Control the Putter Head with the Proper Putting Grip
Generally speaking, putting practice is the last thing that comes to mind for your average golfer. Not only that, how they grip the club is probably the greatest after thought. Ironically, that is probably the easiest way to start improving your putting technique.
Imagine trying to throw a curve ball by simply picking up a ball and throwing it. You can spend a long time failing or you can simply learn the curve ball grip. Putting is no different! Our main goal when gripping a putter is to ensure full control of the putter head. Our objective is to maintain a square club face relative to its path.
When gripping a putter, you want to build a solid relationship between the face of the putter and your grip. Ever wonder why the putter grip has a flat surface along the top of it? If properly installed, this flat surface of the grip will be perfectly perpendicular to the face of your putter. This enables us to lay our thumbs along the flat surface of the grip, while our palms face each other and are parallel with the putter face.
So what steps can you take to grip the putter properly? Let’s jump right into it! I’ll be referencing the proper steps for a right handed golfer. The right hand low grip will be covered in this post but you can easily apply these same principals for left hand low.
Unlike a full swing shot, we don’t want to grip the club in the fingers with the pad of our wrist on top of the grip. I’d like you to use the life line of your hand as a guide.
Looking down at the putter, place the left side corner of the grip along the life line of your left hand. If done properly, the pad of your thumb will lie directly on top of the flat surface of the grip.
You will notice that the back of your left hand will face the same direction of the putter face. If you gripped it too far in your fingers, the back of your left hand will start to face the sky.
With your left index finger off the grip, place the life line of your right hand directly along the left thumb. Now your right thumb is on top of the left and both thumbs are perfectly in line with each other. Now the right palm is facing your target just like the putter face.
Once you wrapped your right fingers around the grip, you can lay the left index finger on top of them. I recommend laying your left index over at least two fingers. Feel free to experiment covering more than two fingers.
There are some great players that apply a lot of pressure on the grip. Steve Stricker is one of them. The majority of players apply very little pressure to the grip. I recommend very little pressure to start. This will help you get a sense of feel for the putter. Once you are comfortable you can experiment with more hand pressure and see how it effects face control.
Now that you know the proper grip, pick up the putter with your left hand only. If gripped properly, you will notice that it is very hard to hinge the club. That is exactly what we want! If you cant cock your wrists, that means you wont manipulate the lie of your putter throughout the stroke. Another positive is how this automatically aligns the shaft with your forearms. This eliminates an unnecessary lever that we can do without.
You will notice that this hand placement can be hard to achieve with a big grip. That is one reason why I am not a fan of big putter grips. I will cover more details on this subject on a future posts. Here is to better putting!