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Probable Golf Instruction

Thanks for supporting Probable Golf Instruction. This is the second of my series on the shortgame; from putting to chipping to wedge play. If you have any specific questions related to the topic that you'd like answered, join my PGI Member Select Club. I'll answer all your golf questions related to your own, unique golf game in a prompt, thorough fashion.

June PGI Contest

Congratulations to James Andler of Seattle, WA, who won the May contest and a copy of the book, Swing Machine Golf, a $70 value. If you'd still like a copy, you can purchase one from my site at a $10 discount, and you'll be entered into June's contest for a thousand Stinger Tees, a $50 value. Or download any of my PGI Golf Tips or Reports. Buy a copy of the CD, Hit Down Dammit! or a supply of Stinger Tees.

After you make a purchase, just email me a message at probablegolf@yahoo.ca with the subject heading, "PGI Member." You need to be a newsletter subscriber to qualify.

You owe it to your game to make the best of your abilities; become " Master of Your Own Game". Stand out and improve, without hitting any balls!!

Here's to a long lasting life of great golf!

My latest study is finished. See some of the details of the reports HERE.

A Brief Message       June 1/04

  • Ken here from Probable Golf Instruction. In my last newsletter, I explained the statistical significance of a good short game. Review the newsletter here.
  • In this issue, I'll explain a much more accurate way of measuring putting proficiency instead of just the number of putts per round. I'll teach you how to collect your own accurate putting statistics so that you can monitor your improvement.
  • About 9 weeks ago, I received a copy of Swing Machine Golf. The author, Paul Wilson, uses a unique teaching method with his students. He has been featured a number of times on The Golf Channel. He models his teaching swing after the machine, Iron Byron. His emphasis is on simplicity. I think it is an excellent book (one of the best I've read). I think you'd be impressed, too. Take a look at it here, Swing Machine Golf
  • Have you played any matches yet? Do you find you are at a real disadvantage on some holes because you don't get a shot or have to give away a shot? It could be your holes' difficulty rankings do no reflect reality of how golfers play them. Find out your course's true hole rankings here.
The Short Game Part 2: Putting Statistics

Read other Parts from the Technology and Distance series here, Archives.

If you'd like one on one explanations about the topic, sign up for the PGI Member Select Club and I'll answer all your questions in a prompt, thorough fashion. Now on to this week's topic.

II. What are your putting statistics? How do you know if you're improving?

     In the last newsletter, I explained the statistical signficance of the short game and why we should all be working on it the most. The most important part of the short game to improve is putting. Before I embark on providing tips for improvement, its important that you have a measure to improve upon. You need to know where your putting is at so that you can compare it later.

     Keeping track of the number of putts per round is not the best method of measuring your putting ability. The number of putts you make depends largely on the length of the putts. If you hit 14 greens one day and then 5 greens the next, it is highly likely that you had fewer putts when only 5 greens were hit because the average putting distance was shorter. I much better measure is how many putts you make from various distances, whether they be for birdies, pars or bogeys.

     I find that most golfers are unrealistic about they're putting and so are very hard on themselves which leads to more putts and a negative effect on the rest of the game. For example, a golfer hits the first 8 greens and has quite a few chances for birdie inside of 15 feet. He makes none of them, grows frustrated, puts more pressure on himself to hit it even closer. The result? His ball striking deteriorates and his score skyrockets. Sound familiar?

     How many 10 or 15 footers does one typically make? Take a look at this graph of Putting % versus Length of Putt (the graph will open in a new window). For a 10 footer (or about 3 metres), a touring pro averages 40%.
A high handicapper (15 - 30) averages 24%. A touring pro makes almost twice as many. Take a look at how much time those pros spend on their putting. These are averages. What we usually view on TV are the best players on the weekend. They have the lowest scores because they are sinking the most putts. They're having exceptional putting rounds. They are not putting their average.

     When many golfers set their expectations for putting, however, they think of what they've seen on TV, yet few putt in anywhere near the time required to become that good of a putter. The golfer that hits the first 8 greens and doesn't sink a putt, their putting average to that point is 0% instead of the average 24%. On another day, their average may be 50% of the putts.

     One putt percentages don't give a true reflection of overall putting ability. Two players may sink 10% of their 15 footers, but one may 3 putt more of them. A better statistic is the average number of strokes taken from different distances. Here is a sample of stroke averages.

Putt Length
Hcp 0-4
Hcp 11
Hcp 26
3 feet
6 feet
10 feet
15 feet
20 feet
30 feet
40 feet
50 feet

For myself, a 2 handicapper, my overall putting is better than the average 0 - 4 handicapper. My putting is one of the main reasons I remain a low handicapper. On 10, 6 foot putts, I'll take on average 14.2 strokes while a 26 handicapper will take 18.6 strokes; that's a 4.4 stroke difference. And remember, these are averages. One day I may take 18 strokes and on others I may take 10 strokes.

     I encourage you to keep your putting statistics like I do above so that you can monitor your progress. It will give you an accurate measure of how you're doing. You can compare your stats to the table above. All you need to do on your scorecard for each round is record the length of each putt and how many strokes it took to hole out. Pace out your distances trying to take 3 foot paces. As you gain experience, you'll be able to estimate many putts without pacing.

     For example, let's say you measure a putt to be 6 paces, or 18 feet. I would record this as a 20 foot putt (round to the nearest 5). You hit the ball 6 feet past the hole and sink the 6 footer. You would record a 20 footer with 2 strokes taken and a 6 footer with 1 stroke taken. If you were to have missed the 6 footer, it would be recorded as 2 strokes. If you stroked the 20 footer to within tap in range, you would only record a 20 footer with 2 strokes; there is no second putt.

     After about 10 rounds, you'll have enough putts to calculate a realistic average. In my previous 10 rounds, I've had 39, 10 footers, and I've taken 66 strokes. The average is 63/39 = 1.62. If you choose to implement some of my putting tips, you'll be able to determin if in fact they are making a significant improvement in your putting.

     Next time, I'll provide you with some great tips I've learned to read putts. Most golfers, even professionals, under read putts significantly. Just improving your ability to read greens will enable you to sink more putts, which will increase your confidence and improve your putting further. I happen to use Plumb Bobbing quite successfully to read putts. That's just part of what I'll talk about. Please do a little homework, and read what I already have on my site here.


Purchase my Longest Golf Ball Report (over 270 sold so far) in which I statistically analyze distances of over 70 different golf balls with differing constructions. The balls were hit using a mechanical hitting machine.

Play with my Driver Distance Calculator. You can input such variables as loft and clubhead speed to determine the optimum loft. I'll be adding to it soon so that you can input different golf ball parameters such as speed and spin.


A list of resources that have been used to produce this newsletter can be found on my website here.

The next newsletter's topic will be on reading putts (break and distance). If you have any questions ahead of time, send me an email.

The focus of my site is to utilize science and math to lower your score. New technology is one way to achieve this, but to be honest, the technology is one small piece of the puzzle.

To actually improve significantly, we all need to:

1. Improve our swings using CD Interactive, Hit Down Dammit!

2. Learn how to swing simpler like the Iron Byron with the great coffee table book, Swing Machine Golf!

3. Improve our physical fitness and strength.
The Golf Trainer Power Performance Programô

4. Improve our mental games. Golf Mind Software

5. Improve our Probable Golf games. Learn how to make better choices on the course through knowing how shot patterns and reading the elements and course better.

Click on the links above to take a look at ways that I personally use myself and recommend you try as well.

Hope I provided some useful ways for to become better prepared for you best golf season ever.

Ken Tannar


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