The last few seasons on Tour have seen the best players and hottest putters going left-hand low on their putter grip — better known as the cross-handed grip. There are many benefits to utilizing this style of grip and even more dividends if you start early. Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are both on the record mentioning if they were to start all over, it would be using a cross-handed grip.
Believe it or not, a third of all the Tour events in the 2016-2017 season were won by players putting cross-handed! So why are they so successful and how can you benefit?
First, having the left hand lower on the grip for a right-handed golfer provides stability in the stroke. This leads to a more confident stroke with less face rotation (opening or closing to the target) and a better roll. As instructors, we will apply this grip to many beginners and struggling amateurs that are looking to steer the ball into the hole rather than stroke it.
Having the left hand under the right automatically levels out your shoulders. This is important because almost all the setups in golf will have the shoulders tilted. However, now that they are level, the stroke will be on a more shallow plane by default which will produce a tighter and truer roll.
The arms, wrists and hands still do most of the work in the stroke, but having the shoulders level positions the left shoulder (for a right-handed golfer) where it provides a great anchor point for the left arm and putter shaft to swing from. Picture the shaft and left arm working as one solid piece from the left shoulder socket, that is where your pendulum stroke originates.
Some things that you will want to avoid when trying out this grip are adjusting weight distribution forward, breaking down your left wrist, and pulling the left elbow out and towards the target. All of these motions will undo the benefits of a firm grip that the cross-handed position creates.
If we shift weight forward we will likely be hitting down on the putt too much and not stroking it, breaking the left wrist and chicken-winging our left arm will alter the direction the face is aimed and likely take the putter of the proper path.
If you are looking to gain some confidence inside 10 feet or just changing things up to gain a fresh feel over the ball, the cross-handed grip is a great option. Instantly you will feel the stability in the stroke and when done properly repeatable strokes will be the norm in your putting game.