Thursday, August 1, 2002
Are You A Candidate For Cross-Handed Putting?
For most golfers a left-hand-low grip cures all setup flawsMirror Work
Every golfer is built differently, but in constructing a putting posture that will yield the most successful results, you have to take into account subtle, less obvious differences in build. The most important of these “anatomical fingerprints” is shoulder lines. When standing naturally, every golfer has shoulders that are either open (left shoulder behind right), closed (right shoulder behind left) or square. Most golfers have open shoulders, and the putting setup that best accommodates this anatomical structure is one that features a cross-handed (left-hand-low) putting grip.
There are a few ways to determine your anatomical structure. The best is to stand in any doorway with your toes set across the carpet seam. Look left, then right. If your left shoulder is farther behind the door jamb than your right, you have open shoulders. A second test is to get into your putting stance, allow your hands to hang naturally, then pull your arms together until your hands meet. If your right hand is outside your left, again you have open shoulders. To accommodate open shoulders in your setup, use a cross-handed putting grip. With the left hand below the right on the handle, your shoulders will automatically square themselves to the target line, resulting in a straighter putting stroke.
Of all the different facets of putting, the setup is the most important. Regardless of the purity of your stroke, your sense of touch or your ability to read greens, you won’t find the bottom of the cup too often if you’re not set up correctly.
Setting up correctly involves not only adopting a fundamentally sound posture, but addressing a putt based on your own anatomical structure as well. Every golfer is built differently and, if these differences aren’t taken into account when you address a putt, you may find the majority of your putts rolling to the right or left of the cup.
One of the main anatomical differences among golfers is shoulder rotation. Believe it or not, every person stands with shoulders that are open, closed or square. The majority of golfers stand with open shoulders, which means that the majority of golfers may benefit from a cross-handed putting grip. Read on to discover why.
If you do everything with your right hand and you swing and putt right-handed, your shoulders are very likely open to your stance line. If you putt and swing right-handed, but you do most other things left-handed, your shoulders are likely closed to your target line. If you do extensive upper-body stretching, your shoulder lines are likely square or closed to your stance line. When you use one hand to do most everything, from eating to opening doors, activity creates a continuous stretching of your dominant side. The lesser use of the non-dominant side of your body creates muscular asymmetry and resulting tension on that side that pulls your shoulders open. Your hips are subject to the same process. I played baseball in my youth and threw about 50,000 pitches in my career. When I stand with the toes of both feet on a line, my shoulders are 1 3⁄4 inches open and my hips are 2 inches open.
Your individual body lines are your anatomical structure and have a great effect on the type of putting setup you should adopt. To determine your anatomical structure, try the following.
Stand in a doorway and place the toes of both feet on a threshold divider or carpet seam. Stand tall and look straight ahead. Slowly turn your head to the right and then to the left without moving your shoulders. Which shoulder is further behind the door jamb, your left or right? If your left shoulder is farther back, then you have naturally open shoulder lines.
Here’s another test: Stand tall and relaxed as you look in a full-length mirror. Notice which of your hands turns in more than the other. If you’re right-handed and your shoulders are open, your left hand will turn in more than your right. The more open your shoulders, the more your left hand will turn in. Notice how much my left hand turns in compared to my right (see opening photo).
No matter how slightly open or closed, your natural shoulder lines have a pronounced effect on your setup and stroke. You must make adjustments for open or closed shoulders. There are two primary adjustments you can make: where in your stance you play the ball or how you position your hands on the grip. For most players, adjusting the grip will produce more comfortable, more positive results.
Page 1 of 3