Cross-Handed College Player To Make PGA Tour Debut

Patrick Welch has made it into the field for the Shriners Children's Open after finding success with the unusual grip

Patrick Welch of Oklahoma Sooners putts during the 2022 Division I Mens Golf Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The field for this week’s Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin may seem fairly standard, but one player is sure to make an impact thanks to his cross-handed grip. 

Patrick Welch, who is a fifth-year senior at the University of Oklahoma, has a special exemption this week. However, what sets him apart from his fellow competitors is the unusual grip he uses for every shot. Per a Golf Digest report from 2021, Welch started gripping his clubs that way because he did the same when holding a baseball bat. He then continued with the grip despite being advised against it. 

The 22-year-old can count being named in two All-American teams among his achievements, and, following March's win in the Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las Vegas that earned him the exemption, it’s hard to argue that his decision to continue with the grip has paid off.

Welch – who also wears two gloves - isn’t the only PGA Tour player to try a cross-handed grip. US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick famously chips cross-handed - a technique he’s used to great effect since 2020. While it’s early days for Welch’s career, no doubt if he goes onto enjoy anything like the success of the World No.10 in the years to come, his decision will be more than vindicated. 

For now, Welch is just delighted to be competing this week. After the win that earned him the exemption for this week’s tournament, he told Golfweek: "I don’t think I’ve ever had this feeling. Ever since I started golfing, I’ve always wanted to make it to the PGA Tour. To have this opportunity means the world."

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.