|Grip style: Vardon (overlapping)||Hand position: Weak||Putt style: Long hands separated|
For such a big man, Kevin Stadler’s grip is pretty weak.
Not weak in the puny sense, mind you. Stadler’s a powerful guy. No, we mean weak in the position sense – his hands are turned ever so slightly to his left, toward the target, at address. This puts Stadler in a decided minority among his peers, since many if not most modern pros employ a strong grip.
Maybe it’s a Los Angeles thing. Stadler’s dad and fellow USC alum Craig Stadler uses a weak grip, as does UCLA product Corey Pavin. Further back, Ben Hogan was famous for his weak grip (though he was from Texas).
An up close and personal look at Stadler’s grip finds the back of his left hand and wrist much flatter than the average pro’s, and pointed almost straight down the target line. While most golfers would have trouble releasing the club through impact from this position, Stadler has the raw strength to compensate.
Stadler’s hold clearly hasn’t hindered his play. He claimed his first PGA TOUR win at the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open. He drives the ball relatively long and straight and hits a high percentage of greens in regulation.
It’s a good thing he’s so efficient from tee to green, because the son of the “Walrus” struggles to get the ball in the hole. Kevin Stadler’s grip with his long putter is essentially the same as Adam Scott’s – left hand on top, anchoring handle to chest, right hand clasping the club between thumb and forefinger.
Stadler has actually experimented putting left-handed with a conventional putter, in advance of the USGA’s 2016 ban on anchored putting. It surely couldn’t hurt – he’s finished in negative territory in the tour’s “strokes gained putting” stat every year since 2005.