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How to Improve Lag Putting

A “Lag Putt” is a long putt, typically anywhere from 30-50 feet in length, where the objective isn’t necessary to make it but simply to put it somewhere inside 3 feet. There are some challenges with lag putting, and an important thing to note is that it helps to be confident with your stroke. Lack of confidence in your stroke can lead to increased anxiety standing over putts, mishits, and ultimately, the dreaded 3-putt.  In this Play Better Golf segment, former Tour Pro and Callaway staffer, Ian Baker-Finch, gives us an excellent warm-up drill to practice lag putting, reduce anxiety on the greens, give you more confidence, and ultimately shoot better scores.

Ian Baker-Finch: Hi there, Ian baker-finch with you again with another Odyssey Roll Call. This is my favorite drill of all time. It reduces anxiety, it teaches feel, it teaches confidence, and it gives you a great feel for the green speed before you go out and play that day. Start with long putts. You can also just throw your chapstick around or a tee if you don’t have enough holes if the putting greens kind of crowded, just throw it 40-50 feet away, you don’t need a hole so much.

So what I do with the first putt is I just hit a normal putt. This is about 45 feet, a fraction right-to-left. Haven’t quite got it there, not a bad putt but I watched it roll all the way. Now, this putt I’m not going to watch until I hit it and I’m going to tell you, I think I’ve hit that pretty good and solid, maybe a fraction left. Yeah, I was pretty spot-on. And this one, I’m going to hit the third putt with my eyes closed. Very solid, that’s a good putt.

So I am confirming the feel off the putter face. I’m also getting a feel for the speed, I’m reducing anxiety by not looking at the roll of the putt, were getting feel back through the putter face and through my hands, so I’m teaching feel as I practice my putting. Now I’ll putt back, just a little left obviously, about 35-feet and once again you can throw a coin or anything around on the green and just putt to that, you don’t have to have a hole. Let’s try it again. So the first putt I’ll hit normally, watch it all the way. The second putt I’ll tell you where it goes before I’ve looked. Veery solid, good putt. Alright, great speed and then this one with my eyes closed. Didn’t quite get that as solid pulled it a little left.

So, I’m learning from the contact off the ball, off the face, I’m getting a good feel for the speed, and I’m moving around before I go out and hit the peak. I’m not just standing in one place going back and forth and drilling a stroke and constantly missing and creating a bad image. I’m getting a great feel, staying warm and relaxed and I’m also improving my stroke while I do it. That’s the key, when you practice try and do something that improves your strokes, improves your confidence, reduces anxiety and it will make you a better putter.