How to Stop 3 Putting

How to Stop 3 Putting: A Few Strategies to Try

Did you know that nearly one third (or more) of all shots happen on the green? If you want to play better and improve your handicap, figuring out your putter is a solid plan. 

Most players want to learn one thing: how to stop 3-putting in golf. Because let’s be honest, there isn’t much worse than hitting a green in regulation, only to walk away with bogey. It stings even more if you missed the green in regulation or three putted from short range.

This kills momentum and can ruin your mental attitude which can hurt other areas of your game. Today we’ll help you stop 3-putting so you can shoot lower than ever. 

How to Stop 3-Putting Golf 

So, how do you minimize three putts? 

There is no one way, but it’s a combination of equipment, practice, and technique. Not to mention, managing your expectations. 

Let’s get into it… 

Key Takeaways

  • Three putting kills your scores and your momentum, which can negatively impact your next tee shot and future holes.
  • Most golfers 3-putt more often than they like for a number of reasons, including using the wrong putter, lack of practice, improper technique, and skipping pre-shot routines. 
  • Improving your putting is arguably the most effective way to shoot lower scores fast, without dealing with swing changes. 

Keep reading to learn how to stop three putting so you can shoot lower scores fast. 

Manage Your Expectations

Before getting into the best tips to help you stop three putting, let’s first understand a few putting stats. The average PGA Tour player has about 29 putts per round and rarely three putt – if they do, it’s usually only from long range.

How to Stop Three Putting

However, Arccos Golf has data that shows it is a lot more common with everyday amateur golfers. According to Arccos“Good players rarely ever three-putt… right? For the PGA Tour, that might be true, as they average 0.49 three putts per round. But we’re not on tour, so let’s see what Arccos’ data says:

  • Scratch golfer – 1.3 (3 putts per round)
  • 5 handicap – 2 (3 putts per round)
  • 10 handicap – 2.6 (3 putts per round)
  • 15 handicap – 3.3 (3 putts per round)”

The lower your handicap, the more likely you are to not three jack. Yes, three putts are very frustrating, but for the everyday golfer they’re a part of the game. So when it does happen, don’t beat yourself up just work on improving by following these proven strategies.

Double-Check Your Putter 

The first step to help you stop three jacks is to make sure you’re using the right flat stick. It’s beyond important to choose the right putter for you. This means having one that is the right length, loft and lie angle, which you can confirm in a custom putter fitting.

However, there’s another way to make sure your putter is right for you by adjusting the weights. A lot of putters – especially mallet putters – have adjustable weights which will make the toe or heel heavier. Just like a driver, changing the weight can impact the clubface at impact. 

Adding weight to toe or heel based on your most common miss can help get the putter face square to drain more putts. Test out different weight settings on the putting green to see how more/less weight impacts your stroke. 

Reading Greens

Have a Green Reading Strategy

Another common reason for three putts is a lack of green reading. If you don’t know how to read greens or don’t do it on every green, you’re making more three putts inevitable. 

If your goal is to break 100 or break 90, you need to learn how to read greens. This way you can stand over the putt with confidence on how it will break and make a better stroke. If you have no idea how a putt breaks, you can’t expect yourself to make a lot of putts.

Some players prefer unique methods like Aimpoint Golf, while others are more traditional. This is used by a lot of PGA Tour players and might help your game. But we don’t suggest trying out the plumb bob method, as it’s outdated and there’s a reason almost no one in professional golf uses it anymore. 

Check your Fundamentals

Putting is simple compared to the golf swing. Your swing is nearly 100 mph (or more) with a longer club, which is a lot on your body, too. But putting it with a short club, where power has nothing to do with the equation.

Good putting is all about fundamentals. Here are some of the most important things to consider with putting technique.

  • Eye position: Your eyes should be over the ball or slightly underneath it. They should never be over the ball, as you’ll crowd it and miss a lot of putts left. This is why it’s a good idea to use a putting mirror to check your eye position at home or on the putting green in practice.
  • Posture: The length of your putter has a big impact on your posture and why we’re so adamant about getting the right type of putter. If your putter is too long or too short, not only can it hurt your stroke but hurt your back too. The last thing you want is a golf injury from spending too much time practicing putting. 
  • Ball position: Another fundamental with putting is ball position, which should be near your front foot. If the ball is too far in the middle or back of your stance, it can lead to a descending blow that can make the ball hop instead of roll smoothly. 
  • Stable lower body: The lower body has one job in putting – stay still. You don’t need to use your legs in putting like you do with a full golf swing. Remember, power is not needed with putting, so keep your lower body quiet so your upper body/hands/arms do all the work. 
  • Grip: Find a grip style that works for you. The majority of PGA Tour players use a conventional grip and the second most popular is cross handed (left-hand low). Make sure to read our grip encyclopedia to learn more about prayer grip, claw grip, and more. And maintain a light grip pressure to avoid the dreaded 3 putt.

