It’s no secret that you need to putt well in order to shoot low scores in the game of golf.

Senior Putting Grip Lesson by PGA Teaching Pro Dean Butler

Nearly every hole you play will end up with the use of your putter on the green, unless you happen to knock one in from off the green (which isn’t going to happen very often). Given the fact that you will use your putter on almost every hole you ever play, developing your ability to perform well with the flat stick is crucial.

In this article, we are going to talk about the importance of creating a reliable grip that will allow you to move the putter back and through the stroke as intended. It’s easy to overlook a seemingly small detail like your putting grip, but you don’t want to make that mistake. By taking time to work on this piece of the overall putting puzzle, you should see that your results on the course improve relatively quickly.

Is a good putting grip alone going to automatically lead you to execute a proper stroke time after time? Of course not. It will, however, lay the groundwork for a good stroke, and you can build from there. What you are trying to avoid is a situation where your putting grip is actively getting in the way of your stroke. Put a grip in place that isn’t going to lead you down the wrong path and you can then work on ironing out the rest of the details. If you don’t start with a good grip, any other work you do on your putting might be wasted in the end.

All of the content below 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.

Grip Related Problems on the Greens

Grip Related Problems on the Greens

When you miss a putt, it can be hard to determine exactly what went wrong. Why did the ball miss the hole? You might have a suspicion as to what went wrong, but it can be tough to know for sure. Most golfers will blame either a poor stroke or a poor read, and those two elements are certainly responsible for plenty of missed putts. With that said, a bad grip could be at the heart of some of your misses, and you might not even know it.

The list below highlights a few potential problems that may be related to grip issues.

  • Distance control. An inability to control the distance that the ball rolls across the green is a common problem in the amateur game. If you are struggling to control the pace of your putts – especially on long putts – you might have a grip problem. The grip is the only interface between your body and the putter, and any issues in this area may be reflected in poor distance control. It’s hard to feel the swing of the putter when your grip is faulty, meaning you may struggle to judge just how quickly the ball is going to leave the face. It will be tempting to blame your poor distance control on other issues, like a lack of practice or a poor read, but don’t ignore the possibility that it is your grip which is really the concern. Improving your grip is very likely to improve your distance control at least to some degree, even if it does not completely solve the problem.
  • Missing the target from short range. Every golfer knows the frustration of missing a short putt. Just when you think you are going to record a good score for the hole, you’ll wind up missing from two or three feet and walk away with one more stroke on the card than you expected. Short misses are extremely frustrating, and they can throw your whole round off track. This is another area where you might be surprised to find that your grip can play a big role in whether you make or miss. If your grip is inhibiting the putter from swinging freely through the ball toward the target, you may wind up missing your line more often than you hit it. For a right-handed golfer, misses out to the right are extremely common on short putts, and can be a sign of a poor grip. It just might be that changing your grip is all you need to do in order to start knocking in three-footers with regularity.
  • Trouble under pressure. There is no doubt that most golfers find it harder to putt under pressure than putting with nothing on the line. If you have an important putt to win a match in a competition at your club, you’ll probably be more nervous than if you were out playing by yourself. Those nerves make it hard to execute the stroke properly, and you’ll be more likely to miss. While some struggles under pressure are not uncommon in golf, putting particularly badly when nervous could be the sign of a faulty grip. If your grip is not working properly, you may be able to get away with it when you are relaxed – but some troubles could come to the surface as the nerves set in.
  • Poor quality of contact. You probably don’t think much about the quality of contact you make with your putter, or at least, not as much as you think about it with the other clubs. It’s obvious that you need to strike a five-iron cleanly, for example, if you want your shot to reach the target. But with the putter? It’s not too hard to make decent contact, so you probably don’t give it a second thought. Unfortunately, if you don’t pay enough attention to how well you are striking your putter, you may end up with disappointing results. Yet again, this is an issue which can be the result of a grip that is lacking in some way. Just like with a full swing, a poor grip is going to make it more challenging to find the center of the face at impact. If you don’t make good contact when putting, the ball will be likely to come up short of your intended target, and it might even stray off line, as well.

