How many three-putts do you have during your round of golf? Any is too many. The reason for most three putts is usually due to a poor first putt. When you practice putting, what distance do you practice the most? I have noticed that most golfers focus on the two, three or four footers. How many times do you knock it inside that range to have a chance at a birdie?
With the Masters Tournament upon us you will see that the PGA Tour players don’t knock it that close all of the time either. How do they make their bread and butter? They lag the ball closer to the hole better than any other group of golfers. When talking about lagging putts, I am referring to putts that are in excess of 20 to 30 feet or more. Are you trying to make these putts or get it close? On the longer putts, most Tour players’ top priority is to get it close first and if it goes in that is a bonus. With this in mind, practice the following drills to get you to become a better lag putter and actually make more putts and three-putt less:
• Accept the fact that you are going to have long putts. It is inevitable. It’s what you do with that long putt that will make the difference in your score. Set up to hit some putts from 30 and 40 feet to inside a 2 foot circle. Actually, hit it within 2 feet past the hole. This way if it does miss you can get a read on the putt coming back to the hole.
• Close your eyes. Feel the distance by making a couple of practice strokes. Hit putts with your eyes closed from that distance. This will be the true test. A basketball player does not think about how hard to shoot a free throw, he shoots by feel. Now open your eyes and make those same practice putting strokes. The feeling should be the same as when you were putting with your eyes closed. Practice this for about 20 or 30 putts. You will be amazed at the results.
• Compete with a friend. Have a stroke play putting contest with the first putt over 30 feet. You get a point for closest to the hole and a point for the fewest putts on the hole. Play nine holes and see how many times you win now that you have learned how to lag the ball up to the hole, rather than trying to make a low percentage putt and not getting close enough to two putt. Additionally, see how many putts you make or come closer to making than you ever made before.
Have fun and remember, if you need help with this tip or any other, feel free to email Greg at email@example.com or call for a lesson at 623.328.5107.
Be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. or on Arizona Sports 620 or on the internet at arizonasports.com for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.