Putting is often said to be about 50% of golf. As much as we obsess over the perfect driver or clean iron shot, nothing impactful happens until you get the ball in the hole with the flat stick. That’s why looking at putting stats per round, specifically average number of putts by handicap level, can give golfers useful benchmarks.
If you know that most single digit handicaps average around 28 putts per round, while mid handicappers average 32, that gives you a goalpost to aim for based on your ability. It helps answer questions like “Am I leaving too many putts short?” or “Are three-putts killing my scores?”
I am going to dive into PGA Tour putting statistics broken down by handicap index. Analyzing the average putts per round by players across the spectrum, from scratch golfers to 25+ handicaps, reveals some interesting trends. You can see how big an impact putting ability, putting practice, and just putting confidence have on saving strokes.
My goal is that you can learn from the benchmark putting stats, compare them honestly to your own putting performance, and focus your practice to knock those averages down. Better putting means better scoring across the board. Let’s look at the numbers to see how many putts you should aim for per round based on your handicap and abilities.
Time to nerd out on some putting stats! But don’t worry, I’ll also give quick tips to actually improve your putting whether you are a 20 handicap or scratch golfer. Let’s sink more putts and shoot lower scores!
Analyzing the Putting Data
The PGA Tour Shotlink system provides a wealth of statistics on the putting performance of pros across handicap indexes. Shotlink uses precise laser tracking technology to measure every shot taken during PGA Tour events. Looking at the average number of putts per round from Shotlink data reveals clear trends. I’ve compiled the putting stats in this handy table:
|Handicap Index||Putts Per Round|
|+4 to 0 (Scratch)||27.5 – 28.5 putts per round|
|1 – 5||29 – 30 putts per round|
|6-12||30 – 32 putts per round|
|13-15||32 – 33 putts per round|
|16-20||33- 35 putts per round|
|21-25||35- 37 putts per round|
|26+||37+ putts per round|
The table shows a consistent increase in average number of putts as the handicap index rises. For +4 to scratch (0) golfers, the averages range from 27.5 to 28.5 putts per round. Pretty impressive! As we get into the single digit handicaps up to the teens, average putts per round climbs incrementally from 29 up to 32. We see a bigger jump as we pass the 15 handicap mark, with averages of 33 to 35+ putts.
This demonstrates a strong correlation between quality of putting and scoring. The fewer putts a player takes, the lower their scores will be. Excellent green reading, distance control, and confidence putting for the better players pays off in consistently lower putts per round.
Interpreting Putting Stats
The putting statistics clearly show that as golfers improve their skills and lower their handicap index, their average number of putts per round also decreases. What enables the best players and putters to consistently take fewer putts?
Reading Greens Excellent green readers are able to predict breaks and borrow better. They lag putts to ideal areas. This avoids 3-putts and leads to more 1-putts. Poor green reading leads to more misread putts and blows by the hole.
Distance Control Solid lag putters who control distance well leave more makable second putts. Weaker distance control leads to long first putts and difficult comebacks. Good pace also improves holing out.
Focus and Nerves Lower handicaps make committed strokes and have an internal focus. Higher handicaps get tentative on slick putts and lose feel due to nerves. Confidence putting is a skill.
Fundamentals and Technique Proper elements like posture, grip, alignment, ball position, and stroke path matter. Good fundamentals promote consistency in face angle and solid contact.
Putting Fluency Better putters have smooth routines and rhythms on the greens. Too much fidgeting or rushing leads to poor technical execution.
In summary, elite putting requires physical skills, technique, strategy, and mental strengths. Analyzing these PGA Tour stats provides a blueprint for golfers at every level to set putting goals and work on weak areas.
Improving Your Putting
Based on the trends in the putting statistics, what are some practical tips to help golfers at all skill levels lower their average putts per round?
- Improve reading greens – Spend time before rounds just looking at putts from different angles and predicting break. Mark ball after missed putts to check read.
