Grip style: Vardon (overlapping)Fred Couples Vardon grip Hand position: Very strongFred Couples strong grip Putting grip style / hand position: Cross-handed (left hand low)
Fred Couples Cross-handed grip

Fred Couples Grip
Amateur golfers, watch Fred Couples grip the club… and take heart. The 1992 Masters winner may have the game’s sweetest swing, but his grip is another matter entirely.

Calling Couples’ grip unorthodox is like calling Mt. Everest a big hill. At address, his left hand is turned well to the right on top of the handle, creating a large “cup” in the wrist. In fact, the knuckles on the back of Couples’ left hand point well in front of him. Contrast this with a conventional neutral grip, where the knuckles face the target (or point slightly right). Couples’ right hand is in a strong position as well.

While many teachers advocate a moderately strong grip to their students, few if any would advise a golfer to hold the club like “Boom Boom.” However, there is one thing worth emulating – Couples’ grip pressure. It’s extremely light, which promotes a smoother rhythm throughout the swing.

Does Fred Couples grip the putter with a similarly unusual style? Not quite. But he does go unconventional with his actual putter, a belly model, and a cross-handed grip. While he’s missed his share of short putts over the years, Freddie has been known to drain a lot of long ones, too. As of this writing, he ranked seventh on the 2014 Champions Tour in putting average, so he’s clearly doing something right.

Remember, too, that Couples suffers from chronic back issues. With the belly putter, he doesn’t have to bend over as much at address. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts when the USGA ban on anchored putting goes into effect in 2016.


Golf Grip Terms
Note: All descriptions are for right-handed golfers.

Vardon / Overlapping Grip: Method of holding the club by placing the right pinky finger on top of the crease between the left index and middle fingers. Named for British golf legend Harry Vardon.
Interlocking Grip: Method of holding the club by wedging or locking the right pinky finger between the left index and middle fingers.
vardon grip interlocking grip
Neutral: Position in which the hands are directly aligned with the clubface. The golfer with a neutral grip can typically see two full knuckles on the back of the left hand when addressing the ball.
Weak: Position in which the hands are rotated left (toward the target) on the club’s handle. The golfer with a weak grip can typically see one full knuckle on the back of the left hand when addressing the ball.
neutral grip weak grip
Strong: Position in which the hands are rotated right (away from the target) on the club’s handle. The golfer with a strong grip can typically see more than two full knuckles on the back of the left hand when addressing the ball.
Reverse Overlap Putting Grip: Conventional putting grip style with the left hand above the right and the left index finger extending downward, on top of the fingers of the right hand.
strong grip reverse overlap
Cross-Handed / Left Hand Low Putting Grip: The right hand is placed at the top of the handle, above the left hand, the opposite of a conventional grip.
Claw Putting Grip: The left hand is placed in the conventional position, at the top of the handle, with the right hand lower on the handle and holding the club between the thumb (on the grip’s underside) and fingers.
cross handed Claw Grip