Putting is unlike any other part of the game of golf – sometimes amazing, other times it’s infuriating. But how many putts per round should you have? How many putts per round is considered “good?”
It ultimately depends on a lot of factors including pros vs. amateur golfers. For example, pros in the PGA championship or any major might have more than a normal tour event as the greens and course is extra difficult in majors.
While average golfers can vary too. Lower handicap players have fewer putts per round (in general) which contributes to consistently lower scores. While higher handicap golfers tend to have more putts and higher scores.
But there are so many factors that go into putting for the average golfer including lag putting, the golf course itself, number of greens hit, hitting long putts closer, and a lot of other factors.
Putts Per Round
If you’re like a lot of golfers, nothing makes you as mad as a three putt (or maybe even a four putt). It stinks when you hit a great shot on the green in regulation only to walk away with a bogey from a poor second putt.
But I’ve found that a lot of golfers make putting more difficult by simply setting unrealistic expectations. For example, did you know that pros average 50% from 8-feet? Yet, how many times have you gotten mad for missing one at that length.
Today we’ll help you reset expectations and give some easy to apply tips for better putting performance.
- Tracking your performance from tee to green is vital to hitting your golf goals.
- When you track stats, like putts per round, you can learn more about each part of your game and create practice plans to improve.
- Tracking the number of putts is important but using strokes gained measurement is a better representation of your putting performance.
Keep reading to learn more now about the average putts per round.
Putts Per Round
Early on in my golf journey I learned the importance of tracking stats. For me, this started in high school as our coach wanted us to track fairways hit, greens in regulation, scrambling, and putts per hole. This is a very basic way to track stats but great for beginners as you easily learn your strengths and weaknesses.
Putting is one of the most important parts of the game and has a direct impact on your score for the day. As you probably know, a good putting day almost always leads to having one of your best rounds ever. While a bad putting day can ruin a great ball striking day and make a bad round even worse.
So how many putts per round is average?
Let’s break it down with pros and amateurs using a few different resources.
PGA Tour Putting Averages
Let’s start with the best golfers in the world on the PGA Tour. It seems like every time we turn on the TV all we see is them making putts from all over the course. But are we just seeing the highlight reel?
Yes… don’t get me wrong, they’re amazing players but they aren’t making every putt or even a majority. In fact, the 2022 PGA Tour average was 29.06 putts per round.
For the past few years the number has remained the same. Yet, some rounds they’re in the low 20s and other times they’re in the 30s, which is closer to the everyday amateur golfer.
But it’s a different story for amateur golfers.
Amateur Golfer Putting Averages
If you’re like most golfers you love having less than 30 putts in a round. But what is the average putts per round for male amateur golfers?
Here’s what 18Birdies (a great golf app) had to say about this putting statistic. “The USGA statistics states the average male golfer shoots a 98-99 and has at least 40 putts per round or 2.2 putts per hole. Most recreational and amateur golfers are well above this number while professional golfers average about 1.8 putts per hole and 32 putts per round.”
This might be a little higher than I expected – not to mention the PGA Tour metric is higher than the ShotLink data on the PGA website.
Here’s what the PGA said about average putts for amateur golfers. “Anywhere between 31-35 putts per round is acceptable good putting for the average golfer. 26-30 putts per round and you have now crossed over into the realm of great putting. If you average 25 or less putts per round, please contact me immediately, because I’d like to be your talent agent.”
Needless to say, amateur golfers need to improve their putting.
As the 18Birdies article mentioned, the biggest factor is how close you can get your first putt to the hole. Because every foot further from the cup, your likelihood to make goes down significantly.
For example, the PGA Tour average is about 90% from four feet. When they’re putting from 8-feet they’re down to about 50%! Needless to say, every foot counts and that’s why you want to give yourself closer putts to save shots every round.
I like to think of putting as the lowest hanging fruit for the everyday golfer. The sooner you can eliminate three and four putts, the sooner you can play better golf fast!
Strokes Gained Putting
Now that you know the average putts per round for different types of golfers, let’s talk about another important aspect of putting – strokes gained.
Here’s how ShotScope defined the game changing metric. “Strokes gained is a way of analyzing a player’s performance level when comparing every aspect of their performance with other players within a particular dataset. It measures the golfer’s performance taking into account, the hole length, shot length, lie type of every shot and putt during a round of golf.”
Inside the strokes gained category there is one for driving, approach shots, scrambling, and putting. This is a much better way to measure performance to figure out if you’re better or worse than average instead of tallying up fairways, greens, and putts.
As Mark Broadie, author of the book Every Shot Counts said, “Old habits die hard, but using putts per round instead of strokes gained putting is like driving a horse and buggy when a car is parked out front.”
Here’s why… you might have 29 putts per round (the PGA Tour average) and think it’s a good day on the greens. But if you’re putting from inside 15–20 feet consistently from a great ball striking day, that’s actually a bad day putting (statically speaking).
Meanwhile, if you’re hitting greens but leaving yourself 30–50 footers all day, 29 putts might be amazing in terms of strokes gained. This is why it’s such a crucial statistic to track as it provides much deeper insight into all aspects of your game.
PGA Tour Strokes Gained Putting
As mentioned above, the best golfers in the world average about 29 putts per round. But the real metric these players focus on is strokes gained putting. In the 2022 season Lucas Herbert was #1 in this category with .853 shots gained on the greens.
