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Finger Down the Shaft Putting

iacas

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25 minutes ago, Mr Golf Addict said:

For putting i have both thumbs straight down the middle of the grip but have my right index finger pointing out towards the bottom of the grip which personally enables me to control my distance better.

I was tempted to post "I doubt it," but I have this blog to use, so I'll use it for a quick discussion of this.

I've taught a few thousand people to putt. I've never seen someone with their finger down the shaft who I would consider a "good" putter. More often - far, far more often - those with their finger down the shaft have distance control issues. The pressure they apply with that finger leads to added loft and wrist flipping, while many good putting strokes have de-lofted putters (4° turned down to 1°) and lead wrists that are slightly more in flexion than they were at setup.

I understand what people think they're feeling - the pressure of the shaft/grip being applied to that finger - but again I've got SAM data and visual data (recorded) that leads me to these types of statements.

I'm not super picky about putting grips. I putt with a pretty standard/classic reverse double overlap. My daughter is a single overlap kinda gal. I've taught claw grippers, crosshanders, etc. I could put the finger down the shaft (at least for awhile), and remain a good putter… but part of the reason I might be a good putter is that I don't put the finger down the shaft, and I've learned to control the putter swing by having a better wrist action than the one that the finger down the shaft encourages.

Again, I've never seen a good putter who can actually control distance well with the finger down the shaft.

Take it for what it's worth.

P.S. If you try to putt without the finger down the shaft for awhile, don't judge the results immediately. Give it some time. And read this:

P.P.S. Just because I've never seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It only means I've never seen it…



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I can vouch for this post mainly because I was a right-index-finger-down-the-shaft putter for my entire life until relatively recently, and I am now a much better putter than I was before.

To be fair, though, it would be hard to pinpoint the amount of my improvement that can be attributed to the grip change.  I also believe strongly in:

  • My putter, which is fitted to my eye and stroke.
  • My ability to read the greens with my feet (even if my lazy ass doesn't use my Aimpoint charts much anymore)
  • My current stroke, which was learned after reading the DO NOT accelerate thread linked above.

I changed/added all four of those things in fairly a short period of time, so I couldn't begin to guess how much each contributed, but I know I'm definitely not going back to the finger down the shaft putting anytime soon. :)

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My putting grip must have been awful since you commented on it.  Looking back, it was, and I've improved since getting the tips from you on it a month or so ago.

Knowing what not to do is valuable too.  Have my left hand on the putter (from conversation a month or so ago), don't have finger down putter shaft.

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I'd like to keep track of my dad's strokes gained putting sometime. He's been using that style of grip for as long as I've seen him play golf. I always thought putting was a better part of his game. I never really saw him have what you'd call horrible distance control. 

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1 minute ago, saevel25 said:

I'd like to keep track of my dad's strokes gained putting sometime. He's been using that style of grip for as long as I've seen him play golf. I always thought putting was a better part of his game. I never really saw him have what you'd call horrible distance control. 

As you know a few exceptions doesn't prove or disprove anything. They're just… exceptions.

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

As you know a few exceptions doesn't prove or disprove anything. They're just… exceptions.

I know, I wasn't trying to say the exception was proving otherwise. I was more interested because I know my dad putts that way. It just got me thinking a bit. 

Edited by saevel25

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To be honest it just works for me. Yesterday i was putting at the best i have ever seen my self putting, 1 putting 12 footers frequently throughout the round. I use to putt with a single overlap grip (my putting was poor) and recently changed it to having my index finger down the shaft (my putting is superb now) which definitely helped for me personally. I cant say the same for everyone but its just one of those things that benefit myself, same as the reason i dont wear gloves, i just feel there is no added benefit to wearing them for me personally. 

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I tried finger down the shaft when I first started playing in 2008-9. But after reading Stan Utley's The Art of Putting, and later sending video to my Evolvr instructor, my grip has not changed. It is a simple reverse overlap.

My only grip thought is to have the grip in my left palm across the middle and I grip it with some firmness for control.

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I've known guys who putted with the right index finger down the shaft, but I was never tempted to do that. However, I was cognizant of having too much right hand "hit" in my putting stroke. I also realized this was because I wasn't taking the putter far enough back, and was attempting to compensate.

After getting a newer Odyssey White Hot putter about a month ago, I re-read the "Do Not Accelerate" thread, and set about incorporating it into my game. I got the putter from my buddy, and he had one of those super thick, Super Stroker grips on it!

