Grip style: Vardon (overlapping)Sam Snead Vardon grip Hand position: NeutralSam Snead Neutral grip Putting grip style / hand position: Reverse overlap (early career), “side saddle” (late career)
    Sam Snead reverse overlap grip

    Sam Snead Grip
    Sam Snead’s grip, like his swing, was pretty much flawless.

    Blessed with natural athletic ability and innate rhythm, “Slammin’ Sammy” made golf look easy. Even for a talent like Snead, though, good technique is essential. His grip shows that Snead understood this full well.

    Setting up to the ball, Snead pointed the back of his left hand down the target line, or perhaps a touch to the right, while his right hand wrapped perfectly over the top of the handle. By today’s standards, Snead’s right hand position could actually be considered weak – the “V” of right thumb and forefinger lines up with the shaft, whereas the modern pro’s “V” usually points between head and right shoulder.

    What’s so great about Snead’s grip? It allowed him to work the ball both ways seemingly without effort, hitting draws and fades on command. He could also swing freely without having to compensate for a too-strong or too-weak position.

    Putting, well, that didn’t come quite so easily. In his early days, Sam Snead’s grip on the putter was standard-issue – left hand above right, fingers overlapping. Back then, a wristy “pop” stroke was needed to get the ball rolling on greens much bumpier and slower than today’s. Hence, there’s a good deal of hinge or cupping in Snead’s wrists.

    In 1966, after a bout with the yips, Snead began putting “croquet style” while straddling the putt’s line. The practice was banned two years later, so Snead adopted an innovative – and legal – style called “side saddle” putting. It worked so well, Snead tied for third at the 1974 PGA Championship… At age 62.


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