How to Lag Putt

By Teresa Justine Kelly

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For beginner golfers, long putts can appear quite challenging. It is difficult to determine the speed and distance required to lag a putt reasonably close to the pin and to ensure a tap-in on your second attempt. With a few simple techniques, you will become proficient at lagging those long, daunting putts, minimizing the dreaded three-putt.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy
  1. Check the direction of the grain on the green. If you are putting with the grain, that is, the grain of the grass is facing downward and away from you, then your ball will roll a few extra strokes. If you are putting against the grain, that is, the grain of the grass is facing you, your ball will not roll as far.
  2. Read the break in the green. If there is a bump in the green, check to see what side is the highest. The putt will naturally roll from the highest side to the lowest. A long putt will not likely be entirely flat. Look at the hole and determine which side is higher.
  3. Aim for a spot about halfway to the hole.
  4. Practice your backswing and forward stroke while looking at the hole, getting a feel for how much distance is needed to putt the ball to the hole.
  5. Visualize a 3-foot circle around the hole.
  6. Aiming for that 3-foot circle around the hole, swing your putter back and then forward, using the same amount of distance on both your backswing and forward stroke to ensure a smooth, even tempo.

Tips & Warnings

  • Determining the distance needed to lag a long putt is usually a beginner golfer's dilemma. Practice on the putting range to develop a feel for distance. The pendulum putting stroke, i.e., the same distance in your backswing as your forward stroke, is a reliable method in promoting a better feel for distance.
  • Do not decelerate on your forward stroke.

About the Author

Teresa Kelly graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She was an editor for seven years for several magazines and publishing houses. Kelly is an avid golfer, a well-known children's book and golf author, and is currently the president of Highview Press/Golfing Lady that produces all occasion golf greeting cards.