My hands aren't all that big, and the grip had gotten a little slick, so I throttled back to a Lamkin oversize paddle grip. I like paddle type grips. My grip is hardly orthodox. Both hands are turned well under, with the left index finger riding between the middle and ring fingers of my right hand. But, this gets the hands out of the stroke!

After working on it for a month, I am putting better than ever! The last time we played, my buddy was freaking out! I was sliding 30-40 footers just past the edge of the hole. And I didn't miss a single putt of 3-4 feet!

I am putting with so much more confidence. "Do Not Accelerate"  might be the best Instructional Droplet ever!

 

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I putted with the index finger down ever since I was young up until about 5 years ago. I quit after reading something on here, I think. I was never that great of a putter but definitely seemed like I got more control when I changed. 

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I always putted with a fairly normal overlap grip but with the right index finger down the shaft. Was never what you could call a great putter by any stretch of the imagination.

After a lot of experimenting i began using the claw/saw grip and my putting has improved so much. Putting is such a personal thing so if a grip style works stick with it. My 5 year old really struggled with putting (yes, i know he's only 5) and gets frustrated and upset when he cant do it so at our last afternoon at the range i got him holding the putter like a hockey stick and he did really well like that.

On another not I also found Ken Brown's book One Putt to be of help with my putting.

 

 

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I was curious so I tried it. I do get "handsy" with the finger down the shaft. The only way it seems to work is when "popping" the putt a short distance. All is much better for me with a grip that encourages rocking the shoulders, taking the hands out. Thanks for the do not accelerate article. Best wishes to all, -Marv

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In your blog entry, you said:

P.S. If you try to putt without the finger down the shaft for awhile, don't judge the results immediately. 

(side question, why can't I quote the blog entry directly?)

How long before I should judge the results?  I realize N=2 is a very small sample size, but in the two rounds since reading this (and making a point of gripping my putter with the finger not down the shaft), I had 1.08 and 0.92 strokes lost putting ... considering how I usually have more than two lost in a single round, I'm pretty happy with my putting performance in both of those rounds.  Or was the worry that people might putt worse at first because of the new grip and they shouldn't say "this doesn't work, I'm going back to finger down the shaft" style?

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My first instructor taught the finger down the shaft method, back in the 60's when most of us had some version of a bullseye. As much as I tried to be comfortable to use it, never did.  Right after I switched to an :titleist: style putter, I did not try  that method ever again.  My putting and senses of distance seemed to improve quickly.  Never had any severe putting issues.  Except now, after a few measurement session and fitting sessions for my current one, and that is getting used to a mallet putter with a heavier weight.  I never thought of the finger down the shaft as anything other than one that did not work well for me. Thanks for sharing the "why".

My first instructor taught the finger down the shaft method, back in the 60's when most of us had some version of a bullseye. As much as I tried to be comfortable to use it, never did.  Right after I switched to an :titleist: style putter, I did not try  that method ever again.  My putting and senses of distance seemed to improve quickly.  Never had any severe putting issues.  Except now, after a few measurement session and fitting sessions for my current one, and that is getting used to a mallet putter with a heavier weight.  I never thought of the finger down the shaft as anything other than one that did not work well for me. Thanks for sharing the "why".

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Always putted with a baseball grip with varying results . My best putting rounds normally are the ones when Im hitting my irons well and get closer to the pin .  So the question is ……..

Should we spend more time practicing pitching and chipping rather than putting ?

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@dogburger :  how are you measuring a better putting round?  You probably use fewer putts when you hit your approach closer to the pin, but your SGP might be better or worse.  

As for practice time, the general ratio advised if you don't have a glaring weakness is 65% full swing (including the partial shots that use full swing mechanics), 20% short game, and 15% putting.  So yes, a little more time on short game than putting, but you can hit practice putts a lot quicker (in balls/minute) than chipping (as they're closer to collect, etc).

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Just for the record, I don't use my finger down the shaft, but here is somebody who does (and didn't use to do it), with evidently some pretty good results: Ian Poulter!  I am not trolling you, @iacas, as I know you don't like the guy, and this may be yet another reason why, but you have to admit it is working pretty well for him.

That said, I agree with you, and besides it looks bad, to my eye. Never mind the guys that have both index fingers down the shaft, on both sides! 😂

Edited by sjduffers

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13 hours ago, Grinde6 said:

I see Koepka putting with his finger down the shaft this week.  Is this something new, or has he been doing this for some time now?

He's done it for a while.

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It never occurred to me that right finger down was much of a problem. It's always just felt more comfortable to me that way. 

Club Championship is in the rear-view, so it's experiment time and another thing to work on.

 

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