It should be clear by now that there is a lot that can go wrong when your grip is not working properly on the greens. Moving forward with this article, we will talk about some of the common putting grip errors, as well as how you can build a grip that serves you nicely round after round.

Mistakes Golfers Make

Mistakes Golfers Make

At this point, it’s time to get into the specifics on some of the mistakes golfers tend to make with their putting grips. While it’s obviously possible to go wrong in a number of ways, the mistakes we have listed below are some of the most common in the game. If you are making one or more of these mistakes, getting down to work on correcting the error is one of the best things you can do to improve your putting. The sooner you can make a correction, the sooner you can begin to develop confidence in your new grip.

  • Holding the putter too tight. Few golf professionals would argue with the notion that the biggest mistake amateurs make when holding onto the putting is simply applying too much pressure. If you squeeze the putter tightly, you are going to lose your feel for the club and you may struggle to roll the ball the proper speed. Also, with so much pressure in your hands and wrists, the putter may not release properly through the hitting area, causing you to push some of your putts out to the right of the target. Since you aren’t making a big, aggressive swing with your putter, you don’t need very much grip pressure at all to maintain control over the club. During your next practice session, try rolling some putts with very light grip pressure – to the point where the club barely feels like it is going to stay in your hands. Even if you start out too light, that is fine. Get used to making a stroke with barely any grip pressure and ramp it up from there. Hopefully, you will be able to settle on a nice middle ground where your hands are comfortable around the club and the putter is able to swing freely back and through.
  • Too far in the fingers. It might seem natural to hold the grip of your putter out in your fingers rather than letting it run up your palms. And, indeed, that is typically how most players hold the club when making full swings. Keeping the grip of the club along the base of your fingers provides for freedom of movement in your wrists, essential if you want to develop swing speed. When putting, however, you don’t care about developing swing speed, as you are more concerned with control and maintaining a steady pace back and through. So, on the greens, it’s better to let the grip of the putter run up into your palms. This will serve to limit movement in your wrists during your stroke, and you should find that your control over the putter improves almost immediately as a result.
  • Hands working against each other. When you place your hands on the grip of the putter, you want to do so in a way that allows the palms to face each other directly. That will permit the hands to work together during the stroke, hopefully helping you to make a one-piece stroke back and through. Unfortunately, some players don’t wind up positioning their hands in such a manner. If you have your hands positioned to where the palms don’t match up, it might be difficult to bring your stroke together in a cohesive manner. This is a fairly easy point to take care of during practice, so put this point high on your priority list and take care of it as soon as possible.
  • Poor fitting grip. Not only can the way you put your hands on the grip be a problem, but you can also run into trouble simply by having the wrong type of grip on your club. There are a variety of putting grips on the market today, so be sure to take a bit of time to shop through various options and pick out the right one for your hands. While personal preference plays a big role in this process, you are generally going to want to match up the size of your hands with the size of the grip. So, players with smaller hands will usually want a thinner grip, while those with big hands can often find good results with a thicker grip. If possible, experiment with a few different grip sizes – maybe at your local golf shop – before deciding on the one that will live on your putter.

It’s entirely possible that your grip problems have nothing to do with the four possibilities listed above. These points are a good place to start your search for problems, however, as they are common issues. Take some time to think about your grip during a practice session and see if you can find ways to make it better. It’s the process of perpetually improving your putting technique that has the potential to lead you to improved results on the greens.

Finding the Right Position

Finding the Right Position

It’s impossible to tell you exactly how to build the right putting grip for your game. That’s because there is no one right grip that will work for all players, so you need to experiment your way to a finished product that you love. While we aren’t going to be able to offer step-by-step directions, we can touch on some key points that may help you find that perfect putting grip.

