How Far Would You Putt From Off the Green?

I have noticed an increase in putting from off the green on the PGA Tour. It might be something I have recently noticed, yet many professionals are using the flat stick more and more when playing from 5 to 10 yards from the green. Mostly, they putt when the pin is short sided to their location and the putter gives them that delicate touch needed to have a chance sinking their shot. This particular shot is not one I use unless my ball is on the fringe; putting from 5 or 10 yards (regardless of where the pin is located) is not something I think about. How about you?

I have never really thought of putting from that far out primarily because I do not feel I would have the same touch to get the ball close. The short grass in front of the green would be okay, but unlike the courses the professionals play, my local course are not smooth enough to properly judge the role. If I was to putt from a distance, I would be afraid that this would happen more often than not:

On a side note, I am very familiar with the European players putting from off the green. This seems to be a shot they grew up with and use it very well. Using a putter for any distance from the green is actually foreign to my game.

I am not even sure I would know where to start. I guess it is something I have never thought to practice, so it is not a shot on my radar when playing. I tried finding a video that might help explain the how to putting off the green, but I could not find one that I thought would offer a reasonable explanation. So, you will have to find something if your are interested on pursuing this topic. For now, this is not a technique I am planning to purse.

This is where you, the reader, comes in to the conversation. Do you putt from off the green? If so, what is one or two tips you can offer to everyone who is interested in playing this type of shot. Thanks.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

10 thoughts on “How Far Would You Putt From Off the Green?

  1. To answer your question, I would say it depends on the course conditions whether I would putt from off the green. I frequently play on tough courses with tight lies and fast greens. On those courses, I would putt from off the green more often than not, as I find it will likely be closer than a chip by the percentages. My hickory experience has tended to reinforce this shot. On courses with longer grass and slower greens, bump and run or chip is the better play for me. I also use a four hybrid in some situations and play it like a putter from as much as twenty feet off the green provided it is not a downhill shot.

    I played my fifth game of the year today with my Walter Hagen hickory clubs and used the putter off the fringe four times. The result was four up and downs and a nice 7 over round. Having this shot in the bag is an asset. If you play links courses, I believe it is an essential tool to have as evidenced by the frequent use by European players.


    • Lorne

      I think you put things in the proper perspective for many players. The use of putting off the green depends on the situation. I just never think of it. Congrats on your 5th round. We still have 1.5 feet of snow at my place. Osprey Links is looking good though. 🙂

      Cheers Jim


  2. Hi Jim,
    Amongst my friends I’m well known for putting from off the green. It started as a safety shot when I had the chipping yips and I’ve developed it over the years so that it regularly gives me an up and down.
    I break the shot up into two parts – the green section and the off green section. I analyse how hard to hit it to get it rolling at the correct pace once it starts rolling on the green. But really its pure feel – just something I’ve developed.
    I’m comfortable rolling it on links courses from up to 60 or 70 yards out and I expect to get it within 6ft. My success rate is about 60% and my misses aren’t too bad. I’m happy rolling it from 20ft on thick grass parkland courses and have about the same results.
    I am taking some time to revive my short game with punch 9 irons and wedges as required, but with my daughters being young I only get to play once every three weeks or so and never get to practice so I reckon the off green putt will be a key part of my game for a few years still!


  3. Jim, I can’t say I use this shot for the reasons you mention. I practice so much with my PW and 8-iron from the same distance, I’m more comfortable hitting a low running chip to sink it or get it close.



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  4. I’ve never liked the idea of putting from that far out either. But I see plenty of people who do it well. And it’s always been a thing in Europe. So I’ve been practicing it a bit myself and am starting to come around. I find myself choosing the putter over the wedge more often than I thought I might.


    • Kevin

      That is interesting that to hear you making the transition. I guess practice has a lot to do with selecting your putter over wedges. It is something I doubt I will adopt, but who knows. I, like others, have to remain open to new ideas.

      Cheers Jim


  5. Jim

    Your article brought me back to one of my rounds at the Old Course. Brandon and I were paired with a mother and son from South Africa. Everything seemed normal at first as we mingled on the first tee box – what a feeling to be called to the first tee box at the Old Course, however after I hit my tee shot in the water (poor club choice) the young South African moved back to the Pro Tee and hit a hybrid to the left side of the water. He then chipped on and sank the birdie. On number 2, 400+ par 4, he hit his approach short and left about 25 yards to the green and another 20 feet or so to the hole. I optimistically pulled out his putter and rolled his ball to within 2 feet for an easy par. He continued to putt from the fairway all the way around the course. At 10 we had a sandwich and discussed the front 9. It was at this point that he told me that he plays NCAA golf at UCLA and holds a +5 handicap. He had an off day as he must have been a bit intrigued with my wandering of the course, however he did manage 67 off the tips. I forgot his name, however I did track his whereabouts for the next few years as he played the Asian and European tour.

    Now to answer your thoughts on putting from the fairway, European players do like this approach. While in Australia, it was almost taboo to putt from afar.

    Perhaps our first game this spring will bring us to attempt the daunting fairway putt. Looking forward to seeing you in April. Kirk


    • Kirk,

      Thanks for sharing you story. I bet watching this young lad at The Old Course was eye-opening for sure. I definitely did not grow up with the putt from the far off the green culture like the Europeans. Again, the courses I play do not lend to that type of shot. Looking forward to seeing you both as well.

      Cheers Jim


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