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A few reasons I wanted to start this thread:

  • I've had a handful of conversations with @GolfSpy STUDque about how Game Golf/Arccos calculate putting stats.
  • I've seen other guys on this forum averaging over 2 putts per hole; I am well under that, but wondered how much my course (rather than my skill) was a factor in that.
  • I'm working on my own game. To get to single figures, I need to hit more greens in regulation. To what degree does green size affect that?
  • Finally, my home course (where I play almost all my golf) is short, barely over 6,000 yards from the back tees. I trying to figure out how much (if any) that lack of distance is compensated for by other challenges.

I had a hunch that the greens on my home course were fairly small. I don't play a ton of golf at other courses, but when I have, I've been amazed at the size of the greens elsewhere. Turns out, my instincts were sound. Took a moment this morning to measure the green size at my course using Google Maps. It's pretty easy: open your course in satellite view; right click on one edge of the green, choose "Measure distance," and the click the other side of the green. Then keep moving the line around to get length and width on each green. Throw it all in a spreadsheet. Maybe subtract 10–15% because the greens are ellipses, not rectangles.

Obviously, this is far from exact but it's close enough to get us in the ballpark.

Putting all that together, the greens at our course average about 3,300 square feet. Our biggest green is right around 5,000 sqft; the smallest is barely over 2,000 (which helps me understand why that hole is so hard).

For comparison's sake (and this is the only time anyone will compare our course to Pebble), the greens at Pebble Beach are the smallest on Tour, at 3,500 sqft. Apparently, the average green on Tour is closer to 6,000 sqft, which comports well with this article (from a course superintendent perspective) that greens should average about 6,000 sqft for maintenance reasons.

For my part, this is information I have to take into account when evaluating my stats. A low single-digit handicap (my long-term goal) hits half his greens in regulation; that might end up being different for me. My putting stats are likely polished by our small greens: I average about 1.75 putts, but I'm missing about 85% of GIR. I 3-putt on 10% of holes, but I imagine that number would be worse on more "normal" greens.

And Game Golf has normally hated my short game play; it might be that I'm seeing something of a course penalty there.

Anyway, how big are the greens you all play? How much do the green sizes affect your stats and your scores?

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Common sense would dictate that if you have a tendency to 3-putt smaller greens, then that stat would definitely rise on larger greens.  Your proximity to the hole needs work.  Your 2-putts on your small greens could very well be longer on the larger greens if you're not getting it close to the hole.  

Bottom line .... find out why you aren't hitting enough greens in regulation.  Especially on a shorter course such as yours.  I suffice to say that you may struggle on longer courses if you're missing greens there.  Is it your wedge game?  Course management?  Find out why & start getting the ball closer to the hole.

Incidentally to answer your question, most greens at my "home" course are around 7000 - 8500 sq feet ... quite large.  So there definitely is a tendency to 3-putt on occasion if you're not close to the hole.  The more I play there though, the better I become at not doing that.  My stats show it.  If my putts hover around 30 - 32 on that course, I'm happy.  But throw in a couple 3-putts & it sky rockets to 34 - 36, then I know my shots were no where near the hole.  

You start to really appreciate how good the guys are on Tour when you see greens like at Augusta first hand.  How fast & undulated they are and how good you really need to be to win there.  Knowing where to leave your ball in relation to the hole, some holes you just can't fire at.  I take that into consideration on every course I play now.  Just because my putting hasn't been up to par, I just try and hit the green in the best possible location for me to 2-putt and walk off with a par. 

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Great question and analysis.  For my home course the greens are probably around 5,000 sq ft on average.  I haven't used Arccos in the past but from my self kept putting stats I average 1.87 putts per hole.

The biggest factor in my putting seems to be the slope of the greens.  If it's a large green that's generally flat it's fairly easy to lag something close and ensure a 2 putt.  If it's small and severly sloped you are just asking for trouble.

I've played a few coures with extremely fast greens and the speed didn't seem to bother me much.  Fast greens also tend to be true, so it may be a mental thing where I focus more knowing that if I hit a good putt it's most likely not going to take an unfair bounce and will end up close or in.

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5 minutes ago, golfinnut said:

Common sense would dictate that if you have a tendency to 3-putt smaller greens, then that stat would definitely rise on larger greens.  Your proximity to the hole needs work.  Your 2-putts on your small greens could very well be longer on the larger greens if you're not getting it close to the hole.  

Bottom line .... find out why you aren't hitting enough greens in regulation.  Especially on a shorter course such as yours.  I suffice to say that you may struggle on longer courses if you're missing greens there.  Is it your wedge game?  Course management?  Find out why & start getting the ball closer to the hole.

