Lag Putting Tips: How to Stop The 3 Putt

Lag putting, also known as distance putting, is a crucial skill in golf that involves controlling the speed and distance of your putts to set up easier second putts and avoid three-putting. Many golfers struggle with lag putting, leading to wasted strokes and frustration on the greens. Putting is where the magic happens and how you can shed those valuable strokes off the round- so how to stop the 3 putt is an essential skill to have!

What is a Lag Putt?

You know what I find really helps my golf game? Lag putting. It’s when you roll the ball just right – with the perfect speed and distance – so you leave yourself a shorter and easier next putt. You gotta read the green, check out the slope and speed, then putt it with the right pace. Get the lag putt right and it makes the hole so much more makeable. Lag putting is huge for keeping control of your score. I used to just ram every putt at the hole, leading to a lot of frustrating three-putts. But now that I focus on lag putting? My buddies are always asking how I suddenly got so deadly from short range! What about you – do you work on dialing in your lag putting? I’m telling you, it’s a game-changer.

Tips to Improve Lag Putting

  • Develop a Feel for Distance: Invest energy on the training green chipping away at distance control. Work on hitting putts of different lengths and spotlight on getting a feeling of how far the ball rolls with various stroke lengths. This will assist you with fostering a dependable vibe for distance and work on your capacity to check the putt shot required.
  • Be able to read Greens: Understanding the shapes and incline of the green is urgent for effective slack putting. Give close consideration to the breaks and speed of the greens prior to endeavoring your slack putts. Take as much time as is needed to peruse the green from different points and evaluate how it will impact the ball this will empower you as a golf player to improve, informed putting choices.
  • Focus on a Smooth Tempo: Keeping a smooth and predictable rhythm in your putting stroke is vital to accomplishing legitimate distance control. Stay away from jerky or fast movements that can upset your cadence.
  • Prioritize Distance over Line: When facing a long lag putt, prioritize distance control over trying to hole the putt. Focus on getting the ball close to the hole and leaving an easy second putt. By minimizing the risk of a three-putt, you’ll ultimately save strokes and build confidence in your lag putting.
  • Pendulum Motion: Use a smooth pendulum-like motion with your putter to ensure a consistent stroke. Avoid decelerating or accelerating through the ball, as it can affect distance control. Maintain a steady rhythm and tempo in your stroke.
  • Practice Long Putts: Spend dedicated practice time on long putts, specifically focusing on distance control. Set up a series of targets or markers at different distances and try to get the ball as close to each target as possible. This practice will help you develop a feel for different distances and improve your lag putting skills.
  • Pre-putt Routine: Lay out a reliable pre-putt schedule that assists you with getting into the right mentality and advances a repeatable stroke. This routine can incorporate imagining the putt, adjusting your body and putter to the objective, and taking a couple of training strokes.
  • Lag Putt Drills: Incorporate lag putt drills into your practice routine. For example, you can set up a series of cones or tees at various distances on the practice green and try to putt the ball to each target without holing it. This will improve your distance control and help you become more comfortable with longer putts.
  • Play the Break: Understand the break of the green and how it will affect your putt. Aim to start the ball on the high side of the slope to let gravity bring it down toward the hole. This way, even if you misjudge the speed slightly, the ball still has a chance to get close to the hole.

Lag putting is a critical skill in golf that can make a significant impact on your scores. By understanding the importance of distance control and implementing the tips provided, you can improve your lag putting and minimize the occurrence of three-putts.

Drills to Improve Lag Putting Technique

The Ladder Drill

  • Find a flat section of the practice green without much break. You want an even surface to start with.
  • Use a long object like a heavy golf club or alignment sticks to create a straight ladder shape on the green. Space the “rungs” 1-2 feet apart.
  • Start with the ladder at about 3 feet long. As you improve, stretch it out to 5-6 feet.
  • Place a tee marker or ball at the start of the ladder as your target. This is where you’ll putt from.
  • Take your position aligned perpendicular to the ladder rungs. Hit lag putts aiming to roll the ball so it comes to rest between each rung.

