Led by Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell, Pat Perez and Billy Horschel, left-hand-low putters won a third of all Tour events during the 2016-2017 season. But don’t call it a coincidence. While hardly new, putting LHL has proven time and again to produce a more stable stroke. In fact, Jack Nicklaus has said that if he had to teach someone to putt, he’d start them out crosshanded. A lot of you have tried left-hand low but didn’t like it. The truth? You were doing it wrong. Turn the page to get it right—and dominate on the greens.
THE REASON IT WENT WRONG
Here’s why you dabbled with left-hand low—then gave it up.
1. YOU DID THE “LEFTY LEAN”
When you drop your left hand on the handle, the tendency is to move your weight along with it. Unwittingly, you end up addressing the ball with too much mass over your front foot and your left shoulder much lower than your right. From this position, you have no choice but to come into the ball on a very steep angle. (Flat is where it’s at, folks.) The result? A poor roll and putts that start out too far to the right.
2. YOU GAVE IT A CHICKEN WING
Another common error when first taking a left-hand-low grip is allowing your left elbow to come off your torso (as when you chicken-wing) while you “reach” for a lower spot on the handle with your left hand. Problem is, you need that left-arm/left-side connection to make the method work. The beauty of LHL putting is that it’s driven by your left shoulder, which, when positioned correctly, helps the putter gently rise through impact (a good thing). Your hands and arms merely follow its lead. They can’t if your upper left arm is off your body.
HERE’S THE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT
Try these three setup tricks to become a left-hand-low machine.
1. USE YOUR PAD
Hold your putter out in front of you, resting the middle of the grip under your left thumb pad. This ensures that the shaft becomes an extension of your left arm—a huge LHL key.
2. SET THE PINS
To make sure you set up with your left arm connected to your torso, pin your elbows against your sides while standing erect. Then bend forward.
3. COPY THIS!
Run your LHL checkpoints: shoulders level, ball a bit forward of center, and the shaft leaning slightly toward the target. The last one is a biggie—it’s what encourages your left shoulder to drive the stroke. You’ll feel a little more “bent over” than usual. Stick with it. It’s essential to maintaining that critical left-arm/left-side connection.
HOW TO GROOVE THE RIGHT FEEL
Get grabby! Here’s a drill for maintaining your left-side connection and LHL success:
Tuck your glove into your left armpit. Once you’re in your putting stance, take your right hand off the handle and wrap it around your left forearm (right). I know it’s strange, but this setup will teach you to keep your left elbow in close to your body while diminishing the role of your right hand.
START:Start your takeaway with your shoulders, not your hands.
FINISH: Keep that glove under your arm and watch the ball roll on target! The goal of this drill? Keep the glove tucked throughout your entire stroke. Important: Initiate your takeaway with your left shoulder, arm and wrist— not your hands—and picture a slight arc to your stroke. Once you complete your backstroke, pull your left shoulder slightly up and around, keeping your left elbow in tight. Your left arm will come along for the ride, sweeping the putter head up into impact. That feel? Success.