A simple and effective way to improve your lag putting immediately

putting toward a cup

Ready to say goodbye to those pesky three-putts? Try this technique.

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Three-putts are scorecard killers. Everyone knows that. While pros can avoid them more easily than amateurs, if a mid- or high-handicapper can clean up their lag putting and give themselves easy second putts, it will do wonders for their rounds (and handicaps).

One of the biggest causes for three-putts is poor lag putting. But if you can shore up that area of your game and knock those initial putts to within gimme range or just a few feet away, your scores will go down in a hurry.

Joe Hallett has been a long-time GOLF Top 100 Teacher, and earlier this week at GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers Summit at Pinehurst Resort he shared his go-to lag-putting tip. The best part? It’s extremely simple and effective. He offered two tips to be a better lag putter, but the most important one, which we’ll cover first, is simple — look at the hole as you take your practice strokes before you hit long putts.

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“That will give you the feel of how much effort do I need, what size stroke do I need, what is the pace or quickness of my stroke,” Hallett said. “And then the first thing you gotta do is go, ‘I got to copy that.’ So your eyes and brain have given you the feedback where you go, ‘OK, I got an idea of what that feels like.’ Step up, hit your line and go. So many times on a long putt or lag putt you watch people, and they look at the hole then they look down at the ball and keep working at that practice stroke. That’s not enough feedback. The farther you are away from the hole you got to look at that hole for those one or two practice strokes. And then the goal is: are you a copy cat? Can you just step up and do that again?”

Full disclosure: Hallett told me this tip on Monday. I used it for the first time when I played two days later on Wednesday and it made a huge difference. I’m sticking with it full time.

“You will be surprised how your eyes and brain fix that so quick,” Hallett said. “It’s spooky. Pros do it a lot.”

Hallett’s second tip for lag putting is to always miss on the high side. He says if you miss low, your ball will roll farther away. If you miss high, it will only drift closer to the hole.

Lag-putting drills

— To practice missing on the high side, Hallett says to place an alignment stick on the back end of the hole and have the length of it point toward you. Roll your putts with the goal being to never let your ball hit the stick before it gets to the hole.

— Another easy drill Hallett uses with his players at the end of putting practice is to grab three golf balls and try to two-putt all three from outside 30 feet. When they do that with all three during the same session (three balls, six putts), they can go home. Bonus: If they make one from 30 feet, pack it up and leave for the day.

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Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining GOLF.com in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.