What is Lag Putting? A Comprehensive Guide

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What is Lag Putting? A Comprehensive Guide

Golfers know that putting can make or break their game. While many golfers focus on perfecting their short putts, it’s important not to overlook the importance of lag putting. Lag putting is a technique used to get the ball close to the cup on long putts, without necessarily trying to sink the ball in one shot. Instead, the goal is to get the ball within a few feet of the cup, setting up an easy second putt to finish the hole with par.

But what exactly is lag putting, and how can golfers improve their technique? Lag putting involves focusing on distance control, also known as speed control, to develop a feel for the speed of the greens. This technique requires a longer backswing and wider stance to make up for the extra distance, but otherwise, the setup position remains the same. The key to successful lag putting is to keep your head still, accelerate through the putt, and trust your read to give yourself the best chance of making a successful putt.

Definition of Lag Putting

Lag putting is a technique in golf that involves hitting the ball on long putts with the intention of getting it close to the cup, rather than sinking it in the first putt. The purpose of lag putting is to position the ball within a couple of feet of the cup, which puts the golfer in an ideal position to make a successful second putt and score a par.

It is important to note that lag putting is not just about hitting the ball hard. It requires a great deal of skill and precision to control the distance and speed of the ball, which can be achieved through practice and drills. Golfers who master the art of lag putting can eliminate three-putts and improve their overall score.

There are various drills and exercises that golfers can use to improve their lag putting skills. One popular drill involves hitting putts from different distances and scoring points based on how close the ball gets to the cup. For example, a holed putt may be worth five points, while a putt that lands inside a three-foot circle may be worth three points. This drill can be made even more fun and challenging by competing with a friend or fellow golfer.

what is lag putting

Importance of Lag Putting

Lag putting is an essential skill for golfers of all levels. It refers to a long putt where the golfer does not expect to make it but hopes to get close to the cup. Good lag putting can help golfers avoid three-putting and save strokes on the green.

One of the main benefits of lag putting is that it helps golfers improve their distance control. By practicing lag putting, golfers can learn how to judge the speed and distance of their putts more accurately. This skill is crucial for getting the ball close to the hole on long putts and avoiding three-putts.

Another advantage of lag putting is that it can help golfers manage their nerves on the green. When faced with a long putt, many golfers feel pressure to make the putt and end up hitting the ball too hard, causing it to roll past the hole. By focusing on getting the ball close to the cup instead of making the putt, golfers can reduce their anxiety and make more consistent strokes.

Finally, lag putting can also improve a golfer’s short-range putting. By learning how to control the distance of long putts, golfers can develop a better feel for the speed and break of shorter putts. This skill can help golfers make more putts from within 10 feet, which can make a significant difference in their overall score.

Techniques for Lag Putting

Reading the Green

Reading the green is crucial for successful lag putting. The golfer must be able to identify the slope and contours of the green to determine the best line and speed for the putt. Start by standing behind the ball and looking at the line from the ball to the hole. Look for any breaks or slopes that could affect the putt. Then, walk around the hole and observe the green from different angles to get a better understanding of the slope and contours. Finally, take note of the speed of the green, as this will affect the distance the ball will roll.

Pace Control

Pace control is essential for lag putting. The golfer must be able to control the speed of the putt to get the ball as close to the hole as possible without overshooting it. To improve pace control, practice hitting putts of varying distances and speeds. Use a metronome to help develop a consistent tempo and rhythm for the stroke. The golfer should also pay attention to their grip pressure, as a tight grip can lead to a jerky stroke and inconsistent pace control.

Stroke Technique

The stroke technique for lag putting is slightly different from the stroke used for shorter putts. The golfer should use a longer backswing and a slower, smoother stroke to achieve a longer roll. The putter should be kept low to the ground throughout the stroke to ensure a smooth roll. The golfer should also focus on hitting the ball in the center of the putter face to minimize spin and maintain a straight roll.