Incidentally to answer your question, most greens at my "home" course are around 7000 - 8500 sq feet ... quite large.  So there definitely is a tendency to 3-putt on occasion if you're not close to the hole.  The more I play there though, the better I become at not doing that.  My stats show it.  If my putts hover around 30 - 32 on that course, I'm happy.  But throw in a couple 3-putts & it sky rockets to 34 - 36, then I know my shots were no where near the hole.  

You start to really appreciate how good the guys are on Tour when you see greens like at Augusta first hand.  How fast & undulated they are and how good you really need to be to win there.  Knowing where to leave your ball in relation to the hole, some holes you just can't fire at.  I take that into consideration on every course I play now.  Just because my putting hasn't been up to par, I just try and hit the green in the best possible location for me to 2-putt and walk off with a par. 

Some useful thoughts here.

I think I can say with confidence that I don't have a "tendency" of 3-putting. Here's a graph from Arccos charting 3-putt percentage by handicap:

Arccos_MGS_3puttPercent_grande.png?v=151

My 10% 3-putt percentage (being a 15-handicap) is likely about normal, adjusting for our green sizes.

This matches quite well with Game Golf's evaluation of my last 15 rounds of putting, compared to a 10-handicap:

image.png

So while my putting isn't awesome, it's also not awful, relative to the rest of my game. I certainly am doing work to hit more greens this year, both by increasing driving distance (SuperSpeed, better technique) and sharpening my approach game (better technique with more face control). With the SkyTrak, I'm working to dial in wedge distances. I'm hoping that all of this will drop my putts per hole, even if I weren't doing anything specific to improve my putting.

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34 minutes ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

 

  • I'm working on my own game. To get to single figures, I need to hit more greens in regulation. To what degree does green size affect that?

I'm going to disagree with this comment.  In fact, a 10 handicapper only averages about 30% GIR and at scratch it's about 65%.  So yes, if you hit more greens in regulation your handicap should drop, but I would suggest that the fastest way to get to single digit handicaps is to increase your short game skills, chipping/pitching closer to the hole and one putting more often.  In the case of my own game (I've been an 8-10 handicapper until recently and have slipped to a 10-12), I know for a fact that chipping and putting is costing me far more strokes per round than my long game.  Poor chips that leave me too far from the pin, missed shorter putts, etc.

I've played courses with all sorts of size greens.  Smaller greens are much harder to hit in regulation and to stay on when you do hit them than larger greens, but you will 3 putt far more often on larger greens.  Obviously, the key to any green regardless of size is to get it closer to the hole, either by your approach shot or your chip.  Birdies are tough to make when you're 30 feet from the pin.  🙂

My home course has medium to large greens, often tiered with sometimes severe breaks and sometimes subtle.  The other better course in the nearby area has very large greens that don't have near as much break.  2 putting those larger greens is often a task in itself!

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3 minutes ago, CarlH said:

I'm going to disagree with this comment.  In fact, a 10 handicapper only averages about 30% GIR and at scratch it's about 65%.  So yes, if you hit more greens in regulation your handicap should drop, but I would suggest that the fastest way to get to single digit handicaps is to increase your short game skills, chipping/pitching closer to the hole and one putting more often.  In the case of my own game (I've been an 8-10 handicapper until recently and have slipped to a 10-12), I know for a fact that chipping and putting is costing me far more strokes per round than my long game.  Poor chips that leave me too far from the pin, missed shorter putts, etc.

I've played courses with all sorts of size greens.  Smaller greens are much harder to hit in regulation and to stay on when you do hit them than larger greens, but you will 3 putt far more often on larger greens.  Obviously, the key to any green regardless of size is to get it closer to the hole, either by your approach shot or your chip.  Birdies are tough to make when you're 30 feet from the pin.  🙂

My home course has medium to large greens, often tiered with sometimes severe breaks and sometimes subtle.  The other better course in the nearby area has very large greens that don't have near as much break.  2 putting those larger greens is often a task in itself!

Carl, this is a both/and for me. I'm definitely doing a bunch of short game work, dialing in specific distances with my wedges this off-season (yes, still off-season here; a bit more snow this morning even). But even so, if I don't improve my current GIR of 15%, that puts a ton of pressure on my short game. Getting that up to 30% (like you mentioned) would be a huge help for me.

