Putting Greens News & Blog
Facets of Putting: The Lag Putt
Monday, September 11th, 2006
Much credit is given to golfers who can consistently hit their irons and woods, and to be fair, it is important to be able to hit the long shots well. However, a well-known fact is that the biggest difference between the games of tour pros and amateur, competent golfers is a rock-solid short game.
When’s the last time you saw a pro three-putt a hole? It happens very rarely, and is usually followed by the sound of a putter being broken or thrown violently away. Two-putting is the name of the game, and the secret to a successful two-putt scenario is the lag shot.
Generally, it is preferable to consider any shot over twenty feet a lag shot. At that distance, getting the ball to drop in the hole is up to the gods of golf. You can spend all day looking at the lie, anticipating the flow of the terrain, but you will not truly know what the ball will do until it is in motion. This is where the lag shot comes in. Start by visualizing the hole as the bull’s eye of a target about five feet across. If you can get the ball to come to rest anywhere in that target area, you’ll be looking at an easy shot for the hole.
Keeping your head still is vital for solid contact with lag shots. This is important with all golf shots, and goes doubly for lag shots. Bringing your head up too soon can cause the ball to hook to your weak side, and over the distance of a lag putt, you might be looking at a twelve foot approach instead of a three foot one just because you wanted to look up to see where your ball was going and got impatient.
Direction is actually less important with lag shots than are distance and control. Sacrifice the laser-precise accuracy of a slow, controlled shot in order to eat the distance between you and the hole. Keep the stroke steady and strong, and keep your hands together and slightly ahead of the club head at the moment of contact.
As complicated a game as golf is, it is vital that you be prepared for any potential shot you may have to perform. Ideally, you want an arsenal of shots prepared, so that faced with something potentially difficult like a thirty-five foot putt, you are positioned to walk away with a solid two-putt.
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