Overall, successful lag putting requires a combination of good green reading, pace control, and stroke technique. By practicing these techniques, golfers can improve their lag putting and reduce the number of three-putts on the course.

man putting on the green

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While lag putting can be a useful strategy for reducing your putts per round, there are some common mistakes that golfers make when attempting to implement it. Here are a few things to avoid:

  • Decelerating through impact: One of the most common mistakes that most golfers make is deceleration through impact. This kills wedge shots and lead to the yips over time. Remember, you need speed and acceleration through impact; do not stop or slow down as you get to the ball! If you decelerate on long putts, you might end up 8-10 feet short and have a tough time two putting.
  • Using the wrong grip: Lighter grips are best suited for lag putts which rely on feel and judgment more than anything else. A looser grip gives you a superior putting feel for two reasons. Firstly, it allows you to feel when the putter head is veering off-path, giving you a chance to pause and correct the issue. Secondly, it helps you to maintain a consistent speed throughout your putting stroke, which is essential for lag putting.
  • Not practicing enough: Lag putting is a skill that requires practice to master. If you’re not practicing regularly, you’re unlikely to see any improvement in your lag putting. Make sure you’re spending enough time on the putting green, practicing your lag putts from various distances and slopes.
  • Overcompensating for distance: While it’s important to adjust your putting stroke for distance, overcompensating can be just as detrimental as undercompensating. Make sure you’re using a consistent putting stroke for all distances, and adjust your speed accordingly.
  • Not reading the green: Reading the green is essential for successful lag putting. Make sure you’re taking the time to assess the slope and speed of the green before making your putt. This will help you to make more accurate judgments about the distance and speed of your putt.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be able to improve your lag putting and reduce your putts per round. Keep practicing and experimenting with different techniques until you find what works best for you.

Practice Drills for Lag Putting

Lag putting is a crucial aspect of golf that requires a lot of practice to master. Here are some practice drills that can help you improve your lag putting:

1. The Ladder Drill

The ladder drill is a great way to practice your distance control. Place four balls at 20, 30, 40, and 50 feet from the hole. Start with the closest ball and putt each ball in turn, trying to get each ball as close to the hole as possible. Try to 2 putt every one of the putts. If you 3 putt any of them, start over from the beginning. This drill will help you develop a feel for the distance of each putt.

2. The Gate Drill

The gate drill is a great way to practice your accuracy. Place two tees in the ground, just wider than the width of your putter head, somewhere around thirty feet from the hole. Putt the ball through the gate and try to get it to stop within a foot or so of the hole. This drill will help you develop a consistent stroke, improve your accuracy and start to develop a feel for how hard to hit your putts.

3. The Clock Drill

The clock drill is a great way to practice your speed control. Place six balls around the hole at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 o’clock positions. Putt each ball towards the hole, trying to get each ball to stop within a foot of the hole. Make sure to place the balls a decent distance away from the cup for this drill. This will help you develop a feel for the speed of each putt.

By practicing these drills regularly, you can improve your lag putting and lower your scores on the golf course.


Lag putting is an essential skill for any golfer, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro. It’s the art of getting the ball close to the cup on long putts, with the intention of resting it within a couple of feet of the hole. By practicing lag putting, you can improve your speed control and reduce the number of three-putts in your game.

There are several tips and techniques that you can use to improve your lag putting. One of the most important is to focus on your speed control, rather than trying to sink the putt. By hitting the ball with the right amount of speed, you can ensure that it rolls smoothly towards the hole, without going too far past it.

Another helpful tip is to practice your lag putting on the practice green, using training exercises such as the Lag-It Putting Game. This will help you develop consistency and accuracy in your stroke, so that you can confidently hit long putts on the course.

Overall, lag putting is a skill that requires patience, practice, and precision. By incorporating these tips and techniques into your game, you can improve your lag putting and take your golf game to the next level.

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Hi, my name is Thomas. I love to play golf and play to a 7.4 hdcp currently. My goal is to help people learn the game of golf and have more fun playing.

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