A lag putt involves putting close to the hole ready for a shorter putt. It’s used to eliminate 3 putts in your game by controlling your putting distance on longer putts. It’s less than 4% likely for a high handicapper to hole a putt more than 15 ft away from the hole. The idea that you can hole it is crazy, and the better option for you is to try and get it as close as possible by using distance control, or lag putting. In this article I’m going to share some lag putting drills with you, so you can start to practice this concept on the course and finally cut the majority of the 3 putts from your game.
Distance Control (Lag Putt in a Nutshell)
Over the many years I’ve been golfing and teaching, the main cause for 3 putts that I’ve witnessed is distance control! Most of the beginners I’ve tutored, the readers of this website (and you possibly), are more than likely playing on golf courses with level greens. Therefore putts are unlikely to have any significant break in them. So, most issues originate from the inability to putt the right distance. I know how frustrating it can be to come up short by a few ft, or roll a few ft past the hole. It all boils down to the touch and the feel of the putt, or lack there of.
The good news is, you have the natural touch and feel already in you, you just need to learn how to bring it out when you’re putting!
Increase Putting Feel
All of us have that natural instinct of how to determine the distance of things close to us. Take our eating utensils for instance, picking up the phone, opening the door… all are day to day functions that would be very difficult without using our natural hand to eye co-ordination. The nerve connection between our brains and our primary hand is the most familiar within our body’s, and it’s a key element for a sound putting feel.
A sound putting grip has your left hand providing stability (right hand if you’re left handed), and your right hand providing the touch and pendulum swing associated with any sound putting stroke. The right is the key to establishing your touch and feel of the putter, and therefore has to be used lightly. The thumb and forefinger of the right hand have to cradle the putter lightly as these are the most sensitive areas of the hand, and therefore provide the most feeling in your putts. Take out a coin and hold it with the thumb and forefinger of your right hand, this is how it show feel when your gripping the putter.
Practice your putting stroke with this light grip without a ball first of all. It should feel as though your left hand is holding the putter, and your right hand is moving it through the stroke. Practice this stroke with your grip getting lighter and lighter, until the putter feels just about as light as possible in your right hand. This will massively increase your putting touch I promise!
Use the Eyes
The next thing to look at now we have the feel of the putter in check, is the role of the eyes in the lag putt. Working out how far something is in relation to you is all about the eyes. Just as you’re tossing paper into the paper basket, putting is more or less the same thing. You take a look at the distance and you instinctively know how much to put into the toss. It’s this close connection between the hand and the eyes again. The same thing applies to lag putting. Look at the hole and soak up the distance you need to hit it, then take a few practice strokes to get your body in the zone. With the feather light grip I mentioned above, think about the speed of the putter only, don’t think about the technique. Don’t think about the strength you need to hit it either, simply let all of your sense work on it instead. Use your instinct!
Drill to Help with Lag Putting
Take 5-6 balls and place them in a line stretching back 5-8ft from each other. Then take 4 tees and place them round the hole around 3-5 ft away from the hole itself so they form a circle. Start to cycle through each ball to see how close you can get it within the circle. Having just one ball at each distance from the hole keeps your senses guessing, and really gives them a tough workout. Once you’ve done this a few times and you begin to get inside the circle regularly, try reducing the size of the circle and attempting the same thing again. Do this everyday for a week and your lag putting will begin to improve and your number of 3 putts on the course will decrease significantly too.