How to Hit Long Putts in Golf
Unless you hit every approach shot within tap-in range, chances are that your round of golf will include a few long putts. And although the fundamentals of your putting stroke won’t change, there are some adjustments you should make when putting from long distances. This guide has you covered.
The Importance of Lag Putting
Lag putting — the ability to get long putts within a couple of feet of the cup – is one of the most important skills amateur golfers can work on to lower their scores. Good lag putters have very few three-putts during their round of golf, and nothing lowers a score like less putts per round.
Although getting the ball going in the right direction is important for every shot on a golf course, the most vital part of being a good lag putter has to do with touch — your ability to feel the right amount of power needed for a shot. In long putts, the distance your ball travels is far more important than the line of your putt.
Here are some tips that will have you hitting great lag putts in no time.
Reading the Green & Visualizing the Putt
As with any putt, the first step is reading the green. Get down low behind your ball to check the green for its slope. For more detailed tips on reading greens, check out the iSport guide, “How to Read Greens.”
When you read greens, try to visualize how the ball is going to roll on its way to the cup — that’s especially important on long putts. Try to envision the entire path of the ball and take practice strokes with that distance in mind; try to feel the right amount of power needed.
Remember, on long putts, the most important information you need to focus on is how hard or soft you hit the ball. Work on your touch to get the right distance on lag putts, and you’ll see your scores improve dramatically.
Posture & Setup for Longer Putts
Regardless of distance, the fundamentals of the putting stroke won’t change from your normal routine. That is, you won’t speed up your rhythm at all for longer putts — you’ll just take a bigger stroke back and through the ball.
But, you should make some adjustments to allow the bigger stroke to take place without interference. Here are some of the most important adjustments to make:
- Set up with your feet slightly wider apart than you would for a shorter putt. Set them just over shoulder-width apart.
- Have the ball in the front-center of your stance, a bit more forward than in the middle.
- Stand a bit more upright than you would for short putts. This will elongate your arms so they can swing a bit more freely.
Practice without a Cup
To be a consistently good putter from long range, you really need to let go of the obsession to make every putt you hit. A good way to break that habit and instill a better lag putting mentality is to practice putting without a cup.
Try putting to the edge of the practice green. Putt a few balls from 20 feet or so, and try to get them as close to the edge of the green as possible without touching the fringe. What you’ll end up doing is focusing all of your energy on getting the right touch, and you won’t get down on yourself for not sinking every one of your putts.
Keep practicing, and pretty soon you’ll regularly card zero three-putts (or worse) in your round. Your scores and handicap will improve when you feel confident over these long putts.