- Dial in distance control – Practice lag putting drills inside 5 feet, 10 feet, 20+ feet. Develop feel for pace and hitting putts the right distance.
- Eliminate 3-putts – Analyze why you 3-putt and set goals for percent of holes with 2 putts or less. Practice putts in the 3-5 foot range.
- Commit to your lines – Pick your line, trust it, and stroke putts decisively. Don’t peck or decelerate.
- Simplify your routine – Find a consistent, repeatable pre-shot routine that gets you set up properly and focused.
- Track progress – Note your putts per round and set improvement goals. Breaking old averages builds confidence.
With a comprehensive practice plan targeting reading greens, distance control, commitment, and confidence, golfers can achieve their ideal putting stats based on their handicap and abilities.
As we’ve seen in the PGA Tour putting statistics, elite players average significantly fewer putts per round compared to high handicap amateurs. While talent is a factor, it’s clear that dedicated practice, sound technique, and a strong mental game also separate the scratches from the 25 handicaps.
By analyzing your current putting performance compared to these benchmarks, you can focus your practice on priority areas for improvement and improve your putts per round based on handicaap. Do you struggle with distance control and have too many long lag putts? Do misreads lead to faulty strokes and missed putts? Are you leaving too many birdie putts short?
Use the tips in this article to build your skills holistically – both physical technique and mental approach. Great putting requires blending feel, focus, and fundamentals. Strive to reach the putting stats typical of your handicap level or better. Sinking more putts is a fast way to lower scores and gain confidence! Use the PGA Tour putting averages as your guideposts to improve but remember that how many putts per round is good varies for different people of various skillsets.
Average putts per round for the average golfer?
The average number of putts per round for a golfer can vary depending on their skill level, the course they’re playing, and various other factors. However, as a golf coach and blogger based in the USA, you’re probably aware that the average number of putts for an amateur golfer is typically around 36 to 40 putts per round. Keep in mind that this is just an approximate average, and individual performance can vary widely. Golfers who are more skilled and experienced tend to have fewer putts per round, while beginners may have more.
How many putts per round is good?
As discussed above the number of putts a golfer should aim for on a golf course can vary depending on their skill level and the specific course they are playing. However, as a general guideline for how many putts per round the following can be used:
- Professional Golfers: Professional golfers on the PGA Tour typically average around 28 to 30 putts per round. They are highly skilled in putting and can consistently make putts from various distances.
- Low-Handicap Amateurs: Low-handicap amateur golfers, often with handicaps of 5 or less, may aim for an average of 30 to 32 putts per round. These players have a good level of putting proficiency.
- Mid-Handicap Amateurs: Golfers with handicaps in the mid-range, say between 10 and 20, might target an average of 32 to 36 putts per round.
- High-Handicap Amateurs: Higher-handicap golfers, with handicaps above 20, may have a higher average, closer to 36 to 40 putts per round. They are still developing their putting skills and may have more room for improvement.
How many putts per round to break 80?
Breaking 80 in golf is a significant achievement and often requires a combination of skill and consistency in all aspects of the game, including putting. The number of putts it takes to break 80 can vary from round to round, but on average, golfers who consistently shoot scores in the 70s tend to have a range of putts per round that might look like this:
- Professional Golfers: Professional golfers on the PGA Tour often have an average of around 28 to 30 putts per round when they shoot in the 70s.
- Low-Handicap Amateurs: Low-handicap amateur golfers who break 80 might average around 30 to 32 putts per round.
- Mid-Handicap Amateurs: Mid-handicap golfers aiming to break 80 could be looking at an average of 32 to 34 putts per round.
- High-Handicap Amateurs: Golfers with higher handicaps who break 80 occasionally might have an average of 34 to 36 putts per round.
Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and individual performance can vary. To break 80 consistently, you’ll need to work on your overall game, including driving accuracy, approach shots, and short game skills in addition to putting. Reducing the number of putts you take per round can certainly help you achieve this goal, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle.