What You Should Expect When Lag Putting

Work on your approach to help eliminate three-putts

by Ryan Gager

Do you often find yourself struggling with long putts over 25 feet? Lag putting can be a challenging aspect of the game, but with the right approach and expectations, you can significantly improve your putting performance and lower your scores. In this edition of Fix My Fault, GOLFTEC’s Patrick Nuber shares some valuable information on how to set realistic expectations for lag putting and incorporate short putts into your practice routine to help you eliminate those three-putts.

The 10 Percent Rule

Use the 10 percent rule when hitting lag putts outside of 25 feet. Leaving yourself short makable putts will help eliminate three-putts. Courtesy GOLFTEC

One simple rule to follow when it comes to lag putting is to keep your putt within 10 percent of the putt’s original distance. That’s it! For example, if you have a 30-foot putt, your goal is just to get the ball within three feet of the hole. If it’s a 50-foot putt, your goal is to get it within five feet. This approach takes the pressure off trying to make those long putts and focuses on getting the ball in a manageable range for your next putt.

Why is this important? Well, it’s all about reducing the dreaded three-putts. By setting a realistic goal of getting the ball within 10 percent of the original distance, you increase your chances of two-putting and avoiding those costly three-putts that can quickly add strokes to your score.

So, how do you practice this? It’s actually quite simple. Grab 10 golf balls and head to a practice green with putts that are over 25 feet in distance, such as 30 feet or 50 feet. Hit those 10 putts and see how many times your first putt ends up within 10 percent of the original distance. If you can do it eight times or more out of 10, then you’re on the right track! Keep incorporating this practice into your routine, and you’ll see significant improvement in your lag-putting skills.

For more on How to Practice Putting, Kevin Weeks, Director of Instruction at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club takes us through how he trains on the greens.

Short Putts

The 10 percent rule still applies on short putts, with one adjustment – always make sure you get the ball to the hole. Courtesy GOLFTEC

But what about short putts, you ask? Putts that are within 15 feet are a bit different in terms of expectations. These are the putts that you should be looking to have a good chance at making, which can be a game-changer for your score. To adjust your expectations for short putts, you can still use the 10 percent rule. For example, if you have a 12-foot putt, your goal should be to get the ball to the hole, but still within 10 percent of that distance beyond it, which is about 12 inches or a foot from the hole. This gives you a better chance of making the putt or leaving yourself with a short and manageable second putt.

One common mistake to avoid on short putts is leaving the ball short of the hole. As demonstrated in the video, when you leave the ball short, you have zero chance of making the putt. So, focus on getting the ball to the hole, but still within 10 percent of the distance beyond it, to give yourself the best opportunity for success.

Remember, even if you miss the putt, if it ends up just past the hole within that 10 percent range, it’s still a good putt. You’re giving yourself a chance to make the next one and avoid a dreaded three-putt.

So, the next time you’re out on the putting green, keep these tips in mind to master your lag putting and short putting skills. And if you have any questions about putting or any other aspect of your golf game, be sure to find a GOLFTEC near you and get in contact with a local Coach.

Setting realistic expectations for lag putting and short putting is crucial for success on the greens. By following the 10 percent rule and focusing on getting the ball within that range, you’ll reduce the number of three-putts, lower your scores, and ultimately have a more satisfying and enjoyable round of golf.

Check out more putting tips and drills videos from GOLFTEC below, including an inside look at a GOLFTEC Putting Assessment and another approach to lag putting from a Tour player.

Putting Drills: Improvement Plan Should Start Here

Pro Tips for Lag Putting

Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.

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