Do you need more confidence on the greens? If so, you might want to try out arm lock putting – a different type of grip and style than you’re likely used to seeing on the golf course.
Golf is a challenging sport but one aspect that is unlike the full swing is putting. As Ben Hogan once said, “There is no similarity between golf and putting; they are two different games, one played in the air, and the other on the ground.”
Ben Hogan seemed to almost despise how hard putting was – almost like it was beneath him. Because as you know, it’s possible to be a great ball striker and not such a good putter.
So if you need help with the flat stick, we want to present a new alternative with arm lock putting.
Arm Lock Putting 101
So, what is arm lock putting? Is it like anchoring to your lead forearm?
Sort of… but it’s actually legal in golf (unlike anchoring a belly putter).
Here’s how a fitter from 2nd Swing Golf described this method. “Essentially your arm is kind of locked up on the club. As long as it is below your elbow and not pushed up against your belly it is legal.”
The fitter from 2nd Swing Golf also mentions that one of the biggest benefits is that it’s easier to use for consistency vs. a traditional putter. He noted that even if he doesn’t play for a month or two, he has a better feel from the longer, arm lock style.
It’s pretty simple in that the putter rests on the lower part of your left forearm. There isn’t any other big switch you need to make in terms of setup to use an arm lock but as we’ll discuss, it can change your putting motion.
- Arm lock putting is drastically different from a normal putting motion as the club is longer and touching your arm.
- While anchoring is banned in golf – arm lock putting is similar and some people in the game think it should be banned.
- Arm lock putting requires you to buy a new putter/and or grip and might change your putting motion entirely.
Keep reading to learn more about this unique putting style and see if it’s worth the switch.
Arm Lock Putter
The biggest difference between a standard putter and arm lock is the putter length.
Obviously most putters are held in your hands and don’t touch your left arm at all. Traditional putters are typically 33–36 inches (usually 34 or 35) for men.
But arm lock putters are much longer and usually closer to 40–42 inches depending on the make and model. These putters require a longer shaft, more offset, and a lot more putter loft. In fact, most putters have 2-4 degrees of loft while these types of putters have nearly twice as much loft.
Arm lock putters are also much heavier than a traditional putter head too. They’re typically about 400 grams total which will feel like a brick for some type of golfers who have used a lighter putter before.
Needless to say, you can’t just easily convert your current putter into an arm lock putter. If you’re ready to go all in on this putting style it might be a good idea to do a custom putter fitting. This can ensure the specifications of the putter – head, loft, grip – all set you up for success on the greens.
We’ll discuss a few of our favorite arm lock putters below if you decide it’s right for you.
How Arm Lock Putting Style Changes Your Putting
Since an arm lock putter is longer it will change your stroke – which is why we suggest thinking it out before making the switch. Since the putter is held against your arm, it makes your shoulders play a bigger role and have a more pendulum like motion. This is why some golf coaches suggest this putting style as it almost eliminates the wrist entirely.
Bryson DeChambeau is the perfect example of this as he’s very upright with straight arms throughout his putting motion. Paired with his single length irons, he’s far from traditional when it comes to equipment.
Another benefit of the arm lock putting style is that people who have switched love the accuracy factor. To make putts you only need two things – proper speed and aim. But a lot of everyday amateur golfers struggle with short putts, specifically getting the ball started on the correct line.
Arm lock putting makes it easier to get putts started on the right line due to the heavy design. For short putts inside 5–6 feet, this is a huge win because you don’t need much break on these putts.
Unfortunately a lot of golfers struggle from short range from overly active wrists in thier putting stroke. This shouldn’t be an issue with an arm lock putter.
One of the biggest components of putting is a forward press motion. We’ve talked about it extensively (read the full article here) as so many golfers – both pros and amateurs – use this method.
The forward press is simple – your hands start slightly ahead of the putter face to begin the putter stroke. It’s helpful for a lot of golfers (including Phil Mickelson and Jordan Speith) to initiate the start of the stroke.
But how does it factor in with arm lock style? Can (or should) you forward press?
Ultimately, it depends on the type of putter you choose. As mentioned, some have a lot of loft and will require forward press as the ball will bounce too much if the dynamic loft is used.
