This is a great game for improving your ability to roll long putts close to the hole, and thus avoiding the frequent three-putts that most golfers experience from lag-putt distances.
Even the world’s greatest putters can’t expect to make many putts from more than 40’, there are just too many variables that are out of your control, such as the varying speed and condition of the greens, wind and moisture.
Of course, it’s great to sink a few of these, but the most important thing, at all levels of the game, is to control the speed of your putts and leave them close enough to the hole to be sure of two-putting almost every time
As described in Putting Game: Golf Isn’t Fair!, distance control is everything from long range. Picking precisely the right line is often impossible, due to the many variables, but the average golfer will usually have a good chance of picking a line that will get the ball reasonably close to the hole, given the right pace.
Very few amateur golfers practice these putts enough, and when they stand over a 50’ (15m) putt in competition it’s pure guesswork. Three-putting is the all-too-likely result.
You’ll play lag putts in almost every round of golf that you ever play, and, if you score poorly at this game, improving your skills here will lower your scores.
This game involves playing putts from 40’ (12m), 50’ (15m) and 60’ (18m) from the hole. This is the range that you will most likely encounter out on the course. Once you can handle these three distances well, you’ll be able to easily finesse your putting touch for any distance in between.
Putts much longer than 60’ are rare, and so won’t affect your scores very much. You should have a bit of fun rolling a couple of 100’ monster putts once in a while, just so that you’re not in shock on the rare occasion that you face one, but it’s not worth spending much time practising from here.
How to Play
To play the Lag Putt Touch game, do the following:
- Choose a hole on the practice green where you can play putts from 60’ (18m).
- Don’t choose a hole and line that will give you a break of more than 6’, or that is severely downhill. Instead, look for a line that will test your putting ability for the putts that you most often expect to encounter on the golf course.
- Walk 40’ (12m) from the hole (13 large steps plus one foot for an average adult male) and mark this point with a tee.
- Now move out to 50’ (15m) from the hole (another three steps plus one foot) and step aside so that your line avoids your footsteps. Mark this point with a tee.
- Mark another point 60’ (18m) from the hole by walking another three steps plus one foot, and again step aside so that your line avoids your footsteps.
- Play a putt from each of the three marked distances, starting at 50’, then 60’, and finally 40’.
- Repeat the process, playing three more putts from 50’, 60’ and 40’, from a different angle.
- Repeat twice more, on a different hole if you can, for a total of 12 putts, no two putts from the same place. Try, as far as possible, to play from up-, down- and two side hill directions.
It is important that you perform your full pre- and post-shot routine for every putt. Go through your green reading process, take your time to visualise the stroke, practise your quiet eye technique, try the right amount and react to the target. Use your post-shot routine to actively build your self-image and learn from your mistakes.
Always record your score in your practice session log, and try to beat your best score each time you play this game. The competitive edge is crucial.
Score each putt as follows – it’s easier than it might sound, just keep track of how you are doing versus “par”:
- Holed putts count as 1 stroke (1 under par)
- Putts that stop within a standard putter length (34”, 86cm) of the hole, in any direction, count as par, 2 strokes.
- Putts that stop more than 34”, but within one and a half standard putter lengths (51”, 130cm), from the hole count as 3 strokes.
- Putts that don’t meet the above criteria and stop within 2 putter lengths (68”, 172cm) of the hole score 4 strokes, and 2 putter lengths or more from the hole is 5 strokes.
All second putts are given.
So a par score is 24, and the best possible score is 12. Any score above 45 is poor, indicating that you need to work hard at improving from this range, and that you have a lot to gain by doing so. A world-class putter would expect to score 26 or less.
The target area of within 34” of the hole is the area you should always try to leave missed putts from long range. From here, with good technique, you should be sure to make the next putt.
When playing this game, you should be paying full attention and trying your best to shoot a low score.
How to Compete
This is a great game to play against a partner in match play format, and it should only take about ten minutes.
Toss a coin to determine who plays first, then both players play from the first 50’ point. Second putts are not putted out. The winner of each putt is the person who gets the lowest score. Play then moves onto the next point, where the winner of the last hole gets the honour. Best of 12, ties go to sudden death.
This game forms part of the Golf Loopy Putt like a Champion series, the sensational new putting game improvement system that will help you to improve every aspect of your performance on the greens. The improvements will be dramatic, and they will be permanent.