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At my home club, the greens average just a bit under 6000 sf, and range from about 4800 to 7100 sf.  I wish I kept statistics to help you compare, but I don't, just too lazy.  But to your question, green size should certainly have an impact on your statistics.  From a specific distance, you'll hit the green more often on larger greens.  But your average proximity for balls that hit the green will be greater on those larger greens, so Putts per GIR will be greater on larger greens.  Total putts will be higher on larger greens.  You'll have more short game "saves" on smaller greens, because you'll have more short opportunities.  

5 minutes ago, CarlH said:

I'm going to disagree with this comment.  In fact, a 10 handicapper only averages about 30% GIR and at scratch it's about 65%.  So yes, if you hit more greens in regulation your handicap should drop, but I would suggest that the fastest way to get to single digit handicaps is to increase your short game skills, chipping/pitching closer to the hole and one putting more often.  In the case of my own game (I've been an 8-10 handicapper until recently and have slipped to a 10-12), I know for a fact that chipping and putting is costing me far more strokes per round than my long game.  Poor chips that leave me too far from the pin, missed shorter putts, etc.

I'm going to disagree with @CarlH's disagreement.  If the strokes gained theories have taught us anything, its that in general  improvement in scoring will come to a larger extent from full-swing improvement than from short game and putting improvement.  This isn't necessarily true for everyone, and doesn't mean we shouldn't work on all facets of the game.  In many cases, short game and/or putting improvement will come relatively quickly with good practice, but there's a real limit to how much that can help.  To make significant strides in scoring, most of us will HAVE to improve our overall ballstriking.  I know that in my own game, the less I need to chip (meaning the more greens I hit), the lower my score will be.  

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I haven't kept stats on my game in years...it was too depressing.  I probably should do just that again, though.  I have no idea of my GIR stats or any stats for that matter.  I know it points out the areas one needs to work on and I commend your commitment to doing so. 

Dave, I would agree with you in general, but I was speaking more of someone who was nearing a single digit handicap (and likely had a fairly decent full swing to get to that 10-14 handicap).  I could still be out to lunch on this, though...lol....I know in MY case, it's more of a short game issue.  (That and losing distance as I've aged...should be playing forward tees more)

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While I have no true data to back this up, when my GIR's are up, my 3-putt percentage is up because, let's face it, even when I hit a green it tends to be pretty far from the pin. Tuesday afternoon I was hitting my irons pretty well but just missing the greens, leaving mostly easy chips and I ended up with 12 putts over 9 holes.

Over the last 2 years, I am averaging 1.9 putts per hole but I have no information about the length of putts.

I think you make valid points though - I may have to play around with this idea with the course where we play our league.

Download a free app like Image J or Fiji (they are the same but one has a lot more capabilities, can't remember which is which at the moment, but the smaller one will have the capability you need) and play around and you will be able to calculate fairly accurate green areas as long as you have some reference to convert pixels to feet.

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14 minutes ago, CarlH said:

but I would suggest that the fastest way to get to single digit handicaps is to increase your short game skills, chipping/pitching closer to the hole and one putting more often. 

The greens I play at my club are small as compared to more modern designs. Our greens were designed back in the early to mid-50's. How small? I don't really know. Just small. Many guys I know that come over and play struggle with GIR.  Our greens are typically longer front to back as opposed to left and right. Several are roundish. But they all tend to slope off in one or two directions. Generally, it's best to just play to the center while allowing for front or back positions. Becoming adept with your approach is critical as there's not a lot of margin for error with such small greens. It's made me a better player I think. (some days anyway)

Defiantly agreeing with CarlH. I don't keep stats on my game much anymore. I usually recount them after a round and make a quick analysis at that time - but even then I don't dwell on it. Walking off the 18th green I pretty much know what worked or didn't work that day. Such is golf. Getting to single digit hcp takes time. Practice and playing. A lot usually. Some people never get there for one reason or another. Patrick if I were you I wouldn't burden myself chasing a hcp number. Your available golf season is already very short. But it's the hand you've been dealt. I can certainly see you dropping from 15 to maybe 11-12 rather easily. That's not bad and incrementally doable I'd imagine. As most any player with a hcp below about 8 will tell you. The easy part is over. The lower you go (or try) the harder it becomes. Instead of sawing off 2-3-4-5 points or more as in your high hcp days you'll find that reducing  your hcp by even 1 more has gotten a lot harder. 

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8 minutes ago, PlaidJacket said:

As most any player with a hcp below about 8 will tell you. The easy part is over. The lower you go (or try) the harder it becomes. Instead of sawing off 2-3-4-5 points or more as in your high hcp days you'll find that reducing  your hcp by even 1 more has gotten a lot harder. 

