Become a Better Lag Putter

There are a few areas that high hand­i­cap or begin­ner golfers should focus on to most quick­ly improve their game. Hit­ting the ball in the fair­way off the tee might be the first and most impor­tant. Improv­ing your pitch­ing and chip­ping around the green is anoth­er one.

Today, we will be dis­cussing an equal­ly impor­tant area of focus for high-hand­i­cap golfers which is elim­i­nat­ing three putts. Of course while the goal is to elim­i­nate three putts, no one ever does, but the point is to dras­ti­cal­ly reduce the num­ber that you have. While hit­ting a ball out of play off the tee can derail your hole before it starts, noth­ing is more deflat­ing than hit­ting a green in reg­u­la­tion only to three putt for a bogey. Worse yet is to three putt after strug­gling from tee to green and end­ing up with a blow-up hole. The abil­i­ty to putt well can make up for ear­li­er mis­takes on a hole but there is noth­ing to cov­er up for bad putting.

The most impor­tant skill to devel­op when work­ing towards elim­i­nat­ing three putts is effec­tive lag putting. Lag putting is not try­ing to make the putt but instead get­ting it close enough to insure that you can make the sec­ond putt. So we’re talk­ing about get­ting with­in a few feet of the hole. The chances of a high hand­i­cap golfer mak­ing a putt out­side of 10 feet are low, while their chances of mak­ing one out­side of 15 feet drop down to almost noth­ing. You obvi­ous­ly will make a long putt now and then but out­side of 10–15 feet you are much bet­ter off to con­cen­trate on get­ting the ball with­in a cou­ple feet of the hole instead of try­ing to make it.

Quite pos­si­bly the biggest dif­fer­ence between the putting of a pro­fes­sion­al golfer and that of an ama­teur is the amount of feel that a pro­fes­sion­al golfer uses in putting. Many high hand­i­cap golfers have a very mechan­i­cal putting swing. While it’s very impor­tant to have prop­er mechan­ics while putting, there is a great deal of feel required in putting espe­cial­ly for dis­tance con­trol.

Check out the video below from Char­lie King. He pro­vides three great drills to devel­op your feel for lag putting.

There is anoth­er, just an impor­tant, skill required to be a suc­cess­ful lag put­ter. You need to be able to make short putts! A suc­cess­ful lag putt to with­in two to three feet of the hole is wast­ed if you don’t make the putt. The best way to make more short putts is too prac­tice mak­ing more short putts! Check out this next video from short game guru Dave Pelz with tips for if you con­tin­ue to miss short putts.

Change your prac­tice rou­tine if yours cur­rent­ly con­sists of putting a few 10 to 15 foot­ers before your round. Ded­i­cate reg­u­lar prac­tice time for work­ing on your lag putting and you can dras­ti­cal­ly reduce the num­ber of times you three putt.

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