Putting average is a part of the group of traditional golf stats
As a part of the ‘traditional golf statistics’ group, putting average is an easy stat to calculate. Different people define putting average differently; as an umbrella term, it can be used to describe either the number of putts per green hit in regulation, or the number of putts per green, or the total number of putts per round. These are all related since they all count the number of putts the player has hit without looking at the distance the putts were hit from.
Difficult to understand exactly what putting average numbers mean
Since putting average varies depending on how many greens hit in regulation a players has, which in turn is dependent on how many fairways the player hits, simply counting putts on the greens means that it’s difficult to understand what the putting average actually means. Consider the extreme example of player A missing every green by one inch and then chipping the ball up to 1 foot, and making all of those 1-foot putts for a total of 18 putts for the round, and then compare it with player B who hit every green in regulation to 40 feet and then 2-putted all of those for a total of 36 putts for the round. Player A beat player B by 18 total putts, but did player A really perform better than player B? And the answer is of course no – player B outperformed player A by a mile since two-putting from 40ft is difficult, whereas 1-putting from 1 foot is easy (and almost all beginners are able to make most putts from 1 foot).
In the real world, the examples aren’t usually this extreme, and there is value in figuring out where you stand in relation to other performance levels in terms of putting average. For the sake of this comparison, we’ll look at total putts per round.
PGA Tour: Jordan Spieth led the PGA Tour in 2019 with 27.71 putts per round on average. The average player had 28.92 putts per round.
LPGA Tour: Hyo Yoo Kim led the LPGA Tour in 2019 with 27.59 putts per round on average. The average player had 30.05 putts per round.