Grip style: Vardon (overlapping)Phil Mickelson Vardon grip Hand position: Slightly strongPhil Mickelson neutral grip Putting grip style / hand position: Varies between conventional and “claw”
Phil Mickelson conventional and “claw” grip

Phil Mickelson

“Lefty” changes putting grip styles like a Hollywood heartthrob changes girlfriends. We’ll discuss his various flirtations in a moment. But first let’s look at Phil Mickelson grip for regular golf shots.

For all his tinkering with putting methods and Changing clubs within his set, Phil Mickelson has stuck with pretty much the same grip over the years. Like the majority of pros, he favors the overlapping style. His hands are rotated a touch to the left on the handle, which is a slightly strong position for a southpaw. This grip allows Mickelson to swing freely, with plenty of wrist hinge, but it’s not so strong that he has to constantly fight off a hook.

On the greens, we find the five-time major champion in experimental mode. Mickelson has favored a conventional, reverse-overlap putting grip through most of his career. He first tried the Claw grip (aka the “saw” grip), popularized by Chris DiMarco, in 2012, and alternated between styles in the following years.

Phil Mickelson grip – the claw, that is – finds the right hand grasping the top of the club, his thumb extended down the shaft. With his left hand separated from the right, he cradles the handle lightly between the thumb, index and middle fingers. Mickelson believes the claw improves his touch and speed on extra-fast greens.

What will Phil do next? That’s anybody’s guess. The only certainty is, it won’t be the same ol’, same ol’.

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