In this Article
The interlocking putter grip improves stability and feel by linking the pinky and index fingers together. Learn proper hand positioning, grip pressure, and equipment fitting for this unique style used by top pros. I cover the benefits like consistency as well as potential drawbacks like discomfort. Includes step-by-step instructions, grip comparisons, and drills to excel. Mastering the interlocking grip takes practice but can elevate your short game. Determine if this style fits your stroke type for better touch and control on the greens.
As an avid golfer with over 15 years of experience playing the game, I’ve experimented with my fair share of putting grips. From the standard overlapping grip to the unconventional claw grip, I’ve tried them all in an effort to hole more putts. One style that has worked well for my stroke is the interlocking grip. If you’ve watched professional golfers like Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods putt, you’ve seen this unique grip in action.
The interlocking grip gets its name from the way the hands interconnect on the putter. Unlike the overlapping grip where the pinky finger rests on top of the lead hand, the pinky and index fingers actually link together in the interlocking grip. This connection anchors the hands together throughout the stroke.
In this article, I’ll share my firsthand experience using the interlocking putter grip over the years. You’ll learn the advantages I’ve found with this style along with some of the potential drawbacks. I’ll also provide tips on how to properly grip the club interlocking style. Whether you’re new to golf or a seasoned veteran, experimenting with the interlocking grip may just be the key to shaving strokes off your scorecard.
Table of Contents
Pros of the Interlocking Putter Grip
In my experience using the interlocking putting grip over the years, I’ve found it provides several advantages that have improved my putting consistency and accuracy. Here are the major benefits I’ve noticed from using this style on the greens.
Provides Stability and Consistency
The biggest pro of the interlocking grip is the stability it creates throughout the stroke. With the pinky finger woven together with the index finger, the grip is truly anchored into one locked position. This removes any looseness or extra movement in the hands during the swing.
I’ve struggled with a wandering lead hand at times when using a standard overlapping grip. But by interlocking the fingers together, both hands move as one solid unit back and through impact. This promotes great continuity and tempo. Learning the optimal grip pressure points is key.
Well Suited for All Skill Levels
Another great aspect of the interlocking grip is its accessibility to golfers of any experience level. Because it helps stabilize the swing, it can benefit beginners by taking unwanted hands out of the stroke equation. Novice players can focus more on solid contact when the grip itself provides consistency.
But low handicappers can also appreciate the precision of an interlocking grip. That’s why professionals like Tiger Woods use it even at the highest level. The grip gives a great feel and control without limiting any technical elements.
Provides an Excellent Feel and Control
The connection between the pinky and index finger in this grip also enhances the feel throughout the stroke. With the hands working together, you can better sense the putter head moving back and forth. The firmness of the grip also transfers more feedback from the green through the shaft into your hands.
I’ve found I can start the ball online and with the intended speed much easier thanks to the heightened feel. The control allows for smooth acceleration and better distance judgment.
Suited for Putting and Chipping
One other advantage of the interlocking grip is its versatility. While excellent for putting, it also works very well for chipping shots around the green. The stability keeps the wrists hinged and the angle of attack consistent as you chip.
I use the exact same grip for putts, chips, and pitch shots within 20-30 yards. The continuity it provides leads to better distance control and shotmaking.
Used by the Game’s Greats
Finally, it’s worth noting the incredible golfers who have used this grip throughout history. Legends like Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Billy Casper all used an interlocking putting grip in their major championship victories.
Seeing the success so many top players have enjoyed using this style is a strong validation that it can clearly work at the highest level. While grip preference remains individual, the interlocking has proven effective for some of golf’s greats.
How to Grip the Putter Interlocking Style
One of the keys to maximizing the benefits of the interlocking putting grip is learning how to properly form the grip itself. While the motion of interlocking the hands is relatively straightforward, perfecting the nuances takes practice and repetition. Based on my experience using this style for years, here is a step-by-step process for gripping the club interlocking style:
Place Dominant Hand on Grip First
The first step is to grip the putter with your dominant hand in the same way you would with a traditional grip. For a right-handed golfer, place your right hand on the grip first with your palm facing down the target line. Your thumb should be pointing down the center of the shaft. Gripping pressure at this stage can be light to moderate.
Weave Non-Dominant Pinky with Dominant Index
Now with your dominant hand in place, it’s time to interlock the hands together. Take your non-dominant left hand and grasp the putter grip so the pinky finger on your left-hand weaves between the index and middle finger on your right hand. The pinky should hook around and underneath your right index finger comfortably.
Maintain Light, Relaxed Grip Pressure
It’s important not to clench both hands too tightly together in the interlocking grip. Try to maintain a light, relaxed pressure in the hands and fingers. Gripping too firm can restrict your wrists and feel. Finding the right tension takes experimentation.
