The majority of amateur golfers average over 36 putts per round, yet only hit 14 drives per round. While many golfers focus on their driver when trying to lower their scores, improved putting remains the quickest way to lower your score. There is truth behind the old adage “Drive for show, putt for dough."
On average, a 26 handicap golfer facing a 20-foot putt will need 2.4 strokes to get the ball in the hole. Even an 11 handicap golfer needs 2.1 putts from the same distance. In both cases the accuracy required is nothing but extraordinary. To make a 20 foot putt the golfer must hit the ball within an angle of .4 of a degree. Keep in mind that to hit a 300-yard drive into a 60-foot wide fairway, one need only utilize 4º of accuracy. In other words, a 5-foot putt requires more precision than a 300-yard drive to find the fairway! And a 20 foot putt requires roughly 10 times the accuracy of a 300 yard drive!
To illustrate just how important accuracy is, we calculated the total angle through which a golfer could strike a ball and still make the putt from a given distance. The following graph is the result of that analysis.*
*Assumes the ball is rolling 2 revolutions per second when it reaches a 4.25-inch hole, a flat put.