5 Best Lag Putting Drills to Improve Your Distance Control On The Putting Green

Last Updated
lag putting drills

Lag putting is an essential skill for both amateur and professional golfers. It involves controlling the distance and speed of your putts to ensure that you leave yourself with the shortest possible next putt. This is particularly important because putting contributes to approximately 40% of your total strokes – get it right, and you’ll notice a significant improvement in your overall golf game.

For those new to the concept, lag putting essentially differs from other types of putting in its focus on distance control rather than solely aiming to sink the putt. Mastering the art of lag putting can be challenging, but with the right drills and techniques, anyone can benefit from improving their distance control on the greens. In this article, we’ll explore some essential lag putting drills and tips to help golfers improve their distance control and ultimately lower their scores.

Key Takeaways

  • Lag putting focuses on distance control, aiming to leave the golfer with the shortest possible next putt.
  • Properly executed lag putting drills can significantly enhance one’s overall golf performance.
  • The article will provide various drills and tips for improving distance control on the greens.

Key Characteristics of a Great Lag Putter

Lag putting is an essential skill in golf that involves hitting long putts (usually over 20 feet) with the intention of getting them close to the hole rather than making them. The main goal of lag putting is to avoid three-putts, set up easy tap-ins for two-putts, and improve your overall putting performance.

To master lag putting, you must focus on a few key components: distance control, speed awareness, green reading, and alignment. Distance control is crucial in ensuring your ball ends up near the hole without overshooting it. Speed awareness helps you understand how much power to use in your stroke, as different green speeds can impact the roll of the ball.

Green reading is the ability to interpret the contour and slope of the green, which influences the path your ball will take toward the hole. This helps you determine the appropriate line for your lag putt. Alignment ensures that your putter face is correctly aimed at your target line during the setup and execution of your stroke.

Here are some essential tips to help you master the basics of lag putting:

  • Determine whether the putt is uphill or downhill: This information helps you adjust the power needed for your stroke. Always confirm your belief by looking at the putt from the side.
  • Read the break of the putt: Look at the green from different angles, including from behind the hole, to determine how the putt will break and influence the ball’s path.
  • Practice different distances: Work on lag putts from various distances, i.e., 30, 40, and 50 feet, to improve your feel and confidence.
  • Maintain a consistent putting stroke: Developing a repeatable and consistent putting stroke ensures better distance control and accuracy in your lag putting.

Remember, the objective of lag putting is not necessarily to sink the putt but to get the ball as close to the hole as possible. By focusing on the fundamentals mentioned, you can significantly reduce the chances of three-putting and improve your overall golf game. So, head out to the practice green and start working on your lag putting skills!

Common Mistakes in Lag Putting

When it comes to lag putting, there are common mistakes that many golfers make. Being aware of these mistakes and learning how to correct them can greatly improve your accuracy and performance on the greens.

Stroke Too Hard/Soft: One common issue is hitting the ball too hard or too soft. This can leave your ball either too far from the hole or well short of the target. To correct this, focus on maintaining a consistent tempo throughout your stroke. For longer putts, lengthen your backstroke while keeping the same rhythm. This will help with distance control and prevent those dreaded three-putts.

Misreading the Green: Another mistake golfers often make is misreading the break or slope of the green. This leads to missing the intended line or direction of the putt. To improve in this area, always take the time to carefully study the green from multiple angles. Look for any subtle breaks or slopes that could influence the path of your ball. This practice will help you become more accurate with your putts and reduce the occurrence of 3-putts.

Poor Setup: Poor setup or posture is another common error that can negatively impact your lag putting. Losing balance or stability during the stroke can send your ball off course and away from your desired target. To fix this, ensure your stance is solid, and keep your head still throughout the stroke. This simple adjustment will promote a more stable foundation and lead to better results on the greens.

Inconsistent Stroke: Finally, many golfers struggle with an inconsistent or jerky stroke when attempting lag putts. This can throw off the rhythm or tempo of the stroke, making it harder to hit your intended target. To smooth out your stroke, focus on maintaining a relaxed grip and even tension throughout your putt. This will help keep your motion fluid and more consistent.

By being mindful of these common mistakes in lag putting and making the necessary adjustments, you will improve your accuracy and reduce the number of three-putts in your game.

The Best Lag Putting Drills

We’ve gathered some of the best lag putting drills to help you sharpen your skills and gain better control over distance and speed.

Note: When practicing your lag putting drills, consider using tees as targets instead of the actual hole. Why? Because tees have smaller targets, which force you to aim more precisely. If you can consistently hit tees, you’ll have no problem with the larger targets on the golf course. Trust us, your distance control and accuracy will thank you.

1. 30-60-90 Drill

This friendly drill helps you develop a better feel for different distances and speeds on the green. Get ready to improve your lag putting skills while having fun!

To start, place three balls at 30, 60, and 90 feet from the hole (or any three distances that challenge you). Now, hit each ball with the goal of getting it within a three-foot circle around the hole. Easy, right? Don’t worry if you don’t get it right away – practice makes perfect!

