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The Wedge Guy: A more useful putting statistic for your records

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One of the keys to constant improvement in our golf games is to look for more and better ways to track our performance. And as you would expect, I’m a believer that our putting and short game should get more attention. As it regards to measuring our putting performance, for the most part the golf community either tracks total number of putts, or the average number of putts for greens in regulation. Well I would like to suggest what I think is a better idea for tracking your putting performance from round to round, one that is a more accurate indicator of what kind of day you had on the greens. Follow along with me here, keep some records of your own and see what happens.

My premise is that the true measure of how good a putting round you had just might be to total up the cumulative feet of putts you holed out. When you lag one up to a foot on the first hole, for example, that’s “1”. Make a six-footer for par (or bogey) on #2, you’re up to “7.” Miss your putts – from any distance – on the next few holes, add in the distances of those remaining tap-ins. [I’ll add in here that you should round to the nearest foot, OK?]

In prior years from time to time, I have done this for a few rounds and have found it pretty interesting. If you are making your 3-6 footers, and knock-in one or two longer, you can see a total in the range of 50-70’ total. That’s a pretty darn good putting round.

A day where nothing goes in for you might bring that total down to 25-40’. Bear in mind that if you don’t give yourself very many good “looks” from inside ten feet or so, your total is likely to be smaller . . . maybe an indicator to work on your greensides chipping and pitching.

Let me share some of my own results from a crazy week a while back just to show you an example. On that Friday, I hit the ball great – 15 greens in reg, but didn’t make much – lots of 12-25 footers that just didn’t go in, even though I many good putts. I totaled up my putt distance and got less than 40 feet. But on Sunday, it was a different day altogether. Wind was howling about 20-25 and I only hit 8 greens in reg. But I made almost 90 feet of putts!!! And I shot only two strokes higher than Friday.

So, I’d like to challenge those of you who are getting back on the course and want to get the most out of this season to try this for a few rounds and let us know what you think of this new putting stat. Remember, you count only the last putt on each hole – the one that went in or was a gimmee – and run the total. It’s fun, it’s informative and it just might be a clue to those good rounds.

As always, the more you all chime in, the more we all learn.

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Terry Koehler is a fourth generation Texan, a native of a small South Texas town and a graduate of Texas A&M University. He has had a most interesting 40-year career in the golf industry. He has created five start-up companies, ranging from advertising agencies to golf equipment companies. You might remember Reid Lockhart, EIDOLON, SCOR, or his leadership of the reintroduction of Ben Hogan to the golf equipment industry in 2014. For almost 25 years, his wedge designs have stimulated other companies to slightly raise the CG and improve wedge performance. He has just announced the formation of Edison Golf Company and the new Edison Forged wedges, which have been robotically proven to significantly raise the bar for wedge performance. Terry serves as Chairman and Director of Innovation for Edison Golf, which can be seen at www.EdisonWedges.com. Terry has been a prolific equipment designer of over 100 putters and several irons, but many know Koehler as simply “The Wedge Guy”, as he authored over 700 articles on his blog by that name from 2003-2010.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. david goodman

    Jul 4, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    I think the better way is to chart what you did on each putt, noting the distance. you have a 40 foot putt and write down whether it was one, two or three putt, etc. Then you get an idea of how your putting is from different distances.

  2. Ron

    Jun 19, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for the article.

    The issues I have with looking at the total feet of putts as a measure of putting success are that it can be dominated by just one putt. If that one 50-60 footer that all you were trying to do was not three-putt hits the pin hard but still drops, the total number of putts for the day look pretty respectable even if you had 40 putts with five 3-putts. Or on a day you hit fifteen greens in regulation – you are likely to have a lot of 25-40 foot putts. If your only birdies were 8-10 foot putts, but you had no three-putts, that would be a good putting round without a high total number of feet of made putts. That is, a good ball-striking round often leads to a higher number of total putts but a lower number of feet of putts made, and that could still be a good putting round. If you are missing a lot of greens, but hitting fringes or surrounds, then chipping well, your putt total can be quite low. In that case, the total feet of putts will tell you whether you were putting well or chipping well.

    We all hope for that one round where we hit a lot of greens, have a low putt total, and roll in a couple of fluke long putts. Hope springs eternal.

  3. gary

    Jun 17, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    You could also take feet of putts made divided by greens, the closer the number is to 1.00 the better you are putting. 80’/15 greens = 5.33 or 80’/7greens= 11.4. Obviously 80′ of putts with 15 g is better then the same 80′ with 7 greens.

