Claw Putting Grip: The Secret to Better Putting?

Golfer Reading a Putt

Putting is one of the most important parts of golf. 

As I’m sure you know, there’s nothing worse than having an ice-cold putter. It’s so frustrating to hit good drives, hit greens, and struggle to two-putt. Not only can a cold putter hurt your score, it can kill momentum and affect other areas of your game too.

If you’re going through a putting slump or looking for more confidence on the greens, it might be time to mix up your grip. A newer grip style – the claw putting grip – has become very popular with both amateur and professional golfers.

Keep reading to learn more about this unique grip style and see how it might help your performance on the greens.

Claw Putting Grip Instruction 

So, what is the claw putting grip anyway?

If you watch the PGA Tour, chances are you’ve seen it before or might even have a friend that uses a claw grip. It’s a popular putting grip style that removes excess wrist action by changing the position of the right hand (assuming you’re a right-handed golfer). 

With a conventional putting grip, the right hand is lower than the left; but with a claw grip, the left hand is the dominant one and the right hand rests on the putter. The grip is not in your right hand like it is with a traditional putting grip.

We’ll get more into the step-by-step process after going through the pros and cons of this grip style. 

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Pros of Claw Putting Grip

What’s great about this grip style is that it removes wrist action and puts more emphasis on your shoulders. While you need wrist hinge in your full swing, you don’t want much in putting. Less wrist action puts the control back in your shoulders to create a simple and repeatable putting stroke.

The claw putting grip helps create a free flowing stroke and also removes the right hand almost entirely. If your right hand gets overly active, this grip style will fix that issue almost instantly. Anytime I’m feeling “handsy” with my putter, I’ll practice with the claw to keep the putter straight through impact.

Another reason that a lot of golfers like the claw grip is because it helps on faster greens. It’s easier to dial in your speed control and not waste as many shots on the green from three putting.

Cons of Claw Putting Grip

While there are a ton of benefits to the claw, it’s not perfect either.

First, switching from cross handed or traditional to the claw putting grip will take some getting used too. Anytime you change your grip it takes a lot of practice and repetition to make it feel normal. If you decide this is the grip for you, just make sure to put in plenty of practice on the greens or at home with an indoor putting green.

The second issue with this grip is that it doesn’t work great on slow greens. It’s harder to hit the putts with enough speed since your right hand is barely touching the grip.

Which is why it might not be a great fit for a lot of amateur golfers. While professional golfers putt on fast, slick greens, the claw grip makes more sense. But if your greens only run an 8 or 9 on the stimpmeter, you might want to skip it.

Finally, the last downside to the claw grip is that it works best with a longer length grip. Unfortunately, Super Stroke discontinued their “claw” specific grip that was slightly longer. But this grip does work with longer putters if you prefer them vs. a standard putter length.

Related: How to Measure a Putter Length

How to Use the Claw Putting Grip

Now that you know the pros and cons of the claw, let’s get into how to position your hands. We’ll base this section for right-handed golfers (simply switch hands if you’re left-handed).

Start by gripping the putter with a standard, neutral grip of your left hand. Get your left hand into a comfortable position before adding your right hand.

Next, rotate your hands so your right hand is sitting on top of the grip. The right hand will not rest in your fingers like a traditional grip. Instead, the right hand rests comfortably on top of the grip.

You want to feel the grip between your thumb and pointer finger. Then you can have two or three fingers resting on top of the grip to guide the putter.

Each player is different as some prefer two fingers and wrap the others under the grip. While others prefer three fingers on top of the grip. This is what I prefer as it adds a little more stability to the putter and makes it easier to hit putts more effectively.

The final key is to keep your grip pressure light throughout the stroke with your right hand. Your left hand is the primary moving part and the right hand is there for support.

Alternate Option

In a normal claw grip, the right-hand fingers rest on top of the grip. An alternative way to grip the putter is like Tommy Fleetwood.

He keeps everything the same with his left hand but wraps his right hand underneath the club. The grip rests between his thumb and index finger but the other fingers are under the grip. This isn’t as common but has worked well for Tommy so it’s worth noting the difference.

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Other Common Putting Grips

The claw putting grip has gained popularity over the years but still remains third on the PGA Tour. The most common grip in golf is the conventional putting grip.

With a traditional grip, both hands play a role in the stroke and it’s been used by some of the best players ever, including Tiger Woods. For right-handed golfers, the right hand is lower on the grip.

