The most commonly known putting grip is the reverse overlap, however, that does not always work for everyone.
There are many different putter grips that can help your putting enormously by injecting a boost of confidence into your putting game. This tip is designed to give you instruction on a few alternative grips for putting. The most important aspect of putting is the club face angle at impact. The club face angle at impact has about 85% influence on the starting direction of the golf ball. This is why it is very important to hold the golf putter in the best way possible to help keep the golf club face square at impact.
Crossed handed - great for scooping or flicking:
- Place your hand furthest away from the target on the top of the grip, with the palm facing the side of the grip and the back of your hand facing away from the target. Place your thumb down the centre of the putter grip which normally has a flat front to the grip. From there, hold the club in the fingers, not dissimilar to the normal grip, and place the hand on the side of the grip. As a check point, you should see your thumb is straight down the middle of the grip.
- The hand closest to the target is placed below the other hand nearer to the bottom of the grip. The fingers wrap around the club and the thumb of this hand also is placed on the top of the grip in a straight line down the front.
- Bring both hands close together so that the top hand's thumb is covered by the bottom hand's pad near the thumb.
- The top hand's index finger is placed down the side of the fingers on the bottom hand so that you can see the index finger of the top hand closest to the target.
- You can try placing your bottom hand index finger down the side of the golf club for control.
- Keep the hands relaxed and tension free. Aim to hold the golf club at about a 5 out of 10 grip pressure.
Claw grip - great for nervous putters:
- Place the hand closest to the target on the top of the grip, with the palm facing the side of the grip and the back of your hand facing the target. Place your thumb down the centre of the putter grip which normally has a flat front to the grip. From there, hold the club in the fingers, not dissimilar to the normal grip, and place the hand on the side of the grip. As a check point, you should see your thumb is straight down the middle of the grip.
- The hand furthest away from the target is applied on to the club in an un-conventional way. Turn your hand so that the palm of your hand is facing your body. Use the thumb, index finger and middle finger to hold the golf club in a claw like fashion by placing the thumb at the back of the golf grip and the index finger and middle finger on top of the flat part of the putter grip.
- Keep the hands relaxed and tension free. Aim to hold the golf club at about a 5 out of 10 grip pressure.
Top Golf Grip Styles for Putting
There are two main complaints which are shared by the vast majority of amateur golfers. With few exceptions, golfers want to hit the ball farther and make more putts. Hitting the ball farther is certainly a worthwhile goal, as added distance can help you tackle tough courses – but that is a topic for another article. In this article, we are going to deal with the subject of making more putts. Specifically, we are going to talk about how the grip you use to hold onto your putter can have a direct impact on your success or failure on the greens.
The right grip can help you roll the ball on line time after time, while the wrong grip will cause you to struggle with even the shortest of putts. Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to tell you exactly which grip style you should use, as there are several worthy options to consider. The best way to find the right option for your game is to test them all out at your local golf course. Unlike swing changes, which can take weeks or months to put into your game, a new putting grip can be used immediately once you find one that you like. Read through this article to learn about a variety of options and then conduct some trials until you pick a winner.
As you search for the right putting grip for your game, remember that your goal should be to take the hands out of the stroke to the greatest extent possible. You want to be moving the club with your shoulders and arms, while your hands and wrists remain quiet and steady. This type of putting stroke does not come naturally to most players, but it is the best way to achieve consistent results. Using your hands too actively in the stroke is going to make it difficult to hit your target line, and you will have trouble controlling your speed as well. It may take some practice, but performing your stroke with minimal hand action is certainly the way to go.
It should also be mentioned that finding a comfortable and reliable grip is only one part of the putting equation. You are going to need to cover a number of different parts of your technique as well before you can achieve great results. For instance, you will need to work on your ability to keep your head still during the stroke. Also, you will want to work on building a great posture in order to allow the club to swing freely. A good putting stroke is not necessarily a complicated action, but it does need to be executed cleanly. You don't want to be thinking about the technical side of your stroke while on the course, so these fine details should be ironed out on the practice green.
All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play – or at least putt – left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
The Classic Reverse Overlap
To get started, we are going to take a look at what is likely the most commonly-used putting grip in the game – the reverse overlap. This is considered a 'traditional' golf grip, and you have probably used it at some point in your golf experience. Forming this grip is only slightly different from gripping one of your other clubs for a full swing. Since it is so much like the grip you use for the rest of the game, you may find that this is the most comfortable option for your putting stroke.
