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Golfing Green Pro Tip: Stay Aggressive On Long Putts

Dave Harget, Cross Creek Golf Club

One of the biggest short-game challenges golfers face during a round of golf is lag putting. Greens on some of the more recently constructed courses in the area can be the size of a good-sized building lot, leaving putts of 60 feet or more making dreaded three-putts a real possibility.

Dave Harget, the teaching professional at Cross Creek Golf Club in Beltsville, regularly offers his students tips on improving their lag putting.

"The biggest flaw I see in lag putting and putting in general is speed control," said Harget. "Most people tend to leave it short. You need to change your mindset and get more aggressive. You can’t be afraid of going past the hole."

To keep that aggressive mindset, Harget advises golfers try and make every putt they hit. 

"The best way to get the ball close to the hole is to try and make it," he said. "Just like a driver, you need to aim at a specific target in the fairway, like a small tree in the distance, to get the ball in the general area you want it to end up."

According to Harget, another key to lag putting success is paying close attention to the break of the green between the ball and the hole. He suggests a simple drill to help golfers improve this part of their game.

Take 10 balls to the practice green and place one ball at 3-foot increments extending all the way out to 30 feet along the same fall line. Read each putt and go through your full pre-shot routine, trying to make each one, just like you would during a round. 

"This drill helps you feel out the subtle differences in speed and break as you get farther from the hole," Harget said. "Make sure you do the drill from all sides of the hole, including an uphill lie, downhill lie and side hill lies."

Issue 153: September 2010