What part does your Right Hand
play in the putting stroke?
Should your left or right hand be dominant in your putting stroke? Opinion is divided. A good rule is that your hands should not fight each other for control.
If you are right-handed, it is normally your dominant or master hand. It is the hand that does most of the work in everyday tasks. However, in putting should it have a controlling role?
In another ezine on the Left Hand I described why some prominent authors consider that your left hand should take precedence over your right.
Mark Calcavecchia explains that this was the reason why he changed to the claw grip. "It allows my Left Hand to control the stroke and my Right to simply go along for the ride."
One of the most divided views on putting is whether it is right-side or left-side dominated.
George Low in his book The Master of Putting likens the putting grip to sailing. "The Left Hand is the rudder that keeps the ship (putter) steady as she goes while the Right is the drive shaft providing propulsion, direction, and the touch for speed."
A popular drill for testing the speed of the greens is to practise putting with one hand only. It is based on the idea that the right runs the show by providing the power while the left guides the putter back and through.
Removing the left hand off the grip allows you to get the feel for how much stroke produces how much roll.
Arnold Palmer sees the putting stroke as being mainly right-handed. In his Arnold Palmer's Complete Book of Putting he devotes a number of pages explaining his viewpoint. "The only time we apply both hands in unison is when a job calls for the strength of both hands.
In putting, it is never necessary to apply the combined force of both hands, and so logic suggests that the Right Hand should play the active part, perhaps even the only part."
In the literature of golf instruction you can find conflicting opinions - and instruction on putting is not exempt from views that are diametrically opposed.
One of the reasons why golfers have experimented with different grips, and continue to do so, is the difficulty of maintaining a smooth and consistent stroke.
Under pressure it is not uncommon for the dominant or master hand to overpower the subordinate hand, a condition that can lead to the 'yips'.
If you scour the many books on Putting Instruction, you will often find no mention of the separate role of each hand in putting. The emphasis is on maintaining the shape of the Putting Triangle formed by the shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands.
The role of each hand is largely irrelevant; the power of the stroke into impact coming from gravity with both hands locked in unison.
Thinking about your hands while putting is never a good idea. You want to putt with an empty mind - not one filled with analytical thoughts. So which hand should dominate your stroke? Probably neither would be a good solution.
1 + 2 = www.golfdigest.com