Mix it up by trying this drill from various locations and angles on the green. The more you practice, the more you’ll develop your feel for different distances.

Keep track of how many balls you get within the circle and try to improve your score. By doing so, you’ll directly see your progress and motivate yourself to keep going. Remember, it’s all about staying consistent and focused on your goal.

Throughout this drill, use a friendly and conversational tone while using clear and concise language. Keep it visually appealing by using various formatting options like bullet points, numbered lists, and bolding the text where necessary.

lag putting drills

2. The Ladder Drill

This drill is a fantastic way for you to hone your distance control and consistency on long putts. By practicing the Ladder Drill, you’ll find yourself mastering those pesky lag putts in no time!

How to do it:

  1. Start by placing five balls at equal intervals along a straight line from the hole (for example, at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 feet).
  2. Your goal is to hit each ball so that it gets as close as possible to the previous ball without passing it.
  3. Mix things up by repeating the drill from different locations and slopes on the green. This way, you’re challenging yourself and improving your adaptability.
  4. Keep score! Track how many balls you get within a one-foot gap between each ball. Strive to improve your score with each attempt.

3. The Clock Drill

Are you looking to improve your green reading and alignment on long putts? The Clock Drill is here to help! This friendly practice routine not only enhances your accuracy, but also makes your lag putting more consistent. So, how do you execute this amazing drill? Let’s dive in!

Firstly, place six balls around the hole at equal distances (for example, at 20 feet) and angles (for example, at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 o’clock positions). Now, with your putter at the ready, hit each ball with the goal of making it or getting it within a one-foot circle around the hole. Sounds like fun, huh?

As you progress and get more comfortable, repeat the drill from different distances and directions on the green. This way, you’re challenging yourself and refining your skills even further.

Don’t forget to keep track of how many balls you make or get within the circle, and try to improve your score as you practice. By consistently engaging in the Clock Drill, you’ll notice increased control and precision during lag putts.

4. The Leapfrog Drill

Looking for a fun way to practice your lag putting under pressure and competition? Try the Leapfrog Drill! This entertaining game not only improves your skills but also adds a friendly competitive spirit. So, how do you do it?

First, find a partner and choose a starting point on the green. Hit a lag putt from the starting point to a hole on the green. Then, it’s your partner’s turn to hit a lag putt from the same spot, aiming to get closer to the hole than you did. Who’s feeling the pressure now?

The rules are simple: the person who gets closer to the hole wins the point and chooses the next starting point. But there’s a catch – whoever loses the point must put out their ball before moving on. Keep playing until one person reaches a predetermined number of points, like 10 points, for example.

5. The Teeter-Totter Drill

Have you ever struggled with speed control on long putts? If so, the Teeter-Totter Drill might be just what you need to improve your feel on the greens. This drill is designed to help golfers hone their distance control and touch, particularly on slope and ridge putts. Ready to give it a try? Here’s how to do it:

First, find a spot on the green with a slight slope or ridge. You’ll need this to challenge yourself and learn to control the speed of your putts effectively. Next, place a ball on the slope or ridge, ensuring it is balanced and not rolling. This will be your starting point for the drill.

Now, it’s time to hit the ball. You aim to get the ball to stop on the opposite side of the slope or ridge, without it rolling back or overshooting the mark. It might be a bit tricky at first, but with practice, you’ll get the hang of it.

Don’t be afraid to mix things up! Repeat the drill from different spots and angles on the green to test your skills in various situations. This will ensure that you’re well-prepared for whatever the golf course throws your way.

Finally, keep track of how many balls you successfully get to stop on the opposite side of the slope or ridge. This will allow you to see your progress and motivate you to continually improve your score.

Tips To Improve Your Lag Putting on the Green

Regular and consistent practice is key to improving your lag putting skills. Make it a point to practice on different types of greens and conditions to build your confidence and adaptability.

In order to improve, focus on your routine and process, rather than just the outcome. This will help you develop a solid foundation for your putting game. Before hitting the ball, visualize your putt. Imagine the line, speed, and break to help you get a feel for what you need to do.

Maintain a smooth and confident stroke while avoiding tension or hesitation. A relaxed, steady stroke contributes to better speed control and accuracy. As you practice, learn from your mistakes and feedback. This will enable you to make necessary adjustments to fine-tune your putting skills.

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind during your putting practice:

  • Feel: Become familiar with the feel of your putter and how it interacts with the ball. Developing a sense of feel will improve your ability to judge speed and distance.
  • Confidence: Trust in your skills and abilities. A confident mindset will help you stay focused when facing challenging putts.
  • Feedback: Pay attention to how your ball reacts after each putt. Use this information to make adjustments, refining your stroke and aim.
  • Practice strokes: Incorporate practice strokes into your routine, allowing you to get a sense of the movement and tempo required for your actual putt.
  • Speed control: Mastering speed control is essential for lag putting. Focus on the length and tempo of your stroke to ensure consistent speed on your putts.
lag putting drills

Advanced Techniques to Improve Lag Putting

Consider using a metronome or a music app to create a consistent rhythm and tempo for your stroke. This will help you maintain a smooth, reliable stroke that’s essential for lag putting, especially on sloping greens where gravity plays a significant role.

