Putt Like a Tour Pro  (click)

We test Putting & Putters every day. One of our tests is what we consider the best benchmark possible… the 30 foot Putt “Make Test”.

The reason the 30 foot length is most effective as a benchmark, is that at that distance, other factors have been minimized to the point that data will be more centered around the mean… also, the 30 foot range correlates nicely to the average first putt proximity.

On Tour, at 33 feet, PGA Tour Professionals are equally likely to 3-putt, as to 1-putt. On the practice putting green, in a multi-ball trial, they are hitting the same putts repeatedly, so their “make %” goes up. How much? In testing with PGA Professionals, we see roughly a 10% to 15% make % on a 30 footer. On Tour, they average 7% from 30 feet.

Our latest test with a Tour Player (he’s won over $25 million on all Tours) was interesting, to say the least. The Player hit 120 putts with his putter, and 120 with a Black Swan. 60 each, in groups of 30, at 30 feet (moderate break) and 60 each, in groups of 30, from 25 feet (severe break). The Player picked which putter to use first, then each set alternated the putter that led off.

He made 13 of 120 (11%) with his putter… and (drumroll)……………………………………….. 26 of 120 with the Swan. 22%. Double.

Granted, of the 60 players (Tour Pros, Club Pros, top Amateurs) tested so far, 100% improvement is not the norm (+43% makes is the average). But it was a long test, and with a player who actually said “I don’t want your Putter to Win!”

To put that in perspective, making double if you only made 2 or 3 putts doesn’t mean much. Like the baseball player who’s hitting .400 in April, is much more likely to be hitting .300 by August (due to reversion to the mean). But double in a 240 putt trial, with 13 and 26 as the values for the test, is highly significant.

So what was the significance? When you plug those numbers into the “Bernoulli Test” (Binomial Probability Distribution), you get an interesting and illuminative result. The odds of result of 26 or more, is only .00054 that the result is due to chance. In other words, you can be 99.94% certain that the Putter change was the root cause of the incease in makes.

Just in that one test… already 99.94% certain.

When you take all 60 testers, and lump them together, the results are even more interesting. Players made 521 putts with their putters, and 744 putts with ours (43% increase in makes)… Plug that in?

It’s only about a “one in 5 billion” odds that the result was just by chance, or, a “fluke”.

Pretty significant.

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