  • Start with the left hand. Even though you are a right-handed golfer, the left hand is actually going to be the more important one when it comes to your grip. So, as you are building your grip, you will want to first work on finding a great position for your left hand. This grip position should allow you to make one-handed strokes pretty comfortably. Then, once you are happy with where your left hand is and how it feels, you can get to work on adding your right hand in an appropriate spot. Think of the right hand as the complementary piece that completes the grip.
  • Think about the connection. The way you bring your two hands together is going to say a lot about how successful – or unsuccessful – the grip ends up being in the end. One of the most-common styles of grip on the greens is known as the reverse overlap. This is where the pointer finger on your left-hand rests across the top of the last two fingers on your right hand. This grip is reliable because it offers the player a nice feel for the putter head and retains the ability to release the putter through impact. Of course, there are plenty of other options for connecting your hands, such as using whatever grip you use on your full swings. Experimentation is your friend here, so give plenty of grips a try in practice before you settle on one.
  • Feel natural. It is not always easy to feel natural and comfortable while putting. You may feel like you are forcing your hands and body into positions that they don’t really want to occupy. That can be frustrating, and it can also make it difficult to perform at your highest level. Do your best to build a putting grip which actually feels natural. It may take some time to reach this goal, and you need to remember that the grip will almost certainly become more and more comfortable to you as the practice time adds up.

Patience is an important part of learning how to putt. That is true when working on the mechanics of your stroke, and it is true when working on your grip. Don’t expect anything to happen immediately in this game. Be patient with yourself and look for small signs of progress along the way.

Practicing Putting as a Senior

Practicing Putting as a Senior

One of the great things about being a senior golfer is that you likely have much more time now to work on your game than you ever had before. You may be retired from your career, and you likely no longer have small children in the house to care for. With free time available and the opportunity to work on your game, it’s exciting to think about how much you can improve.

At the same time, your body might not feel up to practicing as much as your mind would like. Golf is a game that can wear down particular parts, so long practice sessions just might not be in the cards. If you feel like you are limited in how long you can stand out on the green and work on your putting, don’t despair. There are options which just might help you get the results you desire without logging too many hours on the greens.

  • Work on your grip – on the couch. There is no reason you have to be out on the putting green standing over a bunch of three footers in order to work on your grip. In fact, once you have figured out what kind of grip you are going to use, you may be able to work on it in the comfort of your own home. Simply by holding the putter in the fashion that you have decided on over and over again, you’ll gradually get more comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you are standing in your living room or sitting on the couch. Just get in as much time as possible learning how to grip your putter and the results will speak for themselves when on the course.
  • Focus, focus, focus. When you do dedicate time to practicing your putting, don’t waste that time by distracting yourself with other things. While on the practice green, focus on the task at hand. Work on executing great strokes and make sure your fundamentals are in place. If you focus and truly commit yourself to making progress, you might be surprised to find just how much better you can get in only a short period of time.
  • Find a good position. It might be that you need to slightly alter your stance in order to spend more time practicing putting as a senior. For instance, standing up taller at address may make you more comfortable if you have back problems. Think about what is holding you back from spending more time practicing and see if there is a feasible way to work around that limitation.
  • Long and short. To get the most out of your practice time, spend most of your time working on long putts and short putts, and not so much in between. The short ones are key to helping you keep your round on track without wasting strokes, and the long ones will help you lag the ball up close for an easy second putt. Divide up your putting session into short putting work and lag putting work and the results may be quick to come.

We hope this discussion on the putting grip has been helpful as you work on improving your performance on the greens. It’s a great feeling to step up onto a green thinking that you are going to knock the ball into the hole – but that kind of confidence doesn’t come easily. You need to earn your confidence through hard work on the practice putting green. If you put in the time now to build a great grip – and the stroke to go with it – the long-term outcome could be more made putts than you ever imagined. Good luck!