|Grip style: Vardon (overlapping)||Hand position: Slightly strong||Putting grip style / hand position: “Claw” or “pencil” style
There was a time when Sergio Garcia’s grip was the most scrutinized in all of golf. Oh, neither the style nor position was unique in any way. It was Garcia’s “re-gripping” at address – clasping and unclasping the hands, sometimes a dozen times or more, while standing over the ball – that caused such a stir.
Fortunately, Garcia kicked this habit after getting relentlessly heckled at the 2002 U.S. Open. Yet his grip has returned to the spotlight a couple of times since then. First, in the wake of a wrist injury, Garcia switched from an overlapping to an interlocking grip in 2010. He has since changed back. In 2011, Garcia sought to cure his well-documented putting woes by adopting the so-called “claw” or “pencil” grip method.
For his full swing, Garcia employs a fairly conventional grip. His left hand is in a slightly strong position, with his right hand neutral. His grip allows Garcia to work the ball both ways – he’s one of the game’s finest shotmakers – without hindering his famous, powerful downswing lag.
While Garcia’s driving, iron play and short game have always been outstanding, putting is another story. He’s improved considerably, however, since going to the claw. To wit: He ranked 159th on the PGA Tour in “strokes gained putting” for 2010; in 2013, he finished ninth.
Garcia actually tried the left hand low (cross-handed) grip technique before settling on the claw. The goal: reduce the movement of his right hand during the stroke. Garcia does this by grasping the handle in a conventional manner with the left hand, then gently placing the grip between his right index and middle fingers; the thumb also wraps around the handle, similar to the way one might hold a pencil.
Strange but effective, Garcia’s putting grip is a big key to his resurgence.