How can you hole more putts simply? The answer to that is to hit the ball with a perfectly square face 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 correctly to help keep the golf club face square at impact.
Fault - If the grip is incorrect, the club face can be manipulated in a way that the face will be open or closed at impact. If the golf grip is too strong, the face will more than likely aim closed to the intended target line. If the golf grip is too weak, the golf club face can be aiming open to the intended target line.
Fix - While there are three main types of recommended grip for the full swing, with putting there is much more choice. That said, however, conventional wisdom suggests that using the grip known as the 'reverse overlap' is the best way to control the putter as you swing. Use this drill to form the reverse overlap.
Key tip - Make sure the grip is straight to the club face and when you take hold of the club you should maintain the square position of the club face.
- 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 bottom hand 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 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 then 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.
How to Grip the Golf Putter Correctly
A significant percentage of the strokes you take during any given round of golf are going to come on the putting green. For example, if you finish your round with a score of 90, and you used 30 putts along the way, you have obviously spent 33% of your strokes with the flat stick. You won't be able to dramatically reduce that percentage by improving your putting performance – the nature of the game dictates that all players hit plenty of putts during an average round – but you can work toward saving yourself strokes by making more putts. One of the best ways to improve on your putting is to make sure you are gripping the putting properly at address.
If you are anything like most other golfers, you probably haven't thought much about how you grip the putter before making a stroke. You probably just walk up to the ball, grab onto the grip with both hands, and roll the ball toward the cup. Unfortunately, this technique is unlikely to yield successful results. The grip you use when putting is actually quite different from the grip you will use in your full swing, so it is important to spend time working on this element of your game. Once you have a proper putting grip established, you just might be surprised to see how many more of your putts fall in the hole.
The grip you use while putting is important because a good grip can help you trace the same path time after time. Consistency is always important in this game, and that is especially true when it comes to putting. It is hard enough to read the speed and slope of the greens correctly time after time – you don't need to be dealing with an inconsistent stroke as well. Use your grip to establish a reliable path in your putting mechanics so you can focus only on your reads when out on the course.
While the advice below regarding your putting grip will be of help to your game, nothing is going to change without an investment in practice. Just as you head to the driving range from time to time to work on your swing, you also need to visit the practice putting green regularly to work on your stroke. Many golfers skip the step of working on their stroke mechanics, thinking that putting just comes down to having 'good days' and 'bad days'. That isn't the case at all. Good putters are just as dedicated to refining their stroke as they are to working on any other part of their game, and it shows in their performance on the course. Commit yourself to becoming a better putter in the months and years ahead and your scores are sure to come down as a result.
All of the instruction provided in this article is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.
Putter Grip Goals
Before you get started working on the specifics of your putter grip, it is important to have some goals in mind. What is it that you want this grip to help you do? How can the grip perform in a way which will lead to reliable, consistent, controlled putting strokes? Only when you build a grip that is actually going to take your stroke in the right direction can you feel good about the future of your short game.
The list below outlines some of the goals you should have in mind for your putter grip.
- Limit hand action. This is a point that many amateur golfers get wrong – and they struggle to create any consistency on the greens as a result. Despite the fact that the task of putting only requires a little swing and minimal power, you do not want to use your hands actively in the putting stroke. In fact, you would like your hands to be completely taken out of the equation. The best putting results are going to be found when you move the putter primarily with your shoulders, rocking them back and through the ball smoothly time after time. When your hands get involved, it becomes difficult to hit your target line accurately – and it becomes difficult to control your speed as well. One of the main keys of a good putting grip is its ability to take your hands out of the stroke. Your hands and wrists should feel 'stuck' in place during the stroke, while your shoulders to the work which will send the ball toward the cup.
- Get comfortable. Perhaps more than anywhere else on the course, it is important to have a comfortable grip when putting. Good putting is all about feel, meaning you need to have a nice connection between your hands and the grip so you can feel the stroke effectively. Even though your hands are not going to be active in the production of the stroke, they are still going to give you valuable feedback as the stroke progresses. If you try to force your hands onto the grip in a way that does not feel natural or comfortable to you, it is likely that your results will be disappointing. This is really the big challenge when it comes to gripping the putter properly – you need to create a grip which is mechanically sound, but still feels comfortable to you at the same time. There is plenty of room for individual style within the grip for just this reason. Allow yourself to experiment with various grip options until you settle on a winner.
