Your grip pressure will affect how you putt.
When it comes to how firm you should hold your putter, it makes sense to find a grip pressure that will best serve your putting stroke.
The pressure you apply to the handle of your putter can range from the 'wet fish' to the 'bone crusher'. Neither is ideal. So what is the ideal that you should seek to achieve?
The ideal pressure is one that is CONSTANT throughout your putting stroke. It doesn't change from your backstroke to your forward stroke. It doesn't change when you are faced with a three-foot knee trembler.
It is a fact of human nature that when we are tense we tend to tighten up our muscles. It is the brace response. Often we do this without realising it. Our putting routine changes. We get stiffer over our putts and we take longer to pull the trigger.
It is important to maintain a soft and even pressure in both hands throughout the stroke. Most weekend golfers hold their putter too tightly from the outset.
When they have to make a putt, they ratchet up the pressure even further. This invariably leads to a snatch rather than a smooth stroke.
Your hold on your putter should be gentle rather than firm, gentle enough to retain your feel while still retaining control of your putter.
The analogy often given is that of squeezing an open tube of toothpaste without causing any toothpaste to come out of the tube. On a scale of 10 to 1, with 10 being as hard as you can squeeze, and 1 being the putter almost falling out of your hands, your grip pressure should be about 4.
Tension is an enemy of a smooth putting stroke.
A hold that is too firm can radiate tension up through your arms and shoulders diminishing your sensitivity, and preventing you from swinging your putter freely.
This will result in a jerky rather than an even and relaxed stroke and will make distance control more difficult.
The easiest way to measure how firmly you are holding your putter is to focus on your forearms rather than your hands. If there is any tension in your forearms, your hold on your putter is too tight. Slacken off until your forearms are relaxed.
It has been suggested that to relieve tension you should putt with mouth open with your tongue resting lightly between your teeth. Another suggestion is to putt with a tee peg held in your lips.
So what are the WAYS to achieving an ideal grip pressure?
The FIRST WAY is to hover your putter off the ground. This is known as underweighting your putter. This allows you to determine how firmly you should hold your putter to control it without sacrificing the feel of the putter head.
When you sole your putter at address, two things happen.
The SECOND WAY is to fit a grip on your putter that allows you to maintain control of your putter handle throughout your stroke.
The standard putter grip allows too much movement in the putter handle.
To dampen down the movement, golfers hold on to their putter tighter than they should.
By fitting your putter with a fatter grip such as the 'Biglite', 'SuperStroke', or '2Thumb' grip you have more to hold on to.
You can therefore slacken off your hold without giving up control.
The ideal pressure to maintain in your hands when you putt is: