What is the proper putting grip? It’s a simple question with a complex and nuanced answer.
When you watch professional golfers on TV you will notice similarities in their games. They all have the same impact position, the same swing plane, and they are always on balance.
Take a moment and study their putting grips. You will notice many different techniques. That’s because there is no one single proper putting grip.
Your putting grip is a personal decision. Find a way to roll the ball smoothly on your line and use it.
We aren’t saying there are an unlimited number of proper putting grips, but there is a handful that you can try.
Some might argue about the exact number, but we have identified 5 different proper putting grips that your can use in your short game.
Let’s get started!
Proper Putting Grips: How Does Your Favorite Player Hold the Putter?
If you can’t figure out how to choose the proper putting grip for you, you could always copy your favorite player.
You have seen it work on TV for them, so it will probably work for you at your local course.
Let’s take at how some of the best players in the world grip their putters!
He is the G.O.A.T. and he uses the most common proper putting grip. Tiger leverages a conventional grip to roll in his birdies and eagles.
Tiger has “only” won 15 majors and 82 PGA tour events. Copying his putting style wouldn’t be the worst decision.
Jordan is a notoriously streaky putter. When he is hot everything goes in, but he will also miss the occasional short putt (like, really short).
With all of this said, he is still considered to be a great putter. Spieth uses a cross-handed stroke when he is on the green.
A unique fact about Spieth. When he is feeling nervous over a short putt, he will look at the hole during his stroke instead of the golf ball. This can help if you fight the yips.
Rickie is one of the most popular players on tour and his putting technique is interesting to watch. Fowler will change mid-round.
That’s right, he will use both conventional and cross-handed. He typically switches if he is having a rough day on the greens.
You could argue that Matt Kuchar invented the proper putting grip that he leverages. He uses the armlock technique.
He developed this method in response to the belly-putter ban that the USGA put in place in 2016.
Proper putting grips are often created from necessity. Rose struggled with his putting early in his professional career.
Justin started to win golf tournaments once he switch to “the claw” putting grip.
Adam Scott has always been one of the world’s best ball strikers and his swing is the envy of all golfers.
Putting has held him back during his career and he has tried several different proper putting grips. Scott now uses a long or broom putter to sweep in his putts.
The important thing to notice. Even amongst the greatest golfers in the world, there are many different proper putting grips used.
Proper Putting Grips: 5 Techniques You Should Try
We wouldn’t recommend messing with your putting grip during your next round. Instead, try them out on the practice green before you take it on the course.
Does one of them feel better? Do you make a more consistent stroke? You are looking for feel and confidence.
#1: Conventional Putting
The vast majority of golfers use the “conventional” proper putting grip. It may not be the best one for you, but it probably the one you should try first.
Conventional putting requires a standard length putter. This means 33″, 34″, or 35″.
You place your left hand on the putter first (right-handed players). You want your thumb to point directly down the shaft.
Your hands should be connected, so when you place your right hand on the putter make sure at least one finger overlaps with the pointer finger on your left hand.
Now both thumbs should be pointing down the shaft. This is the “conventional” proper putting grip.
The idea is that your hands work in unison to make a smooth stroke. You should try to take the putter head straight back and straight through.
Pro Tip: Control the speed of your putt with the length of your stroke. Try to take the putter the same distance back and through.
We suspect this was the proper putting grip you were taught when you first started playing the game of golf.
#2: Cross-Handed Putting
Quick definition. Cross-handed is the opposite of conventional. You use a standard length putter (33″, 34″, 35″).
You may also hear this proper putting grip referred to as “left-hand low”. You grip the putter with your right hand first (assuming you are right-handed).
Next, place your left hand below your right hand and overlap a finger or two to keep your hands connected.
The advantage is that you can get your front wrist flat at the address. Keep that wrist solid throughout your stroke and you will have a consistent putting motion.
You want to putt with your large muscles (rock your shoulders), not your small ones (hands and wrists).
Show me a golfer with a firm wrist and I will show you a great putter!
#3: The Claw
The third proper putting grip on our list is a relatively new one. It has become more popular over the last couple of decades.
The claw grip was developed to help players with a flinch. Also known as the Yips.
The idea is to remove your right hand from your putting stroke. By doing this, you have one less muscle that can flinch and cause a jerky stroke.
Here is how you do “the claw”. You use a standard length putter and your left hand goes on the club the same way as a conventional proper putting grip.
The way you use your right hand is why it is called “the claw”. You don’t grip the putter at all. You place your hand against the club to stabilize it, but you don’t grip it.
This will force you to rock your shoulders. It removes the right wrist from the putting stroke.
#4: Armlock Putting
The armlock proper putting grip was developed to handle a new rule in 2016. The USGA banned the popular “belly putting” style and players were forced to find a new way to putt.
Golfers were looking for a new way to stabilize their stroke. They could no longer anchor the putter in their midsection.
This proper putting grip requires unique equipment. You need to have a putter that is built to be arm locked.
Armlock putters are longer than standard length (37″ – 40″) and they have more loft.
You grip the longer putter with a conventional grip, but the top half of the grip leans against your left arm (right-handed players).
You make a stroke with the grip resting against your forearm. This forces you to use your shoulders and eliminates your wrists.
Armlock will produce a very stable stroke, but some players struggle with speed control and getting lined up correctly.
We recommend you try an armlock putter on the practice green before buying one!
#5: The Long or Broom Putting Stroke
The final proper putting grip on our list is the one you will see frequently on the Champions Tour. Bernard Langer is a great example.
Similar to an armlock, you will need a special putter to use this putting style. It could vary based on your height, but most long/broom putters are 45″ in length.
This is the only proper putting grip where your hands are separated. Your left-hand goes on the top of the grip, near your chest. Your right hand is down in the middle of the shaft.
The goal is to create a pendulum motion. The sweeping motion creates consistent contact and a smooth roll.
This is the hardest proper putting grip to learn. It takes time to get the feel down and to learn how to control speed.
Our recommendation: only go to this grip if all else has failed. Try the other four before pulling out the long putter!