NJM Blog

5 Tips to Improve Your Lag Putting

Female golfer lines up her long putt.

An average amateur player three–putts on 19% of the holes they play. That means eliminating those reviled three–putts will shave three to four strokes off your round. How do you eliminate three–putts? Improving your lag putting is a great place to start.

A lag putt is a long–distance putt (20 feet or more) where the player attempts to leave the ball a couple of feet from the hole. The goal is to have a simple tap–in for a two–putt, rather than having a putt from five feet or longer. (Amateur players hole five–foot putts just over 50 percent of the time.)

There is nothing sexy about a great lag putt. It’s all about efficiency. Here are five “on the course” tips that will help you improve your lag putting, and subsequently, lower your score.

  1. Speed of the Greens

    How fast or slow are the greens playing? This is important information to factor into your putting. The line of your putt can be perfect, but if the pace is too fast or too slow, you’ll have a long second putt. Prior to your round, hit some longer putts on the practice green. It will give you an idea of how the ball is rolling that day. You can also ask the starter or clubhouse attendant.

    The speed of greens can change throughout the day, so stay attentive and be prepared to adjust. The pace of your putt is the primary component to leaving the ball two feet or closer to the hole.

  2. See the Distance

    A critical error players make is that they only view their putt from behind the ball. Relying on depth perception to gauge distance is a mistake. Walk to the side of your ball, about halfway to the hole. Picture forming a triangle with you standing at the apex and the ball and hole serving as the base points. This angle provides a much better feel for the distance of your putt.

  3. Second–Half Break

    Measure the break from the second half of your putt. The ball will be traveling fast through the first half of your putt and minimally affected by the break. As the putt continues and slows, the break will have a much greater impact.

    Walk to the halfway mark between your ball and the hole and determine how the ball will break from that point to the hole.

  4. Miss High or Miss Low?

    If the green is pitched, you probably want to miss high (above the hole) so the ball drifts toward the hole as it stops. By missing low (below the hole), the ball will roll away from the hole. In most cases, if you’re going to miss to one side or the other, it’s best to miss high.

    There is a final point to consider. When you miss high, you’ll likely have a downhill putt to the hole. Only you can decide which position you’d prefer for your second putt — a slightly longer uphill putt, or a shorter downhill putt.

  5. Keep Your Eye on the Ball

    If your putt rolls past ball the hole, watch its path. It will give you direct feedback as to how your next putt will break. Often, players become frustrated when their ball rolls past and miss useful information. Watch the ball rolling away from the hole so you know how it will roll back to the hole.

One final point. Tips are useful, but nothing beats practice. Spend time practicing your lag putting on the practice greens. Nothing gives you better feel for long putts than practice.

NJM, a leading property and casualty insurer in the Mid–Atlantic region, is proud to partner with the golf community. Contact your agent or broker, visit njm.com/gap, or call 833–859–1920.