The Debate Solved: Interlock vs. Non-Interlock Putting Grips

Published/Updated on:
Written by:
The Putting Grip: To Interlock or Not To Interlock, That is the Question

Keep this guide nearby for reference, grab your indoor putting mat, and give each style a valiant effort and a fair chance before you rule it out as the best grip for you and your golf game.

Real Practice for the Real Course – Purchase PrimePutt's Tour-Quality, True-Roll Putting Mat

The Bottom Line:

  • Which style will work best? The style that is the most comfortable and keeps both hands, shoulders, and the putter moving together as a singular unit
  • Most common types of putting grips: interlocking, reverse overlap grip, left-hand low grip style, claw grip style, prayer grip style, and arm lock grip
  • Size of putter grip has important implications: a thicker grip can help with accuracy, whereas a smaller grip can be beneficial for those who like to feel the smaller muscles in their fingers and hands while they putt

Ready to Build Tour-Level Confidence with a Tour-Quality Green? Start Now!

Which style will work best?

Like almost everything else in golf, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to putting grip. It's up to the individual! What you want to look for is the grip style that feels most comfortable and athletic and keeps both hands, shoulders, and the putter moving together as a singular unit. Which grip style helps you produce a smooth, solid roll off the putter face? Which putting grip style feels the most natural? Trust what you feel. As the philosopher Rumi once said, "There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen." This change could be the catalyst that helps your handicap drop next golf season!

Most Common Types of Putting Grips

It's important to note that these grip overviews are written from the perspective of right-handed golfers. Sorry, lefties! If you are left-handed, don't stop reading; just switch your hands. Some styles are considered more conventional than others. While trying each different approach, it is essential to keep your grip pressure consistent and, as the old golf adage goes, "like a firm handshake."

While deciding which golf grip is the right one for you, you should practice both long and short putts. Keep in mind that most clutch putters keep the butt end of the putter grip at their belly button or slightly forward and try to roll the golf ball off the putter face rather than hit it.

Size of Putter Grip Has Important Implications

The actual grip on the putter itself can affect how each hand grip style below feels. For example, a thicker putting grip can help with accuracy and smooth out the putting stroke by forcing the hands into a more neutral position. The maximum diameter of the thickest putter grip the USGA allows is 1.75 inches. It is a good idea to work with a trusted golf professional with a grip removal tool, grip tape, adhesive solution, and a variety of thicker and thinner grips to try out before committing.

A thinner grip is more beneficial to the golfer who likes to feel the smaller muscles in their fingers and hands while they putt. Most golfers with a higher handicap would do better with a more oversized putting grip since a common putting stroke mistake is to "flip" the wrists while putting. This can cause inconsistent distance control and a breakdown in putting technique. Many of the grip styles below were created to produce a "quieter" right hand. If the right hand "flips" during the putt, it can change the loft of the putter itself, making it hard to control speed and direction.

Please keep in mind that slight variations in each of the six putting grip styles can make a massive difference in the feel and efficiency of each grip.

Interlocking Putting Grip Style

  • Who should think about using this style? Golfers with slightly smaller hands will find this grip most comfortable. An interlocking grip style will feel different if you're putting with a thicker putter grip vs. a thinner putter grip. Many golfers use an interlocking grip as their full swing grip, so, for simplicity's sake, using it in putting only makes sense, leaving room for fewer complications. Keep in mind the right wrist can become more activated on longer putts while using this grip style.
  • PGA Tour Professionals who use this style: Jack Nicklaus. Steve Stricker.
  • What does this grip look like? The right hand's pinky finger is "interlocked" between the index and middle fingers of the left hand. The right index finger may also rest comfortably against the putter grip. The putter grip rests mainly on the fingers of both hands.

Reverse Overlap Grip Style (or the Conventional Putting Grip)

  • Who should think about using this style? The reverse overlap grip style works well with golfers with thicker grips on their putters. This style helps keep the grip primarily in the palms of your hands and prevents any rolling of the hands or arms for a better feel of the putter club face as it squares through impact. It also helps keep your left wrist perfectly aligned with your intended target.
  • PGA Tour Professionals who use this style: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
  • What does this grip look like? The left index finger is on top of the right pinky finger. Other than that, it is the same grip as the traditional overlap grip style. In this grip, the club runs down the palms rather than the fingers. Tiger has said the "best part of the grip is the unity it brings to both hands."

