We always take the ambitious route when we play golf and go for a hole-in-one right off the bat!
But, if you can’t hit a hole-in-one, you can try for a hole-in-two.
What this means is you can practice LAG PUTTING!
In this guide, you will learn the basics of lag putting and common lag putting drills to further improve your putts. These will help you work your way up to landing a hole-in-one!
What is a Lag Putt?
Often shortened to “lagging” when putting over long distances (like 30 feet or more), the golfer wants to avoid making three-putts as much as possible.
A lag putt is a long putt wherein the golfers try to putt the golf ball as close to the flagstick and hole as possible. If it does make the hole, then great!
Otherwise, at least it is close enough that the golfer is guaranteed to land it in the hole on the SECOND PUTT, thereby avoiding three putts.
Most golfers usually try to putt their balls around 3 feet from the hole, which is close enough that they will shoot it inside on their second putts.
Lag putting is a great way to practice distance control over a long putting stroke, especially on the putting green.
7 Easy Lag Putting Drills to Follow
In order to practice your lag putting, you can try these simple drills so you can hit putts at long distances and become a better lag putter!
Here are some drills used by professionals that you can try too.
1. The 30, 40, 50 Drill
Here is one great drill used by professional golfer Phil Mickelson!
Like most tasks, repetition greatly helps in improving certain skills! And the case is no different with lag putting!
- With this easy drill, start by setting up the first tee on the practice green 30 feet away.
- Then move up to 40 and 50 feet. Practice your putts at each position multiple times until you land the ball 3 feet away from the hole.
- Keep doing this until it lands close enough to the hole.
- Don’t forget to monitor your progress closely.
From there, the long putts should not be a problem, and you will be able to control your swing regardless of the distance!
There are variations of the drill at different distances too! You can start at shorter distances like six-footers and work your way up to longer distances where you’ll need a slightly longer stroke.
2. Eyes Open and Eyes Closed
This practice drill may sound weird, but it emphasizes the importance of stroke FEEL! Here’s how it works!
- Place four tees in a circle around the hole (around three feet apart) on the practice green. Then take 10 golf balls across the field at a far enough distance on the golf course.
- Hit the first 5 balls with your eyes open and try to see if they land within the tee circle.
- If they land within the tee circle, try the next 5 with your eyes closed!
- This may seem counterintuitive, but as mentioned earlier, lag putting is also about feeling!
- Do not worry if the balls do not land within the tee circle. After all, you can’t see!
- Keep trying these steps until you are comfortable with the feel and swing of your putts.
After more putting practice, your putt swing will come naturally, and before you know it, you are lag putting with your eyes closed!
This drill helps build confidence with your putt, even if you practice with your eyes closed. You will learn the right speed control and feel of your putter, making lagging easier!
3. Quadrant Drill
This drill is a simple one!
- Start by placing an alignment stick (you can use golf clubs or any alignment rod) and laying them out on the fringe (or edge) of the putting green 3 feet apart. Five is a good number to start with!
- After setting up, you should have four big square sections of each alignment rod or golf club and the edge of the practice putting green.
- These sections are where you will practice landing your balls!
- The next step is to walk a good distance (maybe 30 feet) as your start line.
- Then take 5 balls and practice putting them into one section.
- Keep trying until you land 5 balls in a row in each section.
- If any ball goes beyond or misses completely, try again! Repeat the next day and try farther distances!
This is a good drill for practicing speed and feel and reading breaks from farther distances.
- BREAK refers to the amount a ball moves left or right as it rolls.
- Reading break gives you information on how much you should adjust your balls on the putting green.
4. Ladder Drill
The ladder drill is one of the most popular golf drills professionals use! This is another drill that can help you practice speed and control of your stroke!
- Take five golf balls and place them in a straight line on the green. Place them around a foot away from each other.
- Once all balls are lined up, hit the first one around 10-30 feet without paying attention to the direction.
- Your next putt should land farther from the first one, and the next putt farther than the second, and so on.
The goal of this drill is to hit one ball so that it lands farther than the previous one, creating a nice little ladder! If done correctly, all 5 balls should end up in a straight line, the same line as earlier!
You can do this drill at home if you have a wide enough carpet or golf putting mat. You can also start with three balls and work your way up to more than five balls!
This drill is designed to help you get a feel of the stroke of your putt. You will also learn how to putt an extra foot when needed. It also helps you practice shorter putts as you move up to long putts.