Thumbs Aligned Down Center
With the pinky interlocked, check that both thumbs are pointing down the middle of the shaft. This alignment will help ensure the face stays square through impact. The putter face can twist open or close if the thumbs stray off center.
Adjust and Test Your Comfort
Once in the interlocking position, gently swing the putter back and forth while maintaining your wrist hinge. Make minor adjustments until it feels stable and comfortable. Testing different levels of grip pressure can also maximize comfort. The key is keeping the hands working together as one unit.
Mastering the intricacies of the interlocking grip takes practice. But with repetition, it will begin to feel natural. Be patient through early struggles and keep fine-tuning your hand position. The benefits of consistency require time to develop.
Cons of the Interlocking Putter Grip
While I’m a strong proponent of the interlocking putting grip overall, it does have some drawbacks to consider before adopting it into your game. Through my firsthand experience, these are the main disadvantages I’ve encountered using this style on the greens:
Can Feel Uncomfortable at First
The most common issue when transitioning to an interlocking grip is discomfort. Linking the pinky and index fingers together in one locked position can feel very unnatural early on. The tension across the hands needs time to adjust.
I remember fiddling with the interlocking grip during practice rounds trying to get it to feel normal. It took consistency and repetition before the grip became second nature. Be prepared for an adjustment period. Some may also experience specific pinky pain at first from the connection.
Requires Practice to Master
Building off the initial discomfort, successfully implementing the interlocking grip requires practice time. You must ingrain the specific hand positioning and pressure into your muscle memory through repetition. That only comes through dedicated training.
Just like overhauling any part of your golf swing, allow yourself enough range sessions, playing lessons, and practice rounds to adapt. Rushing the process won’t yield optimal results. Patience during the practice stage is critical.
Finding the Right Grip Pressure
One nuance of the interlocking grip that takes fine-tuning is finding the ideal tension or pressure in the hands. Gripping too lightly can lose stability while squeezing too firmly restricts feel and flexibility. I recommend starting lighter and increasing hold pressure until the club feels anchored.
Also, the optimal pressure can vary based on weather conditions. Gripping tighter may help on rainy days when the club is slick. Listen to your hands and go with what provides control.
Not Suited for All Stroke Types
One other downside is the interlocking grip does not necessarily fit every putting stroke type. Golfers with a very relaxed, highly wristed pendulum stroke may lose their ideal flow with hands restricted. Players who hover the putter blade behind the ball also may not find their stroke compatible.
I’d advise watching footage of your normal putting stroke before changing grips. Ensure your natural movements won’t be compromised. That will maximize the chance of success.
Overall the drawbacks to the interlocking grip are minor and can be overcome with practice. Don’t expect immediate results, commit to quality training sessions, and find the right pressure for your hands. Patience and customization will lead to long-term gains on the greens.
Tips for Mastering the Interlocking Gripper
Based on my experience using the interlocking putting grip, here are my top tips for learning and excelling with this style on the greens:
Experiment with Grip Pressure
As mentioned earlier, finding your optimal grip tension is crucial but requires trial and error. Start lighter than a normal grip and incrementally increase pressure during practice sessions until the club feels secure but not constrained. I also suggest trying different tensions based on weather conditions.
Keep Hands and Arms Relaxed
Avoid introducing unnecessary tension into the hands, wrists, or arms when setting your interlocking grip. Let the shoulder muscles support the pendulum motion while keeping the hands relaxed. This enhances the feel and allows the wrists to hinge freely.
Build Muscle Memory Through Repetition
Practice the interlocking grip regularly to build key motor patterns. At the range, get in the habit of re-gripping each new ball to ingrain consistency. The more you repeat proper form, the more natural it will become. Be patient through awkwardness early on.
Get Professionally Fit for Optimal Grip Size
Having the right size putter grip complements the interlocking style. A grip that is too small or too large will throw off hand positioning and comfort. Work with a club fitter to determine the ideal diameter and length for your hands.
Use Visual Cues Like Thumb Alignment
Reinforce proper grip positioning by using your thumbs as visual guides. Focus on keeping both thumbs pointed down the target line on the back of the shaft. If the thumbs remain aligned, the grip angle stays on plane.
Start Lighter Than Usual
Finally, initiate your practice sessions by gripping the club noticeably lighter than normal. Then gradually increase tension to find the minimum pressure needed for control. This engrains a relaxed grip and smooth tempo right from the start.
Stay committed to these tips over time and the interlocking grip will start to feel like second nature. Patience during the initial learning curve is vital.
When implementing the interlocking putting grip, equipment factors like putter grip size and thickness can influence success. Here are some key considerations around gear that complements this style:
Grip Size Impacts Comfort
Finding the right putter grip diameter is important for maximizing comfort with the interlocking grip. Grips that are too small or too large make it difficult to maintain proper hand and finger positioning. This leads to tension and inconsistency.
