I often ask golfers whether they think good putters on tour have a light or firm hold on the putter when they are putting well. Invariably these golfers answer “light, but I think mine is too firm.”
Although I have seen a few good putters come through The Sydney Putting Studio that have a firm grip pressure, more often than not the good ones do what we would expect, and that is hold the club lightly.
The main reason grip pressure is not often discussed is simply because we cannot see someone’s grip pressure, unless, of course it is extreme. Also, what one player might describe as ‘light’ might be described as ‘firm’ by the next player. As a side note, I have noticed that builders and plumbers (and other similar tradespeople) have rough and tough hands, and hold the putter very tightly. This may be because they are holding heavy tools all day at work.
An important point to make is that from the good putters I have studied and/or monitored, I have noticed that their pressure remains constant throughout the stroke, even the players who grip the putter a little more firmly.
Many golfers talk about holding the club tightly so they can reduce excessive wrist movement during the stroke. Although this sounds rational it is not really a good idea. I would rather see you hold the putter lightly so you can keep the feel required to judge the distance, while allowing the wrists to move freely from the shoulders and chest moving. The hands are passive with minimal movement, but are not locked.
Next time you are practicing your putting, I would encourage you to hit five putts holding the putter at about a ‘two’ in regards to grip pressure (where ‘one’ is as light as possible and ‘ten’ is extremely tight). Then hit five putts where you hold the putter at a grip pressure of ‘nine’, followed by five more putts holding the putter at approximately a ‘four’ or ‘five’. Pay particular attention to the speed control you have on each grip pressure and see which one suits you best and, importantly, whether you feel it changes at any point.
If you are having trouble with your putting or would like to confirm that your putter specs are suitable for you and your stroke, don’t hesitate to make an appointment.