Claw grip for putting: How it works

The claw grip, made famous perhaps for the first time by Mark O’Meara back in 2003, has become increasingly popular in golf’s recent history. Many mocked what was perceived at the time as a rather desperate move, but that all changed when more and more players found success with the unconventional method. The video that accompanies this article, explains how to do it.

With the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau and Sergio Garcia all relying on it – the claw putting grip is a technique well worth understanding and then trying if you’re in help with your putting.

Claw grip for putting: The benefits

The claw putter grip puts the shoulders in charge and encourages a hands-free action. This makes for a silky smooth stroke, which is especially beneficial on faster greens. 

It is also particularly good for players suffering from the dreaded yips or those who just generally struggle on the greens. Lee Westwood is a good example of a player whose stroke has improved greatly with the introduction of the claw grip.

So how do we do it? 

This is what it should look like when you’ve placed the lead hand on the grip

First, align your lead hand and place the putter into the palm of that hand along the lifeline. Wrap the fingers around, sitting the thumb along the upper surface of the handle with the back of your hand facing the hole. The pressure applied should be light. 

Then, introduce the bottom or trail hand with the palm facing the ground. Split the thumb and forefinger making a nook that the putter grip will now rest on. You want to apply gentle pressure but not force. 

The grip should rest between the thumb and forefinger of the trail hand

You are now almost putting one handed meaning you can’t thump it – take a look at the video that comes with this article as it shows the claw grip for putting in action. After some practise you will start to feel a stroke dominated by a rocking action from the shoulders rather than your bottom hand. 

This grip will encourage a softer hit that usually starts more putts online, and it also works brilliantly to square the shoulders up at address. And with a more neutral lower hand, you’ve got a real chance of eradicating the yipping action that haunts so many golfers. 

The drawbacks

It should come as no surprise that, like any change in the early stages, it can feel awkward. However, some effective practise will help golfers overcome this initial stumbling block. 

It can also cause problems on slower greens where sometimes there is nothing else for it but to give the long putts a bit of a hit with the wrists. There is no way of releasing your hands with this technique so it’s not for everyone playing around the globe.

Related: Putting drills for distance control

If your greens are more on the sluggish side maybe opt for a more conventional grip or even the reverse overlap. 

Claw grip for putting

Put in some time with the claw grip to figure out if it works for you

When it comes to putting, the most important thing is to find a grip that makes you feel in control. If it’s already a strength of your game DO NOT TRY THIS. Once you go claw it’s hard to go back, so tread carefully when taking the plunge. 

But, like any change, it can serve as a fresh start and give golfers a new perspective that might arrive just in time – if your game needs saving, why not give it a go. 

And if you are still unsure, getting the advice of an expert will help put your mind at ease either way. Another pair of eyes and a professional point in the right direction may be all your putting really needs to reach new heights.