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The Top 5 Lag Putters on the PGA Tour - #3 was a surprise to me!

The Top 5 Lag Putters on the PGA Tour – #3 was a surprise to me!


The Top 5 Lag Putters on the PGA Tour – #3 was a surprise to me!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Lag putting is something amateurs do not practice much. 

Go to any putting green and watch golfers before they tee off. They will hit some 10 footers, some 3 footers, and then hit a few long putts but pay no attention to where the ball finishes.  After they have hit their long putts, they’ll pick up their balls and head over to the first tee.  Spending 7 to 10 minutes working on lag putting, getting the greens’ feel before you go out will help lower your score.  And remember to do this drill before each and every round because the greens’ pace varies from day to day, even on the same course.  Of course, if you are playing away from your home course, even more important!

Mark Brodie, writing for, has selected the top 5 lag putters on the PGA Tour.  You’ll be surprised at the stats, and this might even encourage you to work on this part of your game even more!

#3 Ricky Barnes surprised me, as he is not a regular contender on Tour.  Looks like if Ricky worked more on his long game, he might make an impact!

If you guessed between three and seven, you’re in good company with most of my golf friends. But the right answer is a measly 1.4 holed putts!

Tournament highlight reels lead us to believe that pros sink putts from just about everywhere. So it’s surprising to learn that even Tour winners only average 2.4 holed putts of 22 feet or longer in the week of their victory. That’s far less than one long holed putt per round.

Since 2012, only two golfers have sunk eight long putts in a tournament: Billy Horschel at the 2014 BMW Championship (which he won) and Chris Stroud at the 2014 Crowne Plaza Colonial (T14).

Why do the world’s best players hole so few long putts? Simply put, making long putts is harder than it looks. Tour pros sink only 7 percent of their 30-footers. That small chance of success from long-range—coupled with only 21 attempts per four rounds, on average—leads to few hole-outs from downtown.

Here are the best long putters from the 2014 season, based on strokes gained per round on putts starting 22 feet or more from the hole:

1. Adam Scott.

The Top 5 Lag Putters on the PGA Tour - #3 was a surprise to me!

Adam Scott is the best lag putter on the PGA Tour.

2. Rory McIlroy.

The Top 5 Lag Putters on the PGA Tour - #3 was a surprise to me!

The #1 golfer in the world, Rory McIlroy, would not be there without great lag putting.

3. Ricky Barnes.

The Top 5 Lag Putters on the PGA Tour - #3 was a surprise to me!

The biggest surprise to me is Ricky Barnes at #3 in lag putting in 2014. He is currently not in the top #300 in the World Golf Rankings


4. Graeme McDowell.

Graeme McDowell is constantly working on his putting stroke. That is why he is #4 in lag putting on the PGA Tour.


5. Steve Stricker.

Steve Stricker is one of the best putters on the PGA Tour.

Let’s examine how weekend golfers stack up to the likes of Adam, Rory, and the rest. For putts that start between 25 and 35 feet, Tour pros leave only one in four putts outside of three feet from the hole. Guys like you and me, however, leave one in four outside of five feet of the hole. The main reason recreational golfers sink slightly less than one long putt (from 22 feet or longer) in four rounds? Poor distance control.

To save strokes from far out, like the players above, your goal should be to leave your long putts as close to the hole as possible. If they go in, it’s a bonus.

Try my “Perfect 10” game, which gauges your distance control and measures your progress on long putts. Here’s how to play: On a practice green, hit 10 putts from 25 to 35 feet in length to different holes—say, three from 25 feet, four from 30 feet, and three from 35 feet. Switch up the distances and combine a mix of uphill, downhill, and sidehill putts. Give yourself one point for each putt that finishes within three feet of the hole, and subtract one point for each putt that finishes outside three feet. As the name suggests, 10 is a perfect score, but don’t expect to reach such lofty lag-putting heights. I’ve found that 90-shooters average a score of zero, 80-shooters average two points, and Tour pros typically score five points. My advice: Simply try to improve on your score.

In 2014, Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan significantly improved their long putting under the tutelage of putting coach David Orr, who offers some advice below. Between Orr’s drills and a few games of “Perfect 10,” you’ll be lag putting it a lot closer—and holing out a lot more often.


Many weekend players make a backstroke on long putts that are too short and a follow-through that’s too long. An overly short backstroke requires additional muscular effort to get the ball to the hole, which results in poor touch and inconsistent distance control. With a backstroke of the proper length, the putter can just swing and let the ball get in the way. To home in on the actual length of your backstroke, hit putts from 5, 10, 20, and 40 feet and watch closely to see how your backstroke naturally increases with the putt distance.

Next, hit the same-length putt three times with different backstroke lengths: a short backstroke with a long follow-through, a long backstroke with a short but quick follow-through, and backstroke and follow-through of equal length. The last one should feel the best. Getting used to that feel will help you hole more putts. — David Orr is the director of instruction for Campbell University’s PGA Golf Management Program.

The Top 5 Lag Putters on the PGA Tour – #3 was a surprise to me!

Source: Mark Broadie

Pictures: Oliver Gunning  kompuder_dude  Keith Allison  Secret in the Dirt  Tour Pro Golf Clubs

Thanks for reading – The Top 5 Lag Putters on the PGA Tour – #3 was a surprise to me!

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