However, other putters like the “BEWICK’D” series advise against a forward press. As noted on their website, “The grip accounts for the extra increase in the loft from locking it against your forearm and negating the “de-lofting” that occurs when you lock it against your forearm. The putter and grip should be just about straight up and down (or slightly forward based on personal preference) with you looking straight down the grip and the shaft.”
Cons of Arm Lock Putting
There are certainly plenty of pros to this type of putting but don’t go switching just yet. As Luke Kerr-Dineen said in Golf.com, it’s not always an easy transition.
“My initial switch to arm-locking was incredibly messy. To say I putted awfully is an understatement. It was atrocious. I putted so poorly that I actually threw away the first arm-lock putter I ever had at a gas station on my way back from the course. True story.”
Switching certain parts of the game – like grip or putter style – can take a while to feel comfortable. Needless to say, it’s not the best idea to make this switch leading into a member guest or other type of competitive event. Instead, make it during the off season when you have plenty of time to grind out putting practice.
Another issue with this style of putting is that it nearly removes the wrist entirely. While too much wrist movement isn’t good in the swing, some is needed. Arm lock can make the entire putting motion feel too robotic and not as free flowing for some players.
Finally, the last downside is that you will need to buy a new putter as well. You can’t simply switch the grip to make it right for your new putting motion.
Best Arm Lock Putters
Here are some of our favorite picks if you’re looking to make the switch.
- TaylorMade Spider GTX: Availalbe in 40 or 42 inches and shaped for stability above all else. Not to mention a sleek design with high MOI construction.
- Oyssey Arm Lock Putter -2Ball: A classic two ball shape with a longer shaft (40 or 42 inches) and 7-degrees of loft so it can rest on your left arm with ease.
FAQs About Armlock Putting Stroke
Do you have more questions about putting so you can save strokes every round? If so, keep reading to learn more now.
Should you lock your arms when putting?
Maybe – this style of putting has been adopted by a number of professionals including Bryson DeChambeau. But unlike other trends in the golf world, not as many amateurs have given it a try as you need a new putter. Another reason is that it’s a steep learning curve as it does change your entire putting motion.
That being said – this style can help your game but wouldn’t suggest it unless you’re needing something new. Don’t try to fix something in your golf game that isn’t broken.
What is an armlock in putting?
It’s similar to anchoring but there is no “anchor point” so it doesn’t break any rules of golf according to the USGA.
How many pros use the arm lock putter?
There are a number of big names using this type of putter style including Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, and others.
Can I turn my putter into an armlock?
In general, no you’ll need to buy a custom putter as they’re much different from standard putters. Arm lock putters are longer, heavier, and have more loft than a standard putter.
Is wrist lock putting legal?
Yes, this is legal. In fact, SuperStroke (who makes some of the best putter grips) even have their own “Wrist Lock Putter Grip style.
What is the best putting grip?
If you aren’t ready for an arm lock putting grip make sure to check out putting grip encyclopedia here.
As the Ben Hogan quote above-mentioned – putting is complex. It’s nothing like the full swing and confidence can be gained quickly… but lost just as quickly. When it comes to success on the putting green, I suggest finding a method that works for you and stick with it.
Whether that’s cross-hand, traditional, or arm-lock. Not to mention don’t change out putters that often either. Find a green reading system – like the Look and Shoot or AimPoint – and stick with it. Only make a switch in equipment or routines if you’re in a huge putting slump and can’t seem to break out of it.
Personally, I haven’t tried this method yet but do have a friend who loves the arm lock putting stroke. Do what works best for you!
Final Thoughts on Armlock Putting
An arm lock grip and putter head can help remove excess wrist movement and hopefully drain more putts. But the arm lock putting method isn’t for every type of golfer but it can have a big impact on your game. Remember, there are a lot of ways to “roll the rock” – no standardized method.
Some golfers prefer fat grips, others prefer normal size. Some golfers prefer blade putters, while others prefer mallets (or even modern day mallets). While some golfers use a traditional grip, others cross-hand, and others an arm lock method.
All with one goal – get the ball in the hole in as few of shots as possible. But there are some pros including consistency and better accuracy which should lead to more putts. Not to mention it can help with any putting yips from overly active wrists and ultimately make you a better putter.