How to Grip a Putter
Rory is doing it. Jordan Spieth has been doing it for years. Jim Furyk has been doing it since he was a lad and claims his father taught him how to do it. Adam Scott tried it and returned to the more conventional method. It's a practice which, like many other cherished human activities, has many names. You've probably guessed by now that I'm talking about the putter grip variously known as the cross-handed, lead-hand low, or left-hand low grip. Rory recently adopted this style to address a problem with right-hand dominance in his stroke, which was causing him to pull the ball left. The change appears to be benefiting him. Jordan says that older pros tell him all the time that if they could have changed one thing earlier in their careers, it would have been to adopt the cross-handed putter grip.
Not sure about the notion of letting your left hand do all the work? There are other options. Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson are currently using a so-called 'claw' grip, in which the right hand remains low, but in an unusual claw-like position which some compare to the way you would hold a pencil. Others are constantly toying with new putter grips, with varying degrees of success. The one thing all of these tinkerers have in common with the rest of us is an overarching concern with pace and line on the putting greens. All it takes is a couple of missed three-footers in two consecutive rounds to set the wheels of change in motion.
Unlike the average golfer, professionals instinctively turn to short-game experts such as Dave Pelz and Dave Stockton for guidance, with the result that their madness is informed with method. The rest of us tend to pick things up from golf magazines or from watching our mates on the greens. Although this occasionally leads to some improvement, it's not exactly an example of the scientific method in practice, is it? It is evident that adopting a new putting grip will help some, but not all, golfers. The question is, who should be considering a new grip. And which one? Some pull their putts, others push them. Some have problems with shoulder alignment, while others – Jack Nicklaus comes to mind - deliberately use an open stance. The array of choices and options is mind-boggling. How do we know when it's time to get a grip?
A great question and the only golfers who are needing or wanting to try a new grip are the ones who are missing their short putts. These will be missed generally left and with the feeling of a wristy, handsy action. The idea behind all new putting methods is to reduce/eliminate the right hand working to quickly through impact, rather than the arms and shoulders rocking through smoothly.
The reverse overlap
In order of the most commonly used the first grip is the most conventional where we change the interlocking or overlapping finger of the normal golfing grip to the outside – this makes the stroke feel more stable and has the feeling of reducing a flick.
Left below right
Or cross handed putting squares up the shoulders along the golfer’s line causing the shorter putts to have more consistency, it also keeps the left hand lower through impact therefore not coming up too early and creates a good ‘roll out’ it is also the least uncomfortable or affordable change than the next two.
Belly putter (counter weighted)
Hugely popular until banned if anchored. The idea once again was top take away a ‘flicky’ movement and if everything is locked together this cannot happen. Now you cannot anchor the counter weighted putter (that is longer and heavier at the top end) feels like an extension to help a pendulum motion.
Looks the most awkward and certainly is until practiced! The right hand wrist hinge is completely eliminated as it has moved 90 degrees. The feeling is putting with the right elbow stuck out and the right forearm is rolling the put
All are trying to create the same outcome which is to eliminate a flick
Rory McIlroy is using left below right. Frustrated by his efforts (and a missed cut) at the Honda Classic McIlroy has switched his hands around, something he hasn’t done since his rookie year on the European Tour in 2008.
Comments from Rory
“I felt like over the past few weeks, my right hand was becoming a little bit too dominant,” McIlroy said before the Cadillac got going. “I practised over the weekend just with left below right and it felt really, really good.
“I missed a couple of putts on Friday at Honda that I felt even before I made contact with the ball, that my right hand had taken over and I missed it left. I was sort of playing around with a few different grips, this one felt more natural to me because I’ve done it before and I do it quite a lot when I’m just practising in drills.”