Claw Grip Putting: The Secret Technique Pros Want to Hide

Looking to level up your short game in golf? The Claw Grip putting method is your go-to fix. Popularized by pros like Phil Mickelson, this grip minimizes wrist action, offering you better control and consistency on the greens. It’s particularly effective for faster greens and can help combat the dreaded “yips.” While it may take a bit to get used to, it’s worth giving a shot for a more stable putting stroke.

Claw grip putting Featured Image

Key Takeaways

  • The Claw Grip putting method is favored by pros for its stability and control, especially on faster greens.
  • Originated by Chris DiMarco, the grip minimizes wrist action, reducing putt inconsistencies.
  • Adapting to the Claw Grip may take time but can significantly improve your short game.
  • The grip is effective for combatting putting issues like “the yips” or focal dystonia.
  • Practicing the Claw Grip on various green types enhances its effectiveness and your overall putting skills.

Introduction

Golf is a game of precision, focus, and skill. The short game is one of the most important aspects of golf, and putting is a vital part of it. Over the years, many putting techniques have been developed to help golfers improve their game.

One such technique that has gained popularity in recent years is the claw grip. The claw grip is a unique hand grip that has been adopted by many professional golfers, including major winner Phil Mickelson and top-ranked golfer Justin Rose.

The grip involves using the index finger and middle finger of your lead hand to hold the club while resting your thumb on top of it. The trailing hand then grips the club as usual.

The claw grip was first used by professional golfer Chris DiMarco in 2004 as a way to combat excessive wrist movement during his putting stroke. Since then, many golfers have adopted this grip due to its ease of use and its ability to produce consistent results on the greens.

Using the claw grip can offer many benefits for golfers looking to putt better. Firstly, it promotes a more stable and rocking stroke, which can help maintain control over putts, particularly on slower greens where pace control becomes critical.

Check out this video below from Golfing World‘s YouTube channel:

Secondly, it reduces excessive wrist movement, which reduces inconsistencies from side spin caused by wrist rotation through impact—another factor positively affecting directional control. As with any technique in golf or life generally speaking, there are also some cons associated with using the claw grip for putting.

One potential disadvantage is that it may take some time for golfers to get used to its feel or transition from another style they’ve been using previously. Furthermore, although it’s easier than other grips since there’s less pressure placed on fingers and wrists, those who have larger hands or struggle with flexibility in their fingers may find it difficult to adopt this technique effectively.

Overall, if you’re looking to improve your short game and enhance your putting distance control, give The Claw Grip a try! It may take some time to get used to, but it could be the key to unlocking your potential on the golf course.

Golfer lining up a putt shot

History of Claw Grip Putting

The claw grip putting style has become increasingly popular over the years, but where did it come from? Well, it turns out that the origins of the claw grip are somewhat mysterious.

Some players claim to have used a similar technique years ago, while others attribute the style to an accident on the putting green. One of the most well-known explanations for the rise of the claw grip is that Phil Rodgers, a former pro golfer turned teaching professional, developed it in response to his own struggles with short putts.

According to this story, Rodgers had developed a case of putting yips and was unable to shake them off using conventional techniques. Instead, he discovered that holding his putter with his index finger extended down the shaft helped him maintain better control over his clubface.

Another popular version of events involves Tommy Fleetwood, a golf champion who began using the claw grip in 2010. According to Fleetwood himself, he stumbled upon this technique while practicing on faster greens than he was accustomed to.

He found that by placing his hand higher on the club and pointing his index finger down towards the head of his putter, he could enhance his putting performance and achieve a silky, smooth stroke. Regardless of its origins, it’s clear that many tour professionals have adopted this technique in recent years.

While some players still prefer traditional grips on their putters, others have found success with some variation of claw grip or another unusual stroke technique. As we explore this gripping approach in more detail later on in this article, we’ll look at some specific examples of how changing your technique can improve your game, as well as some potential challenges you may encounter along the way!

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Golfer with yellow pants practicing putting

Understanding the Claw Grip

To understand the claw grip, we first need to understand what it is and how it works. The claw grip is a putting grip that involves using your lead hand in a more upright position than the traditional overlapping or pencil grip.

