Putting
Grips

Putting Grips vary:

There is no all purpose grip.


IN SHORT

There is merit in choosing different grips for different putts. For short putts you want to avoid a breakdown of your left wrist. For long putts your wrists can hinge with your right hand providing more hit in your stroke.


Some golfers prefer a reverse-overlap grip while others a left-hand low grip. Each has merit. Why not use both during your round for different putts?


Bernhard Langer

I was drawn to this idea by reading the Autobiography of Bernhard Langer published in 2002 as well as his earlier book Langer on Putting

Cross-Handed Grip

Short Putting
Cross-Handed Grip

Langer's putting problems occurred early in his career which resulted in him changing from a reverse-overlap grip to a cross-handed grip. Using this grip he won his first Masters in 1985.

In 1988 he modified this grip to what he called a split cross-handed forearm grip winning the Masters again in 1993.

Finally in 1996 he changed to a long (broomstick) putter.

What I found interesting was the way Langer switched his grip during a round depending on how he saw the putt he faced.

His reasoning was that all putts can be roughly divided into two:

  1. Short putting (direction) and 
  2. Long putting (distance). 

For short putts he used a left-hand low, and for long putts he reverted to a conventional grip.


Short Putting

Here accuracy is at a premium. Your setup at address should see your feet, hips, and especially your shoulders being aligned parallel to your target. These are makeable putts and they will test your putting stroke.

You need a repetitive stroke and any breakdown of the left wrist as your putter approaches the ball will send it off line.

By bolstering firmness in your left wrist through positioning your left hand below your right, you are guarding against any change in your wrist angles.


Long Putting

Reverse-Overlap Grip

Long Putting
Reverse-Overlap Grip

Here distance rather than direction is more of an issue. Two putts will often be what you are realistically hoping to achieve.

Because the ball has to travel further some wrist break is necessary in your putting stroke.

There is also a suggestion that you should stand taller with a more open stance to give yourself a better perspective of the distance.


Putting Grips?

The question arises as to when you should make the change. Do I putt left-hand or right-hand low? This is a judgement call and as Langer explained the distance for him was somewhere between 15 and 25 feet.

Each putt was judged on its merits with reference to getting the correct line or length.

You should be aware that any change from one method of gripping your putter to another requires some practice.

After a time either way will feel comfortable and you should be able to accommodate both ways.


Separate Shots

Nothing is more annoying that missing makeable putts or three-putting a green. You should therefore treat your short putting and long putting as separate shots just as you would differentiate between a chip and a pitch.

By being versatile with your putting grips you are maximising your chance of reducing the number of your putts.

Switching Putting Grips during your round for short and long putting is worth a try.

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Image Source
1 = Images from Bernhard Langer's book Langer on Putting


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Related Topics
(Highlighted)

reverse-overlap

left-hand low

all putts

setup

left wrist

suggestion

practice