feet to about 10 feet, it's a coinflip.
  • From outside of that range, you're in an ocean of two-putt territory.

Simply put, 6-to-9 feet are the putts that — if you're good at them — you can feasibly make a lot of. If you're bad, you can also miss a lot of them. There's no inbetween. And to raise the stakes even more, they also tend to be the really important ones. The birdie opportunities and the par savers. The putts to win the hole that your opponent isn't going to give you.

With each one you do make, the further you'll pull away from your peers. So get practicing those mid-range short putts!

Once again, check out the full set of stats right here.