The Pinpoint Blog

If you track your game on the greens, you probably keep track of “number of putts per round”, or “number of three putts”. These classic stats may give you a bit of an idea about your putting, but they’re really too imprecise to be useful, often verging on misleading.

Let’s talk about strokes gained putting, how it works, how to track and maintain it, and how it will give you a clear picture of your game on the greens.

Golfer pushing a putt to the right of the hole

What’s Wrong With Traditional Putting Stats?

Before we dive into strokes gained, let’s quickly explain why “putts per round” isn’t a good stat. Let’s compare two players:

Who is the better putter? It’s not so clear. Player B has fewer putts, but because he chips onto many greens, he’s probably starting much closer to the hole.

Strokes gained clears up this ambiguity, letting each of these players see his putting performance separate from other facets of his game. It also lets him separately analyze his putting ability from all ranges, be it short putts, medium-range, or lag putts.

What is Strokes Gained Putting?

Strokes gained putting compares your putting to a baseline player. With the Pinpoint Strokes Gained App, you can choose any baseline from an average tour pro to an average 20-handicapper.

Rather than simply tracking the number of putts, you track the distance of each putt. By looking at the distance of each putt, you can compare the outcome of the putt to the average outcome by your baseline player.

For example:

When you add up all those strokes, you can measure your putting overall, how you did on long putts, how you did on short putts, and more.

Putting by distance graph from Pinpoint Golf app

How To Understand Strokes Gained Putting

One of the best things about strokes gained putting is the depth of information that you will get. For the first time, you will have the data and stats necessary to be able to change your putting game.

With the Pinpoint Strokes Gained App, the strokes gained putting data is broken down into several categories.

Here is how you can understand some of that data.

Putting Over Time

How has your putting strokes gained changed over time? Are you trending up or down? Maybe you see you’ve been stuck at -2 strokes gained per round for several weeks, or even lost a few strokes. It might be time to hit the practice green or take a lesson.

The great thing about the putting over time stat is it helps you analyze if the changes you are making to your game are actually working.

Putting over time graph from Pinpoint Golf app

Putting by Distance

Where do you thrive on the putting green? Where are you weakest?

You may find that you are gaining two strokes from 15-30 feet but losing two strokes from 3-6 feet. By working on your short putts, you can quickly shave strokes off your score.

Putting Distribution

How consistent is your putting? Are most of your putts average? Do you make more great putts than terrible putts? Pinpoint shows you the distribution of putts that add up to your totals. Very consistent putters will have a green distribution graph, indicating very few poor putts.

What Other Putting Stats Are Helpful?

Strokes gained is the best way to look at your putting from any distance, but tracking your putts by distance also gives you some other useful information.

Two Putts or Better by Distance

Let’s face it: 3 putting is a major problem. When you three putt, you are throwing strokes away and making bogeys even after hitting greens in regulation. The best way to avoid a three putt is to be confident in your lag putting.

Most golfers have a distance from the hole where they start to struggle with two putting. For better players, this can be 40 feet or more. For beginners, it could be 20 feet or less.

This is a perfect piece of data to use to work on your putting game. Instead of walking up to a green and trying to make 10-footers, find the distance where you start to struggle with three-putting. Practice putting into a 3-foot circle from that distance and beyond, so you can be confident in two-putting every time.

One Putts or Better by Distance

This is one of the best stats for the lower-handicap players. Aside from looking at strokes gained from twenty feet and in, you can also look at where you’re making one-putts.

If you’re a strong player hitting lots of greens in regulation, make sure you can one-putt as often as the pros, so you’re making birdie at every opportunity. Take a look at the table below and see how it compares to your own numbers.

Distance PGA Tour One-Putt Percentage
2 Feet 99%
3 Feet 96%
4 Feet 88%
5 Feet 77%
6 Feet 66%
7 Feet 58%
8 Feet 50%
9 Feet 45%
10 Feet 40%
15 Feet 23%
20 Feet 15%

One helpful drill is to set up 10 putts at each distance and make more of them than the PGA tour percentage. For example, set up 10 putts in a circle around the hole from 10 feet. Sink at least 5 out of 10 before moving on to the next drill.

Using Your Strokes Gained Data To Shoot Lower Scores

When you are ready to improve your own game, putting is one of the first places to look. If your overall strokes gained is negative, you have a lot to work on. But even if you’re a great putter, look at your own strokes gained by distance. By fixing the weaker distances, you can shave many strokes off your overall scores.

Here are a few tips that will help you improve your scores:

Final Thoughts

Golf is becoming more technology-driven. Even if you’re more of a traditionalist, we recommend taking a look at strokes gained putting. This simple stat can give you so much information about your putting, you can make tremendous progress with minimal time commitment.

Use the Pinpoint Strokes Gained App to analyze your golf game like never before. You can attribute your lower handicap to knowing yourself as a player and truly practicing with purpose.