Stance is not as important with putting as some great putters have used a closed or open stance. Test out what works best for you in practice so you can take it with you to the golf course. 

Mark Your Golf Ball and Use Training Aids

Whether you need help with long putts or short putts, you need to get the ball on the intended line. An easy way to do this is by lining up the arrows on your golf ball or drawing a line.

Additionally, these training aids can help you with the start line, control distance, and get the putter head moving properly.

Focus on Your Pre-Putt Routine

Even with the right putter, fundamentals, and green reading technique, three putts can still happen a lot. A major reason is because so many golfers lack a pre-shot putting routine, which is one of the few things all great players have in common.

Without a pre-shot routine, it makes it easy to doubt your read, worry about your performance, and get overly technical with your stroke. A good routine should consist of:

  • A few practice strokes to feel the length of the putt and prime your mind. Usually 1-3 practice strokes (at most) or you can putt like Cam Smith who uses none.
  • Commit to your target line. To make more putts, you need to get the golf ball rolling at the right starting point. During your routine, focus more on the target line than anything else.
  • Less time over the ball. When you have a good routine, your putting game will improve quickly because you have more confidence. This will lead to less doubt and less time over the golf ball, which studies have found can have a massive impact on putting, especially short putts.
Best Putting Drills

Practice Short Putts Most Often

If you want to stop three putting, you need to spend most of your practice time on short putts. Somedays your distance control will be off on a long putt and you’ll need to make 4–6 footers. Or, if your chipping is off, you might need a one putt to save par and keep the momentum going.

This is why it’s so important to spend an overwhelming majority of time on short putts. Check out our favorite putting drills here.

Improve Lag Putting 

Another reason so many golfers three putt more than they’d like is from a lack of speed control. When you do hit the green in regulation, you’ll likely have an average of 30–40 footers. Sure, sometimes you’ll throw a dart and have a 10-15 footer (or closer) but it’s not as common, even for the best golfers in the world.

When you do have 30–40 footers, you need to have solid speed control to not leave yourself tricky 5–6 footers. Remember, for every foot further from the hole, the likelihood of making it drops significantly. 

To improve from long range and putt close with your first putt, here are a few tips:

  • Always read the green.
  • Maintain a good putting rhythm.
  • Pace off longer putts and walk the distance of the putt to notice if the putt has any slope you might not see if reading from behind the ball. 

Make sure to read our full guide about lag putts here

FAQs About Putting

Do you have more questions about putting? If so, keep reading through some of the most frequently asked questions and answers now. 

How do you cut down on three putts?

There are a lot of strategies which are outlined above. Some of them include playing the right putter, developing a good routine, and always reading the green.

How to Stop Missing Putts Right

How do I stop putting right?

If you’re missing putts right, it could be a few different issues. The first thing to evaluate is your alignment, as you might not be pushing putts but aiming further right than you think. Make sure to check both feet and shoulder alignment to get the ball started on the proper line.

Another reason you might miss putts right is from a stroke that is too much inside to out. If you take the putter back too far inside, it’s easy to push block it right.

If you’re missing short putts to the right, a common reason is not keeping your head down long enough. During practice sessions, make sure to keep your head down longer to not negatively impact your putting stroke. 

How many putts is too many?

One of the biggest mistakes most golfers make is adding their putts up after every round, thinking it’s a good way to measure performance. Instead, you should track your statistics so you can understand strokes gained on the greens.

This is a much better way to analyze your putting performance, as it’s based on distance to the hole vs. number of putts. For example, a three putt from 60-feet is very different from a three putt from 15 feet. 

My Experience

When I’m putting my best, it’s from regular practice (buy an indoor putting green if you don’t already)… especially with short putts. This leads to fewer putts as I’m not thinking about technical stuff during my putting strokes.

Additionally, I switch my mindset to hit a good putt vs. try to make a putt. This mindset shifts take pressure off each stroke and focus on process, picking a small target, and sticking to the routine instead of results.

Finally, the last thing I consider is grip pressure. You need to hold the putter lightly during the entire stroke – too many golfers grip it tighter under pressure, which throws off the stroke. Stay relaxed to avoid tension, and you will two putt more often.

Final Thoughts 

Two putts are the goal for most putts but you should try to make everything. Dr. Bob Rotella referred to this as a “green light mentality.” Even with a lag putt, try to make it so your misses are closer to the hole.

What’s your best putting tip? Do you equate distance with a certain size stroke? Or swear by a particular blade putter?

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