5. 9-Point Game
When it comes to golf putting drills, you can develop creative ways to practice! One way is to make a fun little game out of it, like the 9-point game!
This drill is really helpful with speed and distance control, all while making it fun!
You will need 4 tees, golf balls, and your putter for this drill.
Place two tees on the opposite sides of the hole around a golf club’s length apart. Then place the other two tees behind those tees, also around a golf club’s length apart.
You should end up with a little RECTANGLE with the hole outside it.
Once you have your setup, pick a distance to putt from (usually a range from 6 feet to 30 feet will do; you can go farther or do any combination.)
Here’s how the 9-point system works:
- If you successfully putt it into the hole, that’s +3 points.
- If you miss the hole but land within the tee scoring zone, that’s +1 point.
- If your ball comes up short and does not even hit the tee scoring zone, that’s -1 point.
- And if it goes long and past the hole and scoring zone, it’s back to 0.
The goal is to get 9 points in three putts or after as few putts as possible!
You can also switch it up by creating the rectangle around the hole. This way, the hole is inside the rectangle instead of outside!
6. Billiards Method
This drill is an easy one that does not require a golf hole!
Instead, this drill is meant to help you practice your putting stroke and distance control. It’s super simple and doesn’t require any additional items or setups!
All you have to do is stand on one end of the putting green and try to putt the ball to the other side without it going over the fringe. The closer your putts are to the fringe, the better!
By removing the additional challenge of trying to shoot it in the tiny hole, you can practice hitting balls and perfecting your putt stroke, which will help you get comfortable with the distance and speed!
Think of the course as a billiards table, and you are trying to shoot into the pockets (or, in this case, the fringe.)
7. Visualization Methods
Many golfers will agree that lag putts are all about confidence and training your mind and muscles to make a successful lag putt.
You can practice your lag putt by VISUALIZING!
One way to do so is by taking a separate ball or any similar-sized object and placing it near or around the hole (3 feet will do).
- This object acts as your reference point or marker as to where you want to putt.
- By placing a marker, you can visually see where you want the ball to land, which sends a message to your body and mind as to how much force you will need to land it as close to the marker as possible.
Think of it like a “keeping your eyes on the prize” kind of deal!
Doing this can mentally prepare you for your lag putts and control speed and stroke!
Other Helpful Lag Putting Tips
Aside from the drills mentioned above, you could even combine two drills to make it more fun and challenging!
For example, you can combine the quadrant drill with the 9-point game. You can set each quadrant to have a certain point value or something similar.
A little patience goes a long way!
You will not hit successful lag putts on your first try. You don’t want to be too excited about hitting close to the cup that you end up swinging too hard!
Allow your putt stroke to come naturally and be relaxed. Be patient, and eventually, you will hit 30-foot putts in no time.
Of course, slopes will affect where your ball will roll toward!
As you step onto the greens, you want to pay attention to if the course is going uphill or downhill and adjust accordingly.
To help you with this, here are a few tips:
- Find the LOW SIDE of the green. What side of the green is everything going to roll towards? You will then understand that most putts will roll towards that direction.
- Figure out which side of the cup the ball will roll towards. This is BREAK, which we mentioned earlier.
- The ball will not necessarily go straight inside the cup and may veer to the left or right because of the slope.
- You can figure this out by stepping behind the cup and finding where exactly you want your putt to enter.
- Find the HIGH SIDE of the break, meaning where you want the ball to start curving.
- More often than not, the direction of your ball is curved, so you want to aim it towards the HIGH SIDE.
- Once the ball reaches that point, it will start to curve towards the direction of the cup.
Reading the greens is a lot of trial and error, but holing putts will be easier once you get the hang of it!
Practice, Practice, Practice!
This tip is pretty obvious, but it is probably the most important one!
Your golf putts will not get better overnight! It is important to dedicate time and effort to improving your putts!
Learn to get comfortable with all elements of the putt. Practice your putts from 5 feet, then work your way up to 10 feet, 15 feet, 20 feet and so on!
Be aware of your swing speed and control as you move on to the next distance!
And there you have it! You now have all the tips on being a better putter and some drills to help you get to that two-putt!
Lag putting and golf, in general, are quite difficult and take a lot of time and practice to perfect.
But it is not impossible! With the right attitude, diligence, and practice, your two-putt will come like second nature, and you will find yourself moving on to the next hole in no time!