Nothing hurts a golf handicap more than poor putting. You can recover from a bad approach shot, but you can’t recover from a missed putt. We focus in our golf lessons on helping students cut down on their three-putts. Nothing inflates a score like three-putting several greens. A key cause of this malady is poor lag putting. The drills and golf tips we provide below will improve distance control if you practice them regularly.
- This drill not only promotes good distance control, it also teaches you to cope with pressure when facing short putts.
Start by walking off a relatively straight 30-foot putt to a hole on a practice green. Putt five balls per round. After you putt the five balls, walk to them and knock them into the hole. Your goal is to make 50 consecutive two-putts. If you three-putt a hole, start over. If 30 feet is a too far for you to make 50 two-putts in a row, start at 20 feet and work your way back. Imagine the pressure you’ll feel when trying to sink your 49th or 50th two-putt in a row.
- This next teaches you not only distance control, but also how to make solid contact. An added benefit: When it comes time to hit those short putts, you won’t have to worry about hitting the ball on the putter’s sweet spot.
Set up about 50 feet from the hole. Lay a 5-iron down on the green. A 5-iron provides the perfect stroke length for hitting 50-foot putts. Make sure the club runs parallel to your putting line and that the club’s grip points toward the hole. Put a ball down at the shaft’s mid-point. Now putt the ball, with a goal of hitting everything hole high. Use the 5-iron as a guide. Make sure you’re the length of your stroke is the same on both sides of the ball.
- This next exercise is one of the best—and simplest—drills for improving a player’s lag putting. It’s a favorite in our golf instruction sessions.
Set up about 40 or 50 feet from the hole. Then use your dominant hand only to hit putts. Try to get the ball close enough so that you’ll have an easily make makeable putt when the ball stops. If you’re right-handed, your dominant hand is your right hand. If you’re left-handed, your dominant hand is your left hand. (After practicing this drill several times, switch hands. Hit some balls with your non-dominant hand only to improve direction control.)
This drill also lets you feel how your dominant hand controls the speed of your putts and how it feels to propel the ball smoothly across the green to the hole.
- This next exercise is often used in our golf instructions sessions to teach distance and direction control as well. It’s a variant of the drill above.
Take 10 balls and place them in the middle of the green. Mark the spot with a tee. Take a comfortable grip and stance with your right hand on the putter only. From there, putt the first ball with just your right hand at a spot on the green’s fringe. Try to get the ball as close to the fringe as possible without touching it. Take the second ball and do the same thing, but putt to a spot about five yards right of your first ball. Get it as close as possible to the fringe without touching it. Do this all the way around the green until your last ball has been putted. When you’re done, walk to your golf balls and putt them back to the tee using just your right hand.
Don’t let poor lag putting inflate your golf handicap. Doing these drills faithfully—and reading the golf tips on putting in our newsletter will cut down significantly on your three putting.