There are no right or wrongs when it comes to playing golf – even at the professional level. However, I was taken aback watching Matt Fitzpatrick addressing a chip cack-handed during the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. But after the initial surprise, it got me thinking about the golf grip.
For those who saw it and were, like me, a little shocked, I think I know why. Most of us have a tremendous admiration for the top pros and might even consider them immune to the same failings that befall the layman. Why then, you might wonder, would any of them feel the need to resort to techniques out of the ordinary?
Unfortunately, I’m not privy to Fitzpatrick’s inner thoughts and therefore, the reasons behind this move, but I’d be amazed if it was because he has any issues chipping ‘conventionally’.
In case you missed it, here’s the clip:
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 19, 2020
My best guess would be that this started as a practice drill to help establish a ‘feel’ and worked so well that, for certain shots, it is now his preferred method. And it should be admired that he’s comfortable enough to put this into play with the eyes of the world on him, not scrutinised.
As world-renowned coach Pete Cowen suggests, there is no perfect grip, nor is their a perfect technique. As recently as last year, another Matt [Wolff] appeared on our TV screens, claiming his first PGA Tour win with one of the most unique swings you’re ever likely to see. Even the great Jordan Spieth adopts the unusual practice of looking at the hole when faced with a short range putt.
Going back further, I remember the first time I saw a claw grip on TV and automatically assumed the ‘culprit’ must be an emotional wreck who couldn’t putt normally. Nowadays, it’s adopted by so many players – amateurs and pros alike – for no other reason than they find it to be a more effective way of achieving the ultimate objective of getting the ball in the hole. And that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.
The example of Fitzpatrick is not the first time we’ve seen an elite golfer do something considered out of the ordinary, and it certainly won’t be the last.
I’m not saying go out and start chipping cack-handed or change your technique for the sake of it, but don’t be afraid or embarrassed to take something different onto the course if it’ll lead to better scores.
If it’s good enough for the best in the world, then it’s definitely good enough for the rest of us.
What’s the wackiest thing you’ve tried? Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet.
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