The Future Of Putting? Armlock Method Tested

We test out Bryson DeChambeau's armlock putting method to see if it made us more consistent on the greens

SIK Armlock putting
(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

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Armlock Putting Method Tested

Watch Joel Tadman try out a SIK Armlock putter to put the theory to the test

Golfers are always looking for new ways of getting the ball into the hole in a fewer number of shots per round, whether it’s a new grip or a different way of holding the putter, but one technique you might not have considered before is the armlock method. It’s a style you will no doubt have seen employed by the former US Open Champion Bryson DeChambeau, who has used it to devastating effect in amassing eight PGA Tour victories in a relatively short space of time, but the big question is - does it work and could it help your game? I tried out a SIK Golf Pro C Armlock putter, one of the best armlock putters on the market, to put the method fully to the test on Woburn Golf Club's stunning Tavistock short game practice area.

sik armlock putter how to hold

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

The first thing to cover with the armlock putter is how to hold it. You’ll notice the putter is much longer than a conventional putter - my SIK sample is 41 inches long but it comes in pretty much any length you desire, the key being to ensure the putter is gripped as close to the steel as possible and that the butt of the grip falls just below the crease in your elbow. At address, the idea is to push the grip up against your lead arm. This creates a lot more shaft lean than normal which is why this putter comes with seven degrees of loft as standard. The technique is perfectly legal under the rules of golf providing the end of the putter remains below the elbow and this close connection with the arm, and by extension the shoulders, is said to increase face control. 

Often when the hands take over in moving the putter, the face and attack angle changes a lot during the stroke and it’s difficult to return it to square at impact. The armlock method ensures the bigger muscles control the movement, helping get the putter back to square at impact more consistently by becoming an extension of your lead arm. What you’ll notice on the SIK model is that the Jumbo Max grip is orientated so the wide flat side is parallel to the putter face for maximum contact points with the arm, which helps ensure a stable and square setup from address through to impact.

sik armlock grip close up

(Image credit: howard boylan)

Think about how you hold the putter too with your right hand. While this hand really just comes along for the ride you still need to feel in control of the putter, so play around with a few hand and finger positions until you find the one that feels most comfortable.

My testing of the armlock putting method on a variety of lengths of putts showed there’s certainly some merit in how it promotes a more repeatable action on the greens. It certainly feels much more robotic than a traditional putting stroke, and that feeling takes some getting used to, but over time and with practice, the feeling soon becomes second nature and the biggest gains I saw were notable on short range putts. Sometimes, golfers can second guess themselves over the ball on short putts and try to push or pull putts at the last minute but with the armlock method, there’s less scope for manipulation of the club face so as long as your alignment is correct, you should find you become more prolific from six feet and in. 

sik DLT face armlock

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

On long range putts we did struggle to gauge the distance although this does become easier over time and one thing you can do is calibrate the length of backswing to a certain distance to help lag long putts close, just like DeChambeau does out on tour. What also helped create a consistent launch from long range was the Descending Loft Technology on the face of my SIK putter - whereby the face is split into four sections descending in loft by 1° from the top of the face to the bottom. This negates any change in shaft angle presented to the ball at impact from address, which often causes the ball to strike different parts of the face - leading to less predictable rolls. It essentially creates a greater margin for error, which is something every level of golfer will appreciate.

sik armlock putter down the line

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

I also liked how the lie angle of the SIK Armlock putter in particular encourages you to position the hands higher with the shaft more vertical - another way to effectively take unwanted wrist action out of the stroke.

In summary, the armlock putting method is certainly one I would encourage golfers to try if they haven’t already. The theory is sound and the testing I’ve done has shown there are performance gains to be had, especially if you struggle to hole your fair share of putts from inside 10 feet.

Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Ping i230 4-UW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x