When they’re not begging for gimmies or scooping them up anyway, amateur golfers generally aren’t good at making putts from inside 10 feet. Which, if you think about it, is actually quite funny.

There are a million reasons why you’re not physically capable of hitting a driver 300 metres, like a PGA Tour player. But in theory, with a motion as simple as a putting stroke, there’s nothing physically stopping us from making as many seven-footers. And yet, we make a lot less of them anyway.

So, why do we miss so many of them? And why do pros make so much more of them? That was the question posed and discussed by renowned golf biomechanist Dr Sasho Mackenzie at Andrew Rice’s recent Coach Camp conference.

The PGA Tour’s Sean Martin was on-site at the event, and relayed some of Mackenzie’s interesting findings based on an experiment he conducted on a group of average golfers hitting 12-foot putts.

2 reasons you DON’T miss putts

Technically golfers are capable of missing putts in all kinds of ways, but Mackenzie found that two reasons tend to be vastly overrated.

1. Stroke path gives you some room for error

With a square putterface angle, you’d need to swing the putterhead severely in-to-out or out-to-in (about 3.5 degrees, which is a lot) in order to push or pull the putt enough to miss a 12-footer.

2. Off-centre hits aren’t as bad as you think

Off-centre hits just aren’t the penalty you might think they are. Assuming a square putterface, you’d need to miss the centre of the putterface by about 11 millimetres for the putt to miss (which again is a lot).

2 reasons you DO miss putts

On the other hand, there are some reasons that make it more likely that you’re going to miss a putt.

1. Bad face angle

Golfers have a margin of error of only 0.7 degrees when it comes to their face angle at impact on their putts, according to Dr Mackenzie. Meaning that if the putterface is more open or closed than that you’re going to miss the putt. This is the cause of more than 40 percent of all misses, so remember: a square putterface is king.

2. Bad speed control

Hitting the putt too hard (through the break) or too soft (under the break) is a primary cause of missing breaking putts. The more the slope increases, the more the importance of speed control.