Claw Grip For Putting: How It Works

Ever wanted to try the popular claw grip for putting? PGA pro Katie Dawkins has the pros and cons

Claw grip for putting
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Made famous perhaps for the first time by Mark O’Meara back in 2003, the claw grip for putting 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. 

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. The video below that accompanies this article, explains how to do it.

Claw grip for putting: The benefits

The perfect golf grip used in the full swing is designed to encourage the correct wrist hinge for speed. But this can hurt you on the greens. 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. Crucially, it should prevent the right hand from becoming too active and harming your control of the face. 

It is also particularly good for players looking at how to cure the putting 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.

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So how do we do it? 

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. 

Claw grip for putting

This is what it should look like when you've placed the lead hand on the grip
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

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. 

Claw grip for putting

The grip should rest between the thumb and forefinger of the trail hand
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

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.

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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
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

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.

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based at the stunning Hamptworth Golf Club on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.