The Reverse-Overlap grip has been the
recommended putting grip for a long time.
A reverse-overlap grip can lead to two common faults, namely a breakdown of the left wrist, and an overactive right hand. There are a number of other grips to try if you are troubled with these faults.
Today it is under threat. This is because the best way to hold the putter has become anyone's guess.
Teaching putting was once simple when it came to explaining how to hold the putter. You took the conventional Vardon grip of the full swing and modified it so that your left forefinger rested on top of the fingers of your right hand. This was the accepted standard and it was seldom questioned.
The problem that has surfaced is the Reverse-Overlap grip does little to prevent two common faults in the putting stroke.
Breakdown of Left Wrist
Golfers are taught to hold the angle of their left wrist through impact. If you allow your left wrist to flip, you destroy the true alignment of your putterface to the target.
A popular solution to a twitchy left wrist is to change the relationship of your hands and putt left hand low. Gary Player stated that if he had to learn golf again, he would use this Cross-Handed grip for putting.
Bernhard Langer at one time resorted to bracing the putter shaft against the inside of his left forearm, securing it there with his right hand. This is a method still used by Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark.
Overactive Right Hand
In the ideal putting stroke both hands work in unison. However, we are born with a preference for one hand over the other. For right-handed golfers this means that their right hand is generally stronger than their left.
When you putt with a Reverse-Overlap grip, you are also more likely to overpower your left hand with your right hand. This is because its position lower down on the shaft makes it more dominant in the stroke.
When your right hand takes over control, it closes your putterface prematurely. Your putts typically will be pulled left on your aimline (target line).
There are a number of different grips you can now choose from. Next time you watch a Tour event, try to identify the various ways the pros hold their putter.
One of the more popular grips is the Claw grip, and variations of it. By placing your right hand in a rotated position, you effectively remove the fault of rotating it during your stroke.
However, the grip I prefer is the Prayer (Preacher) grip. With the advent of big grips such as the 2Thumb, BigLite and Tiger Shark Jumbo grips, it is now possible to balance both hands by placing them side-by-side on the grip.
Where to Now?
The way you hold your putter is one of personal preference. For the Tour Pros it is the one that allows them to consistently square the putterface at impact under the pressure of competition.
There is no longer a standard. You may have noticed that Padraig Harrington who putts Cross-Handed has resorted to turning his left hand under the shaft reminiscent of the putting grip Cory Pavin uses.
So feel free to experiment. The only rule about the putting grip is that there is now no rule.