- Easy to repeat. You need to hold the putter in the same fashion for each putt that you stroke throughout a round. If your grip is complicated and hard to repeat, you may not be as consistent as you would like. While working on developing a new grip, make sure that the final product is something you can do over and over again in the same way. Even minor differences in your grip from putt to putt have the potential to throw the results off track.
- Allow for light grip pressure. You should not be squeezing the grip of your putter tightly while making a stroke. If you are holding on tightly, you are going to lose feel and your distance control is going to suffer. So, with that in mind, make sure your chosen grip is one which will allow you to maintain light grip pressure throughout the stroke. From start to finish, you should be gently holding onto the club as it swings. You will achieve maximum feedback from the club into your hands when you use light grip pressure, and you will be less likely to deal with the 'yips'. Light grip pressure is something you should strive for all around the course, and it is particularly important when standing on the green.
A quality putting grip will hit on each of the four points listed above. For now, think about your current grip and compare it to these points. How does it stack up? If you notice some areas where your current grip is coming up short, take time to work toward establishing a new grip which will allow you to meet all of the goals on our list.
Three Standard Options
Technically, there are infinite ways you can grip the putter while still remaining within the rules of golf. However, most golfers are going to fall into one of a few categories with regard to their grip. In this section, we are going to highlight three standard grip options for you to consider when putting. The vast majority of golfers use one of the three grip types listed below, so there is a good chance you will find the right choice for your game within this collection.
- Reverse overlap. This is the most popular putting grip in the game, and it is one you have probably tried at least once in your golfing life. To use this grip, you are going to place your hands on the grip of the putter in much the same way you would for a full swing. Your left hand will be above your right, and your thumbs will (more or less) be on the top of the grip. However, this grip is different from your full swing grip because of the way the two hands interface. Take the pointer finger of your left hand and place it on top of the last two fingers of your right hand. This is the 'reverse overlap' part of the grip. Once formed, this grip will help you take your hands out of the stroke while still giving you a nice feel for the putter. This is the grip which is used by tons of professional golfers and low handicap amateurs, meaning it is certainly worth your attention. Even if this doesn't wind up being your chosen grip, you would still be wise to give it a chance.
- Left hand low. If you can't manage to get comfortable with the reverse overlap, you may be better off opting for a left hand low grip. This grip is exactly as it sounds – you are going to flip your hands so that your left hand is lower than your right on the grip. This is also known as a cross-handed grip. The strength of this grip is its ability to take your hands out of the stroke. The back of your left wrist will be nicely flat at address, enabling you to move the putter through the ball with an extremely stable face. On the downside, some golfers struggle to feel the stroke when they go left hand low. If you are going to use this method, it is likely that you will need to spend a significant amount of time on the practice green to get a handle on your feel.
- The pencil grip. This final option goes by a lot of names, including 'the claw', 'the paintbrush' grip, and more. Regardless of what you call it, this is a unique grip which is often a choice for players who have struggled with other techniques. At address, you are going to grip the putter as usual with your left hand. However, when you put your right hand on the grip, you are going to turn your hand over so that your palm is facing in toward your body. Grabbing onto the grip as you would a pencil, the club will be held only in a couple fingers on the right hand. This puts the control of the stroke into your left hand only, meaning you will need to utilize your shoulders if you are going to move the putter back and through successfully. Whether you have been fighting the yips or you just need to try something new to see more putts fall in, the pencil grip is a viable option.
During your next trip to the practice green, try each of these grips for at least a few putts. Even if you already have a good idea of which grip you will be using, try them all just for experimentation purposes. After all, you never know what you might end up liking until you try them for yourself. Once you do settle on a grip, stick with it for an extended period of time, even if your results aren't great at first. It takes time for a new grip to become comfortable, so it would be a mistake to give up right away.
