My approach shots often stop 20 feet short of the hole when I play the hilly Phuket golf courses like Blue Canyon and Red Mountain or the new Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin. These golf courses have many elevated greens compared to my relatively flat home Bangkok golf course, Thai Country Club.
Therefore, my lag putting becomes extremely important to achieve a good score and avoid three putting at these Thailand golf courses.
I have found that good lag putting is a function of my ability to gauge ball speed. If the speed is off, I end up way short of the hole, go flying past it, or worse right back down the front of green if its fast and my ball is above the hole, like many of the greens at Alpine Golf Club.
Controlling ball speed is a matter of stroke length, not speeding up or slowing down your motion. To get the ball close on a lag putt, I change my stroke length while maintaining the same rhythm and tempo as I do on other putts. Here's one way to use stroke length instead of rhythm and tempo.
Find a green with a long flat putt. For example, there is a great practice putting green at Palm Hills Golf Club in Hua Hin. Settle into your normal putting stance. Take the putter head back as far as your big toe using your normal rhythm and tempo. Strike the ball as you normally would. When it stops, measure the distance. For me, it's about 20 feet.
Repeat the process. But this time take the putter back until your hands are even with your big toe. Measure the distance. Normally, it's about 30 feet. Repeat the process a third time. But this time take the putter back until your hands go beyond your foot. Measure the distance. Magically, it's 40 feet.
Measure your own putts to see your distance when you do this drill to get your true range. To fine-tune your stroke for in-between distances, take the putter back a little farther or a little shorter depending on the putt's length.
Practice this drill until you have the distances down pat and you'll dramatically improve your lag putting, regardless if you play flat courses like the resort layout at Laguna Phuket Golf Club, or the more challenging courses with loads of elevation changes round the green like Red Mountain Golf Club.
You'll also cut down on how often you three-putt and end up with better scores no matter what course you golf in Thailand!
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