The claw putting grip has become a regular feature of professional golf with the likes of Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia employing the method to great effect in recent times. And after two enthralling stops on the European Tour’s desert swing, we can add the names of Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell to this club.
It’s no secret that putting is an area of the game that has held Westwood back in his career – how many majors would he have won if he could putt like Tiger Woods? – but everyone who watched him in Abu Dhabi saw a different player on the greens.
Not only did he hole more putts, but he looked far more comfortable.
“I really felt quite calm on the greens this week and rolled a lot of good putts. That was the key to winning, really,” he said. “Long may this continue, because I think when I start rolling a few putts in, I’m competitive most weeks.”
It’s hard to argue and it’s a wonder he didn’t switch to the claw a lot sooner.
And his impressive display didn’t just capture the viewers’ attention. Westwood’s performance inspired fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell to adopt it ahead of the Dubai Desert Classic to almost similarly devastating effect.
Pepperell navigated a tricky course set-up to lead at the halfway point of the Dubai Desert Classic and, despite falling away over the weekend, averaged fewer than 25 putts per round for the tournament.
For Pepperell, the move was motivated by something most of us can probably relate to.
“I’ve never been a good putter on tour but, for me, it’s about not being a terrible putter,” he said. “My good results tend to come when I’m just not horrific on the greens, especially inside five feet.”
“I was watching the golf last Sunday and I couldn’t believe how comfortable Lee looked on the short putts especially. I thought, I might as well give this a try. It’s the best I’ve putted for a while.”
What are the benefits of the claw grip?
First and foremost, the claw grip is widely believed to bring more consistency to those who could be considered ‘streaky’.
By gripping the putter in the crease of your right hand between thumb and forefinger, it allows the golfer to control the face better, making it easier to produce a consistent stroke and strike.
And the weaker position this creates between the putter and hands forces the shoulders and upper body to become more active in the stroke, creating a smoother tempo and improving the transition.
So if you’re struggling with your putting, why not give this a go.
As Pepperell says, it’s not always about being great on the greens, but if a fresh approach helps you clean up more often from that five, six foot range, your scores will tumble.
Have you tried the claw grip? If so, how did you get on? Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet.
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