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Is There A Proper Putting Grip?

After many years coaching golf I can whole-heartedly say that improving your putting grip is possibly one of the easiest things you can do to improve your golf – it’s almost like cheating! However, many golfers ask me if there is such a thing as a proper putting grip.

The short answer is no – there is no definitive way to hold the putter. However, all great putters do have commonalities in how they hold a putter.

In this post I’ll talk through what all great putting grips have in common. It is then up to you to find your own version of the proper putting grip based on what we discuss below. 

Why do I need a proper putting grip?

Most golfers don’t use the proper putting grip, instead they just adapt their full-swing grip. The ideal full-swing grip is great for hitting the golf ball a long way, but can be disastrous for putting. It means that any unwanted wrist action (wrist flexion – extension) during your putting stroke will lead to a large amount of club face rotation, resulting in equally poor accuracy and distance control. 

A golf ball that starts any more than one degree off-line is going to lip out, or completely miss the hole from 10-feet.  Therefore, we need a putting grip that will minimise any unwanted club face rotation.

The key change to transition from a full swing grip to a proper putting grip is in how we orientate the putter grip to our hand. In the full swing, the proper golf grip is one where the grip runs diagonally across our fingers and into our palms. For putting, we want the grip to run up our lifeline (see below).

Proper putting grip – down the line

Proper putting grip down the line - By holding the putter in this way club face rotates far less, with the same amount of wrist flexion/extension.
Notice how the putter grip runs up the life line of both hands. By holding the putter in this way the club face rotates far less, with the same amount of wrist flexion/extension.

Proper putting grip – the moment of clarity

Grab a putter and try the following:

  1. Hold your putter with your normal full-swing grip. Remove your right hand so you are just holding the putter with your left hand.
  2. Flex and extend your wrist and see how quickly the putter face rotates (flips) over with any wrist hinge.
  3. Now take just the left hand grip pictured about and repeat the test.

You’re welcome 😉 this is why I say a proper putting grip is one of the closest ways you can get to cheating in golf. Your club face rotation is reduced to around 10% of what it would be from a full-swing grip. 

That means a 10-fold increase in your putting accuracy. 

Proper putting grip – face on

proper putting grip face on - Once you have your left hand in place, the right mirrors it. Note how both thumbs point down to the club face. This grip, with an extended left finger is called the vardon reverse overlap.
Once you have your left hand in place, the right mirrors it. Note how both thumbs point down to the club face. This grip, with an extended left finger is called the vardon reverse overlap.

Once you have your left hand in place, your right hand mirrors the left. It also has the putter grip running from the top fold (the base) of your index finger, up your life line and out the middle of your wrist joint.

You’ll notice that this hand placement creates one nice line up the putter shaft and into your forearms.

proper putting grip forearms - the proper putting grip creates a straight line running up the putter shaft into your forearms
The proper putting grip creates a straight line running up the putter shaft into your forearms.

Variations of the proper putting grip

Here I have to keep my thoughts to under 4,000 words describing the details of putting biomechanics…. I’ll do my best and save it for another time. 

In short – you can adapt this grip to a cross-handed putting grip, hands level/facing each other, or extend your left index finger down the front-side of the grip, as shown above. All of these variations will work well.

The critical component is to keep the orientation between your hands and the putter grip as shown above. 

A spectrum of proper putting grips

The last point I want to highlight is more for advanced players (5 handicap to elite pros). Feel free to slide down to the conclusion, but I want to cover this as my hope is that this blog provides value for all abilities where others articles don’t.

The relationship between the hands (forearms) and putter shaft is the critical factor in manipulating putter face rotation. However, putter face rotation needs to fit with your swing path (square – to square ish, or a more rounded arc).

You will see tour players vary from the images above to the image below. Both work well, but I find pushing golfers towards the top option tends to give far greater results.

a variation of the proper putting grip where the forearms run parallel to the putter shaft
This is an alternative to the proper putting grip. The change in grip now leads to the butt-end of the putter appearing below the forearm line. Importantly, it is still parallel.

In this variation you will see the putter shaft is still parallel to the forearm line, but appears slightly below. This is the same grip described above, but with slightly more angle through the palm and the butt end of the putter exiting just below the pads on each hand, rather than between the two spongey pads.

This putting grip works well, it helps create a more curved arc and the club face rotation to match. Players like Tiger Woods set up with this putting grip. Whereas the putting grip described in detail earlier is favoured by Jordan Speith.

The proper putting grip summarised

If you can model your putting grip based on what we’ve covered in this article you’ll see some great improvement in your putting and scores.

If you’re still thirsty for some geeky putting tips, check out this article. Or, if you’re looking for putting training aids or the best putting mat check out these articles.

I hope this has been of use, if so please do share it with a social button – it really helps me grow the blog. Also, if you would like a free weekly article like this one sent to your inbox each Monday, come sign up for the Golf Insider weekly post.

Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider

Check out more putting articles by heading to the golf putting hub.

how to hold a putter infographic

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Will is a PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. He spent 10 years lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in Biomechanics and Motor Control before becoming the Head of Golf for the University of Exeter. He currently runs Golf Insider UK, Sport Science Insider around wider consulting and academic roles in sport performance and motor control.

10 thoughts on “Is There A Proper Putting Grip?”

  1. Wow. The definitive article on masterful putting. Really enjoyed the logic and great visuals. Now, I have to put your intel to work.
    Thank you for sharing .
    Bill Freund

    • Thanks Bill,

      I’m delighted you found it of use – I love coaching putting. All the best with your golf over the summer.


  2. Thank you for the tremendous article, been hitting around 100 putts a day on my practice green. These tips have finally gave me some consistency and better feel/accuracy, really appreciate it man

  3. Thank you for this, so many putting tutorials don’t show the side view with the hands open, so I was never sure how it should run into my palms. Super useful.

  4. I stumbled upon this article after a search since I haven’t felt comfortable w/my grip, and thank God I did! This has helped immensely, thanks so much! I also hit on the link for the full swing grip, love how comfortable that feels as well and can’t wait to put that into action also! Thanks again, this article is now bookmarked!


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