Dear Mr./Ms. Confused:
Dr. Putt welcomes your inquiry because it allows him to make a most important point about putting--and life. As Dr. Putt frequently tells his students, "it depends" is an almost universal answer to all questions pertaining to human behavior. The grip pressure one utilizes depends on ones choice of putting technique. If the player is utilizing a hands oriented technique in which the the wrists cock slightly at the end of the backswing and release as one strokes the ball, then a light grip pressure should be utilized. Sam Snead, in his delightful treatise on golf, The Education of a Golfer, advised a grip pressure for the full swing that would match the pressure one would employ in holding a bird in ones hands--light firmness. That advice would apply to the putting grip for those who want a little wrist and hand action in putting. This approach is advisable for young players with steady nerves and excellent feel. Tiger Woods advised this approach in a recent article in one of the national golf magazines. In general, the more hand action one wishes to employ, the lighter the grip pressure.
However, the modern trend is to eliminate most, if not all hand action. Those of us who no longer have, or never had, the fearless and foolish nerves of youth or the touch and feel of a Tiger Woods, would be wise to employ a one piece putting stroke that eliminates all hand action. The reverse or cross handed grip, which is an excellent grip for nearly all players, or the Langer style grip, or even the EOB grip (which is Dr. Putt's innovation), all are designed to reduce, if not eliminate hand action--and all employ relatively greater grip pressure. Exactly how much depends on what is necessary to eliminate hand action for a particular player. In general, use the minimal amount to eliminate the wrists cocking and releasing. On a scale of one to ten, with ten as tight as one can grip the putter, begin with a five. The only caveat is that on special grips, like the EOB grip, one should exert greater grip pressure with the left hand, allowing the right hand to simply "go along for the ride." But in all cases, once one has determined grip pressure, do not change it throughout the stroke. Commit to a certain pressure and then concentrate on distance and direction. Putting is difficult enough without making changes in the middle of a stroke. And do not change it during a round on the course. Making stroke changes during a round of play only increases inconsistency. That is for the putting green. One must give any technique a fair test. Missing one or two or even three putts is not a fair test.
Therefore, Dear Mr./Ms. Confused, first choose a technique and grip then employ the grip pressure to match that technique. Grip pressure depends on the putting grip and technique one employs.
Sincerely, Dr. Putt
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