Stickney: Lag putting – why you’re doing it wrong!
As you watch players on the putting green, you will always see people working on putts from close range but seldom do you see anyone really work on their lag putting. And I’m not just talking about 50-plus foot, putts but lag putting from short and mid-range distances.
You know, working on the type of putts that could “get away” from you — the ones from inside 30 feet. The ones over a hump, knoll, on a crown, or those pesky sneaky-fast putts where you walk up to the green thinking possible birdie but walk away with bogey! Always leaves a nasty taste in your mouth for sure.
I have always been a proponent of working on lag putting in two ways with my students:
- Start by working on super-long lag putts back and forth across the green so you get the feeling of the overall green speed and as you get better with your feel work your way closer to the hole. This will help you to figure out the “speed of the green” in general.
- Next find the part of the practice green with the most amount of break or undulation and work on “fine-tuning” your speed by putting to targets that have big hills, bump, and 4+% slopes in them. It is this stage where you are focusing on really understanding what the greens can do at whatever speed they are for that day. This will help you to not three-whip the first hole from 25-feet as you go up over a crown in the putting surface
However, what I see from the average player is not this at all but completely the opposite. They drop three balls on the green hit a few 20-30 footers (not more than 5 minutes tops!) and then move on to putts of close range and then wonder why they have issues on the front nine with their putting feel!
While I was thinking about working on lag putting, I found these graphs from Scott Fawcett and Lou Stagner that really hit home that lag putting is a forgotten fundamental and one people just do not know how to work on properly.
- Here is a chart showing the make percentages for Tour Players on the BEST greens in the world from 3 to 10 feet. Therefore, you can see now why lagging it as close to the hole is obviously a necessity.
- Basically after 10 feet the best players in the world have less than a 1 in 3 chance of making the putt
- The average golfer (18 handicap) only makes 50% of their 5 footers, 65% of their 4 footers, and 84% from 3 foot and in, therefore you need to be a great lag putter if you want to score better!
- From 25+ feet the average amateur golfer will have almost a 1 in 4 chance of three putting showing us once again that lag putting is crucial
Now that we understand what our make percentages are from different distances and how we compare to the professionals on Tour let’s look at the proximity of “missed putts.”
- NOTE: this graphic represents the lag putting ability of PGA Tour Pros ONLY, so you should add a few inches to each of these overall distances to really get the picture of how important lag putting will be for the average player
- What I find amazing is that the there is such a difference between the Top 25 player and all other Tour Pros is from 30-40 feet is almost half a foot closer! Can you imagine what this would be for a normal player?
- If you take time to really study and focus on this graphic you will now see that you can take more strokes off your score daily by lagging the ball closer to the hole
- Obviously, we also need to convert our short putts but the make percentages for amateurs from 3 foot and in is not that bad- we just cannot let putts get outside this 3-foot circle
I hope by now you have made the decision to go work on your lag putting in the two ways I described earlier, I promise that if you focus on “fine-tuning” your feel that you will become a MUCH better lag putter and your scores will come down as a result. Enjoy…
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Clement: “Infallible” release drill to add 30 yards to your drives
Yes, you heard it here: INFALLIBLE! This drill will end all drills as “the” go to drill when your golf swing is hangin’ on or being too forceful! None of my students in the last month either online or in person, French or English, male or female, have messed this up. Pure Wisdom! And we share it with you here.
Kelley: How a change in awareness can influence your body turn
A simple change of awareness can help you understand how the body can naturally turn in the swing. An important concept to understand: the direction the body moves is the engine to the swing. Research also shows the direction the body turns can be just as important as the amount of turn.
Golf is hard because the ball is on the ground, yet we are trying to hit it forward towards a target. With our head looking down at the ball, it’s easy to place our attention (what we are mindful of) on the ground, losing awareness to where we are going. This can make the body move in all sorts of directions, making hitting the ball towards a target difficult.
