Distance dispersion & why you should leave some putts short

In this article, we learn that we have to take the old cliché, “Stop leaving putts short” with a grain of salt.
Before we begin, let’s have a look at some PGA TOUR stats from season 17/18.
Average make-percentage from:

  • 3 feet = 99 %
  • 4 feet  = 92 %
  • 5 feet = 82 %
  • 6 feet = 70%
  • 7 feet = 61 %
  • 8 feet = 53 %

As we can see, make-percentage drops drastically after 4 feet. So ideally, we want a maximum of 4 feet for our next putt if we don’t manage to sink the first one.

The optimal way to gauge how reasonable distance control you have: is to count how many 3-putts you have per round.

The average number of 3-putts per round on the PGA tour is approximately 0.52. Every other round, the best players in the world have at least one 3-putt.

Distance dispersion
Ok, so let’s get to it. We recorded this video, showing you how to measure your dispersion from different distances.

Below we have the results from 3 different distances. 2, 5, 10 meters (6.6, 16.5, 33 ft).

Distance dispersion from 2 meters (6.6 ft)

2 meters: Clearly, we should always try to be aggressive and place our dispersion behind the hole. Plenty of room behind to give every single ball an excellent chance to drop into the hole.

Distance dispersion from 5 m (16.5 ft)

5 meters: Already at five meters, we see an increase in the dispersion (to be fair, this dispersion should maybe be a bit tighter). My focus should be on having about 10-20% of putts coming up short on a 5-meter putt. Otherwise, I risk getting a lower percentage of return-putt, more often than I’d like.

Distance dispersion from 10 m (33 ft)

10 meters: Here, my dispersion leaves me 4 feet on each side of the hole. I’d love to have this a bit tighter, but I’m pleased with the result.

Here is a great example, looking at the total length of the dispersion. If I tried to hole all of the putts from 10 meters, my “long” part in the dispersion would have given me 7-8 feet of return-putts. It is resulting in me walking off the green, with a 3-putt, most definitely more than 50% of the time.


When you know your dispersion, on different distances, and your make % from 3-5 feet. It’s easy to make the right decisions on the green. Knowing when to putt aggressively, and when you should move your dispersion more in front of the hole. It’s a great drill to see how reasonable your distance control is, and getting to know your tendencies.

We hope you enjoyed this article, and never 3-putt again.


1 Comment

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