This allows for greater control over the putter’s face and can help reduce wrist action during the stroke. One of the key benefits of the claw grip is that it can help alleviate common putting issues such as the yips or focal dystonia.

These conditions can cause golfers to lose control of their putt, making it difficult to maintain consistency on the greens. The claw grip helps to stabilize the wrist and putter face, which can lead to smoother strokes and more accurate putts.

Another advantage of using the claw grip is that it can significantly improve clubface control on fast greens. When a green has high speed, it’s essential for golfers to have excellent touch and feel in order to get a good read on their putts.

The claw grip provides greater accuracy when dealing with these fast greens, allowing golfers to make more confident strokes. However, like any putting technique, there are both good and bad points associated with using the claw grip.

Some golf practitioners may find that they struggle with longer putts or certain types of greens while using this technique. Additionally, transitioning from a traditional overlapping or pencil grip may take some time for many players.

Overall, though, many golf experts agree that when used correctly and consistently, the claw grip can be an effective way for golfers of all skill levels to improve their short game and lower their scores on the green. If you’re struggling with your putting stroke or just looking for a change in technique, consider giving this method a try!

Male golfer putting a shot

Benefits of the Claw Grip

If you’ve ever been frustrated with the inconsistent nature of your putting game—nailing it one day and missing the mark the next—you’re not alone. But here’s the silver lining: the Claw Grip could be the solution you’ve been seeking.

  • Stability and Control: One of the Claw Grip’s most notable advantages is the enhanced stability and control it offers. Utilizing a prayer grip with your non-dominant hand allows for better control over the clubface direction and impact path. This results in a more consistent ball speed and, ultimately, more successful putts.

  • Combatting Neurological Issues: For golfers dealing with focal dystonia, a condition that affects fine motor skills and complicates maintaining proper hand position, the Claw Grip can be a game-changer. By reducing tension in your hands, it facilitates a smoother, more controlled stroke.

  • Comfort Factor: Traditional grips like the Vardon or overlapping grips can sometimes cause hand strain or discomfort over extended periods. The Claw Grip offers an ergonomic alternative that adapts to individual strengths and weaknesses, making it a more comfortable option for many golfers.

  • Pressure Situations: When the stakes are high, such as in PGA Tour events, maintaining consistency is crucial. Pros like Tommy Fleetwood have turned to the Claw Grip for exactly this reason, finding it especially useful in pressure-cooker situations.

  • Potential Drawbacks: It’s worth noting that some golf instructors argue the Claw Grip can limit wrist movement, potentially affecting distance control on longer putts. However, for those mainly concerned with shorter putts and consistency, the Claw Grip has proven its worth.

In summary, the Claw Grip brings a host of benefits to the table, from improved stability and control to alleviating issues like focal dystonia. While it may take some time to adapt, and there are some considerations for long-putt scenarios, the pros largely outweigh the cons. If you’re looking to step up your putting game, especially under pressure, giving the Claw Grip a try could be a significant move in the right direction.

Check out this video below from Golf Channel‘s YouTube channel:

How to Use the Claw Grip

If you’re eager to experiment with the Claw Grip but aren’t sure where to start, you’re in the right place. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a newbie, getting the hang of this grip can be a game-changer for your putting game.

  • Finding Comfort: First things first—comfort is key. Some folks transition into the Claw Grip seamlessly, while others need a bit more time. Experts recommend spending quality time on the putting green until you’re comfortable enough to bring this grip into actual gameplay.

  • Adjustments Required: Keep in mind that the Claw Grip is a departure from traditional grips, which means you might need to tweak your putting style. Specifically, tour pros have noted that the Claw Grip can lead to harder putts due to increased ball speed. An adjustment in your stroke or putt distance may be necessary.

  • Anti-Yip Benefits: One of the Claw Grip’s standout features is its ability to help avoid the ‘yips,’ those involuntary twitches that can ruin short putts. The grip essentially minimizes the role of your hands and wrists, leading to a more stable, anchored stroke.

  • Potential Downsides: No grip is a one-size-fits-all solution. Some golfers note that they lose a bit of ‘feel’ for long putts or face alignment challenges when they first adopt the Claw Grip. These issues generally improve with practice.