Finding a Grip to Match Your Grip
The word 'grip' can mean two different things in the game of golf. As it has meant throughout this article, it can refer to the way you place your hands on the club. However, it can also refer to the actual piece of rubber placed on the end of your club shaft. In this section, we are going to deal with that second definition. The physical grip you place on your putter is either going to help or hurt your performance, so you need to get this choice just right. New grips only cost a few dollars in most cases at your local golf shop, so you should be able to try out different options without incurring much expense.
What should you be looking for in a new putter grip to install on your club? The following points will guide you in the right direction.
- Thickness of the grip. This is a key point to consider. If you have large hands, or if you are using a putting style which demands a thick grip, make sure to purchase something from the oversized section. Golf grips, including putter grips, come in a variety of thicknesses to accommodate the needs of various players. Some players are more comfortable with a large grip, while others prefer the traditional thin grip and the feel that it provides. If possible, try out some different options at the golf shop before you install a new one on your own personal putter.
- Comfortable material. These days, there are tons of various golf grips available, with each seemingly providing the player with a different feel. What kind of feel do you like in your grips? Do you enjoy a grip with an extremely soft design, or do you want to have a better feel for the shaft as you make your stroke? Top players tend to like grips which provide more feedback, so pros and accomplished amateurs usually skip the 'squishy' grips. However, there is nothing wrong with going in that direction if you like the comfort and forgiveness they offer. Again, this is a point which comes down to personal preference. Test out a few different types of grips before you make a purchase.
- Tapered? Many putter grips, along with grips for your full-swing clubs, are tapered from one end to the other. This means that the top of the grip, once installed on the club, is thicker than the bottom end. However, not all putter grips are tapered, as some players prefer the feel of a thicker grip in their right hand. Where do you land on this debate? Yet again, it is important to think about this point from your own perspective. There is no right or wrong answer in regard to taper on your putter grip, so make a decision solely based on your own preference.
It is relatively easy to have a new grip installed on your putter, whether you do the work yourself or ask for it to be done at the golf shop. Before you run off to buy a whole new putter, consider adding a fresh grip to breathe some life into your current flat stick.
Other Key Fundamentals
As you should already know, the grip is just one of many key fundamentals you need to have in place on the greens. To make a great stroke, you have to do more than just place your hands on the club properly – you have to have all of your mechanics sorted out and working together in harmony. To finish up this article, we are going to take a quick look at a few of the other keys you should focus on during your putting practice sessions.
- Steady head. You probably already know that this is one of the keys to great putting, but it needs to be pointed out anyway. While making a stroke, you need to keep your head as steady as possible in order to make a clean pass through the ball. If there is any movement in your head as the stroke is progressing, you will run the risk of sending the putter off line. It is common for golfers to look up early during the stroke to see if the ball is headed in the right direction, but such a move is a recipe for disaster. Force yourself to hold your head still as you hit your putts and your results are sure to improve.
- Chin up. Many golfers fall into the bad habit of pushing their chin down into their chest at address. Thinking they need to 'keep their head down', these players don't know that they are actually hurting their own cause. When your chin is down, it will get in the way of your shoulders as they rock from side to side. Keep your chin up and your eyes down at address to get around this problem.
- Great balance. Maintaining your balance is not only an important point in the full swing, it is critical when it comes to the short game as well. While putting, be sure to keep your weight evenly distributed between your two feet. If you were to allow yourself to slide from side to side while the putter is in motion, you would find it extremely difficult to make solid contact and control your distance nicely. Set up with perfect balance in your stance and hold that balance until the stroke has been completed.
- Always have a specific target. It is easy to fall into the trap of just aiming toward the hole and hoping for the best. Of course, that is not a good plan. Instead, you need to make sure you have a specific target in mind for all of your putts. Since most putts break from one side to the other, you will rarely be able to use the hole as your target. Pick out another spot to use as your aiming point and then focus your stroke on sending the ball perfectly toward that spot.
Putting is not easy. Despite requiring only a small motion and very few moving parts, putting the ball successfully is one of the hardest parts of playing good golf. With the advice contained in this article, you should be on the right track in terms of forming a proper grip on the club. Once your grip is a finished product, you can move on to other points in an effort to round your putting into form. Good luck!