A good putter has a kind of symbiotic relationship with their putter.
Putter grips have undergone a big change in the last five years and its no coincidence that the trend is heading toward thicker grips, they can reduce tension and help promote a pendulum swing.
There are more choices than ever; with pistol, round, flat, parallel and jumbo grips to choose from. We take a look at why the putter grip is so important and what to look for.
When was the last time you changed putters? Last week, last month or some time in the last year?
There are so many different putters around that it can seem quite a challenge just choosing which ones to try.
But have you ever thought that perhaps all that’s needed is a change of putter grip? Much less expensive than compiling a museum-sized collection of putters.
Using the wrong putter grip could well be hurting your game and your score in a way that changing your putter cannot solve.
At the very heart of putting is the simple goal of holing out in as few strokes as possible.
The method you use might mimic the hundreds of differing ways that the tour pros use, or it could be one entirely your own.
According to Sean Foley, the exact method you use shouldn’t matter so long as it helps keep the wrists still during the stroke.
And this is where considering a grip change might work out best for you.
No matter how you grip your putter, the key to creating a consistent roll (and consistent results) is by using a stroke that is dominated by the torso and upper body which creates a pendulum-like stroke on the ball.
The hands DO move but the wrists don’t impact upon the stroke.
Some golfers have little difficulty in maintaining still, or quiet, wrists. For others too much wrist movement can be altering the club face on impact and be the cause for agony over short putts.
This is because any kind of hinging and unhinging of the wrists can cause a putt to begin its journey on a path you had not intended and end up missing the target.
Changing to a thicker or a specific shaped putter grip can help lessen this wrist impact through the stroke and enable a better, more consistent roll on the ball.
A thicker grip can help align the hips and the body to enable the torso to be more dominant during putting.
It is also a fact that a thicker putter grip encourages the bigger arm muscles to dominate, reducing the impact of twitchy wrists.
Without wanting to change putters it might be that changing the grip can help. The putter grip is an important part of your equipment, it is the one point that attaches you to the club, even the size of your hands have a bearing on what grip is right.
There are three main categories of grip to consider:
Standard or Pistol (1.0-1.2″ dia.)
The most common putter grip usually has a flat top surface and a rounded back.
Many pistol grips have a taper, getting thinner towards the bottom of the grip. In the past many pros have built up the lower part of the grip with more tape, believing that a thinner grip can tend to cause putts to ‘hook’.
Increasingly, grip manufacturers have made putter grips more uniform in thickness, reducing or eliminating the taper completely and even employing a different shape such as SuperStroke’s hexagonal design or completely round grips from Winn or GolfPride.
The idea is that the lower hand is in a much more comfortable (natural) position.
Midsize (1.3-1-4″ dia.)
Like the standard grip only thicker, these have become very popular with tour players looking to reduce the tension in their hands.
This thicker grip can either be traditionally pistol shaped or employ a more rounded shape like the Winnpro X 1.32″ creating more feel and minimising wrist movement.
There is also SuperStroke’s parallel design in its Slim 3.0, slightly wider on the face than the side that allows for even pressure in both hands, eliminating added tension in the wrist and forearms further enhancing a pendulum-like putting stroke.
Oversize or Jumbo (upto 1.75″ dia.)^
Established on the market for some time now is the oversize putter grip.
One of the most popular is the Fatso 5.0 (1.67″ dia.) the largest in the SuperStroke line, a straight round grip with no taper that compliments a “straight-back, straight-through” putting technique as it encourages the bigger muscles in the arms to grip it, much like holding a cricket or baseball bat.
Equally popular is the Two-Thumb putter grip (1.61″ wide) which has a large flat face designed to be gripped with parallel hands (both thumb placed side by side on the grip) ensuring that the shoulders and body also remain parallel during the stroke.
The key to good putting is to keep those wrists nice and steady.
With technology making materials more durable and lighter, thicker grips can help golfers, especially those with bigger hands and impatient wrists, where it really matters – on the putting surface.
If you would like to see where your putting is, before you invest in a new putter, arrange a visit to see us and take a look at our SAM Putting Lab. We can assess what’s happening with your putting stroke, give you a reason as to why you are missing and help you hole more putts.
^ the current USGA size limit for putter grips is 1.75″
“As long as your grip makes it easy to minimize wrist action, then I say go for it” – Sean Foley