Lag putting: avoid three puts with these easy tips

Putting can be one of the most frustrating parts of golf. You could hit a great drive or fairway shot, but if you don’t sink your putts, you will find it very hard to make par. One of the toughest putts to sink is called the lag putt. These are putts that are too far away from the hole to make in one stroke, and handling these shots correctly takes a good amount skill and strategy. Luckily, the tips and drills in this article will have you lag putting like a pro in no time.

What is a lag putt?

Lag putting is another term for hitting a long distance putt. Lag putts happen when the golf ball is far enough from the hole that there is no realistic chance of hitting the ball in with just one shot. Instead, the golfer will hit their first putt close to the hole in hopes of sinking their next shot.

When a player hits their ball with the goal of getting close to the hole rather than sinking their putt, this is known as “lagging” the ball. Shots hit from the edge of the putting green are often good candidates for lag putts.

Why is hitting lag putts correctly important?

Lag putts happen surprisingly often on the golf course. Even with a solid drive and approach shot, you’ll often find yourself over 25 feet from the golf hole. At this point you’ll find it very useful to be able to hit a good lag putt.

Hitting the long putt can be a difficult skill to learn. This is because you’ll need to both judge your distance correctly and also take the terrain into consideration as the ball rolls towards its hole. It can be very easy to overestimate or underestimate the amount of force you’ll need to hit longer putts.

However, the effort to hit a good lag putt is worth it, as good lag putting can drastically cut down on the number of three putts that you have to hit. Improving your lag putting will lead to lower golf scores surprisingly fast.

Players that miss their second putt often blame their lack of skill at short putting. The truth is that most second putts miss because the first putt did not set up their second shot properly.

How to lag putt: keys to improving your long putt

Improve your lag putting to start hitting long putts

There are three main lag putting tips that can significantly improve your short game:

Get a good pre shot routine

The first thing that you want to do to start sinking long putts is to get a good pre shot routine. Mental preparation is one of the most important aspects of golf, and often the shot is won or lost before you even approach the ball.

To start, first step to the side of the ball so that you can view the entire path from the golf ball to the hole. Where you stand should make a triangle between the ball, yourself, and the hole. This will help you get a very accurate perception of the distance that the ball will need to travel to reach the hole.

When you come back to the ball, take a few practice strokes before lining up to take your shot. During each practice stroke, you should concentrate on how hard you need to hit the ball to travel the full distance to the hole. This will help with your speed control, which is a crucial factor when hitting a good lag putt.

Aim to win

Some people who have played golf like to imagine a large target when aiming the ball. This is especially true for lag putting, where players are only trying to set up a second putt. However, this method is completely flawed.

The better way is to imagine a small target, the idea being that you “aim small, miss small”. Trying to sink the putt, even from a far distance, is the best way to focus yourself for an accurate shot.

If you aim small, you will likely be very close to the hole even if you miss your shot. If you aim big instead, you may miss your large target and be even further away from the hole. Aiming small is the best way to avoid winding up with a three putt.

Play the break correctly

Breaks on a lag putt can be very tricky to play correctly. On a lag putt, the ball will be traveling quickly over a longer distance. It will be safe to ignore the break on the first part of the hit because the ball is traveling so fast.

Wait until the last third of the ball path to start considering the break. Once the ball starts to slow down a bit, it may break with the slope of the terrain.

Lag putting drills: the best way to improve your lag putting

The above tips are a great starting point to improve you lag putting, but only if you practice them. The best way to do this is by taking a bucket of balls to your local practice green, and trying out the drills listed below:

The Pendulum Drill

To do the pendulum drill, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the practice green and set up several tees at different distances from the hole. These can be at intervals of 20, 25, 30 feet….
  2. Practice sinking putts from these different distances. If you want, you can use an alignment stick to help with your initial aim.
  3. Focus on the pendulum motions that the putter makes, noting how far you need to take the club back at the different distances.

Closed Eyes Drill

To do the closed eyes drill, follow these steps:

  1. This drill should be done right after the pendulum drill. It can almost be thought of as a follow-up to that drill.
  2. This time when you approach the tees to hit the ball, do it with your eyes closed. Imagine how far back you previously had to take your club to hit the ball correctly.
  3. After you hit the balls, observe how far off you are on your hit.


Lag putting can be intimidating at first, especially for newer players. However, if you keep a cool head and focus on the tips listed in this article, you should be able to start 2-putting every long shot.


How do you make lag putts?

To make a lag putt, focus on these three things: having a good pre shot routine, aiming small, and playing the break correctly.

What distance is a lag putt?

A lag putt is any distance that you believe will be difficult to sink in one stroke. For these putts, you will hit your first shot to set your second shot up.

What is a lag game in golf?

Lag game in golf is when you hit a first shot in order to set your second shot up. This is very common in putting where players “lag” their shot on purpose to land close to the hole.

How do you hit a long putt?

To hit a long putt, focus on these three things: having a good pre shot routine, aiming small, and playing the break correctly.

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