The 10 Best Putters in Golf Today
We’ve all heard our playing partners gleefully state “drive for show, putt for dough,” as our monstrous drive ends in a measly bogey after a poor performance on the green.
There is an element of truth to that phrase however, which is reflected in the professional scene.
No matter how well you drive the ball, work your irons or possess seamless touch, putting is the crucial difference between glorious champions and deflated runner ups.
We’ve scoured through plenty of data to find ten of the very best putters on tour across the last few seasons - enjoy!
Joakim Lagergren (DP World Tour)
Joakim Lagergren kicks off our list as it would be highly irresponsible to ignore his putting heroics during the 2021 season. The Swede, who turns 32 in November, finished the 2021 campaign 2nd in SG: Putting. Furthermore, the European player topped Putts per Round, One Putts and finished 6th for Three Putt Avoidance. His supreme putting ability enabled him to finish 51st in the Order of Merit, but he is yet to add to his maiden DP World Tour title achieved at the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open.
Cameron Smith (LIV Golf)
We’re all aware of Cameron Smith’s enviable ability on the greens, which saw him race up the putting rankings during the 2022 season. Whilst that year contained plenty of controversy, Smith experienced his finest season as a professional, scooping The Players Championship and The Open Championship to firmly cement his name in golfing folklore. The Australian finished the season at the summit of the Putting Average ranking with a scintillating average of 1.679 - comfortably better than Vince Whaley who finished second with 1.709. Perhaps Smith’s greatest putting moment was at St Andrews, on the 71st hole of the weekend, where he produced arguably the greatest two-putt of the tournament - and maybe even his life! Whilst we won’t know what’s awaiting the stars of LIV Golf, Smith’s presence will bolster the product as it looks to entice the greatest players away from the traditional tours.
Jon Rahm (PGA Tour)
If we look at Jon Rahm’s putting stats from last year, they are rather underwhelming considering the magnitude of his character. Yes, he finished 28th in SG: Putting, but he tumbled down the rankings dramatically for the remainder of the putting stats; 121st, 182nd and 183rd simply isn’t a true reflection of his all-round game. Fast-forward to the present, and Jon Rahm is an absolute machine on the greens. He’s 7th in SG: Putting, 2nd for Putting Average, 15th for Putts per Round and 14th for One Putt % - a stark contrast to a ranking of 183rd only 12 months previously. The Spaniard has lit up the professional scene in glittering fashion through three wins already in the calendar year - yes, we really are in March - and he’s showing no signs of letting up. Rahm has proved that a red-hot putter is the difference between legendary status and just another runner-up finish.
Lydia Ko (LPGA)
When it comes to the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour, seldom will you find a more powerful name than Lydia Ko. The New Zealander has been an absolute sensation in the female game, and she is responsible for a huge surge in junior girls taking to the fairways. Since 2019, Ko has finished inside the top 10 in Putting Average on the LPGA every season. That level of consistency is simply unheard of, and it’s also a large reason as to why she is just so successful. Ironically, she has never topped this list, but she did come especially close during the 2021 and 2022 season, finishing 2nd in both years.
Georgia Hall (Ladies European Tour)
England have some fantastic female golfers within their arsenal; Georgia Hall, Charley Hull and Alice Hewson all have glittering futures ahead of them. Hall, however, has always been a consistent putter, which is supported in the Ladies European Tour statistics. The Englishwoman finished 17th in Putting Average for 2021 and topped the seasonal leaderboard the following year. It was last season where her latest victory took place - Aramco Saudi Ladies International - and she’s certain to be on the hunt for many more renowned titles.
Shaun Norris (DP World Tour)
Back to the DP World Tour now and Shaun Norris was in lightning form on the greens last summer. The South African finished 1st in SG: Putting, 9th in Putts per GIR, 4th in Putts per Round and 1st in Three Putt Avoidance. His excellent performances with the flat stick resulted in his maiden DP World Tour title at the Steyn City Championship, which was a co-sanctioned event alongside the Sunshine Tour. Whilst he isn’t overly notable from a European or North American perspective, his six wins on the Japan Golf Tour is appreciated hugely in Asia.
Jordan Spieth (PGA Tour)
Jordan Spieth’s relationship between himself and his putter is… interesting to say the least. One week, he’s draining 60-foot putts for fun, but the following week, he’s three putting from inside six-foot - it seems to be a love/hate relationship. Whilst the American certainly isn’t performing on the greens this year (he’s losing strokes in SG: Putting), 2021 was a completely different year for the three-time major champion. He concluded the season in 33rd for SG: Putting, 3rd for Putting Average, 5th for Putts per Round and 5th for One Putt %. If you can cast your mind to back then, you’ll realise that Spieth conquered in the Valero Texas Open, which was the first win since his capture of The Open Championship almost four years prior. He has since supported that victory with another at the RBC Heritage last year - will more follow for the 29-year-old?
Patrick Reed (LIV Golf)
There are hundreds of differing opinions about the character of Patrick Reed, but even the most ardent of golf fan cannot deny just how sublime his golfing game is. Whilst the American has now firmly signed with LIV Golf, he experienced an unbelievably good season on the greens during 2021. The former Masters champion finished 4th in SG: Putting, 5th for Putting Average, 2nd in Putts per Round and 1st for One Putt %. He opened the year brilliantly, winning the Farmers Insurance Open in January. However, he missed out on selection for the Ryder Cup after finishing 11th in the standings and USA team captain, Steve Stricker, decided to leave him at home.
Alice Hewson (Ladies European Tour)
There simply hasn’t been a greater putter than Alice Hewson on the Ladies European Tour this year. The Englishwoman has long demonstrated her silky ability on the greens, but she is comfortably ahead of Ana Palaez Trivino who proudly sits in second. Hewson was also just outside the top 10 for Putting Average last year and 21st during the previous season - which has shown obvious signs of improvement. The 25-year-old has two professional wins - one on the Ladies European Tour and the other on the Rose Ladies Series - and the future looks exceptionally bright for this starlet.
Kim Hyo-joo (LPGA)
Kim Hyo-joo is a gigantic name on the female tours, having won all around the globe. She found some fantastic consistency with her putter across the 2021 and 2022 seasons, finishing 3rd in Putting Average during both years. The South Korean captured her maiden LPGA title during the 2021 campaign, winning the HSBC Women’s World Championship. The success didn’t stop there however, as yet another triumph on the LPGA in 2022 brought her overall tally to five wins on that tour, and 22 wins during her professional career. At the age of 27, we should assume that Kim Hyo-joo is only getting started!
These ten figures demonstrate just how crucial performance on the greens is, and how it’s commonly the difference between winning and losing.
Take inspiration from the names above and work on your putting, it might just nab you the next Club Championship!
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