There are many things in golf that are set in stone such as teeing off behind the markers, tapping down spike marks being prohibited and Luke Donald is a great bunker player, to name a few. There are also things in golf that are personal preference. These preferences include the speed at which you swing the club, what kind of clubs you use and whether or not you still pick Tiger in your “majors” pool at the office.
One of the most important things that fall under the personal preference category is putting grip pressure. There have been great putters who have gripped their putter firm, some who have used a medium pressure and some that preferred a light pressure. What grip pressure should you use when holding the putter? Well, that’s completely up to you. Let’s look at some examples of each and how their choice affected their putting strokes. What grip pressure you use when putting is purely up to the individual. We are going to show you how to find the one that works best for you.
Firm putting grip pressure
Typically, golf players with firmer grip pressures tend to have a little quicker tempo to their stroke. Examples would be Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Brandt Snedeker and Aaron Baddeley. Keep in mind, they may not have gripped the putter “tight”, but their grip pressures tend to be a little firmer than most players. All three of these golf players have very quick tempo and their grip pressure plays a significant role in this aspect. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your tempo when putting has to be slow. All three of these golf players are considered great putters. Some people might hesitate to put Tom Watson on the “great putters” list because of his putting struggles later in his golfing career. However, make no mistake about it, no one wins 8 major championships without being a great putter.
Medium putting grip pressure
Golf players that have a medium grip pressure when they putt tend to have more of a medium pace to their stroke. Players that fall into this category would be Tiger Woods, Billy Casper, Brad Faxon and Annika Sorenstam. Billy Casper is considered by many to be the best putter of all time. His stroke was a little more wristy, like many golf players of his era. However, Tiger, Faxon and Annika keep their wrists very quiet during their strokes while still keeping their arms and shoulders very relaxed.
Light putting grip pressure
Golf players with light grip pressure when they putt tend to have a slower tempo. Great putters in this category would be Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, David Toms, Loren Roberts and Larry Mize. Super relaxed over the golf ball would be just one way to describe these great putters. These are the players who tend to have the “best looking” strokes. Watching these golf players putt is much like listening to Patsy Cline sing a song…it just doesn’t get much better. Nicklaus is the one exception here. He tended to have a quicker pace to his stroke and didn’t exactly look relaxed over the golf ball. However, when analyzing Nicklaus’ putting stroke, just see: “18 majors”.
Nicklaus usually gripped the putter light, but Lou Graham said Nicklaus had one of the best runs in golf when he gripped the putter real tight. What this tells us is that from time to time, you can modify your putting grip pressure as long as you keep it consistent during your round of golf.
Often times a golf player’s personality will affect the tempo of his or her stroke as well. Someone who has quick or fast mannerisms (talk, walk, drive a car, etc…) will tend to have a quicker pace than someone who does those things a little slower.
How to decide which putting grip pressure is best for you
The best way for you to figure out which works best for you is to get on the practice putting green and try different grip pressures. Hit some putts with a light grip pressure, some with a medium grip pressure and some with a firm grip pressure. You might even find you putt best when you are somewhere in between. Rate your grip pressure on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lightest and 10 being the firmest. Once you have found your ideal grip pressure, attach a number to it. That way you always have a form of reference to go to.
You should try to let your tempo set itself. Let your grip pressure and the speed of your mannerisms dictate the speed at which you swing the putter so it is as natural as possible. Remember, it doesn’t matter what speed you swing the putter. A good putter is always comfortable when putting. Doing something that doesn’t come natural will get in the way of being comfortable. The bottom line is that a good putting stroke is a stroke that makes putts.
The next time you struggle with your putting, it might not be because of your stroke mechanics. You might just be holding your putter with the wrong grip pressure.
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