Lag Putting Tips & Drills: Avoid Pesky 3 Putts

Golf is a game that has no shortage of challenges, and lag putting is just another example.

Yea, the pros sure do make it look easy, right? But the truth is that lag putting is NOT easy.

But… breathe easy, because we have you covered! This post will share some insights as to how you can step your lag skills up and avoid those rage-inducing 3 jacks at all costs!

Let’s jump to it! ????

Lag Putting – Avoid Those Pesky 3 Putts!

What is a Lag Putt?

Anyone that’s played golf, even on a video game has experienced an approach shot that settles “miles” away from the cup.

Our hopes are to putt the ball close to the hole so the next putt is cozied in tight, making the next putt “easy”.  The process of rolling it close from far away is a Lag Putt.

a golfer lag putting

Typically, we know we will likely not make the putt, but you’ll make your next shot more doable– if the shot goes in the hole, amazing! But if it misses, and it probably will, you want to be sure you end up with a manageable second putt that you won’t screw up.

How Do You Work on Lags?

  1. woman putting in golfDon’t attempt to “sink” 30-plus foot putts. Rather, visualize that the cup is in the middle of a six-foot (diameter)circle, and depart your lag within that circle. This part dismisses the stress to make it; therefore, you’ll play with less tension and more feel in your hands and mind.
  2. Ditch the bent-over putting pose. Stand more upright and closer to the ball. It’s challenging to enforce the necessary oomph if you’re in a scrunched posture.
  3. Don’t “stroke” it. Think of it like a “chip-putt.” A chipping-style movement produces a stronger shot from a more extended distance. It’s simple: Allow your arms to swing down from your taller posture. (Reserve your “stroke” for smaller putts.)
  4. Set aside 15 minutes for practicing once a week, rolling putts from 40 to 60 feet (standard first-putt ranges among mid-handicappers). Shoot a few balls from each length (40, 50, and 60 feet), get a sense of how big each chip-putt movement should be, and lag each putt within that fictional circle.
  5. Complete your practice with the most challenging putt you can think of on the green.

With practice and patience, you’ll strengthen your feeling on challenging lags while simultaneously constructing your confidence to manage any putt you find on the course.

How to Practice Lag Putting at Home

These at-home golf exercises are entry-level to assemble fundamental putting skills. All you need are a few books and a tee or coin to set up these putting training drills inside.

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Drill #1: The Book Path

image of a putter and green in golf

Drop two books (people used to use phone books, but those aren’t a thing anymore, so use what you have on hand) onto the floor in your home and place them far enough apart so that your putter barely squeezes through.

Then, practice a few strokes to keep the putter face square and your path straight. Then, if you hit the books, you’ll know that your putting strokes weren’t straight for that stroke.

Drill #2: Phone Book with Golf Ball

Again, lay two books so that you have enough space for your putter to make a stroke between the two. Now put a 10-foot stretch of painter’s tape down the center of the path and parallel to the books, so there’s a target line.

Finally, place at least a few feet of tape outside the books so you can view the way your ball remains on-line for several feet.

Hit a ball down the center of the book’s trail on the target line you’ve made. Next, use the books to view the size of your backswing and forward swing; your forward swing needs to be equal to or slightly greater than the backswing. Then, utilizing the books as a tool for a straightforward putting stroke, keep as many putts on the target/tape line.

Drill #3: Putting to an Ace of Spades

Get an Ace of Spades from a deck of cards and place it on the floor (carpet or rug is best) several feet away. Then, try putting the ball with enough pace to end up on the playing card. This drill is a doozy; however, you’ll understand the concept if you’ve ever played shuffleboard.

How to Improve Lag Putting

golf ball near hole

Enhancing your lag putting is a wonderful method to shoot better scores because if you can strengthen your lag putting, you’ll turn three-putts down to two.

“Lag” may be applied to all putt lengths (whereas “lag putt” typically refers to a lengthy initial putt) and is usually utilized as a verb or after the fact to define the following, smaller putt resulting from missing the initial putt.

For example, regarding the verb usage, “I have to lag this putt closer to the pin” or “Lag this put near the cup.” Now, regarding the after-the-fact use: “Beautiful lag,” or “Heck of a job to lag it up close.”

You may rehearse lag putting by concentrating on your distance control (a.k.a. speed control) in your putts. Distance control putting exercises let a golfer generate a feel for pace.

Let’s talk more about distance control.

Lag Putting Drills for Distance Control

image depicting a golfer calculating the distance

Distance control is a vital aspect of the game for most golfers. Since putting comprises roughly 40% of your score, lag putting is crucial in your total putts per round.

