Lag Putting

Good stuff, Adam.  I really appreciate the conversation about chipping, and after spending some time on my chipping yesterday with different degree wedges, I’m reminded of how much more time I need to spend on it : )

I also thought that I would share something that has helped my lag putting tremendously.  My ex-father-in-law had me stand open to the target line on my putting when he was teaching me how to put, and I didn’t really understand why.  He wasn’t always the greatest at explaining why he wanted you to do something, even if he had won a lot of money doing it that way. And what I mean by ‘open’ is that instead of lining up to putt in the traditional way where your feet are lined up parallel to the target line, he had me stand more facing the target, where my left foot was behind the parallel line that my feet are on, and toed more open towards the target, than when I take my normal swing stance (I am right-handed).

I know that Jack Nicklaus stood open to the target line, but he crouched way over and also stood pigeon-toed, and so I didn’t really get it until I saw another tip where the instructor talked about how good your targeting is with your dominant hand—for me, again, my right.  He said that if you faced the target and took a ball in your right hand and simply tossed it at the hole, you’d get it very close.  Gary McCord has gone as far as redesigning his putter to be straight up and down so he can face the target and swing beside his leg at the hole while simply facing the hole.

I’m not that ‘open,’ but I do get my read for each putt, facing the hole, and then always imagine tossing the ball at the hole, underhanded with my right hand.  Then I take my stance and just try to toss the putter head that same way toward the hole, or on my intended line.  The human targeting mechanism is an amazing thing—some of you may have read a book called ‘instinct shooting,’ about shooting a gun, and it’s the same idea.  If you’re having trouble getting your putts close, you may want to use some trial and error with how ‘open’ to stand, but give this a try, and let your natural dominant hand targeting help you.


Written by Wade Baynham
Single-digit handicap, who learned golf in his early 20′s from my former father-in-law, a long time PGA tour and Champions tour player. I enjoy studying the golf swing and occasionally give golf lessons.