Now, let’s talk alignment. On long putts, using a laser pointer or a chalk line can help you better align your putter face and aim toward your intended target. Pros often use these aids to ensure they’re set up correctly before taking their stroke, making it easier to navigate tricky greens and varying grain directions.

Measuring green speed is another advanced technique that can improve your lag putting. A stimpmeter, or a similar device, allows you to measure the speed of the greens and adjust your stroke accordingly. This knowledge will help you better judge your putts per round and lower your scores.

When it comes to your stroke, balance and stability are crucial. Consider using a pressure mat or a sensor to monitor your weight distribution during your stroke. This feedback can reveal any instability or shifting that could negatively impact your performance on the putting green.

Finally, it’s essential to analyze your stroke mechanics. Utilizing a launch monitor or a camera to record your putting stroke can show you areas that need improvement, allowing you to make adjustments based on data-driven insights. Proper green reading and understanding the slope will significantly benefit your lag putting when combining it with solid stroke mechanics.

How to Incorporate Lag Putting Drills into Your Routine

Incorporating lag putting drills into your practice routine can be a game-changer. Let’s discuss the best ways and times to include these drills, whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned golfer.

First, consider dedicating at least 10 minutes per session to lag putting drills. You can do these exercises at the beginning or end of your practice, ensuring consistency and focus. Remember, golf is a process, and excellence comes with practice.

When choosing your drills, pick one or two that align with your needs and goals. Focus on the quality of the practice rather than the quantity, which can mean concentrating on improving your pace or reading greens better. Some options for drills include the Measuring Tape drill or the Feel The Speed drill.

Keep your sessions interesting by varying your drills and distances every time. Challenge yourself with different scenarios and situations. For example, practice uphill and downhill putting from various positions on the green. This diversity in practice can help you become a more well-rounded, adaptable golfer.

As with any practice, it’s important to track your progress and results. You can create a table of contents to outline which drills you’ve tried, the dates you practiced them, and any improvements you’ve made. Reward yourself for the growth you see, as it can keep you motivated and moving forward.

Further Reading – For the most comprehensive guide on putting, including grip styles, tips, and how to practice, see our golf putting and golf putting tips pages.

Success Stories from Professional Golfers

Let’s talk about some professional golfers who have become known for their lag putting skills and how they’ve excelled with it.

Tiger Woods is considered one of the greatest golfers ever, winning 15 major championships and 82 PGA Tour titles. He has made exceptional use of his lag putting skills throughout his career. Known for his clutch lag putts that set up easy pars or birdies, especially in pressure situations, Tiger credits his lag putting skills for saving him strokes and giving him confidence on the greens.

Another talented and creative golfer is Phil Mickelson, winner of six major championships and 45 PGA Tour titles. Known for his aggressive lag putts that often challenge the hole or go in, Phil creates excitement and drama for fans. He says his lag putting skills allow him to play more freely and boldly on the green. Also, Phil Mickelson has been under the guidance of teacher Butch Harmon, who has definitely played a role in enhancing his lag putting abilities.

Inbee Park, one of the best female golfers in the world, has won an impressive seven major championships and 21 LPGA Tour titles. Her outstanding lag putting skills have played a significant part in achieving those victories. Inbee is known for her smooth and consistent lag putts that rarely leave her more than a foot from the hole, making her one of the best putters in history. She attributes her lag putting skills to her practice routine and mental approach on the greens.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best distance for lag putting?

When practicing lag putting, it’s helpful to work on a range of distances to develop your feel and touch. Start with putts around 20-30 feet, progressing to longer ones around 40-60 feet. Remember, the goal is to get the ball within a comfortable tap-in distance, so focus on controlling the speed of your putts to achieve this.

How do you measure your lag putting performance?

Measuring your lag putting performance is essential to know if you are improving. One way to do this is by conducting a simple drill: putt from various distances and count how many putts you can get within a 3-foot radius of the hole. Keep track of your progress over time by recording the percentage of putts you manage to keep within this range. The higher the percentage, the more efficient your lag putting has become.

How can I practice putting under pressure?

Practicing under pressure helps prepare you for real game situations. One way to add pressure to your putting practice is to set personal challenges or goals. For example, try to make 8 out of 10 putts from 30 feet or complete a drill within a certain timeframe. Another strategy is to arrange friendly putting competitions with friends or fellow golfers. Putting a little friendly rivalry and potential rewards on the line can help simulate that “under pressure” feeling.

How often should you practice lag putting drills?

Regular practice is essential for improving your lag putting skills. Aim to practice lag putting drills at least 2-3 times per week, spending around 30 minutes to an hour on each session. Remember that the frequency of practice depends on your goals and current skill level. As you progress, adjust your practice schedule and specific drills to address areas where improvement is needed.

Photo of author


Tommy is a confirmed golf fanatic. He's been playing golf for 20 years and just loves everything about the game. His dad used to play golf a lot and watch the PGA and European Tours, so Tommy started watching too. Now he knows a lot about golf and loves to coach people and help them play better.

Leave a Comment