Today’s super-manicured and scientifically calibrated putting surfaces make the game of golf more challenging than ever. Fast greens like those we offer on the three nines at Champions Retreat — one designed by Gary Player, one by Jack Nicklaus and one by the late Arnold Palmer — can cause your approach shots or chips to settle further from the hole than anticipated. Thus, long putts are inevitable. Which means good lag putts are crucial.
Clearly all golfers need to master what’s called the “lag” — that first, long putt that needs to nudge the ball close to the hole and eliminate the dreaded three-jack.
Here is a drill that will improve your lag putting regardless of the next course you play and the speed of their greens.
Set your putting stance the same way for any putt and establish the space between your feet as a measure.
Rehearse your stroke to be measured from toe to toe (T2T) (Photos 1 and 2). If you were to use your T2T stroke on 20 putts, they would all end up the same distance from you. The best way to do so is to close your eyes and roll 3-4 putts (Photo 3)…when you open them, pace out the distance from your feet to the average location of those 4 putts (Photos 4 and 5) This is now your T2T distance.
THE LONGER STROKES
Repeat this exercise for two more distances, each time measuring your length of stroke relative to your feet. Two inches past your right toe to two inches past your left toe would be your second measure point (T2T2”) (Photos 6 and 7). Finally, do the same eyes closed drill using a longer stroke, perhaps four inches outside of your right and left toes (T2T4”). Now you have three lengths of putts that you can ensure will go a predictable distance.
PACE OFF THE PUTTS
Make a notecard of your findings:
- T2T distance – 3 paces
- T2T2-inches distance – 6 paces
- T2T4-inches distance – 9 paces Rehearse your putting drill and test your distances to ensure consistency. Then, on your first hole, pace off your distance from the hole and apply strokes 1, 2 or 3.
Remember, before you head to the first tee, establish your putting barometer to ensure that you have tap ins all-day long.