Putting is, hands down, the most challenging part of the game of golf. It’s a unique stroke that still involves all of the same elements as any other – proper stance, grip, alignment, etc – but while you use it less than your regular swings, it’s one of the most important components of a strong game. In recent years, pro golfers have discovered new ways to approach the putting game. One prominent technique that’s gaining traction is the claw grip.
What is the claw grip?
The claw is an unusual grip style specifically used for putting. The philosophy behind using the claw is that you reduce the variability of a hand-controlled motion by instead focusing on swinging your putter straight down the aiming line.
The back hand is the “power” hand in the traditional putting stroke. As such, many golfers tend to push or pull too much, throwing their club face off the line. Using the claw grip helps to eliminate any pushing, leaving the work up to your front hand to guide the putter in a straight line.
However, as you’ll find, the motion for the claw grip comes primarily from your upper body. Your shoulders and arms are going to do most of the work, leaving your wrists free to be firm and straight.
Why Should I Use the Claw Grip?
You might not need to. If the traditional putting grip you’ve always used has been reliable, then there’s no need to fix what ain’t broken. However, if putting is one of your bigger headaches on the golf course, changing your grip could be a viable solution.
Of course, there are a few notable disadvantages to using this style of grip. Primarily, it looks and feels uncomfortable. The grip is, far and away, the hardest element of your game to change. This means you’ll be fumbling around the greens for a little while as you get used to the feel, the position of your left hand, thumb, and fingers, the pressure, etc.
There’s also some risk that your right elbow will rise above your left elbow, resulting in a pulled shot. If the elbows aren’t lined up correctly, you’ll pull your putts back away from the hole. So let’s go over the elements of a good clawgrip so you can avoid this pitfall!
How to Putt With a Claw Grip
Remember, the goal of this grip is to reduce the motion in your hands, and instead, stroke your putts with motion from your arms and upper body.
Your left hand is going to grip the putter in its regular position, as you would with a traditional putting grip. The right hand is where things get funky.
Your right knuckles should be facing outward with your palm towards your body. Then, your right thumb tucks around the side of the putter, just enough to barely grab the club. Your right hand should apply very little pressure to the putter!
Now, your right hand will be lined up flush with the shaft of the putter, so it will be very difficult to flop or break at the wrist. The motion itself is initiated from the shoulders and forearms – you don’t want to use your wrists at all!
How to Practice the Claw Grip
The great thing about putting is it’s the one golf skill you can practice almost anywhere – even at the office! You can practice your putting grip the same way you’d practice your regular putting skills – use a putting green, aim for a coffee mug, etc.
But with the claw grip, the aim is to keep your wrists straight and let your upper body do all the work. One way of practicing this type of putt is to try putting with only your front arm. Then, as you become more accurate, slowly add your right arm into the grip. The right hand will add stability to your swing and will make it easier to aim.
It’s also important to commit to the change. After you decide to implement the claw grip, you have to use it each and every time you putt. This is mission-critical to building the muscle memory you need to replicate the putt successfully time and time again.
Have you tried the claw grip for your putting game? Drop us a comment and share your tips and tricks!