What is the Best Putting Grip?
A Panel of Our Teachers Share
seems, since golf began some 600 years ago, players have argued
whether the straight back-straight through putting stroke, preferred
today by putting expert Dave Pelz, is better than the
inside-square-inside stroke recommended these days by another short
game guru, Stan Utley. Well, surely these arguments will go on for a
long time, yet one thing will stay the same: most USGTF and WGTF
members believe the Pelz type stroke works better on short putts
while the Utley-type stroke rolls the ball more purely on long
Something else that’s
been getting a lot of attention lately is the putting grip, probably
because there is such a wide range of grips, including the highly
unorthodox claw popularized by PGA Tour pro Chris DiMarco, unique
cross-hand hold employed by former US Open winner Jim Furyk, and the
unconventional split-hand type grip used by LPGA player Natalie
Before things get out
of hand, Golf Teaching Pro editors thought we better check in with
our members and ask them this question: what do you think is the
best putting grip to recommend to average golfers, and why?
What follows are the
answers to this question that you might find fun to compare to your
Bill Picca: I prefer the
reverse overlap grip simply because it is the putting hold that has
proven to be the most popular historically among winners of regular
PGA tournaments and major championships.
Let me make it clear
that this is not the opposite grip to the standard Vardon overlap.
My grip of choice is the grip called the reverse overlap grip, even
though for a right-handed golfer it entails draping the forefinger
of the left hand over the fingers of the right.
I prefer this grip
myself and recommend amateurs try it before any other grip. The
reason is it keeps the
hands out of the stroke and promotes a coordinated and rhythmic arms
and shoulders action. In essence, then, this grip encourages the
player to control the movement of the putter with the big muscles
rather than the small ones, thereby virtually guaranteeing an
on-line stroke rather than an off-line stroke.
I know I am a minority, believing that the interlock grip is best
for putting, so let me explain my thinking.
When hitting drives
and other standard tee-to-green shots, more and more PGA Tour
professionals are following the example set by Tiger Woods, who
prefers the interlock grip, as did Jack Nicklaus before him.
When putting, slowly
but surely, more and more top professionals are switching from the
reverse overlap putting grip to a less conventional hold. A few
years ago, several top pros started changing to a left-hand-low or
cross-handed grip. A couple of years ago, the claw grip started to
catch on and now a number of pros are using it.
I predict the
interlock will be the most popular grip of the future. I say that,
knowing that it unifies the hands, but, unlike the overlap grip, it
does not take them out of the stroke so much that you lose feel. The
interlock grip promotes a very slight hinge in the wrists, too, and
that freedom of motion is enough to enhance feel. In turn, your club
direction is enhanced, and so is your distance control. A golfer
cannot ask for anything more.
Most of all, though,
to quote essentially what I say in my bestselling book, Become A
Putting Machine, which is likely to be published in America after
enjoying success in France, Canada, Switzerland, and Belgium
particularly: “The goal in putting is to robotize the stroke, make
it automatic, and the interlock grip does this because it CONNECTS
Dave Shaver: Since ModelGolf
innovator Ralph Mann bases his instruction on pro models, I believe
the average golfer will do himself or herself the most good by
adopting the grip of choice by male and female tour pros: the
reverse overlap grip, with the left forefinger extended down and
over the fingers of the right hand.
This leading choice
of grip by the world’s best golfers enhances shoulder action and
quiets the hands, making for a very repetitive, consistent stroke.
John Andrisani: I think weekend
golfers should copy Natalie Gulbis and create a six-inch to
twelve-inch gap (whichever feels most comfortable) between the hands
when holding the putter. In testing out this grip, I determined that
it automatically allows the left hand to lead the putter back and
through and the right hand to follow and provide the power in the
impact zone. In short, the left hand is the guide hand, the right
hand the power hand. Because the right hand is not hindered in any
way by the left hand, namely, because the hands are separated from
one another, the player finds it easier to determine how much oomph
he or she should put behind the stroke with the right hand to hit
the ball a specific distance.
I think more golfers
would be trying this grip if a male tour player were using it. In
the past, pro Hubert Green putted well using a similar hold. Hubert
won many times on tour, yet golfers forget he did this using an
unorthodox grip. I suppose that’s because he missed a short putt to
tie Gary Player in 1978 Masters.
John Wilde: I am not a teacher
who believes in one set methodology. However, that does not in any
way mean that I allow a student to choose some kind of wild-looking
putting grip that, though comfortable, really will never offer him
consistency in terms of distance and direction control.
To repeat something I
say in my book, The Old Man’s Practice Guide, “Putting is very
individualized, but there are principles that you need to master.
“The preferred grip
is the reverse overlap, where the left forefinger overlaps the right
pinky, but the crosshanded grip with the left hand low is an
One more thing I do
stress is this: whichever of these two grips you choose to putt
with, I like the student to position the putter’s handle a little
higher on the left heel pad, and, ideally, use a putter with a
reminder grip which positions the hands in a “weaker” grip position.
Both of these keys give you an added sense of security in the hands
when holding the club, thereby enabling you to make a pure
pendulum-like stroke that rolls the ball smoothly across the green.
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