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Three-putts are incidents any golfer hopes to avoid in a round. After all, the par of a hole is always determined with the idea that a professional golfer will need two putts to complete it.
So, a par-3 assumes one shot to the green and two to putt, while a par-4 calculates it should take two shots to reach the green and two putts to finish. Similarly, a par-5 should take three shots to reach the green, followed by two putts.
A 3-putt – taking three putts on the green to finish the hole – is far from ideal and will more than likely result in a bogey or worse. But how often do PGA Tour pros 3-putt? Fortunately, there is a definitive answer to that question.
The PGA Tour collates the information under a category called 3-Putt Avoidance, which actually records incidences of 3-putts and worse - for example, Scottie Scheffler famously 4-putted on the final green of his 2022 Masters win. In 2021, the average number of 3-putts a PGA Tour pro had was 2.98 percent. Top of the list that year was 2018 Masters Champion Patrick Reed. The American competed in 81 rounds, playing 1,404 holes. Of those, just 22 included 3-putts. At the bottom of the list was 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner Ted Potter Jr. His 1,224 holes included 57 3-putts for a percentage of 4.66.
The PGA Tour has maintained the category since 1992, so we can see how players have fared since then. Perhaps surprisingly, only one player has a 3-Putt Avoidance percentage beneath one in any year. That man is Greg Norman, who achieved 0.97% in 1994. The Australian endured just 11 3-putts out of 1,134 holes that year. At the other end of the scale stands Matt Hansen’s 2006 record of 6.14% of holes ending in 3-putts – still an envious enough total for most amateurs, but far from a recipe for PGA Tour success.
The stats tell us something else, too – that after a long period where the yearly average didn’t fall beneath three percent, recent years have seen an improvement on the PGA Tour. After it averaged 2.99% in 1996, the number didn’t dip beneath three percent again until 2014, with 2007 and 2013 particularly poor putting years, with an average of 3.38% of holes leading to 3-putts. In contrast, the years 2019 through 2021 all averaged beneath three percent.
But what is the average 3-putt percentage since records began? Between 1992 and 2021, the average 3-putt percentage for PGA Pros is 3.02. So, on average, for every 100 holes played on the PGA Tour, just over three of them will result in 3-putts.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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