  • Time and Practice: Like any new technique, mastering the Claw Grip won’t happen overnight. Diligent practice is the key to unlocking its benefits and enhancing your performance on the green.

In conclusion, adopting the Claw Grip can significantly revamp your putting game if done correctly. While there might be an adjustment period and some initial challenges, the payoff in terms of stability, control, and the potential to eliminate yips is substantial. 

So, why not give it a try? With dedication and practice, you could see a marked improvement in your short game.

Putt shot being lined up on green

Claw Grip on Different Greens

When it comes to putting, different greens can present different challenges. The same applies when using the claw grip method. However, with proper grip and speed control, the claw grip technique can be used effectively on various types of greens.

One of the most significant benefits of the Claw Grip is its ability to help golf practitioners putt on faster greens. Faster greens require a softer touch and more grip control.

The claw grip offers a more relaxed, light grip that allows for greater control over the putter head. Pro golfer Phil Mickelson is well-known for his use of the claw grip and has credited it with helping him perform better on faster greens.

On slower greens, some golfers may find that the unconventional method of using the claw grip can cause them to struggle with distance control. That being said, many experts believe that this issue can be mitigated by focusing on speed control through proper grip pressure and stroke technique.

Some pros even claim that they have improved their putting by adopting this method. Another factor to consider when using the claw grip is green speed and undulations.

A smooth rocking stroke can help maintain a consistent speed throughout the putt while allowing for some adaptability to any movement on the green’s surface. Golf instructors will often recommend practicing on different types of greens – slow, fast, or undulating – in order to become comfortable with varying conditions.

Overall, golf players should not shy away from trying out unconventional methods such as claw grip if they are struggling with their current putting technique. It may not work for everyone, but giving it a shot could lead to unexpected results under certain conditions or situations!

Golfer practicing putting

Check out this video below from Chris Jenkins PGA‘s YouTube channel:

Overcoming Challenges with the Claw Grip

When transitioning to the Claw Grip, there are a few challenges that golfers may face. One of the primary challenges is getting accustomed to the unconventional method of holding the putter.

Golfers who have been using other grips for a long time may find it difficult to switch to the prayer grip, which is used in the Claw Grip. The prayer grip involves placing the left hand above the right hand (for right-handed golfers) and can take some getting used to.

Another challenge that golfers face when using this grip is excessive wrist movement. Because of how different this grip feels from traditional ones, some golf practitioners may tend to use their wrists too much while putting, which can lead them astray from their target line and make it difficult to control their putt.

However, putting experts suggest that by keeping one’s wrists steady and maintaining control over them, one can achieve a silky smooth stroke with enhanced putting performance. Anxiety is another factor that can play a role when attempting to use this grip.

Golfers who experience nerves on shorter putts may find it even harder than usual when trying out a new technique like this one. One way to overcome this challenge would be to practice with friends or family members in low-pressure environments before taking it onto competitive stages like PGA Tour events.

While there are definitely some negatives associated with using an unconventional method like claw grip putting, there are also positives that come along with it – such as improved accuracy and control over one’s putts. Golf instructors recommend giving this type of grip a try if you’re struggling with consistency on your shorter putts or if you feel like your current hand grip isn’t working for you anymore!

Female golfer putting a shot

Conclusion

The claw grip putting method is a game-changer for many golfers of all levels.

The history of the claw grip has been around for quite some time, but it’s only recently gained popularity among tour professionals and golf enthusiasts. Its unique style provides benefits that other putting methods may not offer, including greater control and accuracy on faster greens and a more stable stance.

Although transitioning to the claw grip may be challenging at first, with practice and patience, golfers can overcome any weaknesses and improve their overall putting performance. Additionally, the claw grip can provide relief from focal dystonia or yips that may affect some players’ ability to make putts.

Many tour professionals, such as Sergio Garcia, have utilized the claw grip putting method with great success in their careers. Golfers of all levels can also benefit from this method by following specific tips such as focusing on speed rather than distance, utilizing a rocking stroke rather than a straight backswing/through-swing motion, and practicing on slower greens before moving onto faster ones.

If you are struggling with your putting game or simply want to try something new, give the claw grip putting method a chance. With dedication and practice, it could be just what you need to take your game to the next level!

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