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 go away and 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 large amount of club face rotation – 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 un-wanted 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 palm. For putting we want the grip to run up our life line (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 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 left and below right, hands level / facing each other, or extend your left index finger down the front-side of the grip, as shown above. All of these variation 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 always want this blog to provide value where others articles don’t.

The relationship between the hands (forearms) and putter shaft is the critical factors 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 what I have shown above, to what I have pictured below. Both work well, but I find push golfers towards the top option tends to give far great results.

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.
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 to help you practice, I’ve put together a review in this article.

I hope this has been of use, if so share it with a social button, it really helps me grow the blog. And if you would like a weekly article like this one sent to your inbox, come sign up for the golf insider weekly post.

Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider

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