Lou Stagner's Newsletter #26

The 30% Rule - Lag Putting

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Lag Putting - The 30% Rule

I am sure you have heard someone tell you that a good goal for lag putting is for the ball to finish within 10% of the hole. If you are 30 feet away, you want the ball to finish 3 feet or less.

Based on tour data, 10% is a VERY aggressive number for us amateurs. Let’s take a look at some tour data on distance control and see what we learn.

The first image below is for putts from 15 feet and it shows how far short or long the ball finished. The solid black line is where the hole is. All columns left of the hole are putts that finished short of the hole. Columns to the right finished past the hole.

The dashed red line is the average distance (in inches) short/long of the hole. This average only includes putts that missed.

The dashed black lines on the either end represents the 5th and 95th percentile. In the example below, from 15 feet, 5% of putts went more than 45 inches past the hole, and 5% of putts finished more than 9 inches short.

90% of all putts from 15 feet finish within a long/short window of 4’6” (holed putts are included in this).

My Thoughts

For most amateurs, achieving this level of short/long dispersion will be VERY challenging. These are the best players on the planet. They are incredibly talented.

Here is how you can use the data above. If you notice, the “90% of putts finish within this window” is roughly 30% of the putt length.

  • 15 feet: 90% within 4’6” (4’6” / 15’0” = 30%)

  • 25 feet: 90% within 7’0” (28%)

  • 35 feet: 90% within 9’9” (28%)

  • 45 feet: 90% within 12’9” (28%)

This 30% rule is a fantastic goal to aim for when practicing lag putting. From whatever lag distance you are working on, you can try to get as many putts as possible to finish within that “90% window”.

Here is how I would suggest you use the info above. Let’s use the 25 footers as an example. From 25 feet:

  • 90% finish inside a 7’0” window

Place a ball marker down exactly 25 feet from where you will be putting. Place a second ball marker 3’6” short of the first marker. Place a 3rd ball marker 3’6” past. You now have a 7 foot window.

Run yourself through a drill where you hit 10 putts and try to get as many as you can to finish inside the 7 foot short/long window. Keep track of how you do.

After you are getting 8/10 inside the 90% window on a regular basis, start setting up multiple lag putting stations so you can rotate through different distances (never hitting the same distance putt twice in a row).

If you spend time on this, and significantly improve how many of your practice putts finish inside the window, your on course putting will improve significantly. Guaranteed.


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    Have a great week!

Lou Stagner