This is the absolute truth.  My handicap varies seasonally (its pretty high now for me at 8), and it'll get to 4 or 5 by mid-summer.  To actually improve beyond that has me thinking of tenths of a stroke here or there.  Maybe I need to gain 10 or 15 yards off the tee (I did get a new driver), or hit just one more green, get up and down one more time, little things.

44 minutes ago, MaxEntropy said:

While I have no true data to back this up, when my GIR's are up, my 3-putt percentage is up because, let's face it, even when I hit a green it tends to be pretty far from the pin. Tuesday afternoon I was hitting my irons pretty well but just missing the greens, leaving mostly easy chips and I ended up with 12 putts over 9 holes.

This makes perfect sense to me.  I'd also bet that your GIRs are up, your total score is down.  You're much more likely to 2-putt from long distance than you are to get up and down from 5 feet further, but off the green.

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My home course has small tricky greens, they are all pedestals and pretty much slope back to front. Old school. I play another course frequently that has enormous greens. Comparing the two my putting handicap varies by 1.1, (+.7 small greens, .4 big) So there is a statistical difference. But because the on the bigger greens I have more GIR the overall score does not vary by much.  @GolfSpy MPR Do you have stats on putts per GIR? 1.75 overall is a good number but if you are 3 putting 10% of the time there are definitely strokes to be made up there. 3 putt avoidance really comes down to speed and speed only. 

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I just pulled up google earth and measured my greens the best I could. It seems every green we have is right at 6,000 sq ft. Which seems large to me, and makes me think why my GIR isn’t better than it is.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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14 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

@GolfSpy MPR Do you have stats on putts per GIR? 1.75 overall is a good number but if you are 3 putting 10% of the time there are definitely strokes to be made up there. 3 putt avoidance really comes down to speed and speed only. 

I've been poking around in Game Golf, and (bizarrely) that doesn't seem to be a stat it gives access to. Obviously, it knows the number. But there's no way to see it.

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So here's an example of why I suspect our course is more difficult than its length would suggest. This is the 13th hole, which Google Earth measures right at 350 yards, a pretty modest par 4.

image.png

This is the smallest green on the course, roughly 60 feet deep and 40 feet wide.

The widest point at which it is wooded on both sides is 40 yards; the fairway is only 30 yards wide. It narrows to 26(!) yards just before the green. Unless you have total control over your driver, you can't hit it here. Mostly likely, you'll have at least 150 yards into the green, and that shot must be shaped, because you're looking at this (from the course website):

hole-13-2-1024x682.jpg

Also notice that if you happen to miss right, you're dead, because that slope on the right of the green will kick your ball into the woods.

Why am I posting this? Mostly because I want to feel better about playing a 6,000 yard course 🙂

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24 minutes ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

So here's an example of why I suspect our course is more difficult than its length would suggest. This is the 13th hole, which Google Earth measures right at 350 yards, a pretty modest par 4.

image.png

This is the smallest green on the course, roughly 60 feet deep and 40 feet wide.

The widest point at which it is wooded on both sides is 40 yards; the fairway is only 30 yards wide. It narrows to 26(!) yards just before the green. Unless you have total control over your driver, you can't hit it here. Mostly likely, you'll have at least 150 yards into the green, and that shot must be shaped, because you're looking at this (from the course website):

hole-13-2-1024x682.jpg

Also notice that if you happen to miss right, you're dead, because that slope on the right of the green will kick your ball into the woods.

Why am I posting this? Mostly because I want to feel better about playing a 6,000 yard course 🙂

I'd find a new course. 😂

 

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2 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

A few reasons I wanted to start this thread:

  • I've had a handful of conversations with @GolfSpy STUDque about how Game Golf/Arccos calculate putting stats.
  • I've seen other guys on this forum averaging over 2 putts per hole; I am well under that, but wondered how much my course (rather than my skill) was a factor in that.
  • I'm working on my own game. To get to single figures, I need to hit more greens in regulation. To what degree does green size affect that?
  • Finally, my home course (where I play almost all my golf) is short, barely over 6,000 yards from the back tees. I trying to figure out how much (if any) that lack of distance is compensated for by other challenges.

I had a hunch that the greens on my home course were fairly small. I don't play a ton of golf at other courses, but when I have, I've been amazed at the size of the greens elsewhere. Turns out, my instincts were sound. Took a moment this morning to measure the green size at my course using Google Maps. It's pretty easy: open your course in satellite view; right click on one edge of the green, choose "Measure distance," and the click the other side of the green. Then keep moving the line around to get length and width on each green. Throw it all in a spreadsheet. Maybe subtract 10–15% because the greens are ellipses, not rectangles.