The second most popular putting style is the cross-handed grip (also known as left-hand low). This is the exact opposite of a traditional putting grip as the left hand is lower than the right (for right-handed players). Tons of great players use this style including Jordan Speith and Billy Horschel.

Other grip styles include the 10-finger grip (aka the baseball grip), prayer putting grip, arm lock, and broomstick. Each of them has their pros and cons so test them out and see which works best for you.

Related: Best Putters for Beginners

Top Questions About Putting

If you’re looking for more putting tips, keep reading our top asked questions and answers below.

Which putting grip is the best?

There are so many ways to grip the putter. I wouldn’t say one is the “best” as it comes down to using the type of grip that gives you the most confidence.

As we’ve seen over the past decade, top players use all types of grips. Tiger Woods prefers a conventional grip, while Jordan Speith likes using a cross handed style. And others like the claw grip.

It’s important to test out different grip styles on the putting green and see what works best for you. Once you find one that gives you consistent results, stick with it and don’t switch unless you’re in a putting slump.

Is the claw a good putting grip?

A claw is a good putting grip that works for a lot of golfers. It takes some getting used too in the beginning (like any grip change) but once you get the hang of it, it can do wonders.

If you play on fast greens most of the time, this grip change can have a direct effect on speed control. But would advise against it on slow greens as it’s not as easy to make a firmer stroke on slow putts.

Who should use the claw putting grips?

The best type of golfers who are a good fit for the claw are ones that want to minimize wrist motion. If you’re the type of golfer who has too much wrist action on your putting stroke, this should help fix the issue.

The second type of golfer who can benefit from this type of grip is someone who grips it too firmly. A claw grip makes it easier to maintain consistent grip pressure and remove excess tension (which is a common theme among elite putters).

Finally, the claw putting grip is great for putting on fast greens. If your local club has slick greens, this style can help dial in your speed control.

Related: More Short Game Tips

How does Phil Mickelson hold his putter?

Phil’s putter grip has changed over the years. Sometimes he uses a traditional grip while other times he uses a claw grip.

One thing that hasn’t changed in his putting is his forward press motion. This helps him start his putting stroke and gets his hands moving. If you want a trigger to add to your pre-shot routine, this is a great idea to adopt from Phil.

Is the claw good for the putting yips?

Yes, the claw can help with the putting yips!

Since it removes the right hand entirely, it makes it easier to keep the putter face square at impact. It makes it easier to let your left-hand dominate the grip and not get “flippy” at impact.

Don’t forget, putting yips is also a mental issue as well. If you struggle with mindset, make sure to check out our best mental tips here.

How far should a putt go past the hole?

If you have to miss a putt, the best spot is 18 inches past the hole. From this distance it is a tap in or gimme from your playing partners and usually has a good chance of going in the hole.

Putts that are shot have a zero percent chance of going in and are some of the most frustrating to deal with. But if you’re 3 or 4 feet past the hole, you’re more likely to 3-putt and waste shots on the greens. 18 inches past the hole is the perfect speed.

To dial in your speed, lay an alignment stick down 18 inches behind the hole during practice. On missed putts the goal is to get them past the hole and short of the stick. This should train your stroke to have better speed control on the golf course.

How many PGA Tour players use the claw putting grip?

A lot of different players on the PGA Tour and LIV Golf use the claw putting grip. It’s the third most popular grip style behind conventional and cross-handed.

Some of the biggest names include Sergio Garcia, Tony Finau, and Tommy Fleetwood among others.

Wrapping Up

The claw grip might be just what your putting stroke needs.

The good thing about this grip is that you can test it out today and pretty quickly learn if it works for your stroke. While it might feel uncomfortable at first, after a few sessions it should start to feel like normal.

Remember, there is no “one way” to putt or hold the putter.

The best golfers have shown you can use different putter heads and different grip styles to roll the rock. All that matters is that your putter and grip give you confidence standing over the putt.

If you need to minimize wrist motion, improve grip pressure, and create a more free flowing stroke, the claw is a great option.

Have you ever tested out the claw putting grip? Did you like it?

Let us know in the comments below.

Picture of Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard is a full-time writer, author, creator of Wicked Smart Golf and +1 handicap amateur golfer. He left his corporate career in 2017 to pursue entrepreneurship and professional golf; since then, he’s competed in 160+ tournament days and went to Q-school in 2019.

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