• February 9, 2023

How to Grip a Putter: 9 Ways the Pros Use

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Accurate putting is widely considered to be the most important and indissoluble golf skill. While golfers generally hold their clubs the same way for a full swing, even the best players in the world twist their hands and arms in exotic grips to calm their nerves when it comes to getting a little white ball into about a five Roll inch wide hole and promote consistency.

Here are nine ways top golfers are trying to solve the eternal puzzle of putting in this week’s Masters tournament:

Lee Westwood

Recognition…Doug Mills / The New York Times

Lee Westwood: The Claw

The claw grip, popular with right-handed golfers around 25 years ago, has a right hand that does not merge with a stabilizing left hand on the top of the putter, as has been the case with conventional grips for decades. The right hand branches by itself, with the putter being pinched like a claw between the thumb and forefinger, which can intentionally make the right hand more passive when striking.

Recognition…Doug Mills / The New York Times

Phil Mickelson: Lefty Claw

Mickelson is right-handed in most things he does other than golf, and his right hand with a pointed index finger (sometimes called a pencil grip) becomes the top of his version of the claw grip. The left hand is in the leading position. Mickelson appreciates the Claw because it’s easier to get a “longer, smoother shot” on the fast greens of Masters and Tour events.

Recognition…Doug Mills / The New York Times

Adam Scott: Long putter claw

Scott is the only Masters champion to have used the older version of a long putter that could be anchored to the chest. Revised rules prohibit the top of the putter from touching the body frame, but Scott adapted with a low claw grip for the right hand. He also tends to leave the flagstick in the hole when putting, which is not common.

Recognition…Doug Mills / The New York Times

Justin Rose: Modified Claw

Rose likes to think of his left arm as the driving force behind his stroke, and he often practices putting with only his left hand. His version of the claw has his two right fingers over the top of the shaft instead of resting on its side. When asked why he preferred this grip, Rose had the most basic and concise answer of all: “It feels easier.”

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