In the 2017 Masters Tournament, the world saw Sergio Garcia win his first major tournament as a professional golfer. The 37-year-old Spaniard turned pro in 1999, previously accumulating 30 tournament wins before writing his name into the major championship history book. One of the most noticeable aspects of Sergio’s game is his putting technique. Sergio, along with other touring pros like Phil Mickelson, uses the “claw” grip. Here is a look at 3 putting grips you will see while watching a golf tournament and how they help your game.
This traditional way to hold the putter is more than likely the way you learned starting the game. The trailing hand grips below the lead hand on the handle, just as it does for shots with other clubs. There are different ways to modify this grip. Modifications include interlocking the grip or pointing the index finger down the shaft for control and accuracy. Using the same grip as the rest of your clubs gives your putting a familiar, confident feeling.
Lead Hand Low (Cross handed)
This putting grip requires the golfer to take the traditional stance as in the “Conventional” method. However, this grip crosses the hands on the grip. For a right-handed golfer, the left hand will be lower than the right hand. The opposite is true for the left-handed golfer. This grip allows the trailing hand to be placed in a passive position, allowing the lead arm to pull the putter through impact. This grip eliminates forearm rotation for most golfers and dramatically decreases wrist breakdown during the putt. It also encourages the golfer’s shoulders to be square when they address the ball, supporting a square putter face through impact. Although not as common as the “Conventional” grip, it is trusted by good putters like Jordan Speith.
This is a unique putting grip and is by far the most exotic of these three grips. The Claw grip features the lead hand at the top of the putter with the opposing hand used to make a claw around the grip. With this method, there must be no wrist hinge. This technique prevents the trailing hand from controlling the direction of the putter face. The Claw changes the idea of putting from a hands-controlled motion to a swing-down-the-line motion. It also puts the power hand into a submissive position which will decrease excessive force. On the downside, golfers might find this putting grip uncomfortable, struggling with distance control, especially on lag putting.
Getting a (Putting) Grip
There are numerous ways to putt but these three techniques are some of the more common ones. With practice, they can help you get the number of putts per round down. The biggest thing that can improve your putting is finding the grip that best fits you. Every golfer is different and what might work for your friend or tour pro might not work for you.