There is a myriad of tips, tricks, drills, and instruction videos out there for every part of the golf game; putting is no different. While there are a handful of popular grip methods, it’s important to find one that you feel comfortable and confident using.
At its core, putting is far less technical than the many intricacies involved with the full swing. Sense and feel on the part of the golfer play a big role in putting success. How often have you seen a fellow golfer make it look easy with an odd stroke or a putter that looks older than they are? The truth is, there is no one single correct way to grip a putter. Therefore, we’ll cover a few methods for how to grip a putter you can test out on the course.
Also referred to as “conventional,” the reverse overlap mirrors the full-swing grip most closely and is therefore the most common grip you’ll find on professional tours.
Gripping the putter just like you would mid-iron, the only adjustment most make with this grip on the putter is to extend the top hand’s index finger down the grip, causing an overlap with the fingers on the bottom hand.
Another slight variation on this grip is to interlock that index finger with the low hand’s pinky, rather than the overlap. Typically, full-swing interlock players will also feel more comfortable interlocking with the putter. But, many find that the overlap creates extra protection from inadvertently hinging the wrists too much throughout the stroke.
For the right-handed golfer, this grip is often called “left hand low,” for obvious reasons. If you’ve used a conventional grip for years, though, beware. This one will feel very strange to experiment with as the club will feel weaker in your hands with your non-dominant hand being relied upon more heavily.
With the opposite hand being low on the shaft guiding the stroke, you’ll be less likely to twist the putter face in your hands and have a more straight-back straight-through motion. This setup is great for golfers who consistently struggle with getting their shoulders squared up to their target. The cross-handed grip promotes the closing of the shoulders, a counterbalanced effect to the conventional grip. Jordan Spieth is one of the best cross-handed putters out there, see a breakdown of his stroke here.
Made popular by lefty legend, Phil Mickelson, the claw tends to be a polarizing grip. It likely won’t take hours of practice to determine whether you love or hate the feel of this grip. While the top hand grips the putter much the same way it does with the conventional setup, the low hand grips the club much the same way it does a pencil. The putter rests in the space between the index finger and thumb, with 1, 2, or all 4 fingers running straight down the shaft to stabilize the stroke.
Least popular on this list in terms of tour players you’ll see modeling this stroke, the arm lock is even less common now than it was before the ban on anchoring which came back in 2016. The use of long putters, however, was not banned. In fact, it’s an essential piece of the arm lock grip.
With a long putter, the grip extends well past the hands and rests against the forearm of the leading arm (left for a right-handed player). The grip itself, remains conventional for the most part with one minor tweak. The arm with the grip resting against it needs to open slightly for the grip to be stable and secure throughout the stroke. It’s important to practice this particular stroke before taking it to competition and avoid any grey area with regard to anchoring. Make sure the end of the grip is visible and doesn’t get stuck under the elbow or a shirt sleeve at any time throughout the stroke bringing anchoring into question.
Comfort Over Convention
No matter what putter grip you ultimately choose, the biggest key will be to spend a significant amount of time practicing your new stroke. Don’t forget, you went looking for a change for good reason. You likely wouldn’t be interested in making a grip change if your putting stats were off the charts so dedicate yourself to the research and development. Much like a business with a new product, it’s important to not rush the trial and error stages of any swing change, but especially one involving your grip. After all, the grip is your only point of contact with the club. It’s arguably the most important piece to get right before looking to change anything else.
The more comfortable you can get with your new setup before having to rely on it out on the golf course, the more likely you are to feel cool, calm, and confident when you’re tested under pressure and in competition. Here are a few great drills to supplement your technical putting practice so you’ll make more birdies and have more fun next time out.