Unfortunately, they don’t provide an average like putts per round. But the worst player was Joseph Barmletti n the 2022 season who had -.951 strokes lost per round. As you can tell, the range changes quite a bit from round to round.
Strokes Gained Putting for Amateurs
Now with some of the best golf apps it’s easier than ever to figure out your strokes gained putting too. For example, apps like Decade Golf and Shot Scope allow you to learn your strokes gained in all four areas and compare it with other amateur golfers.
As the same Shot Scope article mentioned, “ For any golfer looking to improve, this feature helps to give clear direction of which aspects of their game they need to sharpen up in order to achieve their goal of improvement or handicap reduction. Comparisons can be made against six different handicap benchmarks (scratch golfer, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 handicap).”
This is helpful as you can compare your strokes gained vs. other amateur golfers, not just PGA Tour players. Since most of us are just weekend warriors, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to compare our game vs. the best golfers in the world.
When you start tracking your stats I think you’ll be amazed at how you can learn about your game (and improve quickly by focusing on your weaknesses).
To improve your putting performance and reduce your number of putts follow these five tips:
Improve your proximity
The easiest way to have fewer, not more putts every round is to simply hit it closer. The closer you are to the cup, the more two putts (or one putts) you’ll have every round.
A closer proximity makes a huge difference. To hit the ball close to the pin and have more short putts make sure to:
- Get your iron lie angles bent to your swing.
- Play more toward the flag with wedges and short irons.
- Use a launch monitor to dial in your distances for each club.
Check out our favorite launch monitors here.
Find the right putter
Golf is a lot easier when you have tons of confidence in your flatstick. Make sure you choose the right putter for your game (including length, grip, alignment features, etc.) so you can look down at putts with confidence.
Dial in short putts
The data shows that the closer the distance, the more likely you are to make putts compared to mid to long putts. There is no doubt that the average golfer wastes way too many shots inside 6–8 feet.
To have fewer putts, spend a bulk of your practice time working on short putts (3-8 feet). Practicing from the same distance over and over again can feel repetitive but I can guarantee it will lead to lower scores fast.
Improve lag putting
If you can get the ball closer to the hole with your first putts it makes a big difference in putts per round. Make sure to check out our full guide on lag putting here.
Test Out Aimpoint Golf
If you need a new green reading strategy used by pros and scratch golfers, check out Aimpoint Golf. This is a unique system to learn how to read greens with your feet and hopefully avoid three putts.
FAQs About Putting
Do you have more questions about putting and getting the most out of your short game? If so, keep reading through our most frequently asked and answers below.
How many putts does it take to break 80?
It depends on the rest of your game. For example, you might hit every green in regulation and can two putt every hole (36 putts) and shoot par – easily breaking 80. Heck, you can even have some three putts too.
But if you’re only hitting half the greens, you’ll need fewer putts from scrambling and saving pars. There is no set number of putts needed and ultimately depends on how many greens you’re hitting in regulation.
If your goal is to break 80 more consistently, click here to read our full guide now.
How many putts are in a 15 handicap round?
It’s important to remember that golf handicaps are not an expected score. A 15-handicap golfer would likely shoot in the low to mid 90s. The number of putts can vary on a lot of factors including greens in regulation, proximity to the hole, and more.
How many 3 putts are in a round on the PGA Tour?
Not very often – which is why these are the best golfers in the world. According to the PGA Tour, in the 2022 season they averaged .54 3-putts per round.
How is putts per hole calculated?
Simply add up any time you are putting on the green, not from the fringe. Even if you broke your putter and are using a wedge to putt, this would count as a putt since you’re on the putting surface.
Do fringe putts count for total putts?
No, putts per hole only counts if you’re on the green. While we suggest putting from the fringe more often (as it’s a higher percentage shot than most chips), it doesn’t count as a putt. If you’re tracking your stats a fringe putt actually counts toward your strokes gained in short game/scrambling.
As mentioned, putting can make or break your round. A few weeks before writing this article I had one of my best ball striking days ever hitting 16/18 greens. Sadly, the putter was icy cold but still shot under par.
Conversely, I’ve had other rounds where I can’t seem to hit the center of the face but end up shooting around par thanks to a hot putter. Sometimes the greens and course setup are much better for your putting especially in terms of green reading. Other days, you can do everything right but the Golf Gods just don’t allow them to go in.
But if you’re having a tough day on the greens, it’s important to stay patient and positive. If you get impatient and frustrated it’s easy to hit putts too hard which essentially makes the hole smaller. Plus, you’re more likely to engage in negative self talk which also won’t help your performance either.
Final Thoughts on Average Putts Per Round
The average number of putts per round will vary on a number of conditions. But it’s up to you to go through the steps above to try and putt more consistently. Becoming a good putter and gaining more confidence on the greens takes extra practice time but it’s worth it.
To avoid a lot of three putts and improve your putting performance make sure to:
- Work on putting mechanics.
- Develop a green reading routine.
- Stick to a consistent pre-shot putting routine.
Plus, don’t forget to use the right putter for your game
Lastly, make sure you use some sort of statistical tracking system like Arccos Golf Sensors (read our full review of the product here). This way you can track your performance over time and learn if you need to spend more time on the putting green in practice. Or, buy an indoor putting green to dial in your fundamentals at home.
For more on where you rank, make sure to check out our article on Golf Statistics by Handicap.