Putting – Tips for Grip Pressure and Tempo
Written by Mike Cooney, Director of Golf.
Ben Crenshaw, who won the Masters in 1984 and again in 1995, will always be known as one of the best putters in the game of golf. Nicknamed “Gentle Ben”, he holds the putter very lightly as if he has an injured bird in his hands. In fact, the putter seems like it’s almost ready to fall from his hands when he putts.
On the other hand, Tom Watson, another one of the greatest putters, has a very tight grip when holding the putter. Some people would call his a “death grip” because his knuckles appear to be white. He applies about 70-80 pounds of pressure to the putter, while Ben Crenshaw applies about 10 pounds of pressure.
Both of these players are great putters and have been for a long time. They also both have one thing in common: during their strokes, at no time does their grip pressure ever change. This is the most important ingredient of grip pressure. It is not how tightly you hold the putter, but how consistently you keep your grip pressure throughout your stroke. Once you start your putting stroke, you must never change the pressure even the slightest amount.
Ideally, the stroke tempo should be smooth, flowing, and repeatable. If you watch Ben Crenshaw, he has a long, free-flowing stroke. He has more of a pendulum stroke using his arms and shoulders. Tom Watson gets a little closer to the ball by bending his elbows and using a short, quick stroke.
As far as grip pressure and tempo, find what works best for you and keep it consistent. I hope to see you out enjoying the course this week! Remember, this Wednesday is Golf Guest Day. Members, bring a guest and challenge them to a game!