But imagine if we looked out over our lead shoulder with our attention to the target and made a backswing. Being mindful of the body, the body would naturally turn in a direction and amount that would be geared to move towards the target in the swing. (Imagine the position of your body and arm when throwing a ball). After proper set-up angles, this will give the look of coiling around the original spine angle established at Address.
With this simple awareness change, common unwanted tendencies naturally self-organize out of the backswing. Tendencies like swaying and tilting (picture below) would not conceptually make sense when moving the body in the direction we want to hit the ball.
A great concept or drill to get this feel besides looking over your shoulder is to grab a range basket and set into your posture with Hitting Angles. Keeping the basket level in front of you, swing the basket around you as if throwing it forward towards the target.
When doing the drill, be aware of not only the direction the body turns, but the amount. The drill will first help you understand the concept. Next make some practice swings. When swinging, look over your lead shoulder and slowly replicate how the basket drill made your body move.
The Wedge Guy: What really needs fixing in your game?
I always find it interesting to watch how golfers interact with the practice range, if they do so at all. I certainly can figure out how to understand that some golfers just do not really want to get better — at least not enough to spend time on the practice range trying to improve.
What is most puzzling to me is how many golfers completely ignore the rationale for going to the range to at least warm up before they head to the first tee. Why anyone would set aside 4-6 hours of their day for a round of golf, and then not even give themselves a chance to do their best is beyond me. But today, I’m writing for those of you who really do want to improve your golf scores and your enjoyment of the game.
I’ve seen tons of research for my entire 40 years in this industry that consistently shows the number one goal of all golfers, of any skill level, from 100-shooter to tour professional, is simply to hit better golf shots more often. And while our definition of “better” is certainly different based on our respective skill level, the game is just more fun when your best shots happen more often and your worst shots are always getting better.
Today’s article is triggered by what we saw happen at the Valspar tour event this past Sunday. While Taylor Moore certainly had some big moments in a great final round, both Jordan Spieth and Adam Schenk threw away their chances to win with big misses down the stretch, both of them with driver. Spieth’s wayward drive into the water on the 16th and Schenk’s big miss left on the 18th spelled doom for both of them.
It amazes me how the best players on the planet routinely hit the most God-awful shots with such regularity, given the amazing talents they all have. But those guys are not what I’m talking about this week. In keeping with the path of the past few posts, I’m encouraging each and every one of you to think about your most recent rounds (if you are playing already this year), or recall the rounds you finished the season with last year. What you are looking for are you own “big misses” that kept you from scoring better.
Was it a few wayward drives that put you in trouble or even out of bounds? Or maybe loose approach shots that made birdie impossible and par super challenging? Might your issue have been some missed short putts or bad long putts that led to a three-putt? Most likely for any of you, you can recall a number of times where you just did not give yourself a good chance to save par or bogey from what was a not-too-difficult greenside recovery.
The point is, in order to get consistently better, you need to make an honest assessment of where you are losing strokes and then commit to improving that part of your game. If it isn’t your driving that causes problems, contain that part of practice or pre-round warm-ups to just a half dozen swings or so, for the fun of “the big stick”. If your challenges seem to be centered around greenside recoveries, spend a lot more time practicing both your technique and imagination – seeing the shot in your mind and then trying to execute the exact distance and trajectory of the shot required. Time on the putting green will almost always pay off on the course.
But, if you are genuinely interested in improving your overall ball-striking consistency, you would be well-served to examine your fundamentals, starting with the grip and posture/setup. It is near impossible to build a repeating golf swing if those two fundamentals are not just right. And if those two things are fundamentally sound, the creation of a repeating golf swing is much easier.
More from the Wedge Guy
- The Wedge Guy: It’s not all about distance
- The Wedge Guy: Are you really willing to get better at golf?
- The Wedge Guy: Anatomy of a wedge head
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Modern putting sucks due to distance control cant be natural.
You need a different mechanic to have distance control by default but these guys cant teach you that or tour pros.