Through the years, our Pelz Golf Institute has done research on how golfers putt and, particularly, how well they putt with a given putting grip. Here’s your spoiler: the putting grip style that has consistently yielded the worst results is Conventional putting (Right-Hand Low). Golfers employing “unconventional” grip styles have tended to perform better than Conventional putters because their techniques had less wrist movement and breakdown and were more repeatable.

Let’s take a look at four “alternative” ways to grip the putter. There are more ways than this to grip the putter but these four popular methods I’ve studied and I’m sure you’ve seen used on the PGA TOUR because they work under pressure when they’re use correctly.

LEAD HAND LOW
Take your conventional stance, ball position and putter length. Grip with leading (closer to the hole) hand below the trailing hand on the handle. This puts the trailing hand in a passive position, and allows the lead arm to pull the putter through impact on line and square.

ADVANTAGES
1. Eliminates forearm rotation for most golfers.
2. Minimizes wrist breakdown.
3. Encourages shoulders to be square to the line at address and promotes a square putter face through impact.

DISADVANTAGES
1. Takes time to regain touch on long and breaking putts.
2. Stigma of “cross-handed” putting discourages many golfers.

THE CLAW
While your leading hand (left for right-handed golfers) grips the club conventionally, reconfigure and reposition your trailing hand and arm so they simply move with the stroke, adding nothing. There must be no wrist hinge and no hand or finger power in this stroke. This method prevents the power (trailing) hand from controlling putter face orientation as well as from supplying excessive force.

ADVANTAGES
1. Changes the idea of putting from a hands-controlled motion to a swing-down-the-line motion.
2. Puts the power hand into a passive position.
3. Provides a new look, new attitude, and change to golfers unhappy with conventional putting.

DISADVANTAGES
1. Many golfers find it uncomfortable and awkward.
2. Distance control usually suffers initially, especially on long putts.
3. Other golfers consider it an act of desperation.

NON-ANCHORED “BELLY” PUTTER
Position the ball two inches forward of the center of your stance, with your feet shoulder- width apart and square to the putt line. Take your normal putting crouch and find the most comfortable length when the butt of the putter is near (but not anchored to) your belly. Place both hands together (right or left hand low) toward the bottom of the grip, and stroke putts normally.

ADVANTAGES
1. Changes the idea of the putting stroke from a “hit” to a “swing.”
2. Pure pendulum motion eliminates wrist break and, for most golfers, minimizes forearm rotation.
3. Most golfers feel a stable stroke.
4. Allows good control of distance and speed.

DISADVANTAGES
1. Repeatable ball position is critical, because the putter face will rotate slightly through impact.
2. There’s no tolerance for any body motion or rotation.
3. Eyes may not be directly over the target line, making good aim difficult.

THE SAW
Grip the putter conventionally with your lead/upper hand then rotate your lower hand on the grip so the back of your hand run down the front of the grip. Your lower hand is in a similar position to the “just-after-impact” position your lower/hand is in when you are hitting a full golf shot. Stroke Putts normally.

ADVANTAGES
1. Feels very natural because the right hand never strays from the correct impact position.
2. Removes any temptation to rotate the putter face through impact.
3. Allows for pure aim and roll.
4. Putter face stays square through impact.

DISADVANTAGES
1. Many golfers find it uncomfortable and awkward.
2. Requires adjustment period.
3. May feel more natural on short putts vs. long putts.

TEST YOURSELF
To find out which putting grip works best for you, try each style on short putts of three and six feet. Then, move to medium-length putts of 10, 20 and 30 feet and, finally, test each grip style on lag putts of 35 feet or longer. Use the grip that yields the best results.

Good luck and good putting to you!

By Dave Pelz

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