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Golf IQ

The Fitz Grip: Why this putting grip is trending way up on tour

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Ben Jared

This column originally appeared in the Golf IQ newsletter, which you can receive weekly by joining the Golf Digest+ community right here.

I love when new trends start creeping through the tour, and I think I’ve spotted a new one brewing.

You can see it here…

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Scott Taetsch/PGA of America

and here…

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and also here…

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Icon Sportswire

And right here!

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If you guessed that the trend had something to do with players’ putting grip, you’re correct. If you guessed that it had something to do specifically with players’ left hand putting grip, then you nailed it.

Traditionally, most golfers putt with a conventional, reverse-overlap grip. They curl their lead finger over the pinky and ring fingers of their right hand. Like you see Gordon Sargent and Rory McIlroy using below…

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But more and more players I see on tour seem to ditch the traditional overlap, and extend the lead finger of their lead hand (left finger for right handed golfers) straight down the grip, like you see Matt Fitzpatrick and Matt Wallace demonstrating below.

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I’m still workshopping a name for it, but the current clubhouse leader is the “Fitz Grip”, because Matt Fitzpatrick is the first player to use it, and also has my favorite putting stroke of all time.

Look at this thing. It’s like a metronome.

Anyway, here’s a list of players I’ve noticed using the extended left finger “Fitz Grip”

  • Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Alex Fitzpatrick
  • Justin Rose
  • Tommy Fleetwood
  • Nick Taylor
  • Danny Willett
  • Matt Wallace
  • Megan Khang (left-hand low)

How it helps

The main benefit of the Fitz Grip is that it locks the putter into your left palm, which means your left arm and putter move as one. It can also improve the alignment of your forearms, as Golf Digest Best in State putting coach Bill Smittle explains:

“It tends to firm up that lead wrist, which will reduce hinging and promote better putterface control,” Smittle says. “It also brings both your hands closer together, and your wrist joints into alignment. It means your forearm plane is more neutral. When one hand is lower than the other, whatever hand is lowered is usually more extended. Which then puts your forearms out of alignment.”

I’ve been playing around with the Fitz Grip and it’s the firmness of the left wrist that I’ve noticed the most.

I tend to get a little wristy with my putting stroke, which causes me to pull putts. When your left finger is extended down the grip, it activates the extensor muscles in your left forearm, which makes that wrist breakdown much harder. Your left wrist starts to feel like a wall—you can release your right hand as much as you want, and it’s never in danger of taking over. It’s the left hand that is in control of the stroke.

It’s why, once you have that extended finger left hand grip, you see so many variations in what players do with their right hand. Some adopt a claw. I’ve been clasping my right hand, which is what Fitzpatrick does. But honestly, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever feels most comfy; the right hand is just along for the ride.

Give it a try, and let me know if it works (or doesn’t) for you.