The chances of sinking a long putt of 20+ feet is very slim. It is not because we have inferior skills to those of professionals (and we do), but it comes down to the physics of distance control. Hitting the ball in a 1.70 inch ball into a 4.25 inch hole does not leave a great margin for error. To improve our chances, we should develop a method of putting that improves our chances of at least leaving a tap in putt if we happen to miss. There are many styles and techniques to hitting a ‘lag put’ that most golfers could try in order to improve their long putting. I use a few techniques myself and feel that for the most part they are very successful. In today’s article I am going examine a few presented by Scratch Golf Academy plus a couple of techniques I use to ensure I avoid the dreaded 3 putt.
As stated in previous articles, I believe that speed control is the first factor that all golfers should develop when hitting a long putt. Speed equates directly to distance and understanding this will result in long putts. Before I delve into a couple of my points, here is an interesting video where 3 important factors of long putting are addressed:
As I watched the video, I was a bit concerned about the first point of loosening the wrists a bit when putting. I tried to think if I do that, but I cannot not tell considering my local course is under a foot of snow. If I do lighten the rigidity of my wrists when putting at a great distance, I do it subconsciously. I actually thing that looseness should be felt in the shoulders to allow for a longer, fluid, and tempo induced swing. My shoulder movement was developed to facilitate the movement of my clubhead through a much longer distance than normal. However, you should try to both to see what works for your short game.
One of the things that is often overlooked is being aggressive when hitting a long putt. I would wager that most missed putts of any distance are left short. The margin of error is not as big as one might think, but hitting the ball to the hole is very important to eliminating that dreaded three putt. In order to hit a proper long putt I aim two feet past the pin. Of course my aim point is for long putts like 50 feet because even I (tongue in cheek comment) hit the ball short on long putts. By aiming past the hole I am able to better control my putting distance. Therefore, my one tip I have is to aim past the hole on long putts.
Another tip I use that was not mentioned was my lead hand grip tension. On long putts, I like to increase my lead hand grip slightly in order to facilitate solid contact. As per the second tip from the video above, solid contact is important to ensure consistency on long putts. In my case, I focus on hitting the center of the putter face by counting to one after contact before lifting my head. This technique helps me replicate my swing method with all my long putts so that I can limit the number of stressors on each putt. Keeping my head still after contact helps with my lag putting.
Long putting does take practice in order to be successful. I do hit long putts during my practice time and I ensure that use the same technique for every putt. It helps me reinforce my long putting stroke and limit my number of three putts! I have to add this video again. I have showed it many times over the past few years, but it is worth repeating:
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!