Fewest Putts In a Round of Golf: The All-Time Record

What is the lowest number of putts a golfer has ever needed in an 18-hole round of golf on a conventional golf course? Who holds the record for the fewest putts in an 18-hole round of golf?

We'll answer those questions here. And the first interesting thing we can tell you is that the tour record-holder is a hall-of-famer — but not a golf hall-of-famer.

Tour Record for Fewest Putts: 17

Across all the professional golf tours, the lowest number of putts for an 18-hole round is 17, and that has been accomplished exactly once, as far as is known. The record-holder? Joan Joyce on the LPGA Tour.

At the 1982 Lady Michelob tournament, an LPGA event played at Brookfield West Golf & Country Club in Roswell, Ga., Joyce completed her final round of 67 using only 17 putts.

Amazingly, Joyce's 17 putts included three 2-putt greens. She 1-putted 11 greens, and holed out from off the green four times. Those four hole-outs came by chip-ins twice, and twice she used putter from off the green to roll the rock into the cup (a golfer must be on the putting surface to be credited with a putt per tour statistics, so using putter from off the green doesn't count as a putt).

And Joyce is a hall-of-famer, but not in golf: She played the LPGA Tour in the 1970s and 1980s, but never won. She is, however, regarded as one of the all-time great (some say the best ever) softball players. She still holds many all-time records in softball, and pitching in exhibition games struck out Ted Williams and Hank Aaron.

The PGA Tour record for fewest putts in a round is 18, currently shared by eight golfers (Sam Trahan, Mike McGee, Kenny Knox, Andy North, Jim McGovern, Corey Pavin, Ken Duke and Blake Adams).

Overall Record for Fewest Putts: 16

If we look outside the professional golf tours, can we find any golfer who used even fewer than 17 putts in a round? Yes. There's at least one round in golf history where the golfer needed only 16 putts.

That golfer was 73-year-old George Lockwood, who, during a round at Inglewood Country Club near Los Angeles, in December of 1947, carded a 74 that included only 16 putts.

Playing in a slight rain, Lockwood 1-putted 16 greens and chipped in from off the green on two other holes. Lockwood's round was reported in a 1949 issue of the USGA Journal.

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