WATCH: This kid has already cracked the code on three-foot putts
Three-footers and shorter putts can be extremely tricky to approach, especially from the mental aspect.
Sometimes, you just need to take a moment to mark your ball and wipe your brow to compose yourself before putting.
It also doesn’t hurt if you replace the ball with a little bit of generosity.
This kid really gets it.
Is the gimme system broken?
The gimme system of friendly play helps keep rounds civil in many instances, but should they be handed out so freely?
Since the make percentages of players with various skill levels vary greatly from short range, what each player perceives as a gimme should, in principle, be varied.
If a putt is considered “gimme” if a player would make it 90% of the time, then we may say that a gimme is a putt that a player would make the great majority of the time, or a foregone conclusion. The tour average for three feet is around 92 percent, and for four feet it is around 81 percent. In general, anything inside three feet would be a gimme for a tour pro. Of course, pros don’t really get to use gimmes. They are a liberty reserved for the common hacker.
Naturally, not every three-footer is made equally. A downhill, left-to-right slider will miss more often than an upward, straight putt. Don’t worry about the specifics, just keep a mind that, depending on the break, a tour pro considers a gimme to be between two and four feet.
A person who shoots in the 90s often has a make percentage of roughly 60% of the tour pros average. For individuals who average in the 80s, that percentage rises to roughly 70 percent.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is only an approximate estimate and may not apply to all distances. But for our purposes, it provides us with a fantastic yardstick by which to evaluate gimmes.
Players who take every three-footer as a gimme are a godsend for keeping up the pace of play on courses so we won’t be too harsh on them, but the suggestion is that amateurs won’t actually make as many three-foot putts as they think they should.
Even the shortest putt can have something go wrong in theory so the gimme is a definite shortcut in the game. However, it probably won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and for the sake of putters, flags and anything around the green that’s surely for the best.
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