Helping Handles: Get a Grip on Your Putting
Putting is typically the first thing to go erratic in a golfer’s game. And that’s often because the golfer allows too much hand or wrist action to seep into the stroke. Thankfully, there’s a novel way to combat the problem — through a simple, relatively inexpensive equipment change.
Oversized, parallel-tapered putter grips have gained a lot of traction over the past few years. SuperStroke USA, which makes several popular versions of these grips, claims to have more than 125 TOUR pros playing their handles in 2014. Up-and-comers such as Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Jason Kokrak, Matt Every and Victor Dubuisson have all put SuperStroke models in play this year. And it’s raised their collective putting game to new levels: Spieth was tops in Putts Per Greens in Regulation at the Valero Texas Open back in March.
“Professionals and consumers are continuing to discover how our grips are designed to make any putter better,” avers Jon Luna, the company’s marketing director. “The oversize grip helps your arms swing more freely, further enhancing a pendulum putting stroke.”
The grips are so thick that you can hardly wrap your hands around them; that encourages equal pressure from both hands, thus allowing them to work in concert. And that’s the key, as it reduces any tension in your wrists and forearms during the putting stroke. Only your shoulders are left to help guide the putter, which is ideal.
While these types of grips can go on any length putter, they’re really only designed for conventional-length models primarily due to the extra weight they can add, which can in turn alter the putter’s swing weight and feel.
You may notice when first trying a jumbo grip that you won’t be able to release the putter head, and may leave the ball to the right, thus requiring stroke or aiming adjustment on your part. “Even if you adapt quickly and love the feel of the grip in your hands, roll a dozen putts in the pro shop corral, to see if it’s for you,” says Mark Christensen, brand manager at Winn Grips. “Make sure it feels comfortable and performs for you.”
FOUR TO GRAB
Lamkin’s 95-gram Jumbo ($7) incorporates a smooth, pattern-free surface that enhances tackiness, for a cozy feeling in your hands. It’s made of a durable synthetic rubber.
The Big Dog ($20) from PURE Grips weighs 120 grams. Its soft and tacky rubber gives you traction in any weather, while its subtle taper boosts the grip size is your lower hand, to keep it from dominating.
Each of SuperStroke USA’s three Flatsos — the 100-gram standard 1.7-inch-wide version ($25), 60-gram Mid 1.4-incher ($25) or 82-gram Ultra 1.1-incher ($20) — feel nice and soft in your hands. They’re made using lightweight foam underlistings and polyurethane.
Winn’s 98-gram WinnPro X grip ($25) has a beefy 1.6-inch diameter and a more non-tapered profile than traditional designs. Its medium firmness feels comfortable and tacky.