If you can control your distance, you may see more putts go into the cup, and if you miss your putt, you will be able to tap in your next attempt.

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So, if you wish to decrease your three-putting, start strengthening your lag putting skills and distance control.

The best way to practice your distance control is by bringing different chalk or string line lengths to the practice green.

You can also hit putts to various distance markers instead of at a hole.

Essential Factors to Become a Better Putter

Evolving into a more promising putter from farther away demands concentration. Therefore, before completing the stroke, you need to examine everything to give yourself the best information to apply to your putt.

If you fail to analyze the circumstances of your putt, you will end up having too many putts that are too far or short. So, here are a few essential elements to consider before completing a long-distance putt.

  • Backstroke
  • Properly reading the green
  • Confidence 

The Putting Backstroke

As you get farther and farther from the cup, you need to lengthen the backstroke to increase the power while preserving the exact tempo. Doing so maintains the consistency of the stroke and is straightforward.

For instance, if you keep a small backstroke and quick forward stroke, you’ll have an uneven tempo attempting to hit the ball on a lag putt, resulting in poor results.

Renowned putters use proper backstrokes for their power, and they don’t slow down into the ball out of fear of too much power.

Reading Greens Correctly

a golfer reading the green

Before your putt, you need to read the green. But, first, examine the slope to know if you’re putting downhill, sideways slant, or uphill.

To determine how intense a slope is, you might have to step off the green a few steps and squat down to be eye-level with the green.

The green often slopes uphill from front to back to control your ball, but sometimes, the green may slope uphill from back to front.

If the slope is sideways on the green, your ball will typically break to the weak side because of gravity, so you’ll have to target your putt somewhat up the slope to account for the break instead of aiming straight at the cup.

Of course, if you were to aim straight at the hole without considering the break, you’d need a very powerful putt; however, the putt would likely then be too strong to sink, anyway.

Don’t be discouraged if you struggle to read the green at first; this is a skill that takes time, like most talents. So, the more you practice this skill, the better you’ll do.

One thing to know about reading the green is the grain direction. The grain’s direction will influence the ball’s speed, so consider it before you putt it. For instance, if the grain bends toward you, then the grain will slow your ball; if the grain is away from you, your ball will move faster.

Lag Putting Drills for Golf Practice

Now that we’ve covered a few aspects that can affect your putts, we thought it’d be beneficial to stick in some drills for you to practice, and by practicing these drills, you’ll also build your confidence in your journey to becoming a better putter. Practice is preparation not to fail.

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Drill #1: Hitting A Ball Past the Next One

a putt rolling toward the pin

This drill can be problematic but will turn you into a conqueror at distance control. Soon, you will be putting a sequence of balls into a spot you assembled, and every ball needs to go farther than the previous one, but not too far since you need to fit all putts inside the confined space.

First, take four tees and create a 3-by-2 foot box. Since this box is only two feet deep, you must champion your distance control to squeeze all the balls into the box.

Next, measure a 25-foot putt and use a tee to mark your spot. Grasp five balls from the golf bag and place them at the tee (your mark). Hit five putts into the three-by-two zone you formed and try to land each ball farther than the previous putt, but don’t go outside the box.

If you master this drill, toss in a few more balls and track your record over time and try to increase that total every time you practice.

Drill #2: Max Lag Putt Competition

Count off 30-foot, 40-foot, and 50-foot putts to a cup and keep their places with a few tees. For example, leave a ball at 30-feet and hit your lag putt to the hole. Then, pop in the ball on your second putt to finish the hole.

If you complete the hole with two putts, that’s one rep. After that, you have to finish ten reps in a row at 30 feet, then move on to 40 feet, and lastly, 50 feet. You start over at zero reps if you have to use three or more putts to finish the hole.

You may likewise alternate distances. Ergo, once you sink the lag putt from 30 feet, you move on to 40 feet and lastly 50 feet, meaning you’ve completed three reps in a row. If you want to set things off, force yourself to finish this method ten times to achieve 30 two-putts by switching between distances still.

Lag Putting: Final Thoughts

final thoughts written on blackboard

That’s a wrap!

Thanks for checking out this deep-dive on lag putting! ???? 

Golf Sizzle is full of great golf swing tips so be sure to bookmark us and take some time to look around!

If you love the game and want to get better, learning to lag putt will save you a ton of strokes. 

I hope this post helps you improve your lag putting and encourage you to think differently about lag putts. But unfortunately, if you aren’t willing to dedicate time and effort to practice, you won’t get better.

Also, you have to be humble. Having an ego rarely, if ever, gets you anywhere in sports, particularly golf. Egos stand in the way of learning new methods because they tell you, “You’re already the best.”

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