Welcome to Play Smart, a game-improvement column that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Game Improvement Editor Luke Kerr-Dineen (who you can follow on Twitter right here).
The 12th green at Tamarack Country Club is delightfully dastardly. It’s also enormous: A whopping 83 yards from back-to-front, which encompasses more than 40 percent of the 196 yard par-3.
It’s rare that you find greens this large anywhere in golf, but especially in the United States. And on the comparable greens across the pond, they’re rarely as undulating as the 12th hole at Tamarack. Splitting the the green is an epic valley which funnels balls off the green, and even once you’re through that, you’ll still have to contend with a green the latter portion of the green sloping from back-to-front.
It’s such a fun, interesting green that it’s become something of a tradition for first-timers to drop golf balls at the very front of the green, and attempt a putt to the pin in the back.
Watching someone navigate the task not long ago, I found myself wondering: What are the odds of them actually holing a putt like this? Or, heck, the odds of them even two putting?
I asked my friend Lou Stagner, the Data Lead over at Arccos, and turns out statistics for putts this long are almost impossible to find. Based on a “very small sample size” of putts of at least 90 feet, tour players will leave about 30 percent of their first putts from this range outside of 12 feet, and a five-handicapper will be average about 2.86 putts.
But I’m not talking about 100 feet, I wanted to find out about almost 250 feet. And with statistics on putts like that almost nonexistent, I decided to make some on my own.
I hit 25 putts from front to back, and you can watch the video above to see how it turned out. Sadly, the odds of making a putt like this are effectively zero. The odds of two putting are only about 16 percent.
Again, watch the video above or below, but here’s how the numbers turn out:
0 one-putts (though I came close once!)
22.3 feet average second putt length
2.96 putt average