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Don’t Putt Like Tiger?

Who wouldn’t want to putt like Tiger Woods, especially after his wicked putting performances over the past six weeks? He is in a class by himself not just on the course, but on the green as well.

But while you should certainly want to perform like Tiger Woods, there’s one area where you might not want to try to putt like him.

In his popular instruction book How I Play Golf, which remains on the retail shelf seven years after its original printing, Woods offers the following insight regarding his approach to the putting grip: “The handle of the putter runs under the butt of my left hand. Most players like the handle running straight up the palm so the shaft is parallel to the left forearm. My grip is unique this way, but I believe it gives me a little extra feel and gives me freedom in my wrists when I need it.”

To his credit, and true to the title of the book, Woods doesn’t say this is how you should grip the putter. He just simply says that’s how he grips the putter. Still, it begs the question: Should you try to putt like Tiger Woods? In matters of gripping the putter, probably not.

Here’s how leading short-game guru Stan Utley, in his excellent book The Art of Putting, recommends approaching your putting grip: “You don’t use wrist hinge in a putting stroke, so when you putt, you need to have the handle of the putter running much more in the palms, along the lifeline. This lines up the shaft of the putter with your forearms—the position it needs to be in for the putter to swing on the correct plane.”

Utley is far from alone on wanting the shaft aligned, or parallel, with the forearms, and even Woods says that “most players” take this approach.

The lesson here is that Woods isn’t “most players,” so trying to emulate him isn’t always prudent. Just because Superman may be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound doesn’t mean the rest of us should try it, and the same goes with giving your wrists “freedom” in your putting stroke. In the hands of mere mortals, such freedom will usually lead to inconsistency and aggravation.

So if you want to sink that high-pressure putt like Tiger Woods, you may not want to grip your putter like Tiger Woods.

P.S. PutterZone.com has received a lot of traffic and inquiry from folks wanting to know which putter Tiger Woods uses. It’s a Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport 2 model putter. Woods chooses to outfit this putter with a PING brand grip.

About Sean Weir

Sean Weir is the founder and editor of PutterZone.com, and the author of Putter Perfection, the definitive guide to putter fitting. Profile: Google+

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