To form the reverse overlap grip, start by placing your left hand on the grip, up near the top. Your left thumb should be running down the top of the grip, and your fingers should be wrapped around the back. Once your left hand is in place, you can add your right hand to complete the grip. Again with the right hand, your thumb should be running down the top of the grip. To connect your two hands, lift the pointer finger of your left hand up off the grip and place it on top of the ring and pinky fingers on your right hand. When done correctly, this will intertwine your hands on the grip and they will be able to work together as one.
It should only take a moment or two to complete this grip. Once you have your hands in place, go ahead and hit a few putts to see how this style of grip feels in action. If you are anything like most other players, you are likely to find that this grip offers the following combination of strengths and weaknesses.
- Strength – Great Feel. The feel offered by this grip is the main reason it is chosen by so many players. You need to have a good feel for the putter as it swings, and this grip is going to give you just that. Your hands will cover a significant portion of the grip, which helps with your feel, and the orientation of your hands is the same as it is for the rest of your swings. If you would like to focus on speed control and touch above all else on the greens, this just may be the grip for you.
- Weakness – Excessive Hand Action. As a tradeoff for that great feel, you are going to have to deal with a little bit of extra hand action in the stroke. Simply put, it is hard to keep your hands quiet when using this grip. That's not to say that it is impossible, of course, as plenty of golfers are able to use the reverse overlap without getting into trouble with hand or wrist action. Should you decide to go in this direction, you are going to need to work hard on the mechanics of your stroke to make sure your shoulders are doing their job properly.
- Strength – Stability. Through impact, you should have a tremendous feeling of stability with this grip. The club is not going to be prone to twisting at the moment of contact, even if you don't strike the putt perfectly on the sweet spot. You may find that this stable feeling gives you confidence in your ability to hit the target line – and you can never have too much confidence when it comes to putting.
- Weakness – High Left Shoulder. For some golfers, it can be difficult to get into a square address position when using this grip. If you set up with your left shoulder high in the air at address, your shoulders are likely to be open to the line as a result – and the putter may not swing down the line properly. Plenty of golfers are able to get into a good stance while using this grip, so this point is not applicable to all players. It is, however, something to keep in mind while weighing your options.
There is a lot to like about the reverse overlap grip – which is not surprising considering just how popular this style has proven to be over the years. While you might not wind up settling on this grip as your final choice, it would be a mistake to ignore it completely. Be sure to give this style a try on the practice green while 'shopping' for the right putting grip for your game.
Left Hand Low
When using the reverse overlap, you have your right hand in the low position on the grip. For this next putting style, you are going to turn things around and place your left hand near the bottom of the grip. This putting style is commonly referred to as 'left hand low', although you may also hear it referred to as 'cross-handed'. No matter what you call it, this is a putting style which has grown more and more popular over the years. A couple decades ago you would have rarely seen a professional golfer employing this style, yet it is now used by many of the best players in the world.
To form a left hand low grip, you should actually start by placing your right hand on the club. Position your right hand near the top of the grip on your putter, with your right thumb sitting on the top (flat portion) of the grip. Once the right hand is secure, you will add the left. At this point, you are going to have to make a decision based on personal preference with regard to how you will interface your two hands. It is common for cross-handed putters to set the pinky finger of the left hand on top of the pointer finger of the right hand. This is not set in stone, however, so feel free to experiment with other options. In fact, you don't have to connect the two hands at all – you could simply add your left hand to the grip below the right hand and call it good.
So what are the pros and cons of opting for this style? As was the case above, we will provide you with two strengths and two weaknesses below.
- Strength – Hitting the Line. It is exceptionally easy to hit your target line when putting with your left hand below the right. To be sure, this is the point which sells most people on cross-handed putting. With your left arm leading the way, there will be very little deviation in the angle of the club face as you swing back and through. If you currently struggle to hit your lines, especially on short putts, cross-handed putting may be the way to go.
- Weakness – Distance Control. The gains you experience in terms of accuracy are going to come at the cost of some feel for the putter. Since you don't hit any other shots on the golf course with your left hand below your right, you have not developed any feel for the club with this grip style. As a result, many golfers struggle to control their speed properly when putting left hand low. Of course, you may be able to overcome this lack of feel through consistent practice, but it will likely take time to dial in your speed nicely.
- Strength – Performance Under Pressure. There will be very little hand action involved in your cross-handed stroke. As a result, you should be able to putt well even when the heat is on. Many pros rely on left hand low putting because it allows them to knock the ball in the hole during tight situations in a tournament. Even if you don't play for big stakes, you will still encounter pressure on the course from time to time – which is why you should at least consider going cross-handed.
