To play the Lag-Putt Game indoors, you'll need the help of a training aid we developed called the Touch Tutor. Like all of my training aids, the Touch Tutor is built on the concept of easy access to playing games and receiving the feedback necessary for learning -- and getting both on a regular and consistent basis during the week while you are at home.
Set up putts like you did on the previous pages, set the Touch Tutor into its "LAG" mode and aim its aim line along the intended putting direction line (photo, right) and drop a pillow a few feet in front of the Touch Tutor. Position cans or bottles at each of the three reference distances of 40 feet, 50 feet and 60 feet down a hallway as markers. Place a ball on the Touch Tutor and after a good preview stroke, putt it to the 50-foot target. The ball should roll into a pillow directly in front of you.
Play and score the game as you did in the outdoor version. The Touch Tutor will measure the distance your ball would have rolled on a perfectly level putting green of 10-foot green-speed, and report your stroke score on its LCD. It will also report the miss-distance of your putt, allowing you to score the game using the Putt-Remainder method. Easy, quick and fun.
LAG-PUTT GAME: BACKYARD VERSION
Same setup and execution as on the previous pages, but performed in the comfort of your own backyard! Most golfers don't have time after work to drive back and forth from a golf course, take lessons from the pro, and then practice on the putting green. To do all of this often enough to make a difference simply does not fit into most golfers' lifestyles. And this doesn't even address the issue of the expense it takes to consistently mount such an effort to improve your putting.
Would you like to play a few putting games at home in the evenings this week, without driving anywhere, and have this practice time to improve your putting next weekend on the course? Sure you would. I recommend a visit to www.golf.com/pelz for an inside look on how to make a backyard practice station a true reality.
TWO MORE GAMES: EASY ACCESS TO IMPROVED PUTTING
1: AIM GAME
The goal of playing the Aim Game is to train and improve your ability to aim your putter consistently and accurately along the line on which you want your putts to start on short and makeable-length putts. To set up, choose a putting spot that allows you to aim at three different target distances and place a sticker-dot there. Set three Phony Hole targets (or soda bottles or cans) at three distances: 10, 15, and 5 feet. (Place a book as a blocking plate in front of your putting spot so your putts won't hit and move your targets.)
You'll need two items to finish setting up this game. The first is an aim scale, which you create by marking lines on a cardboard strip in one-inch increments (photo, above). Set the scale on your first target (putt at 10 feet first, then 20 and then 5). The second item is a Teacher Pointer (available at pelzgolf.com), which you attach directly onto your putter. TheTeacher Pointer makes it easy for your partner to determine the direction in which you've aimed the putterface. All he or she has to do is align a string held in front of his or her eyes with the red straw on the Teacher Pointer and note where it crosses the scale (top photo).
To play the game, address the putt, aim the putterface and, when you "think" you're aiming directly at each of your targets, have your partner observe and record where you're actually aiming (inches left or right of center). Try each distance twice, then repeat the same cycle of six to complete the game. Your Aim Game score is the average of your 12 individual aim scores.
2: FEEL-FOR-SPEED GAME
The intent of the Feel-for-Speed Game is to enhance your ability to feel small differences in speed that your strokes impart to putts. This is accomplished by engaging you in many repetitions of a single speed-critical putt, while providing you with feedback to fine-tune your mind and body's speed-control muscles.
Each game consists of 12 identical putts from 15 feet, 20 feet, or 10 feet. You select which distance to putt to each time you play a game. Use a Phony Hole (below) so you can play this game anywhere on the practice putting green and indoors. (This game works best on seriously breaking putts, where the line depends more on the speed at which the ball rolls.) In addition to the putt distances, mark a point precisely at the end of the extended putt line 17 inches past the Phony Hole, which is where you expect the perfect optimum-speed putt to come to rest.
You and your opponent alternately putt from each of the three distances. A perfect putt will roll over the center of the Phony Hole and stop on the sticker-dot 17 inches behind the hole's back edge. (The Phony Hole is required for this game so you can see how far putts that would normally be made roll past the hole before stopping.)
Here's how to score: "Made" putts (score = 1) are those that roll at least half the ball over the Phony Hole and stop in the good zone (34-inch-deep semicircle) behind it. A score of 2 is given to putts that miss the Phony Hole but stop in the good-speed zone. Putts that stop outside of (not touching) the good-zone but within 68 inches of the Phony Hole receive a score of 3. Those that end up between 68 and 102 inches from the Phony Hole get 4, and those beyond 102 get 5. Total the scores -- as you can guess, the low score is the winner. A perfect score is 12 -- good luck!
EVEN MORE WAYS TO IMPROVE -- AND HAVE FUN DOING IT!
Dave Pelz's Putting Games (Gotham Books, $30) is Dave Pelz's first book dedicated solely to improving your putting in the convenience of your own home. In it you'll learn how to play more than 20 fun and competitive games to improve your feel, speed and technique. It's the ultimate practice primer for golfers serious about making more putts. Available wherever books are sold.