Lag Putting is an Important Golf Skill

I do not intentionally lag putt often. I believe that trying to sink every putt is important to my game because it keeps me aggressive. It is this continue effort to push my limits that helps me to shoot low golf scores. There are risks of course, but with no risk is very little reward. Having said this, I recently read an article that eluded that lag putting is an important skill that all players should master. After some thought, I would have to agree with the article.

Just so there is no confusion, a lag putt is defined in the article called: Explaining the Lag Putt in Golf a longer putt a player has low confidence of sinking so getting it close is very important. After reading the article, I would expand the definition to eliminate the distance and add degree of difficulty. Some downhill sliders are more challenging that a 20 foot flat straight putt. So, distance is a red-herring to me.

If you are wondering, here is how often most players lag putt in 18 holes:

I actually thought that the numbers were quite high and a the greatest percentage would have been in answer B. But it seems that players are less aggressive than I thought. Personally, I am in answer A. I understand the importance of lag putting, but only use it if the degree of difficulty of the putt exceeds my comfort zone and this is rare.

This is a 25 foot putt. Given the current definition, a lag putt to within 3 feet is warranted. However, I disagree. This is a low difficulty put and trying to sink it is my only option.

We established that lag putting is a skill that to be learned by all golfers. Hitting ball close does rely on line to a degree, however I believe the most important factor in lag putting is speed. Knowing how to the proper distance, even if the line is off a bit, will leave the player with a short putt, thus avoiding the dreaded 3-putt.

My above observation does contradict my previous article where a very good video demonstrated that line is more critical when putting. However, one of the respondents then suggested that line is critical on shorter putts and speed on longer putts. For this I must agree, but also add (again) distance is not as important as the degree of difficulty of the shot. Any way we slice it, lag putting is still an important skill to learn.

I think back to playing in a military national golf competition at Shilo, Manitoba, where I putted off the greens 7 times over the 54 holes. I was not as cognizant on when to be aggressive and when to play safe as I am now (education and knowledge is the silver bullet to success). I sure could have used a few lag putts at that time by controlling my speed better.

I plan to work on my lag putting over the summer by honing my ability to control my speed. I think this will save me a stroke or two during a round and hence help lower my golf scores. Now if the snow would go away so I could get out on the grass, that would be awesome! πŸ™‚

Do you lag putt often? What is more important to you: line or speed?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

8 thoughts on “Lag Putting is an Important Golf Skill

    • Brian

      The putting stats are crazy. The 3-putt avoidance is the one that caught my eye. Is the pressure so great that they charge everything at the hole in the chances of making it regardless of the risk. I wonder.

      Cheers Jim

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  1. I guess it depends on your definition of what a lag putt is. I aim to sink them all but there are times when I’d rather have the ball sneak up on the hole than blast by it. And it’s often just fine with me to have a long put miss the hole but stop anywhere inside of 3 feet. That doesn’t mean I was trying to miss it, I just didn’t want to blow it 10 feet past the hole. So I guess you could put me in group 1 with you.

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  2. I only lag putt when over forty feet, or as you say, on slippery downhill putts as a rule. Except when playing Matchplay – much more lag putting then. I’m pretty good with speed and line on long putts, and usually get them to tap in distance. I am not good on short putts which I should make – need lots more practice here, but have two young daughters and work, so will be poor at that for a few years yet 😝

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    • I can see how 40 feet would warrant a lag putt. It is unlikely we would make that put very often. As far as short putts, practice is the only advice. However, you indicated that life is pretty full, so acceptance (for now) is the way forward for sure. Thanks for commenting.

      Cheers Jim

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  3. Speed is always the most important part of putting. As one old friend taught me years ago, you rarely miss a putt five feet to the right or left, but more often leave putts five feet short or long, so practice speed. In other words, three-putts usually come from having no touch as opposed to bad aim.

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    • JJ,

      I have always thought that at will. It seems I might be conflicted. I generally have a good handle on speed, I have worked on it for a long time, but rarely for distances over 20 feet. Always something new to work on.

      Cheers Jim

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