NJM Blog

Two Steps to Two-Putting

Golfer teeing off the ball - Closeup detail photo while player ready for putt.

A standard par — whether the hole is a par 3, 4, or 5 — expects a player to hole out with two putts. For example, a par 4 hole anticipates the following shot sequence: a tee shot, approach shot, and two putts.

Are you able to consistently hole out with two putts or less? Amateur players average a threeputt once every five holes. Eliminating those three–putts can shave a minimum three strokes off your score.

The formula for holing out in two putts is simple. First, stroke a quality lag putt, which is a putt from about 15 feet or more from the hole. A quality lag putt finishes within three feet of the hole. Next, sink the short putt. Here are a few tips to improve your lag putting and finishing putts from up to three feet. Both steps are key to holing out in two putts.

Step1: Tips to Lag Putting

The goal is to leave the ball close to the hole. If you’re trying to make a long putt, it can result in hitting the ball too hard. The speed (or pace) of the putt is more important than direction when lag putting. Focus on pace and if the ball drops, it’s a bonus.

View the distance of your putt from the side. Standing behind the ball only when assessing your putt doesn’t provide the best gauge for distance. Walk to the midpoint between your ball and the hole and take steps back to view the length. Applying the correct pace to your putt requires an accurate measure of distance to the hole.

If your putt has break, miss to the high side of the hole. A putt that breaks right to left will drift further left as the putt slows down. By missing to the right of hole (high side), the ball will roll towards the hole. If you miss to the low side, the ball will drift farther away from the hole.

Keep your speed through the ball. A longer putt requires a longer backswing. Players can get nervous and mistakenly decelerate their stroke as they strike the ball. This will result in a putt that stops far short of the hole. Trust yourself and keep your putting stroke moving through the ball on lag putts.

Step 2: Tips for Short Putts

Select a specific target on the hole. Center, right–center, left edge of the cup are examples of specific targets for short putts. Aiming for the hole is too broad. If you miss your specific target, the ball still may drop. If you miss the hole, it’s a missed putt.

Align your feet to your specific target. Address the ball with your feet square to your target. Avoid aligning your feet to the hole and aiming your putter face to a different target. This can disrupt the path of your putting stroke.

Limit your backswing. Reduce your backswing on short putts. The ball needs to travel only a few feet. If your backswing is too long, you may decelerate and alter the path of your putter face. Pushed and pulled putts are often caused by decelerating.

Putt with confidence. “I will make this putt.” That mindset is far superior to, “I hope I don’t miss this putt.” Confidence allows your body to relax and optimize execution.

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/njsga, or call 833-859-1920.

The information contained in this article should not be construed as professional advice, and is not intended to replace official sources. Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.