    • gary

      Jun 17, 2020 at 3:53 pm

      actually my idea doesnt make 100% sense, messed it up a bit. But the thinking is correct. my bad

  4. bossofthemoss

    Jun 17, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    I don’t really like this because it just shows what you made that day, doesn’t really show how well you putted, if that makes sense. Say if you have a 50-footer with a big break and over a ridge, and you lag it to a foot. In reality, the first one was an amazing putt, but it shows up in the tally as a 1 footer and looks like you didn’t putt well. Similarly, you could make a 40-50 footer and then also have like 5 3 putts in one round. The 3-putts are not going to be represented in the count and overall your footage of putts made will make it look like you had a good day on the greens.

  5. Doug

    Jun 17, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    If you’re stepping off the distance of your putts you can just enter that into an online SG putting calculator (only need first putt distance and number of putts) to get the actual “most useful” putting skill statistic.

    It won’t really tell you where you’re doing poorly, though (am I worse a short putts or long relative to golfers my handicap?).

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: A discussion of swingweight (Part 1: History)

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Image via Golfworks

For the twenty-five plus years, I’ve been in the equipment business, one of the most commonly-asked-about subjects is that of swingweight. It mostly comes up when a golfer is requesting over-length clubs or is contemplating changing to graphite shafts. So, I’m going to direct a discussion of this topic. Please chime in to let me know your thoughts and input.

The concept of swingweight was developed by custom clubmaker Kenneth Smith about 60 years ago. He was trying to figure out how to “match” clubs, and settled on balance point as a way to do so. His swingweight scale had a “hook” to hold the grip end of the club, and a fulcrum 14 inches from the butt. He created an arbitrary scale of measure that consisted of letters A-F, each letter divided into ten segments, i.e. D1, D2, D3, etc. When he measured the clubs of the day, he found most of them to be in the D2 range, so that became recognized as the “standard” for men’s woods and irons.

The golf club industry quickly adopted this method of “matching” clubs…well, because they had no other way! Because the longer the shaft, the heavier the head feels, clubheads increase in weight as the shaft gets shorter, so that the swingweight will stay the same. The theory then, and now, is that if the swingweight is the same, the clubs will feel essentially the same in the golfer’s hands.

But let’s look at what has happened since Kenneth Smith invented the swingweight scale.

  • Shafts have gotten longer by at least an inch. In the 1940s, a “standard” driver was only 42-43” long – now most are 45” if not more.
  • Shafts have gotten much lighter. Those old steel shafts weighed 150 grams or more, compared to modern graphite driver shafts in the 55-75 gram range.
  • Golfers have gotten stronger while clubs have gotten much lighter overall, but swingweights have always adhered to that D2 “standard.”

You must understand two very important factors about swingweight.

First, a “point” of swingweight–such as D2 to D3–is NOT a unit of measure like an ounce or gram. It takes much less weight to shift a driver one point, for example, than it does a wedge, because the shaft length is such an influence on this measure. Generally, the weight of a single dollar bill is a swingweight point on a driver—not much, huh?

And secondly, the overall weight of the club is at least as important as swingweight. Jack Nicklaus was noted for playing a driver in his prime that was 13.25 oz in overall weight–very heavy even for that time (most are about 10.5 oz now!), while his swingweight was only C9, considered very light. S

Swingweight by itself is a rather worthless piece of information!

So, that should get this discussion going. I’ll give you a few days to toss out your questions and comments on this subject, and then I’ll begin to address my own theories on swingweight for YOUR clubs.

Sound off, readers!

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Podcasts

TG2: Review of the new ShotScope V3 GPS & shot tracking watch, Vessel VLX Stand Bag!

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I get the new ShotScope V3 GPS and shot tracking watch on my wrist for a few rounds and love the data. ShotScope V3 offers accurate GPS distances while seamlessly tracking your club data.

Vessel Bag’s new VLX stand bag is a high end, lightweight, luxury bag for golfers who love to walk. Walking with the VLX was actually more comfortable than my pushcart!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: How to never miss another putt

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Learn how your own anatomy is designed to roll the golf ball in the direction you want to start the putt without any interference or assistance on your behalf.

All you need is a system of predictions that will help you confirm that your putting stroke is pointed in the right direction. This is how you become a witness to gravity sinking the putt for you. This will become clear after you listen to the podcast and give this a try at a golf course near you!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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