Mastering Lag Putting: Your Key to Breaking 100 in Golf

Breaking 100 is a significant milestone for many amateur golfers. It often seems more difficult to accomplish to the novice.  But once you reach and surpass that milestone, you realize there are a few skill priorities you need to gain control of to break 100. And to build for the milestones ahead.  This is why we coach lag putting at one of the best golfs in Florida. One of those important skills is lag putting. And your ability to control the distances of your putts that are longer than 20 feet.

Lag Putting is more an art than a science, relying heavily on your ability to understand how you and your putting stroke control the distance of putts. Mastering lag putting can immediately reduce the number of 3-putts. And when you look at the total number of putts you make in a round when you can’t break 100, you’ll realize that reducing or eliminating 3-putts are a huge factor to breaking 100 in golf.

A couple months ago we featured short putts to break 100. This month, John Hughes Golf will focus upon lag putting as an essential element to breaking 100. As well as how you can improve this part of your game.

What is Lag Putting?

Lag putting is the ability to get the ball close to the hole from long distances, typically outside 20 feet. The goal is not necessarily to sink the putt but to leave yourself with a very manageable second putt, ideally within 3 feet or less of the hole. Effective lag putting minimizes the risk of 3-putting, the biggest scorecard killer at this skill or experience level.

The Importance of Lag Putting

  1. Reduces 3-Putts: Three-putting is one of the quickest ways to inflate your score. By improving your lag putting, you can significantly reduce the frequency of three-putts. This alone can save several strokes per round, making breaking 100 much more attainable.
  2. Builds Confidence: Knowing you can consistently get your long putts close to the hole builds confidence. This confidence can carry over to other aspects of your game, making you a more relaxed and focused golfer overall.
  3. Saves Strokes: Each stroke saved on the green is a step closer to breaking 100. Even if your approach shots aren’t perfect, solid lag putting can help you save par or bogey, keeping your score in check.
  4. Improves Overall Putting: Practicing lag putting can also improve your overall putting skills. It helps you develop a better feel for distance and speed, which are crucial for all types of putts, including the short ones.

Tips for Improving Your Lag Putting

  1. Focus on Distance Control: Distance control is the essence of lag putting. Practice putting to different distances without worrying about aiming at a specific hole. Use tees or other markers on the practice green to set various targets and work on getting the ball to stop close to them.
  2. Develop a Smooth Stroke: A smooth, consistent putting stroke is vital for controlling distance. Focus on maintaining a steady tempo and rhythm, both in your backstroke and follow-through. Avoid sudden or jerky movements that can disrupt your distance control.
  3. Read the Greens: Properly reading the greens is crucial for lag putting. Take the time to assess the slope, grain, and overall contour of the green. Understand how these factors will affect the roll of your ball and adjust your aim and stroke accordingly.
  4. Practice with Purpose: Incorporate specific lag putting drills into your practice routine. One effective drill is the “ladder drill,” where you place balls at increasing distances from a hole and try to get each ball within a three-foot circle around the hole. This drill helps improve both your distance control and your touch.
  5. Visualize Success: Visualization can be a powerful tool in improving your lag putting. Before you make your putt, visualize the ball rolling smoothly towards the hole and stopping within a few feet. This mental practice can help translate positive imagery into successful putts.


Mastering lag putting is a crucial step toward breaking 100 in golf. By reducing three-putts, building confidence, saving strokes, and improving your overall putting game, you’ll find yourself shaving valuable strokes off your scorecard. Remember, practice makes perfect, and focusing on this often-overlooked aspect of your game can lead to significant improvements. So, the next time you’re on the practice green, give your lag putting the attention it deserves, and watch your scores drop.

Why not visit John Hughes Golf at McLemore Resort this summer and learn how to master your lag putting?  You can do so when you participate in a 1-to-1 golf school and use The Cairn to hone your chipping as well. Learn more here!

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