Claw Grip For Putting: How It Works

The claw grip for putting has become a very popular choice for many successful putters across professional golf. PGA pro Katie Dawkins explains the pros and cons

Claw Grip For Putting Katie Dawkins
Master the claw grip with the help of PGA pro Katie Dawkins
(Image credit: Future)

Made famous perhaps for the first time by Mark O’Meara back in 2003, the claw grip for putting has become one of the most popular putting strokes among the top players in the world. At the time, many mocked what was perceived as a rather desperate move, but that all changed when more and more players found success with the unconventional method. 

In this video and article, PGA pro Katie Dawkins to tell us what all the fuss is about...

Do professionals use the claw grip for putting?

Tommy Fleetwood Putting

(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the likes of recent Dubai Invitational winner Tommy Fleetwood adopting this putting grip, it is easy to see understand why so many are intrigued. After all, if it's good enough for a seven-time DP World Tour winner surely it's good enough for us, right? 

Other notable names seen using the claw on the greens are Tony Finau, Justin Rose and even Ryder Cup record point scorer Sergio Garcia. The claw putting grip is a technique well worth understanding, and then trying, if you're in need of help with your putting.

Is the claw grip better for putting?

The perfect golf grip, used in the full swing, is designed to encourage the correct wrist hinge for speed, but this can hurt you on the greens. The claw putter grip puts the shoulders in charge and encourages a hands-free action. This creates a smooth stroke, which will be particularly beneficial on faster greens. Importantly, the claw grip should prevent the right hand from becoming too active and negatively impacting your control of the putter face. 

It is also good for players who want to know how to cure the putting yips, or those who just generally struggle on the greens. Lee Westwood is a good example of a player whose stroke improved greatly with the introduction of the claw grip.

How do you use a claw grip on a putter?

Katie Dawkins demonstrating how to setup the claw putting grip

(Image credit: Future)

First, align your lead hand and place the putter into the palm of that hand along the lifeline. Wrap the fingers around, sitting the thumb along the upper surface of the handle with the back of your hand facing the hole. The pressure applied should be light. 

Then, introduce the bottom or trail hand with the palm facing the ground. Split the thumb and forefinger, making a nook that the putter grip will now rest on. You want to apply gentle pressure but not force. 

Katie Dawkins Claw Grip

(Image credit: Future)

You are now almost putting one handed, meaning you can’t thump it. Take a look at the video that comes with this article, as it demonstrates how to perform the claw grip for putting. After some practise, you will start to feel a stroke dominated by a rocking action from the shoulders rather than your bottom hand. 

This grip will encourage a softer hit, that usually starts more putts on line, and it also works brilliantly to square the shoulders up at address. With a more neutral lower hand, you have an opportunity to eradicate the yipping action that haunts so many golfers. 

What are the drawbacks to using the claw grip for putting?

It should come as no surprise that, like any change in the early stages, it can feel awkward. However, some effective practise will help golfers overcome this initial stumbling block. 

It can also cause problems on slower greens. In some instances, it is likely you will need to give the long putts a bit of a hit with the wrists. There is no way of releasing your hands with this technique, so mastering how to judge putting distance can be tricky initially.

If your greens are more on the sluggish side, maybe opt for a more conventional hold or even the reverse overlap putting grip

Katie Dawkins Putting Practise

Put in some time with the claw grip to figure out if it works for you
(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to putting, the most important thing is to find a grip that makes you feel in control. It goes without saying that if putting is already a strength of your game, I would advise against changing that. Once you go claw it’s hard to go back, so tread carefully when taking the plunge. 

But, like any change, it can serve as a fresh start and give golfers a new perspective that might arrive just in time. If you feel like your game is in need of saving, why not give it a go. 

If you are still unsure, getting the advice of an expert will help put your mind at ease. Another pair of eyes, and a professional point of view, may be all you need to reach new heights.

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based at the stunning Hamptworth Golf Club on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.