Friday, July 22, 2011

Furyk I have received numerous emails from readers asking for my opinion on cross-handed putting or sometimes referred to as left-hand low (for right-handed people). Jim Furyk [left] is most well-known practictioner of this putting method.
Although I have several professional students who putt cross-handed, it would not be my first choice to teach a new player. I have two main concerns with cross-handed putting: 1.) Its negative influence on the stroke path; and 2.) How it can deloft the putter at impact. 
Let’s assume our player is a right-handed man named Patrick. When Patrick addresses a putt using a cross-handed grip, his spine tilts toward the ball and his left shoulder will be lower than his right. This address position will make it more difficult to turn around your spine and thus make it more likely that the putter will move to the outside of the proper stroke path. If the putter moves outside on the way back it is likely going to move to the inside on your forward stroke, which leads to cut putting.
Cross-handed putting also lowers your lead shoulder. When your shoulders are not level, it is likely that the putter will move more upward in the backswing. Well, what goes up must come down, which is exactly what your putter will do onto the back of your ball. The putter will impart a descending blow onto the back of the ball, imparting backspin, the last thing you want on your putts.
Fortunately for Patrick, he can still put with a cross-handed grip if he makes two simple adjustments. Here what he and you need to do:
The first adjustment is at address. Patrick needs to grab his putter and find a mirror. Taking his address position, Patrick should slowly tilt his spine angle away from the target until his shoulders are balanced again. By making this adjustment, his putter will stay lower longer during the backswing. This will help Patrick hit up on his putts.
The second adjustment is to get his upper arms and elbows closer, ideally resting on his torso, instead of away from it. This will help get the stroke path more inside on the backswing rather than outside the target line. I have mentioned many times before that I am a very strong supporter of getting your upper arms and elbows onto your torso. Many of my students believe this position is unobtainable with a cross-handed grip. However, simply take your normal address position and bend more over the ball until both elbows are resting on the torso. Keep in mind that the more you bend over the ball, the less rotation you will have on your stroke path.
Alternatively, if you don’t like to bend too much when putting, simply stand a little closer to the ball and tuck your elbows up against your torso.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me at and please visit my website for more information on improving your putting.
Until next time…cheers! [Photo credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE]

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