Left Hand Low Grip Style (or the Cross-Handed Grip)

  • Who should think about using this style? Golfers who want the left shoulder leading the putt. A "flippy" right hand will become non-existent while using this grip. It limits the wrist hinge and keeps the putter handle more square at impact. Many golfers initially find this grip style helps keep short putts on line, but it will likely take some practice and repetition to adjust to longer putts. This type of grip corresponds well with thicker putter grips as the combination helps keep wrists steady throughout the stroke.
  • PGA Tour Professionals who use this style: Jordan Speith and Dustin Johnson.
  • What does this grip look like? As the name alludes, your left hand is lower than your right hand on the putter grip. Your left forearm is pointed at your right forearm, resting the grip under your left palm pad. (The putter shaft should feel like an extension of your left arm). Your left wrist is pointed at your target. Make sure that the putter shaft leans slightly forward at the address so it can return that way!

Claw Grip Style

  • Who should think about using this style? A golfer who primarily putts on faster greens. This style is another alternative for anyone whose wrists get 'flippy' during the putting stroke. This grip almost entirely takes the right hand out of the putting stroke and helps golfers rely more on their shoulders as the primary source of distance and control. It is a more advanced grip to master and will take significant time to make the switch if you are interested in using "the Claw." It is an alternative to a conventional putting grip, but it helps the face of the putter stay square through the stroke.
  • PGA Tour Professionals who use this style: Many professionals like Phil Mickelson use this grip style to practice. Many European Tour players use this grip in competition, including Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, and Justin Rose, to name a few. However, this grip style isn't very popular among amateur golfers.
  • What does this grip look like? First, grip the putter with your left hand, your thumb pointing down the shaft and your left hand near the butt end of the club. Take your right hand and create space between your thumb and pointer finger. Point the hand at the ground. Now, place your right hand on the putter's grip in the area between your thumb and pointer finger. You'll want a clear picture of this grip before testing it out!

Prayer Grip Style (or the Palm-Facing Grip)

  • Who should think about using this style? It would be best if you had a thicker grip on your putter to use this putting grip effectively. A thinner grip doesn't allow enough surface area for this putting grip style. Also, a golfer with bigger hands might find this grip easier than someone with smaller hands. This grip forces the golfer to grip the club looser in comparison to the other styles and with the hands facing each other. The prayer-style grip creates a triangle with the shoulders to help take the hands out of the putting stroke.
  • PGA Tour Professionals who use this style: Matt Wallace
  • What does this grip look like? There is no dominant hand in this grip style. Your hands are about halfway down the grip of your putter, unlike some other grip styles, which start closer to the butt end of the club. Your hands and palms face each other as if you are praying. There are many variations of where the fingers are placed in this grip. Some golfers have their index fingers on the shaft, and some have their left index fingers curled around the back of the grip.

Arm Lock Grip Putting Method

  • Who should think about using this style? Anyone who has the length of putter that this grip needs! A standard putter is between 34-36 inches long, while the length of putter needed for this grip style is closer to 40-42 inches. The loft on the putter is also higher to compensate for the forward press required to lean the putter grip into your left arm. This unorthodox arm lock method can be 'too rigid' or different from conventional grip feels for some as it takes the sense of feeling out of the putting stroke.
  • It's essential to refrain from anchoring the putter with this method, as that became illegal in 2016. The parallel lean of the putter grip against your forearm, for now, is considered legal.
  • PGA Tour Professionals who use this style: Bryson DeChambeau and Matt Kuchar
  • What does this grip look like? The butt of the putter needs to be about 2 inches below your left elbow, with the left forearm pressed against the putter. The putter remains against the forearm for the entire putting stroke. This method has many variations of hand and finger placement, as you can see here.

So, to interlock or not interlock?

The answer is... it depends! It's entirely an individual choice, with a few qualifiers that may make one style stand out to you. The interlock grip has been very effective for some of the greatest golfers of all time, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is automatically the correct one for you.

The off-season is the perfect time of year to make a grip change. There is also no rule saying that your full golf swing grip needs to be the same as the putting grip. Switch it up if that's what feels most comfortable. Being open-minded and willing to experiment with different putting grips may help you control your speed on longer distance putts, keep your putter face square through the impact zone, or both. The flat stick makes up about 40% of your total scores. It's definitely worth the painful trial and error period to find the putting grip that fills you with the most confidence and makes way for you to sink more putts.

Still Not Sure? Learn More About PrimePutt Here!

Alexis Bennett

Alexis is a longtime student of the game. After playing careers both in college, at the Division 1 level, and 3 years as a touring professional on the developmental circuits, she most recently wrapped a 9-year stint as a collegiate Head Coach at two different universities. In that time, she led her teams to 8 top-4 finishes in conference championships and led one player to the NCAA Regionals as an at-large bid in 2021, capping the best individual playing career in program history.

Back to blog