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One of the best stats to look at when you're measuring the proficiency of pro golfers (and I know this is something that consumes a lot of your time, as it does mine) are the putting stats. If you keep your own putting stats, you will find out why you are hacking it around your local goat ranch while the moneyed players are traveling in private jets to the perfect climes to tee it up on God's own courses each and every week.

You think Tiger Woods is a golfing god due to his ability to nuke his driver and pinpoint his irons? Well, that has something to do with it. But it's his, and any other good golfer's, ability to will the ball into the hole with the putter that separates them from us.

Putting stats are pretty simple. You take the number of greens hit in regulation...

Oh, I guess I should explain that, first. If you're playing a par 3 and you hit the green on your first shot, that's a green in regulation. On a par 4, you drive the ball and then hit your second shot to the green, that's a green in regulation. On a par 5, if you hit the green with your third shot, that's a green.... So, IF (and only if) you hit a green in regulation, count how many putts it takes you to get in the hole. Two is considered normal.

"Why do I only count the greens I hit in regulation, dannye?" Because I said so. No, because it keeps the stats clean. For instance, if you were close to a green in regulation, you should be able to chip the ball close enough to one-putt. That would screw up the value of this stat. See?

Keep these stats for a while and then compare them to the pros. A respectable pro stat per hole is 1.75. Yours will be somewhere around 2.25. (Unless you're a one-eyed epileptic, in which case I'd recommend another hobby.) That's a difference of 9 shots per round, just due to your putting abilities (or lack thereof). So, even if you could hit the tee shots and the irons as well as Tiger Woods, you'd still shoot 80 when he shoots 71.

The one thing that is a bit unfair about putting stats is this: If you hit a par 5 in two shots, couldn't you not count your first putt? Hell no! This is a game of honor, you Clintonesque bastard! You are on the green, so take your medicine and count the putts as if it were a par 4. And don't pick it up until it's in the hole, OK?

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