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 – the moment of clarity
Grab a putter and try the following:
- Hold your putter with your normal full-swing grip. Remove your right hand so you are just holding the putter with your left hand.
- Flex and extend your wrist and see how quickly the putter face rotates (flips) over with any wrist hinge.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider
Check out more putting articles by heading to the golf putting hub.
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