Putting - Die vs Lag, Which is Better?

Asheville Golf Home

Dear Jitterbug,

Do you think it is better to be a firm, hold-the-line type putter, or to putt the ball so that it barely drops into the cup?

Jerome Holden

Jitterbug Gang Fan


There are some who like to say, “Never up, never in.” And, while this ordinary truth is, to many, a great truth, it’s no more insightful than the observation that a ball putted past the cup didn’t fall either. Equally obscured is the understanding that the farther past a putt rolls, the more certain it never had a chance.

Either philosophy can be taken to too great an extreme. The plight of the die putter is irksome, though he may three-putt only rarely. The ram-the-ball home type putter will drop some unbelievable, across-the-green bombs, but watching him perform is hard on the nerves.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, “Do it your own way.” That’s probably a good philosophy when it comes to putting.

Mr. Vaughn:

Too often, I’ve heard a well-wishing player advise, “OK, partner, no matter what, at least get it to the hole.” What follows is usually pitiful at best. Instead of being single-minded about what’s required to hole the putt, the advice taker is now consumed with not committing the cardinal sin of leaving an important putt short. Anybody who has ever played in a scramble format knows exactly what I’m talking about.

I admit there are some golfers who characteristically jam the ball into the back of the cup, and others who simply snug it up soft. But, it’s not in obedience to a certain philosophy that determines how hard the good putter putts the ball. Instead, it comes down to how each individual’s mind imagines a ball finding the hole. Some imagine it firmer, while others see it easy.

Thus, I don’t believe anybody should adhere to a firmness philosophy, as this is time spent away from dealing with the task at hand.

Lord Berry:

One must not cling to an all-encompassing, systematic view with regard to firmness of stroke. Rather, I suggest you examine your own putting, chart all your putts and see where you consistently err. If it is in leaving putts short you lose the most strokes, then by all means, learn to putt more firmly. If you can attribute a fair number of three-putts to socking the first putt too far, then the answer for that should be obvious too.

Asheville Golf Home

Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner

Ask Jitterbug - Author Bobby Steiner

About the Author

The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.

You can reach Bobby at: www.bobbysteiner.com or bobbysteiner@msn.com

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Die vs Lag Putting