Did you know that the typical PGA touring professionals only three-putts about 3 out of every 100 greens, whereas higher handicap players will average more than 18 times in the same stretch? While better chipping and pitching can greatly improve these statistics as amateur golfers don’t hit nearly as many greens in regulation, the other culprit is long first putts.
How do you improve your long or lag putting? There is no magical formula except to develop your feel by practicing.
I like for students to weekly practice for at least a half hour putts from 50 feet. While many have talked about rolling your first putt within a three-foot circle, a six-foot one will suffice as a goal. And rather than concentrate on line, focus instead on the speed and the amount of motion it takes to roll the ball that far – on the flat, uphill, and downhill surfaces. Hold your finish as the ball rolls toward the hole and feel the force and length of your putting swing. Do this at least once weekly for four weeks. It’s even better if you can create a form of competition with a friend, but nonetheless, this 50-foot range will serve as a good reference point for both your longer and shorter lag putts. As you fine tune your feel, you will be left with shorter second putts.
Soon your approach putts will finish closer to the hole and your three-putt greens will drastically drop.