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What Is A Three-Putt In Golf? – Explained!

what is a three-putt in golf
what is a three-putt in golf

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those golf terms commonly thrown out in conversation and sometimes in television broadcasts is the word “three-putt”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly does “three-putt” mean in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what a three-putt is in golf, along with some examples to solidify your comprehension.

What Is A Three-Putt In Golf?

In golf, a three-putt designates the act of sending the golf ball into the golf hole with a total of 3 putts (strokes with a putter), starting on the green. A three-putt is viewed as a bad outcome because it leads to a high score. As an example, if you strike a ball from the middle of the green and you hole it in 3 putts, you just performed a three-putt.

In the great game of golf, the term “three-putt” is a word that is very common to hear because it is the result of one or two mistakes, and most golfers commit putting mistakes. A “three putt” is one of the most common things to hear on the putting greens of a golf course populated with average golfers.

In golf, performing a three-putt means that a golfer shot a golf ball from somewhere on the golf green and into the hole with a total of 3 putts. A putt is simply a golf shot taken with the putter club. A putt generally rolls the ball flat on the ground without any lift or hops.

Whether or not you perform a three-putt is irrespective of your score for a given hole. The only thing that matters for a three-putt is the number of strokes you required to get the ball from the golfing green to the bottom of the hole.

You can read a real-world example of a three-putt performed, down below.


Dave is a hobby golfer. He is playing a par 4 hole.

After his 4th stroke, Dave’s ball lands on the right side of the golfing green.

Dave shoots his 5th stroke, and misses the hole, but still gets closer to the hole.

Dave shoots his 6th stroke, and hits the edge of the hole, but the ball does not go in.

“Not Again!” Dave shouts, visibly annoyed.

Dave lines up for his 7th stroke and finally holes the ball.

Therefore, as Dave required a total of 3 strokes to get the ball from the green and into the hole, Dave performed a three-putt.

Unless you are a beginner, scoring a three-putt is a bad result that will inflate your score. For both professional golfers and average golfers, a three-putt is viewed as a bad performance.

If you perform a three-putt, you will probably score above par for the hole, resulting in a bogey, double bogey, or triple bogey.

A three-putt generally will not garner much applause from the spectators in a crowd, if any at all.

Three-putts are known to be common on a golf course, filled with hobby golfers. For professional golfers, three-putts are somewhat rare.

To give you a better idea of how common three-putts are, professional golfers take around 1.7-1.8 putts per hole, on average, while the average male golfer requires 2.2-2.5 putts per hole. This goes to show that two-putts are more common than three-putts, especially for professional golfers.

Both professional golfers and average golfers will generally be dissatisfied with performing a three-putt. Average golfers typically require a little than 2 putts per hole, so they will not be happy with a three-putt.

On the other hand, professional golfers average less than 2 putts per hole, so performing a three-putt is a relatively terrible performance for them that will drop them down a few tournament ranking spots. It is crucial for professionals to not perform any three-putts.

Three-putts are known as one of the cardinal sins of golf, at least for accomplished golfers. Unless you average more than 3 putts per hole because you are a beginner, you should avoid three-putts at all costs.

It is sometimes better to go for a safe two-putt than to fail 2 one-putt attempts, resulting in a three-putt instead of a one-putt or two-putt.

To increase your reduce the number of putts you require per hole, you need to have a great short game (putting from the green). You should be practicing using your putter a lot. Mini-golf may also help you practice being an intuitive putter, although it is a bit different than being on a golf putting green.

The origin of the term “three-putt” is very simple. It simply comes from the idea that it takes “three putts” to sink the ball from the putting green into the golf hole. The origin of the word “three-putt” does not go any deeper than that.

In general, scoring a three-putt is deemed to be a bad result that will inflate your score negatively. If you would like to require less putts per hole and lower your golf score by improving at golf, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what the word three-putt means in golf. You also got to read some real-world examples to further improve your understanding of the meaning of a three-putt.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? How many putts per hole do you usually require? How often do you score three-putts? Let us know in the comments down below!

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