Without a doubt it's the club that is most used by all golfers, be they tour players or social golfers.
For tour players who know how to break par on a consistent basis, they use the putter between 40% to 45% of the total strokes they make in a round of golf.
An example is Rory McIlroy in his awesome year in 2012 averaged 29.27 putts per round and a stroke average of 68.87 per round.
That makes a percentage of putts verses all other shots 42.50% to 57.50%. But how important is that statistic?
Well lets have a look at the hottest golfer on the planet right now and World Number One Tiger Woods.
The journalists and TV commentators are talking about his improved swing and the work he has done with swing coach Sean Foley that is contributing to his current form.
And although there is certainly some improvement, its not all golf swing that has transformed Tiger's ranking from outside the top 50 to World No.1 once again in his career.
But lets look at the statistics and find the truth about where the statistical difference is and prove that the flat stick is the most important club in the bag.
Tiger throughout his career has never been ranked in the top 50 in driving accuracy and that includes the period 2000 to 2002 and 2004 to 2008 where he was the dominant player by far.
In fact over the last fifteen years he has only been inside the top 100 four times.
His winning percentage was unbelievable at nearly 30% and unheard of and he's back to that amazing percentage once again.
Between 2004 to 2008 Tiger was always ranked 6th or better on tour in putting. I am making the comparisons from 2004 on-wards as that's when the tour started to use 'strokes gained-putting' which accurately calculates putting on it's own without green-side skills and approaches influencing the outcome.
The worst year was 2010 when his strokes gained-putting stat was .033 to the field and ranked 109th. In 2013 he is 1.476 in stroke gained-putting and that equates to two shots a round better than 2010. And guess what; his stroke average is almost a full two shots difference 68.33 (adjusted) in 2013 compared to 70.32 in 2010.
So not a lot of difference.
Most of the best players who have played the game from Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, and Nick Faldo's career's faded when their putts stopped dropping.
And it looked like Tiger's was as well but that slide has been well and truly reversed and he has been at his very best with the putter and winning tournaments in 2013.
Tiger is currently ranked 2nd on the PGA Tour for the 3 Putt Avoidance Putting Statistic with just 4 three putts for 288 holes played.
Tiger Woods knows how to break par and I think you'll agree that this statistic explains to great extent why he's putting is so good. It's not just about making the short putts, you need to keep the 3 putts of your card as well.
Practice the 3 Putt Avoidance Drill (above) as this is one of the keys to great putting.
So just like Tiger, spend a lot more time practicing your putting skills, and make it the best club in your bag and just like Tiger your competitive score average will improve overnight.
In my article next week I'll show you "How to Break Par: The Putting Drills Used By The Top Pro's On Tour."
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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