Jack Nicklaus once said that if he had to teach someone to putt then he would start them off by putting with the left hand low. When we putt ‘conventionally’ it can be a struggle to keep the face square at impact - even with the best putters on the market. The hands can get too active for a variety of reasons, and some of us are using putters that might be too long or that aren’t fitted.
People who aren’t fans of the left-hand-low method often say they struggle on longer putts but love it on the shorter ones, so why not mix it up? There’s nothing to say you have to use the same grip for every putt. Just look at Collin Morikawa.
Left Hand Low Putting Grip: Square shoulders
A huge benefit is that it gets your shoulders more level. It is easy to have your shoulders too open at address and this will lead to a slight out to in path – this method squares up the shoulders and keeps the putter moving in the right direction and straight down the target, making it easier to hole out more efficiently. The back of the left hand is going straight down the line and a good check is that you should still be able to see some of the face still.
This is pretty straightforward and nowhere near as fiddly as you might imagine if you’ve never tried it before. Place your right hand at the top of the grip (for right-handed golfers) and then simply place your left hand below it.
This is about getting as comfortable as possible and feeling what is best for you but a great, solid way of gripping the club is to have one finger overlapping. Your lower thumb can then sit straight down the grip. If you still feel like there is too much movement then try double overlapping to give more of a connection.
Another key component is to have the ball a bit forward of centre with the shaft leaning slightly towards the target – you want the left shoulder to drive the stroke and this will help to encourage that. The right hand can very easily get too dominant and with this grip, and your shoulders more level, you will hopefully see some more putts dropping.
Left Hand Low Putting Grip: Getting Used To The Feel
It is worth saying here that if you have used an alternative putting grip for years, then any switch is likely to take time. The key is commitment. If you feel that your putting is poor, then a totally new feel is a good way to reset your mind and provide the foundation for your confidence to grow.
However, don't expect it to transform your game overnight. Any change of grip (long game or short game) will take time. Use some practice putting drills to develop your feel for pace control in particular. The more putts you hit, the better your instinctive feel for distance control will become.
Above all, allow yourself some wiggle room to make mistakes on the course. By taking pressure off your own shoulders, you'll make a bigger improvement far sooner.
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Location: Walton Heath
Jo teaches at Walton Heath and is a PGA Advanced Professional having graduated in 2011. She has helped hundreds of women and girls get into the game and she is a strong believer that, whatever your ability, everyone can get plenty out of the game. Jo is currently working towards a Doctorate in Sport and Exercise Science.
I like to keep things simple and try to articulate things in a way that is easy for the student to understand. I need to understand the technicalities of what is creating their ball flight, but I need to be able to communicate that to the student in a way that they can utilise.
A typical lesson:
My lessons begin with a lot of questioning, I want to understand what the person wants out of their lesson. I want to understand as much about their game and what they are struggling with. Once I’ve seen their flight and motion, I will often utilise video and TrackMan data to further understand/reinforce what I’m seeing. I always want my students to understand what we are changing and why. I then take the player through what we want to change, and how best to practise. I close my lessons by checking for understanding and asking the player to tell me what they going to work on.
Most common impact:
Angle of attack is often a common impact fault I see, with players either being too steep or too shallow. Most often this is caused by a lack of rotation or a poor concept where a player is trying to scoop or chop down on the ball. I try to correct the fault by demonstrating the concept before getting the player to make small, controlled swings to get a feel for the new movement. With some players I try to find a visualisation or an external focus of attention which helps them make the desired movement without overthinking.
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