Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Six Foot Putt

Raymond Floyd, who was no slouch, said that the six foot putt was the most important shot in golf. I wonder how many amateurs would say that. Probably none. 

But there is good reason to accept Mr. Floyd's statement. Dave Pelz, who became a shortgame guru, studied putts and found out, to the surprise of just about everyone, that pros made only fifty percent of their putts from six feet. Jack Nicklaus correctly guessed that this was the case, but most pros didn't. So, imagine if you could make 75 or 80 percent of your six footers. That's what the leaders every week on the various tours are doing.

A wise person once said that the end of a matter is more important than its beginning. And no where is this more true than in the game of golf. What good does it do to hit great iron shots to six or seven feet from the hole, only to miss the damned putt? You have to finish it off.

If you can become efficient on the short putts, from six feet and in, you can really start to score. If not, forget about it. Why was Tiger so dominant? There were probably many reasons, but one thing for certain was he was as good as anyone I've ever seen from six feet and in. When he was in his heyday, six footers were pretty much gimmees for him. And, as a result, he just kept making pars where other guys were making bogeys. In his last few years, Tiger has been missing short putts. And, as a result, he looks distinctly human, instead of bullet-proof.

So, maybe those of us who are trying to get better might want to spend less time trying to hit the ball farther, and a bit more time working on putts from six feet and in. It might not be as exciting, but, if it's your score you are concerned about, it would be worth it.

Most amateurs are lousy putters from six feet. And when they talk about their scores they often moan about the short putts that they missed. Short putts count as much as a three hundred yard drive. It may not seem fair, but that's golf. Raymond Floyd said the most important shot in golf was the six foot putt. He knew what he was talking about. And you can bet he was pretty good from that distance. He had to be.