- Weakness – Can Lead to Missing Right. Most golfers are able to swing the putter down the line nicely when using the left hand low style. However, that is not the case for all players. Some golfers will find that they miss the target on the right side consistently when trying to putt cross-handed. This comes back to the lack of hand action in the stroke. Without much of a release, you may get into a pattern of holding the face open at impact. Should you find this to be a problem, make sure to focus on the movement of your shoulders in the stroke. As long as your shoulders rock back and through freely, you should be able to square things up in time hit your target.
Cross-handed putting is not for everyone – but the players who do experience success with this method often credit it for 'saving' their game. Putting left hand low feels completely different than putting with a traditional grip, so it can help you to 'get out of your own head' if you are currently having trouble on the greens. As is the case with all putting grips, the only way to know if this is right for you is to try it out for yourself. Since it does offer such a unique feel, be patient and try this grip for a few practice sessions before you make any long-term determinations.
The Pencil Grip
This last putting grip style goes by a number of different names – the pencil grip, the claw, the paintbrush, etc. – but each of them refers to the same general idea. Rather than placing both of your hands on the club as you would for a normal swing, you are only going to take a traditional grip with your left hand. With your right hand, you are going to turn your hand over so that your palm is facing in toward your body. Then, you will grab onto the grip of the putter with that right hand while your palm is still facing in. Some players grab onto the grip with just their thumb and a couple of fingers, while others find a way to get all of their fingers involved.
In the end, it doesn't really matter how you decide to hold on to the grip with your right hand. As long as you have a traditional left hand grip with your right hand turned over, you are on the right track. While working on this grip in your own game, you can experiment with various right hand grip styles until you find something that feels comfortable.
While this type of grip might seem like something of a gimmick, you should know that it has been used at the highest levels of the game. From top pros on down to total beginners, this is a grip method which is worthy of consideration. To continue the pattern, we have provided two pros and two cons for this grip below.
- Strength – Hitting the Line. Much like putting left hand low, using the pencil grip is a great way to keep the putter face pointed toward the target line. You will again be taking hand action out of the stroke, meaning you should have a stable swing from start to finish. It is often players who struggle with short putts that decide to move to this style of grip for consistency.
- Weakness – Hitting the Sweet Spot. With such an unnatural grip, you may find that you are unable to hit the sweet spot as frequently as you can with a 'normal' grip. You probably think more about hitting the sweet spot with regard to the driver and other long clubs, but this point is just as important with the putter. Without the ability to hit the sweet spot, you will struggle to control your speed – and speed control is everything on the greens.
- Strength – Change in Mindset. Putting is largely a mental challenge. If you have a lot of misses in your past – especially on short putts – you may have too much 'baggage' in order to perform at a high level on the greens. To clear that baggage out of your way, it may be best to switch to a radical grip style. By going in an entirely new direction with your stroke, those past mistakes will be forgotten and it will feel like you are starting anew.
- Weakness – Self-Confidence Issues. It takes a great deal of self-confidence to step up onto the putting green and use a non-traditional stroke in front of your friends and other players. You are likely to catch a little bit of grief from your playing partners for using such an odd grip. Of course, that doesn't really matter if the putts are falling in the hole, but some golfers don't like to stand out from the crowd. If this is a problem for you, just remember the following – the golfers who may be mocking you at first will soon be copying your style when they see your putts dropping in the bottom of the cup.
As is the case with the cross-handed putting style, this is another grip which won't be for everyone. A relatively small percentage of the golf population will benefit from this technique, but those golfers will certainly be happy they discovered this option.
A Winning Blend
So far, we have presented you with three putting grip styles. Through some focused practice time on the putting green, you should be able to figure out which one works best for your game. But what if you are unable to come to a decision on a clear winner? Well, there is another way to go – combine two of the styles to get the best possible performance.
There is nothing in the rules of golf to say that you have to use the same grip on all of your putts. When you look at the strengths and weaknesses of the options we have listed, there is a clear pattern – a traditional grip is great for distance control, while the others (cross-handed, pencil) are better for hitting your target line. When you add that up, the conclusion is fairly obvious – putt with a traditional grip from long range, while using an alternative grip for short putts.
You need your touch to be at its best on long putts, which is why using a traditional grip makes so much sense. The game changes as you get closer, however, as you will no longer need to pay as much attention to your speed. Putting from short range is all about hitting the target line accurately. If you can do that with a left hand low grip, it would be a mistake to use any other style. Try completing your next practice putting session with a combination of two grips based on your distance from the hole – you just might be impressed by the results.
Putting is a tremendous challenge. It might look pretty simple to the non-golfer, but you know better. If you are struggling on the greens, or if you just want to find a way to take a step forward, consider the grip advice provided throughout this article. Good luck!