I recommend getting professionally fit by a club specialist to determine your ideal grip size. Factors like hand size, strength, and stroke arc should be assessed. Custom fitting ensures maximum comfort and stability. Guides like this one from mitchellgolf.com provide more context on grip measuring & sizing
Thicker Grips Can Increase Consistency
In terms of grip thickness, I’ve found that slightly oversized grips provide stability advantages with an interlocking hold. The added volume helps the hands and wrists remain coiled together smoothly through the stroke.
Many Tour pros use midsize or jumbo putting grips for this reason. However, go too thick and you sacrifice feel and feedback. Try out different profiles to optimize consistency.
Thinner Grips Enhance Feel
On the other hand, thinner putter grips will maximize feel and responsiveness through the interlocking grip. Players who value enhanced touch over added stability may favor a more standard or undersized grip profile.
Again, testing out grips of multiple thicknesses will help determine the right balance of control versus feel for your stroke. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Work With a Professional on Customization
A final tip is to have a qualified clubfitter manage the grip testing and installation process. They have the tools and expertise to cleanly add and remove grip tape and textures to dial-in performance.
Taking time to get a custom fit for the right putter grip size and thickness for your interlocking grip needs will maximize results on the course. Don’t settle for generic off-the-rack grip sizing.
Interlocking Grip vs. Other Styles
Throughout my golfing journey, I’ve experimented with a wide variety of putting grips besides the interlocking style. Here’s an overview comparing the interlocking method to some other popular putting grip techniques:
Vs. Overlapping Grip
The standard overlapping grip has the right pinky finger resting gently atop the left index finger. Unlike interlocking, the hands are stacked instead of woven together.
I’ve found the interlock provides more wrist support and unity throughout the stroke. But some players may find the overlap allows for more hand hinge and arc. Try both to determine which promotes your ideal stroke mechanics.
Vs. Left-Hand Low Grip
The left-hand low style positions the lead hand below the right hand at address. This can help eliminate a dominant right hand.
While interlocking provides stability, the left-hand low puts emphasis on the lead arm and hand. This grip can improve face control for players who tend to flick or flip at impact.
Vs. Claw Grip
The claw grip dramatically re-positions the right hand rotated severely clockwise at address. The club is anchored in the fingers.
This unconventional style removes the hands from the stroke equation. But interlocking keeps the hands working together in a more integrated fashion.
Vs. Arm-Lock Method
Players like Matt Kuchar have popularized bracing the lead forearm directly against the chest to stabilize the stroke.
Arm-lock anchors the stroke in a linear fashion. Interlocking utilizes the hands themselves to produce a pendulum motion. Try both to see which generates more reliable speed and face control.
As you can see, plenty of effective grip styles exist besides interlocking. I’d recommend taking lessons and trying the various options under the guidance of a teaching professional. Observe how each grip influences your ball-striking, distance control and posture. The best putting grip complements your stroke mechanics.
While the interlocking method works well for many, it isn’t universally the optimal choice. Be open-minded in your testing. Grips like the arm-lock or claw may prove better suited depending on your attributes and tendencies. Don’t be afraid to experiment and compare. In the end, results matter more than style points.
After extensively examining the ins and outs of the interlocking putting grip, I recommend that most golfers give this style a try. Based on my firsthand experience implementing it, the potential benefits are significant when executed properly.
To recap, the biggest advantages I’ve realized from interlocking are increased stability throughout the stroke, excellent feel and touch on putts, and versatility to use for short chips and pitches too. The unified hand positioning promotes consistency in pace and direction.
However, it does take practice to master the nuances like ideal grip pressure. The initial discomfort and learning curve requires patience as well. It may not suit certain stroke types or highly dominant hands. Custom fitting for putter grip size helps maximize comfort.
Ultimately, the interlocking grip is worth testing for the majority of players looking to enhance their short game. The grip lends itself well to a pendulum putting stroke and can elevate techniques like visualizing the line and establishing an ideal tempo.
With quality time spent ingraining the fundamentals, most golfers should experience a better feel and improved accuracy. However, make sure to experiment with other styles like the claw or arm-lock too. The ideal grip complements your innate setup and mechanics.
For me personally, adopting the interlocking putting grip many years ago was integral to taking my short game to the next level. The enhanced feedback and consistency it provided fixed many of my misses. But an openness to continue trying new grips as my stroke evolves is important too.
In closing, be patient implementing any new technique. Custom fitting your equipment, focused practice, and an analytical eye on results will determine if the interlocking grip is right for your game. Mastering this fundamental first can pay big dividends in lower scores.