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 one of the two tour record-holders is a hall-of-famer — but not a golf hall-of-famer.

Tour Record for Fewest Putts: 17

Across all the top-level professional golf tours, the lowest number of putts for an 18-hole round is 17, and that has been accomplished twice, as far as is known. The record-holders? Joan Joyce on the LPGA Tour and Bob Brue on the Champions 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.

On the senior circuit, Bob Brue had a round with just 17 putts during the Champions Tour's Kroger Senior Classic in 1994. It happened in the second round. And in setting that Champions Tour record, he also set another one: He used only seven putts on the back nine during that round, the senior tour's record for fewest putts in nine holes.

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

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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