Lag putting is an important skill on the putting green, and improving it will help all golfers, but particularly those who struggle with distance control and 3-putting. That’s because “lag putting” means consistently leaving yourself with short follow-up putts when your first one doesn’t go in the hole.
You’ll need about a half-dozen pieces of string, cut to about three feet long each, or some other method of laying out on the practice green a progression of regularly spaced distance markers. (You can snap chalk lines, lay down golf clubs, whatever. Wilkins uses string in his instructions below, and rolls the ball over the string. But you can also putt to the side of the markers if you are using clubs or some other type of marker that you can’t roll the ball over.)
It takes the hole out of the equation, with a total focus on distance control. This drill will challenge all players – from the rank beginner to a single-digit handicapper – and will help keep the boredom out of your practice session.
Setting Up the ‘String Drill’ for Lag Putting Practice
When using the string drill, begin by cutting five or six pieces of string, about three-feet long each, and laying them down on the practice green, progressively farther away. Space them about three feet apart.
It’s good to start (putting) at about 20 feet, but you can do this from 60 feet or wherever suits you. You can practice downhill or uphill.
Lagging Your Putts With the String Drill.
Start with about a dozen golf balls. Your goal is to roll them so that they stop in-between the strings.
Use your eyes – look and react to create feel for distance.
Try to roll your first ball just over the very first string so that it stops between the first and second strings. Then roll the second ball over the second string, stopping it before the third string, and so on.
After you’ve mastered putting balls in-between each set of strings, from the closest to the farthest, start mixing it up. Putt to the last string, then to the first, then to the third, and so on.
If you place your strings (or whatever markers you are using) three feet apart, then stopping your putted ball in the appropriate gap means that the longest second putt you would have (if you were putting out to a golf hole) will be about 18 inches.
And if you leave yourself with only 18-inch second putts during a real round, well, you’re going to have a lot more 2-putts and lot fewer 3-putts.