We know you remember those three-putts that you had out on the course today, but do you know how many total putts you had? Do you know how many putts would be considered good or bad?
Counting your putts is one of the easiest way to get started understanding your game. But it also opens the door to a much more detailed awareness of your strengths, weaknesses, and how to get better.
Let’s start with the basics. Then we’ll talk about how serious players can get more detailed insights into their putting.
How To Count Putts On The Golf Course
Counting putts. Sounds simple, right? Just count the number of times you hit the ball with your putter! Not quite. It’s important to measure putts properly, so you can accurately compare your putting to other players.
Actually, in golf stats, a “putt” is defined as any stroke taken after the ball is on the green. This definition has two unintuitive consequences:
- A putt from the fringe doesn’t count as a putt. If you hit your approach shot onto the fringe, putt the ball to a foot, then tap it in, that’s a 1-putt! (And an up-and-down.)
- If you putt the ball off the green, every shot you hit after that is a putt, even if you don’t hit it with a putter. Maybe you putted it into the bunker. That next sand shot is actually considered a putt for your stats!
As you play, record your putts for each hole and leave a mark on your scorecard under each hole. This way, you can look back at how many 1, 2, and 3 putts you had on the front nine, back nine, and count your putts overall.
Why Do Golfers Count Putts?
The putter is used more than any other club in your bag. Since as many as half your strokes in a round can be putts, it’s usually the easiest place to shave strokes off your score.
Golfers count putts as a way to measure their putting skills. At the most basic level, the more putts you have, the more you need to work on your putting.
If you average 38 putts per round, spend some time learning and practicing putting fundamentals. Getting that number down to 33 means you’re a full 5 shots better!
How Many Putts Per Round Is Good?
For some context, in 2023 the PGA Tour average for putts per round was 28.96. The leading player was Tyler Montgomery, who averaged 27.13 putts per round.
These numbers are pretty phenomenal, which you might expect from the best players in the world.
Based on the stats we’ve collected with the Pinpoint Golf Stats App, we can give averages for different handicaps, so you can see how well you stack up to the average player of your skill level:
|Handicap||Putts Per Round|
Is It Important To Count Putts?
Counting putts is important. It’s not a perfect method, but it’s surprisingly powerful given its simplicity.
One thing that many golfers are surprised by is how often they two-putt. A two-putt in golf is generally considered regulation.
However, if you want to lower scores and take your golf game to the next level, one-putts are the key. Sometimes, those one-putts give you the birdie you need, but other times, they are for the par save. If your one-putting gets better, so do your scrambling percentages.
You can think of counting putts a bit like counting calories. When you decide to pay attention, you realize the places you are consuming more calories than you thought. Counting putts has this same effect. Just putting the numbers on paper attracts your attention to the effectiveness of your putting game.
How Can I Go Beyond Just Counting Putts?
For golfers who have never done any kind of golf stat tracking, counting putts is a great way to start. But advanced players may notice a few disadvantages to this simple stat:
- Putt count is highly dependent on your approach shots. If you miss a lot of greens and chip it close, you’ll have fewer putts because you’re starting closer to the hole. But that doesn’t mean you’re a better putter.
- Putt count tells you nothing about distance. Sure, you average 33 putts per round, but how are you from 5ft, 10ft, 20ft, 50ft? Where is your putting good? Where is it weak?
Strokes Gained: The Best Way To Measure Putting
Strokes gained is an advanced stat for golf that tracks the quality of every stroke you hit. For each shot, strokes gained measures your performance on that precise shot compared to other players. When you roll up that data, you can see much more information than just a standard putt count:
- Overall putting ability
- Lag putting vs short putts
- Putts from every distance
- Putting improvement over time
Best of all, this data is not influenced at all by other parts of your game. It doesn’t matter if you hit your approach shots close or miss the green. Strokes gained isolates the stats to putting only.
The Pinpoint Strokes Gained App lets you easily track strokes gained putting, comparing your putting to players of any skill level, from tour pros to 20 handicaps. The entire process takes no longer than writing down your putts on the scorecard after a hole.
Bottom Line: Is Counting Putts Enough?
Counting putts is better than not counting putts. If you’re doing nothing, start counting!
But there’s much more to know about your putting, without a lot more effort. If you want to be a great golfer, you’ll also want to track your ability to make putts from a certain distance and your putting consistency over time.
Use Pinpoint to track all of your strokes gained data. The Pinpoint app makes strokes gained putting tracking easy and allows you to complete the entire process in less than five minutes per round.
As you gather more data and more accurate data, you discover where you need to improve. There’s no better ways to shave strokes off your score.