After 15 years of coaching putting to amateur and professional players I’m very happy to tell you there is no perfect putting stroke. There are many wonderful ways to putt with most allowing you to become a great putter. A cross-handed putting technique (left hand low) is a great option for many players.
In this article we’ll cover why it has become so popular and how to master the left hand low grip. We’ll also cover some great cross-handed putting tips and a couple of small but important details to look out for.
What is cross-handed putting?
Cross-handed putting is a variation of the classical putting grip. In cross-handed putting the left hand sits lower than the right hand (for a right-handed player). There are two really important details required for mastering a cross-handed putting grip – both are covered in this article.
Why is left hand low putting beneficial?
Many players find their wrists break down when putting. When this happens your putter face angle quickly changes, resulting in pulled/pushed putts.
To make things worse, changes in your wrist angle also affects your putter loft causing the golf ball to ‘jump’ – resulting in a poor roll and inconsistent pace control.
You’re right – none of these are ideal for your golf game.
If you suffer from a ‘wristy’ putting stroke the culprit is likely your right hand.
Thankfully, cross-handed putting changes the lever system. Instead of the right hand pushing below the fulcrum, it pushes above, meaning the more your right hand pushes, the more stable your wrist angle will become.
Take a look at the two images below. The left-hand image shows a classical putting grip and the right-hand image shows a cross-handed putting grip variation.
The key to great cross-handed putting
The key to mastering this style of putting is the position (orientation) of your left hand. The putter should run up the lifeline of your left hand, in between the two pads.
When this is achieved you’ll notice a straight line is formed between the putter shaft and your lead arm. You’ll notice this relationship is a common feature in many great putting styles, not just left-hand low putting.
Pictured above is the ideal (left image) and not ideal (right image) left-hand grip for this style of putting. This small detail will greatly change your putting success. The right-hand image is one I see time and time again in amateur golfers and pros who struggle with their putting.
When you have your left hand positioned correctly (left-hand image) any wrist hinge leads to minimal variation in where the putter face points. The further your left-hand grip strays away from this position the more your putter face will rotate with any wrist hinge.
Where to place your right hand
Once you have your left hand in place you have a little more freedom with where you grip the putter with your right. Here are your options:
- Both hands level
- Classical left-hand low
- Left-hand low claw grip
A couple of points to clarify – yes both level hands isn’t strictly ‘cross-handed putting’, but it comes from the same set of principles discussed in this article. It is how I have putted (quite well) for 18 years and it is an option worth considering.
Secondly, all of these variations can work really well, I will leave you to experiment. However, when doing so try to find a position where your left and right forearms are well aligned. This is discussed in the following section.
Below we have four great putting grip variations pictured face on and down the line. Notice in each image how the right-hand tries to mirror the orientation of the left hand, creating neutral forearm and shoulder alignment.
From top to bottom we have: i) Classical Vardon reverse overlap, ii) both hands level, iii) left-hand low and iv) left-hand low claw grip.
All of these putting styles can work well. Have a play around when choosing your preferred style. Creating these grips in front of a mirror will prove really useful when checking the difference between what you feel and what you do.
Grip pressure for left hand low putting
One final point, but an important tip for excelling with this approach. Feel that your left hand has lots of contact with the putter grip and feel more grip pressure on the club with your left hand than with your right.
This style of putting puts your left hand as the controller, it is important that your grip pressure matches this notion.
The drawbacks of cross-handed putting
For all of its benefits, cross-handed putting and variations of cross-handed putting, create some new issues. Firstly, the changes in your grip will produce a steeper swing arc and more of a descending strike compared to traditional putting methods.
The second issue is that this variation of grip often shortens your backswing and limits your ability to produces effortless lag putting.
Don’t worry both can be resolved.
Ball position for cross-handed putting
To mitigate the steeper arc you will need to place your ball roughly 1″ further forward in your putting stance compared to a traditional setup. Traditional putting requires the ball to be ~1″ forward or centre, cross-handed putting benefits from the ball being ~2″ forward.
This small change will greatly improve your strike and how your ball rolls.
Pace putting with cross-handed putting
Cross-handed putting will often help golfers who struggle to hole putts consistently inside 15-feet. However, this approach does require a little more pace putting practice.
Check out this article on putting drills and try out the 10 to 20 feet putting drill. When playing this game you will need to actively think about making a longer backswing as you move to 17, 18-feet and beyond.
You’ll find that your backswing when lag putting will want to shorten over time. This is a small tradeoff for the benefits provided by this putting style and is something that just needs monitoring and practicing from time to time.
Just like golfers who keep changing their putter, changing to cross-handed putting isn’t the magical answer.
The key to great putting is to build a repeatable putting stroke over time that is based on sound principles. The golf ball only cares about impact and how the putter is moving through that zone.
Cross-handed putter provides a great framework for golfers who struggle with wrists stability and an over-active right hand through impact. There are a few trade-offs but I hope this article has shown you how to execute this approach successfully. For more putting tips check out this link.
Remember, if you use this approach stick with it and keep refining the small but important details. Both cross-handed putting and traditional putting techniques are great pathways to becoming an exceptional putter – just stick to your approach and learn to master it.
Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK
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