Obviously, this is far from exact but it's close enough to get us in the ballpark.

Putting all that together, the greens at our course average about 3,300 square feet. Our biggest green is right around 5,000 sqft; the smallest is barely over 2,000 (which helps me understand why that hole is so hard).

For comparison's sake (and this is the only time anyone will compare our course to Pebble), the greens at Pebble Beach are the smallest on Tour, at 3,500 sqft. Apparently, the average green on Tour is closer to 6,000 sqft, which comports well with this article (from a course superintendent perspective) that greens should average about 6,000 sqft for maintenance reasons.

For my part, this is information I have to take into account when evaluating my stats. A low single-digit handicap (my long-term goal) hits half his greens in regulation; that might end up being different for me. My putting stats are likely polished by our small greens: I average about 1.75 putts, but I'm missing about 85% of GIR. I 3-putt on 10% of holes, but I imagine that number would be worse on more "normal" greens.

And Game Golf has normally hated my short game play; it might be that I'm seeing something of a course penalty there.

Anyway, how big are the greens you all play? How much do the green sizes affect your stats and your scores?

I had never measured our greens.  Thanks for the tip on how to do so.  What I found out was that it was very difficult to measure greens at my course.  As best as I can determine, the average green size is about 7000 sqft.  The biggest greens tend to be par 3's at about 9500 sqft; the par 3 #12 is a little over 10000 sqft (this is the hole I aced 2 years ago).  A lot of greens seem to be around 6000.  

Other than a couple of roundish greens, most are odd-shaped, some with drop-off slopes near the back of greens.  Several are very long and narrow in an hourglass shape which making GIR difficult; #11 is 120 ft x 48 ft.  Many greens have slopes off both sides, either above the green so downhill chips or below the green 6-12 feet so can't see the putting surface.  

I checked back on my stats in The Grint which I kept starting last September.  I will be using The Grint from now on instead of GHIN.  The tees I play at my course are about 6100y.

  • Score = 82.4
  • Fairways hit = 62%
  • GIR = 26%
  • Putt/round = 30.4  with just under one 3-putt/round

Everyone has valid points.  I'm in the @CarlH and @PlaidJacket camp about the short game.  I'm not saying that better distance and ball striking are not as equally important.  I'm working on that too, but my journey to single digit was possible by a lot of hard work on my short game.  I know that I am not going to all of a sudden gain 25 yards off the tee, although with the SuperSpeed training, I might gain some.  I'm not going to hit every approach shot perfect, in fact I am pretty sure that I will mishit a lot of them just like I do now.  I'll work on it.  However, my scores live and die with the quality of my short game on any given day.  When I can get up and down, I score in the 70's; when I don't I score in the 80's.  How low into the 70's or high into the 80's is a combination of ball striking and short game prowess (or lack thereof).

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1 hour ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Why am I posting this? Mostly because I want to feel better about playing a 6,000 yard course

I play my home course usually at about 6300 yds.  6500 is about my max anymore. Looking at your #13 above I like the setup as I draw the ball. And it's not that long for a par 4. Therefore, and depending on my game that day, general conditions, and bets; I'd either hit driver off the tee or my 4w. A good drive would leave me around 110 yds on approach. Using my 4w I'd be around 125. I'd guess under most circumstance I'd probably opt for my 4w as the hole looks fairly tight. Anything out too far either left or right and you're a dead man.

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Just to finish my complaint 🙂: I failed to highlight the stupid fairway bunker right here:

image.png

So you have to be right to have a shot at the green. But not too right 🙂

And while I appreciate @THEZIPR23's suggestion of finding a new course, that's not going to happen for a couple of reasons. First, I pay $280 for a season of golf, as many rounds as I can play, and Kirke is free until he's 12. Second, there's another course a half hour away, and then nothing else within an hour of here. You forget that I live in midst of nowhere 🙂

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I have played many course that have just a stupidly designed hole. Most are due to space constraints but others are just the architect wanting to punish golfers. My home course has a par 5 that I am forced to hit 4 iron off. It is a dogleg left with the turn at about 230, anything longer that goes straight is OB. Anything left is in the trees and the only shot is a punch out to about 220. If I do want to hit driver I have to hit it straight over the top of trees and hook it 25-40 yards which then brings in the in course OB put there to stop you from doing this. So it's 4 iron 4 iron wedge. Just not really any better options. Just a bad overall design. 

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