If you’re like most golfers, you’re always tinkering with your game in an effort to shoot lower scores. Sometimes, your tips and tricks work, while other times your experiment fails miserably. It happens, we’ve all been there.
But that’s golf isn’t it? A sport that challenges you mentally and physically to get better every single round.
While a lot of golfers work on their full swing, let’s not forget about the putter too. Since nearly half of all shots happen on the fringe or green, it’s vital to constantly improve your putting. The more you can reduce three putts and make the 3-6 footers to save par, the better you will score.
If your putting needs a fresh start, you might want to switch up your putting grip. One that has become more and more popular is the claw putting grip.
It’s become extremely popular with the European Tour players and used by a ton of guys in the Ryder Cup. If it works for them, it might not be such a bad idea to give it a try for yourself.
In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about this unique grip to see if it’s right for your game.
Claw Putting Grip 101
Chances are, you’ve seen the claw while watching the guys on the PGA Tour. Players like Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson, and others use a claw style instead of a traditional putting grip. And it works wonders for them.
For amateurs, it’s not as popular of a grip method. Most amateurs tend to use a traditional or cross hand (also known as left hand low) putting grip.
But the claw might be what you need to start holing more putts.
Should You Use the Claw?
First off, what is the claw… who should use it?
Before sharing everything about it let me start by saying don’t make this switch for fun. If your putting is solid and you feel good standing over putts, don’t switch on a whim. This can complicate things and make it harder to go back to normal.
But if you’re in desperate need of improvement, sometimes a new grip can make all the difference. A lot of times a switch like this can give you all the confidence you need to start making more putts.
What is the claw grip?
The claw has one goal: minimize the bottom hand during the putting motion. If you tend to get “handsy” at impact, this grip will help you by almost removing it entirely from the process.
The claw method puts the bottom one in a much more passive position. It helps players putt more down the line and work through it more effectively.
It also makes it easier to control distance as you rely more on your shoulders, not your wrists and shoulders. Too many golfers struggle with long ones (20+ feet) because they have two power sources; shoulders and wrists. But the claw method leaves it all up to your shoulders to make a consistent strike with a square club face.
The other hidden benefit of the claw is that it helps with shoulder alignment. A lot of golfers unknowingly aim left with their shoulders which makes it nearly impossible to hole a ton of putts as your start line is incorrect.
But when you use a variation of the claw, it almost instantly helps you drop your back shoulder back and line up square. This alone should help you make more putts as you’ll get the ball on your intended line.
Here is a great YouTube video from Phil Mickelson explaining why he uses the claw from time to time. As Phil said in the video, he likes the claw for:
- Fast greens where you don’t need a big stroke.
- Helping reduce his forward shaft lean to get to a better position at impact.
- Helping him putt more with his shoulders and almost removing his hands entirely from the stroke.
Is the claw putting grip good?
So many golfers wonder, is the claw putting grip good?
“Good” is a rather arbitrary term when it comes to golf. Since there are so many ways to score well in golf from full swing to putting, we’ll say “good” means it helps you play better.
That’s the bottom line when making any type of swing or grip change.
So yes, the claw can be “good” as it can change things up and give you more confidence on the greens.
How to Start Using the Claw (Claw Putting Tutorial)
Now that you know a little more about the claw in golf, let’s get into how to start using it to become a better putter.
Step 1: Grip the Putter With Your Left Hand
Assuming you’re a right handed player, start by gripping the putter with your left only. Maintain a light grip pressure (roughly 5 on a scale to 10) and don’t grip it too tight. Since the claw almost entirely removes your other hand you want to make sure to get a good grip with this one.
Step 2: Add Your “Power Hand” to the Grip
Once you have a solid grip, add your power hand by placing it between your thumb and pointer finger. Move your pointer finger down the shaft so that it fully extends. This is known as the pencil grip variation that Tommy Fleetwood uses.
But this is where you can mix it up. Instead of using the pencil grip method, you can try it like Justin Rose does. Instead of placing his pointer finger down the shaft, he actually places his pointer and middle finger lightly on top of the grip. While it looks different from the one finger pencil style, it still takes a lot of power out of your dominant hand.
Finally, you can use the three finger method that Phil Mickelson uses. He places all but his pinky finger on the shaft but still removes most of the dominant power.
Step 3: Practice, Practice, Practice Your New Golf Grip
Don’t just try this style out without working on it in practice. First off, you want to make sure to pick the style that suits you best. Try out the pencil, two fingers, and three fingers method.
Once you find the one feels the most comfortable, then practice a ton on the putting green or at home with an indoor putting green. One cool thing about this method is that it can help your mechanics, even if you don’t make the switch on the course. That’s right, it’s great just to use it on the putting green or at home too.
The claw can help you get your shoulders aligned and minimize your dominant movement as well. Putt with your normal version and claw every other putt to see what feels best and gives you the best results.
FAQs About Claw Putting Grip
Do you have additional questions about the claw putting grip? If so, hopefully we’ll cover them in our frequently asked questions and answers below.
Which kind of grip is best during putting?
Whatever one helps you average fewer putts per round.
Just like a full swing, there isn’t a “one size fits all” method. Putting is especially different since it’s a feel shot more than a power shot.
That being said, the most common methods are:
- Left hand low
- Claw style
Sometimes switching your hands on the club is all you need to start making more putts. Remember, golf is a game of confidence more than technique.
Sure, you need good form but you need confidence as much as anything (just ask the best players in the world). Sometimes that might mean a new method to help you get the results you want.
Why does the claw grip work?
The claw grip works because it almost entirely removes the dominant hand from the stroke. If you find yourself getting overly dominant with your right hand, it helps get less wristy through the stroke. This is a very common problem, especially with high handicap guy who don’t use their shoulders enough and instead, use their wrists too much.
Do certain putters work best with the claw putting grip?
This is a great question!
For example, Sergio Garcia uses a high MOI putter. While Phil, Tommy Fleetwood, and other pros use a traditional blade putter.
What putting grip does Tiger Woods use?
Tiger Woods does not use the claw grip. When it comes to full swing and putting, he has a pretty conventional grip.
For his full swing, he uses the interlock method (which is kind of rare these days) and a traditional right hand low version. He’s also used the same Scotty Cameron putter for nearly all of his 80+ wins, so it’s pretty safe to say he won’t be changing things up anytime soon.
Final Thoughts On the Claw Putter Grip
Hopefully, you now have a much better understanding of the claw putting grip. It’s become more and more popular so if things aren’t going well on the putting green, give it a try. Guys like Justin Rose, Phil and others are playing better golf because of it.
The great thing about this grip is that it helps remove your dominant hand and get the ball rolling online correctly. Since it helps improve shoulder alignment and excess face rotation, it can really help you hit more consistent ones too.
But I would suggest to only switch to something so unconventional if everything else isn’t working. If you’re rolling it well, don’t self sabotage your success by introducing something new. Similar to making a change like a fat putter grip, it might be hard to go back once you’ve made the switch.
Whichever one you choose for the round, make sure you stay committed to it on the golf course.