Choosing a Grip for putting is not to be
taken lightly without any thought.
Your hands connect you to your putter. How you place them on the grip has a major influence on your setup, alignment, and putting stroke.
When it comes to how you hold your putter, there are a number of choices to consider – reverse-overlap, left hand low, split grip, claw, side by side, and so on.
So what is your grip, and have you thought about why you hold your putter this way? What should you know when choosing a grip?
Your hands are the only connection to your putter. How you arrange them on the shaft will influence both your setup at address, your alignment, and your actual putting stroke. So understanding the dynamics of your grip is helpful.
If you tilt forward from your hips and let your arms hang limp in front of you, you will observe in the mirror that your hands are level with each other.
Your shoulder line is horizontal to the ground and neither of your shoulders is angled forward or back. This is a normal body position, one that is free of any tension.
As soon as you hold your putter with the one hand lower than the other, you adopt an abnormal position. You will observe that your shoulders are no longer level as the one shoulder is higher than the other.
This departure from a neutral position of level hands has consequences for your putting stroke.
To see the side-on effect of right hand low, and then left hand low, you need to stand over a reflective surface so you can see the direction that your shoulders point.
For example, when your right hand is low, your left shoulder will move backwards unless you consciously correct its alignment.
Most golfers adopt a right hand low grip and a common fault is taking their putter outside the line on the backswing and then turning their shoulders through impact. This causes them to pull their putts.
With a left hand low grip, the putter swings more to the inside, but there is a danger that the golfer will now block his or her putts right.
It is my belief that you can reduce the number of potential putting errors by adopting a grip that places your hands as close to level as possible.
This helps your hands to work together rather than fight each other. This also takes care of the alignment of your shoulders.
The lower hand on the grip is the more dominant of your two hands and tends to dictate the arc of your putting path.
Because of the tendency for the right hand (right-handed players) to close the putterface too soon in the forward stroke, some golfers angle their right hand on the shaft to reduce its influence.
With this claw grip the right hand is already turned towards the target and so it can't close further during the stroke.
Whatever grip you choose, you need to realise that each grip has a different set of dynamics.
The more you depart from a neutral setup, the more you should be aware of the changes in your setup and putting stroke and their consequences.
Choosing a Grip for putting should reflect a personal preference. Make sure therefore that you have deliberately chosen your grip, rather than just having drifted into one.