Putting is the most individual aspect of golf. On the surface, you would think it’s the easiest part of golf. You make the smallest swinging motion, the ball never leaves the ground and most of the time it travels the shortest distance to the intended target. However, it’s often times the most difficult aspect of the game. The saying, “if you can’t putt, you can’t score” is so true. The evidence of that statement is witnessed every day in professional events and on golf courses around the country. You see a variety of styles in putter heads with different weights all designed to give the golfer a certain feel. There are different grips, big and small, also designed to create feel. Theories on how to set up to the ball are abundant to give golfers more confidence in processing a repetitive stroke. Finally, you see many different ways to grip the putter to improve feel, control and consistency.
The area that intrigues me the most is how a golfer holds onto the putter. Traditionally, golfers had their palms facing one another and both thumbs down the center of the shaft. A deviation from the traditional grip arrived in the form of a crosshanded or “left hand low” grip. This grip helped with the breaking down of the top hand.
The latest deviation in the putting grip is to turn the bottom hand from the palm facing the target to the palm facing the body of the golfer. By rotating the bottom hand to face the body it takes the active hit out of the bottom hand and puts the emphasis on the top hand or left hand for a right handed golfer in the putting stroke. This grip is gaining massive popularity on the professional tours. There are many different variations of this technique. The most popular presently on the professional tours is the “pencil grip.” The first finger of the bottom hand runs down the top of the grip as the palm faces the body. The result is your bottom hand is on for stability and that’s it. The stroke is driven by the top hand, arm and shoulder moving the putter back and through.
If you’re struggling with consistent contact and distance control, rotating your bottom hand palm to face your body could be a very successful direction for you to experiment with. As with any change or adjustment, you must be committed to it and give it a chance to succeed. But by the number of PGA Tour players I saw at the AT&T Byron Nelson putting this way, it could be just what you need to get you back to shooting the scores you want or desire.
Tim Cusick is the Director of Instruction at the Four Seasons Resort and Club/Dallas at Las Colinas. The Northern Texas PGA named Cusick Teacher of the Year in 2005, 2009 and 2015, as well as the 2014 Horton Smith Award winner for education. He’s the author of ‘The Four Keys to Improve your Swing.’ Follow him on Twitter @timcusickgolf and visit his website: timcusickgolf.com