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What is a Lag Putt? – Avoid 3 Putts by Using this Strategy Everytime!

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How do I stop 3-Putting??? If I had a dollar for every time this question runs through my head, id be rich! Any avid golfer knows the feeling of hitting the green in regulation and 3 putting for a bogey. This leads us to ask, what is a lag putt and how can it help me make the small little golf ball go into the 4.25″ diameter hole in the ground? 

Well since golf is one of the hardest sports in the world, I really don’t have the one correct way, but I have something that can greatly reduce your 3 putts! Lag-putting is a technique that is used by many to help you lower your scores on the golf course. If performed well, Lag putting is known to greatly reduce the amount of 3 putts in your golf round. 

What is a lag putt?

A lag putt is defined as a lengthy putt that has no intention of going in the hole, but rather leaving it close enough to the hole that your next putt is considered close enough so you will not miss it. Typically this leaves the ball stopped within less than 4 feet of the hole for pro golfers, and less than 2 feet to the hole for beginner golfers. 

What distance is a lag putt?

There is no distance requirement for a lag putt, however, you can judge it based on skill level. A lengthy putt for a beginner/less skilled golfer could be only 10 ft, while an amateur may be putting good and confident enough to go for the hole and deal with the repercussions if they miss.

When should you lag putt?

There are many cases in which you should lag putt. There are also often times when you shouldn’t lag putt. 

You should lag putt when:

  • The putt is outside of the range where you feel comfortable making the putt with a firm stroke. 
  • The pin is located on a ridge where you don’t want your ball rolling down further from the hole. 
  • You have had multiple 3-putts in a round and cant get the “feel” down. 
example of when you need to lag putt
Example of when you need to lag putt

You should NOT lag putt when:

  • You have a putt you have to make.
  • You have a birdie putt and you don’t want to leave it short!
  • You are playing a scramble tournament and someone already has a ball within range.

How to lag putt?

a lag putt circle example
A golfer trying to lag putt into the 4ft imaginary circle

Reading the golf green

Start by reading the golf green. You want to look at the putt from every angle to see if it’s uphill, downhill, left, or right. During this stage want to gather as much info on which way the ball will roll so that you can get it as close to the hole as possible. You are not trying to make this putt, but if it happens to go in, that’s even better for your score! The more time you spend here, the better the lag putt will turn out. 

Imagine a 4ft circle – A bigger hole!

Seeing such a small hole from 75′ away can look like such an impossible task. Since you are not technically trying to make this putt, you want to imagine a 2-4ft circle (on all sides) that surrounds the hole. The length of your imaginary circle depends on what you feel confident that you can make. If you struggle with 4-footers, imagine a 2ft circle as your ball’s stopping point. The goal here is to stop your ball in the imaginary circle. 

Visualize your line

If you have ever seen golf on TV, the trackman shows you the path the golf ball takes from the beginning of the putt to the hole. Get behind your ball and visualize the path that the ball will travel. Use your green reading tricks from above to ensure the ball lands inside of the 2-4ft “gimmie” range. 

Execute the lag putt

Once you have read the green breaks, imagined a bigger hole, and visualized your line, the next step is execution. Give your putter a few practice swings and give it a go. To consider it a successful lag putt, you want the ball to stop within “gimmie” range, which is typically less than 4ft. If you are struggling with the execution part, you can check out some of the best golf putting tips for beginners here. 

a perfectly executed lag putt
A perfectly executed lag putt

Advantages/Disadvantages of lag putting

No more 3 putts

The biggest advantage of lag putting is that it can reduce your 3 putts. Nothing can be more frustrating than getting to the green under par, and 3 putting for bogey or worse. Pro golfers only 3 putt from inside of 15ft less than 1% of the time. Once the ball gets outside of 25ft, pro’s only 3-putt about 10% of the time. 

That being said, in a recent PGA tour event, Danny Willet 3 putted from 4 feet to lose the Fortinet golf tournament. As you see, it can happen to anyone. The main goal is to reduce the amount of 3 putts, which in return, will decrease your strokes. 

Possibly less 1 putts?

The main disadvantage of lag putting is that you can tend to leave the golf ball short and not give yourself a chance at the hole. Depending on the contour of the green, some putts that should roll 10ft past the hole could possibly hit the hole or flagstick and go in. If you are stopping the ball just short of the hole, you will never give it a chance to go in, even though your second putt is a tap-in! However, we believe the benefits of lag putting outweigh the disadvantages. 

A great putting drill for lag putts

The NO 3-putt drill

This is one of the best lag putting drills you can do on the practice green.

  • The idea is to take golf tees and place them 2-4ft away from the hole on all sides and try to stop your ball inside the circle of tees.
  • Start from about 10 feet and hit 3 putts. Once all 3 balls have stopped inside the circle, collect them and move back 5 feet.
  • Keep backing up in increments of 5 feet for as much green as you have to work with.
  • If you stop the ball outside of the circle, come back up 5 yards until you can consistently get the ball in the circle. 

Do this drill over and over until you are comfortable from all distances. If there are distances you struggle with, practice more on these distances. This will allow you to get your putter feel.

Another thing to note is that NOT every type golf course grass is the same, so you want to practice this on different courses and different types of grass. 

LongBombs Golf Final Say

If you’re like me, and would rather not spend all day on the golf course in frustration, then try out this lag putt drill today and stop all of your 3 putting nonsense. This simple strategy is a great way to make your short game much more consistent – meaning fewer bogeys and more birdies. And who doesn’t want that?

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