Hitting A Long Putt

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.

I would also add, knowing how to lag putt is equally important to lower golf scores.

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!


8 thoughts on “Hitting A Long Putt

  1. I had a lesson with Manuel de la Torre in a clinic. His old fashion view of how golf works was amazing. He asked me if I ever played horse shoes. I answered I had. He then asked how I knew how hard to through the shoe. I said I have no idea. He went on to explain how the brain did all the calculation so I did not have to think about it. He had me throw a few golf balls toward the flag stick of which most were right there. He taught me to look at the flag and imagine tossing a ball at the flag. to Visualize my motion then look down and putt. This process has always worked for my distance control. Alibi et doing all the other stuff first of course. letting green reading and such into the head then just imagine the throw, visualize, then perform. Uncanny how well it works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill,

      Thanks for sharing your story. It does make sense that having a process that works, like you do, is very important to hitting a solid long putt. Letting the mind and body take over without too much white noise in the process sounds good to me.

      Cheers Jim


  2. Jim, I have found that holding the finish helps to avoid the dreaded shorting of lag putts. Used to have a recoil in my stroke that made distance control difficult. Not sure why it works but it does.



    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t use the 2 foot behind method. I think that just complicates things for me. I just think back of the cup now. If that means I run 2 feet past or 6, so be it. That’s more dependent on green speed and slope and grain anyway. My choice of speed to hit a putt is determined from what I see in the slopes and grains the ball has to travel over. And I find it easiest to picture lines to the hole not some point through and behind it. Plus, however far the ball rolls past, I get to see it make that journey so I have a good look at the line I need coming back.
    So I stick with back of the cup thinking. That works for me whether the putt is dead straight or has a 6 foot break in it. It works whether it’s 1 foot or 60.
    But there are times it doesn’t work of course. This is golf. We’re going to find ourselves out of position on the wrong tier or sometimes facing a putt where all we can do is pray to get it to stop in time before disaster strikes. The trick is learning which ones those really are. I find they are fewer than we usually want to think. I certainly didn’t make that eagle putt tonight thinking get it close for the bird.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      Your aim pint really does not matter. The fact that you consistently use the same one is the critical point. Because of this, you are using a repeatable putting stroke that will help lower your scores in the long run.

      Cheers Jim


      • I lost a ball today. Changing from the pro v to a calloway ball made a huge difference on the greens. Instantly putts started falling short. The difference between the softness of the covers seemed a good 4 feet of roll. That ball got dumped right quick after it caused me a 3 putt. Went back to my cheap balls and did much better again. Not sure I’d have noticed it as easily but the greens there are really fast and we played in 30 mph winds. Enough to have to adjust for it even on the greens. But it sure was obvious there.

        Liked by 1 person

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