Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands



Anti-yip

PGA Championship 2024: Why Xander Schauffele’s ‘trigger-less’ putting grip is genius

May 16, 2024
2153258847

Maddie Meyer/PGA of America

To get out to a healthy first-round lead early on Thursday at a major championship, as Xander Schauffele did at Valhalla, requires nearly every part of your game to be working. Such was the case for Schauffele during his record-setting bogey-free 62, but no facet was sharper than his putting.

As of midday Thursday, Schauffele was leading the field in Strokes Gained/putting, gaining over four shots on the field and needing just 24 putts.

He rolled it well using the same cross-handed grip that he has used for years, but unlike most players using the grip, Schauffele adds a unique twist.

Players often choose to putt cross-handed, or left-hand-low for righties, because it helps square up the forearms and shoulders, which helps the stroke move on an inside-to-inside arc. With a traditional grip, your shoulders have a tendency to sneak open, leading to an out-to-in path and inconsistent strikes.

It’s one of the reasons that when we ran a study of every player on the PGA Tour last year, the cross-handed putters fared better than those with any other grip.

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/putting-methods-graphic-strokes-gained.jpg

As Best in State teacher and putting coach Bill Smittle describes:

"Many amateur golfers tend to swing over-the-top on their full swing, which can show up in their putting stroke … they move the putter severely out-to-in, with their shoulders pointing left at address. For those golfers, a lead-hand low grip can help bring their shoulders into better alignment, which can improve their start line."

2153258847

Maddie Meyer/PGA of America

But Schauffele’s variation adds an extra layer of benefit. Look closely, and notice how you can see the first two fingers on his right hand. When most golfers switch to left-hand-low, they will overlap their left hand over their right, like you see Jordan Spieth doing here.

2152942314

Andy Lyons

Notice how with Spieth, you can’t see any of his right fingers. It’s a tiny detail, but Schauffele’s variation can help stabilize the putter face, especially for those struggling with the yips.

When you have the yips, or what the Mayo Clinic describes as involuntarily spasms in your hands and wrists, it often shows up in your trigger fingers of your right hand—typically the index and middle.

With a conventional grip, or even the typical cross-handed grip, those fingers are both touching the club. When they shake at impact, the putter face can be easily opened or closed.

Yet with Schauffele’s grip, he actually places those two trigger fingers over and around his left hand, so they are not even touching the club. This isn't to suggest that Schauffele has battled the yips, considering he is routinely one of the best putters on tour, but his unique grip is worth trying for all of us who struggle with an overactive right hand.

2150156029

Chris Graythen

In fact, last summer, I tried this grip and found it remarkably stable. During pressure situations in which I have to make a short putt, my trigger fingers often get too active, but with this grip, it doesn't matter because they aren't on the club.

With Schauffele’s trigger-less grip, I found that you can yip all you want, but if you keep those right two fingers off the club, you’ll still hit a solid putt. So, if you fight shaky fingers in your right hand, consider trying Schauffele’s grip—it might just add the stability you need under pressure.

MORE GOLF DIGEST PGA CHAMPIONSHIP COVERAGE