Start at the first rung and try to roll the ball so it stops between the first and second rung. Keep moving back rung by rung to increase the distance. This drill grooves the feel of pace and distance control.

The Circle Drill

  • Select a flat section of the practice green and mark a hole or use the actual hole.
  • Draw circular outlines around the hole at distances of 3, 5 and 7 feet away, making each circle about 12 inches wide.
  • Place tee markers at the starting point for each distance – 3 feet, 5 feet and 7 feet from the hole.
  • Take a ball and putt from each tee marker in turn, attempting to roll the ball to a stop inside the corresponding circle.
  • Focus on controlling pace and distance for the lag putts. As you succeed at one distance, move back farther.

Putt and try to stop the ball within the circle. Closer circles require more precision touch and speed. This hones your feel for hitting different lag putt lengths.

The Rear Back Drill

  • Take your normal putting stance next to the golf ball, feet together and aligned perpendicular to the target line.
  • Make a backswing as you normally would, then step back 1-2 club lengths behind the ball to widen your stance.
  • From this rear position, swing the putter forward and strike the ball, focusing on solid contact.
  • Pay attention to the length of your backswing, accelerating smoothly through impact.
  • Start with short putts of 3-5 feet. As you find your feel, move back farther from the hole.

Hit the putt from this rear position, focusing on solidly striking the ball. This exaggerates the lag putting stroke and forces you to swing the putter as one unit. It trains a smooth, flowing stroke.


What is the best putter for lag putting?

  • Look for a slightly heavier head and balanced design.
  • Consider a longer shaft for stability and control.
  • Seek a putter with a face insert for a softer feel.
  • Alignment aids and a comfortable grip can enhance accuracy.

How do you stroke long putts?

When stroking long putts, there are a few key principles to keep in mind. First, adopt a wide stance to enhance stability and balance throughout the stroke. Next, maintain a light grip on the putter and employ a pendulum-like motion, utilizing your shoulders as the primary source of movement. It’s important to maintain a consistent tempo and accelerate through impact for optimal results. Lastly, focus on the endpoint where you want the ball to go, practice distance control, and maintain confidence in your abilities. By following these guidelines, you can improve your long putting game and increase your chances of success on the greens.

How can I make my putting stroke smoother?

  • Focus on maintaining a light grip and relaxed wrists.
  • Practice a pendulum-like motion with your shoulders as the main source of movement.
  • Work on keeping your head and body still throughout the stroke.
  • Develop a consistent rhythm and tempo to promote a smoother and more fluid stroke.

How to accurately judge distance when lag putting?

To master distance control on lag putts, you need to become an expert green reader by assessing slopes, grain, and undulations to visualize the putt path. Use markers to pinpoint the landing spot and adjust pace for faster or slower greens. Develop a feel for distance through practice while paying attention to variables like ball position, stroke firmness, and backswing length. Factor in downhill and uphill slopes, go with your instincts after reading the green, and trust your gut feel on the proper pace and distance. With observation skills, repetition, and experience reading greens, you can hone your distance judgement and become adept at lag putting.

Why is it called a lag putt?

So in summary, the term “lag putt” refers to lagging behind the hole at an ideal distance and desired pace. It demonstrates a golfer’s ability to skillfully control distance, lagging the ball to optimize for the next putt. That’s why it’s not called a “bash putt” or “ram putt!” Proper lag is key.

What is pace in putting?

Pace refers to the speed and firmness at which you strike the ball when putting. It determines how far the ball rolls and how quickly it reaches the hole. Pace must be judged based on the putt distance, green conditions, and grass type. The right pace sends the ball rolling smoothly end-over-end without skidding or hopping. Too soft a pace leads to coming up short, while too firm will send the ball racing past the hole. Controlling pace requires a delicate touch and feel that is developed through practice. Mastering varied paces for different putt lengths and green speeds demonstrates proper skill. Variables like moisture and grain affect pace as well. In essence, pace is a critical factor in putting for properly regulating distance and trajectory.

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