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Baseball Putting

by Geoff Mangum

Geoff Mangum's PuttingZone™ Instruction

ZipTip: Practice: Baseball Putting

In this game for two players, test your skills under pressure to sink a 15-footer to strike out your opponent with the bases loaded, tying run on third, and the count 3 and 2!



In order to play Baseball Putting, two players find two holes on the practice green separated by about 10 to 15 feet. The greater the distance, the greater the challenge, but there needs to be a balance between the ability to pitch strikes and to make base hits, or the scoring gets goofy.

The PITCHER's job is to throw three strikes, and not to throw four balls.

The BATTER's job is to swing on any ball and try to get a base hit. Place the pitched ball beside the batter's hole and swing away. The batter can also swing on the third strike, but not on the first two strikes.

Any sink is the same as a single; any swing and a miss converts the ball to a strike.

PLAYING HINT: only swing on balls when there are fewer than two strikes; that way, you get a maximum of three swings per batter to hit a single and force the pitcher to risk walking the batter. Always swing on the third strike, so you always have a minimum of one swing per batter. A walk is just as good as a single, so never swing on the fourth ball (duh...!) AND as a bonus, a swing on a third strike that lips out is counted as a foul ball, so the pitch doesn't count and the batter is still alive.

One out per side; switch holes after each out; play as many innings as you want. Name your teams, batters and pitchers, too!

This version favors the batter a bit, because the batter has to sink only one of three (33%) when the pitcher takes seven pitches to get three strikes (42%). Even when the pitcher throws three strikes in a row (100%), the batter can still get on base with just one sink (three times easier). But the one-out-per-side rule makes it devilish tough for the team batting to load the bases with singles or walks and then get a run across the plate before the pitcher gets that one out. Many innings see runners stranded, just like in real baseball. If the batter can single on that third strike, however, he can keep the rally alive. That's pressure!


The BATTER cannot swing on any strike, including the third strike, but each side gets three outs.

This version gives the batter a maximum of three swings at ball pitches per at-bat but no minimum. Raising the number of outs to three makes the innings last longer but also increases the number of runs per inning. The odds are stacked in favor of the batter somewhat, since he has up to three swings to get one hit (33%), while the pitcher has to pitch three strikes out of a maximum of seven tries per batter (42%). The pressure in this version is on the pitcher to throw lots of strikes and keep the batters from swinging at all! Scoring can fluctuate more dramatically, depending upon how well the pitcher is hitting the strike zone.

Jack Barry

Ty Cobb

J.D. Miller

For more tips and information on putting, including a free 10,000+ database of putting lore and the Web's only newsletter on putting (also free), visit Geoff's website at, or email him directly at

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