Different putting grip checklist
* In a conventional grip the left hand controls and the right hand releases
* Left below right helps neutralise the right hand
* The ‘claw’ still allows some release in the right hand
1) Why new styles of grips?
There are now many different putting grips, with recent alternatives coming to the rescue if the dominant hand has become too active and is affecting your ability to control the clubface – hence left below right, and more recently the ‘claw’ and ‘pencil’ grips. But although these resolve the issues for many, it does come at the cost of natural feel in the stroke, which stems from your dominant side.
In the conventional grip, the left side controls and the right side releases the putter. But when you switch things around, you gain in some areas and lose in others. So you need to weigh everything up, and perhaps even consider a hybrid grip such as the ‘claw’ or the ‘pencil’. Let’s look at various grips in more detail.
2) The conventional grip
In the classic putting grip, the arms hang down, the right hand sits below the left, and there’s a reverse overlap, with the forefinger of the left hand just riding on the fingers of the right hand and the thumbs extending down the flat part of the grip.
Everything’s very relaxed with the elbows just listing gently in, and as you make your stroke, the left side brings control, while the hands lag a bit as they change direction, with the right hand then releasing the putterhead. That’s good – you certainly don’t want to be rigid and fused, because that removes feel completely.
3) Left below right
Why do many people now putt with the left hand below the right? Well, it helps to neutralise the right hand. Because your left hand is further down the grip, it elongates the left arm, which almost becomes a continuation of the shaft and brings you added consistency as the shaft is working with the left arm throughout.
However, you will have to make some adjustments to your stroke from distance because you’ve taken the right hand – and therefore the release – out of it. This will probably mean lengthening the stroke a little in comparison to the more orthodox grip.
4) The claw and the pencil
I don’t use the claw grip often, but when I do, I really like the feel of it because it’s almost a hybrid grip or halfway house. If your right hand is too active, it helps without completely taking it away from the action. You can still get some release with the claw – the right hand is still active – but it can’t be dominant.
The pencil grip is a variation on the claw. I like the claw because the right hand is working on the same path as the putter, whereas in the pencil grip it tucks under the club more. But that works for some people as it keeps the right arm a little closer to the body.