How this pro went from 218th in strokes gained: putting to a top-10 player

Jason Kokrak putting

Jason Kokrak's hot putter has made a big impact on his game.

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Longtime Tour pro Jason Kokrak is currently enjoying the best season of his decade-long PGA Tour career. Not only is he in the mix at this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, he also notched his first-ever Tour win at October’s CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, and has posted three top-10 finishes since.

Kokrak has already earned over $3.2 million this season, and is ranked 35th in the world. Despite these accomplishments, it was just under two years ago that Kokrak was languishing in one of the game’s most important areas: putting. At the 2019 Houston Open, Kokrak bottomed-out at 218th in the all-important strokes gained: putting metric.

Kokrak knew he needed to make a change, and since then, he’s surged into the metric’s top 10, peaking after the win at Shadow Creek, when he ranked second. He’s currently ranked seventh. And at the halfway point of this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, Kokrak trails Jordan Spieth’s lead by only one shot. After his second round on Friday, Kokrak detailed the positive changes in his game.

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“One of the keys I try to key on every year is to just take one part of my game to the next level each year, year-in and year-out, and that kind of gets me to that next stage to where I’m more and more consistent,” Kokrak said. “I was 190th in putting but I was a top five ball-striker, so I concentrated more on the putter as of late, and you know, it’s been hot.”

To further refine his putting, Kokrak says he worked directly with his manufacturer.

“I worked with Bettinardi a little bit,” he said. “Went to their studio and learned what my tendencies were. I went up in loft a few year ago, four or five years ago, more than I was comfortable with. But then about two years ago, my caddie gave me — he saw that I was holding the putter kind of in the base of my palm here, both hands weren’t completely on the putter. He said, ‘Don’t change anything, just go to a 36-inch putter,’ and that’s made all the difference. I’m able to stand up a little bit taller and more comfortable and it’s working.”

Indeed. For Kokrak, so far, so good in Texas.

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Jessica Marksbury
Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.