Arm Lock Putting Technique – A New Secret Weapon on the Greens?
By Coach Erik Schjolberg – Jul 17, 2023
When you think of the arm lock putting stroke, chances are Bryson Dechambeau comes to mind. Not only does Bryson use the Arm Lock stroke, he almost exaggerates it, making it really easy for us to see how an arm lock putter should work.
- The arm lock putting grip is designed to help players feel more stable and consistent with their strokes
- Golfers that use arm lock putting grips often switch to it to help keep the right hand a little less active in the stroke (right-handed players)
- You will need a special putter length and putter grip in order to put the arm lock putting grip into place
- Some of the technique in the arm lock putter grip is more about personal preference throughout the entire putting stroke, than it is about mechanics and fundamentals
I recently gave the arm lock putting technique a try (which is not always easy to do, I’ll explain). Here is a recap of what I thought about it, the pros and cons, and who the arm lock grip is for.
What is Arm Lock Putting?
Arm lock putting is when your left arm is extended straight down the putter shaft, and your right arm grips the putter in a comfortable position but not typically connected with the left hand. The right hand is just along for the ride.
With arm lock putting, the concept is really about stabilization. The arm lock putters allow you to do this naturally and ensure your club has no movement at impact.
Who Is The Arm Lock Putting Technique For?
Do you remember years ago when the belly putter concept and anchoring were quite popular? Golfers were eventually told that this would not be allowed, and many of them found that the arm lock style was similar enough to be helpful.
Most players that use the arm lock putting grip find that they have an easier time controlling the putter head because of the way the club is pressed up against the left arm during the stroke.
How Do You Use Arm-Lock Putting?
The arm lock putter grip is not difficult to learn, but there is one problem…
You can’t really practice this until you have the proper length putter, with the arm-lock putting style grip in place. Of course, you may be able to get a general idea of the feel, but it’s hard to really know what this is like until you give it a try for yourself.
Step 1: Put The Left Arm In Place
The left arm is the most important part of the arm lock stroke. Run your left arm down the left side of the putter grip so that your hand grasps the putter closer to the bottom of the grip. You won’t want the butt end of the putter to come higher than your elbow; if it does, it could impact distance control on longer lag putts (what’s that?).
Step 2: Right Arm Positioning
The right hand should not grip the club with much pressure at all. Most golfers place the right hand next to the left hand, but this is really more about personal preference than anything else. Try making some ten-foot putts with your hand in a variety of positions and see which one works out the best.
Step 3: The Putting Stroke
The putting stroke is really similar to the way it would be with other golf strokes. You will want the left arm to be dominant and lead the club (for a right-handed player). One common mistake that players make is they use the right hand to pull the club back instead of letting the left hand do more pushing.
Remember that the push with the left is almost always more consistent than a pull with the right.
Most of the time, golfers will have just a very slight forward press with the arm-lock putting stroke (which is good, in fact it’s one of my top putting tips if you want to check that out here). With your left hand being on the side of your putter, most of the need for the extreme forward press is eliminated.
Pros/cons of ArmLock Putting
As with all of the different putting grip styles we have tested, there are both pros and cons. Without spoiling too much of the surprise, I can tell you that the armlock putters really are stable at impact.
- A putting technique that works for both low and high-handicap players
- Armlock putting ensures the putter remains stable on short putts (similar to putting cross handed)
- The golfer’s lead forearm controls the stroke the entire time
- Better topspin and higher MOI when hit with a stable face
- Professionals use an arm lock method when looking for consistency
- Works really well for straight back straight through putting strokes
- The tendency is to use the right hand to control the club face
- You will need an extended putter and grip to make sure you can grip the club correctly
- The arm lock method can be tough for golfers on some longer putts
- If the putter comes above the elbow on the left forearm, it’s hard to get the ball to roll smoothly
- Takes a lot of practice to get used to (you may need to extend your putting practice to a home or office putting set)
Professionals Using Locked Arm Putting
Locked arm putting is completely legal, so there are golfers on the professional tour that will use this stroke to ensure their lead arm is in charge of the putting stroke. The most well-known golfer to use the armlock method is Bryson Dechambeau.
However, in addition, you will also see Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, and sometimes even Adam Scott using arm lock putters. The extended grip can be put on a traditional putter that is a bit longer than standard and works quite well for professionals.
Here are a few of the most common questions about the arm lock putting style.
What is the correct arm lock putter length?
The proper arm lock putter length is between 40 and 42 inches long. Standard putters are usually around 33 to 36 inches in length. But it’s not just the total putter length that’s longer, the grip portion of the club must be longer as well to accommodate for the way you hold the club when using this technique. The putter grip itself should be between 17 – 21 inches.
Should I lock my arms when putting?
Keeping your arms locked during a putting stroke will help ensure that you swing the club more like a pendulum. This is especially important when using more of an arm lock putter.
Why use an arm lock putter?
The arm lock putter allows you to stay very consistent in your putting stroke and keep the putter head from twisting or turning at impact.
Can you turn a normal putter into an armlock putter?
Any traditional putter can be turned into an arm lock putter with the proper arm lock grip installed and the proper length and loft of the putter head. Make sure to have a certified club fitter take a look at the changes you have made to the arm lock putter just to make sure it’s set up to help you make more putts.
What is the difference between an arm lock and a traditional putter?
Armlock putters are longer than traditional putters and have a little more loft than traditional putters. Since there is more forward lean or forward press in the arm lock putter, you will notice a higher loft; these changes can be made to the putter you are currently playing with.
When I tried the arm lock putting style, I was surprised at how effective it was at keeping the left arm stable and ensuring that the putter head did not move at impact.
If you have a straight back straight through putting style, and you find that consistency is an issue, I would recommend giving arm lock putting a try.