Putter Grip Buying Guide
Do you have the right grip on your putter?
Many golfers don’t think at all about the type of grip on their putter. This is a big mistake since having the right type of putter grip could greatly improve your putting. In this guide I’ll walk you through the things you need to think about when buying a new putter grip. I’ll also make some recommendations for you to consider.
Make no mistake, improving your putting is the quickest way to shave strokes off your handicap.
The putter is the only club where you are allowed to have a grip that isn’t round. The majority of grips tend to have a flat section that is placed perpendicular to the face where the player is meant to rest their thumbs. The recent move towards oversize grips hasn’t changed that too much. Companies like Superstroke have produced round shape grips as well.
So much of putting is to do with ‘feel’, so what you need to do is test out a number of grips to see which feels best to you.
One way in which you might help your decision-making process would be to try putting with your eyes closed. Try to use the same model of putter with different grips to see which performs the best in terms of distance control.
The original style of grip. Basically, the same as you would find on your irons and woods. Not particularly popular these days. You are likely to only find this sort of grip on the putters you might borrow at a mini-golf or crazy golf facility.
Arguably the most common type of grip you would have found until the recent rise of the oversize grip. In fact the USGA sort of considers it the traditional putter grip.
It has a flat face placed perpendicular to the clubface where you would rest your thumbs. The grip flares out at the butt end and so resembles a pistol grip.
Used by the likes of Tiger Woods this design has remained popular even today. The curved rear allows you to wrap your fingers around to maintain a solid hold.
The design of this grip means it is better suited to players that have an arc in their putting stroke.
A paddle putter grip is similar to the pistol but doesn’t have that extra flaring out at the butt end of the club.
Paddle putter grips are a good choice if you tend to have a straight back and through putting stroke.
Oversized putter grips have grown in popularity over recent years.
Even ordinary club players now experience much faster greens than they might have done 30 or 40 years ago. To achieve more consistent results players need to remove wrist action and improve the stability of their stroke.
A simple way to reduce the use of your wrists is to fit a thicker putter grip.
An additional advantage of using wider grips is that it is possible for the golfer to set their hands level on the club rather than one below the other. This means they would be standing in a more natural position with their shoulders level.
In fact, oversize grips have now gotten so large that they don’t even have a flat front edge. On some models, they have gone back to a round design.
If you’re using a belly putter or a broom handle then your options are a little more limited. Winn grips were the only ones that appear to offer a replacement option for broom-handle putters.
Belly putters didn’t fare much better with only one or two options available from some of the manufacturers. You might need to go back to the putter manufacturer to see if they would offer you some form of regripping option.
Gripping the putter too tightly is one of the surest ways to miss a putt of any length, for it is proof in the first place that you are not relaxed and that you are over anxious.Walter Hagen
Grip pressure can greatly influence the quality of putts that you hit.
If you hold too tightly onto the club then that is going to introduce tension into your hands, wrists and upper body. That is almost certain to lead to inconsistency in your putting stroke.
You need to hold the club tightly enough that it’s not moving about during the stroke but not so tight that you are strangling it. When I started out in golf the analogy was to hold the putter as tightly as you might hold a bird.
It’s probably not as important to change your putter grip as often as the grips on your other clubs. Don’t allow the grip to become too worn though as it will become increasingly difficult for you to maintain a lighter grip pressure.
Traditionally putter grips would have tended to taper somewhat. Back when grips were still strips of leather wrapped around the end of the club shaft they would have followed the thickness of the shaft. Metal shafts tend to taper from the grip end to the head of the club.
While many modern grips still have a certain amount of taper there is a large segment of the market that features little or no taper.
Right-handed players who putt left hand low might find a grip that has no taper, feels better than a standard tapered grip. Similarly, if you use some form of claw grip you may find grips with little or no taper suit that type of stroke better.
Ideally what you need to do is test out a number of grip styles to determine which feels best to you and which produces the best results. If you are used to using a putter grip of one particular style then you may find changing styles takes some getting used to.
Bigger is better!
That seems to be what manufacturers think with regard to putter grips anyway.
There has been a proliferation of oversize grips over the last 20 years or so. Companies such as Superstroke and Winn produce very popular models that are more than twice the size of a traditional putting grip.
Improvements in the condition of putting greens mean they tend to be quite a bit quicker than the greens of yesteryear. The type of putting stroke recommended today involves the use of the shoulders in a rocking motion. This is in contrast to the much wristier stroke employed by the likes of Bobby Jones or Bobby Locke.
One fairly simple way of assisting amateur players in reducing the amount of wrist action is to increase the thickness of the putter grip.
If you feel your stroke is a little too wristy then a fat grip could be a good way to quiet down your stroke.
Many teachers recommend putting with both hands level on the grip rather than having one below the other. This is more easily achieved using some type of oversized grip such as the 2-thumb grip.
Anyone suffering from arthritis might also find changing to a thicker grip would be beneficial.
One of the problems of having significantly larger grips would be the increased weight at the butt end of the club. This would have an effect on how the club feels during the stroke. In order to reduce the effect, larger grips tend to be made from lighter materials so that the overall weight of the club is relatively unchanged.
Superstroke has attempted to bring the counterbalanced putter option to any putter that you own. Their countercore grips allow you to place one of three different weights in the butt end of the grip. This gives a similar counterbalance effect that you tend to find on some belly putters.
Originally grips were just strips of leather. Eventually, we moved on to using varieties of rubber or synthetic rubber to make golf grips. Modern oversize grips are often made from completely different materials such as plastic in order to try and keep the weight down. Some of these modern materials can be quite soft when compared with rubber.
Bad putters are always looking for the instant cure.Padraig Harrington
Putter Grip Buying Guide: Conclusion
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer when buying a putter grip. Putting is the most individual part of golf with many, many different styles appearing to work for different players. You need to find a method that works best for you and a grip that gives you the most feel and consistency for your stroke.
The best putter grip for you is one that allows you to maintain a soft grip while still being in control of the putter head.
Take a look at my Putter Buying Guide if you are in the market for a new putter.
Best Putter Grips
Golf Pride were and still are the biggest manufacturer of grips. Although they now have several strong competitors when it comes to putting grips.
Golf Pride Pro Only
Available in three distinct tour-inspired designs. All featuring a paddle front for thumb placement.
Golf Pride Tour SNSR
Available in three styles the Tour classic, Tour SNSR Contour and the one I currently have fitted to my own putter, the Tour SNSR Straight. The contour is a pistol shape and the straight grip is a paddle.
Lamkin Skinfit Pistol Polyurethane
Weighing in at only 65g this oversized pistol-shaped grip should suit players with an arc to straight type stroke.
Dri-Tac X Jumbo Pistol Lite
If you are trying to prevent your wrists from breaking down during the stroke then this chunky model from Winn would be a good choice. It also weighs the same as a typical putter grip so wouldn’t affect how the putter feels during your swing.
This product is relatively new to the market. Looking at the promotional information it’s one I’m going to be investigating when pro shops reopen after lockdown. It’s designed primarily to help those players who struggle with too much wrist action by locking the grip to the left arm in a natural position.
Countercore Flatso Putter Grips
For those that like to tinker with your clubs. This putter grip allows you to have one of three different weights in the butt end of the grip to give a counterbalancing effect. If you happen to have tried a counterbalanced putter and want to bring a similar effect to a putter you already own, then get this grip.
Ping PP58 Classic Standard
Yes, you can use the exact same grip that Tiger has used for almost all his career. You can even buy it with the Ping name and logo blacked out the way Tiger tended to do it, in deference to his sponsors.
If you are interested in grips for your other clubs then here is a guide to regripping costs.