Pencil Putting Grip (Instructions, Tips, and Pictures)
By Coach Erik Schjolberg – Jun 17, 2023
If you know anything about the claw putter grip, chances are you have seen that it has quite a few variations. But it’s not a fit for all players. In fact, many golfers think the pencil grip is actually a better fit for their game.
- The pencil grip is really just a variation of the claw putter grip, but the fingers of the right hand are positioned differently
- The concept behind the pencil putting grip is to keep the right hand less engaged and have the left hand lead the way
- Although the pencil can work for both straight back straight through and arc style, many arc style players prefer this grip because of the feel
I recently tested the pencil grip and was surprised by how it felt and how consistent it could be compared to a traditional putting grip.
If you need to spice up your putting game a little, I’ll give you everything you need to try the pencil putting grip.
What Is The Pencil Putting Grip?
The pencil grip is a variation of a traditional golf grip in which the right hand holds the golf club like you would hold a pen or a pencil. The left hand stays in the normal position that it would if you were using something like a reverse overlap grip (more on that here).
With the pencil grip, your right hand won’t have as much connection with the golf club. This creates more stability in the stroke and a better chance of the ball rolling on the path that you need it to roll on.
Many golfers get too much action in their right hand, causing dispersion in the stroke; the pencil grip eliminates that.
Who Should Use Pencil Grip Putting?
Pencil grip putting is for any golfer that wants to make their stroke a little more left hand dominant, similar effect of a left hand low putting grip (explained here).
When I first started to try the pencil grip, I wondered whether or not I would have enough control of the putter head. After practicing with it for a few sessions on the putting green and on my office putting set (these things are pretty cool), I noticed I had plenty of control, even on longer lag putting drills.
The only difficult thing to determine with the pencil grip seems to be grip pressure. Of course, lighter grip pressure is always good (I have it ranked number 2 in my putting tips list), but you don’t want to be so light that you don’t have control of the club.
How To Use The Pencil Putter Grip
Luckily the pencil putter grip is not all that difficult to learn to use. Here are the steps to take to ensure you get your hands on the club properly each time.
Left Hand On Top
Place your left hand (for right handed players) on the club as you normally would. The left hand will be the hand needed to control the stroke, so make sure you have a stable and firm hold and that the club is gripped mostly in your fingers.
Place The Right Hand On The Grip
The right hand goes on the grip in a way that you would hold a pencil or a pen. Hold the grip of the putter as if it is the pen or the pencil, with your fingers facing towards the ground. The pinky and ring finger can wrap around the back of the club or even curl up into your hand.
Connection With The Putter
The key here is to ensure that the left hand has a better connection with the putter than the right hand. The pencil grip should allow you to have light pressure in your hands so that the putter head can flow naturally.
Pros/Cons of The Putting Pencil Grip
As you will come to learn with all putting grip styles (more info on the main one’s over here), you have to find something that is a fit for your putting stroke and needs, and that can take a little while. Here are the pros and cons of the pencil grip.
- Keeps the right hand (for the right handed player) a little less active
- Makes it easier to maintain the proper wrist angles in the stroke
- The left hand proves to be very stable at impact
- Helps golfers improve consistency, especially on shorter putts
- It can be hard to get your fingers on the club exactly as you wish
- On longer putts, it’s not quite as consistent
Professionals Using The Golf Pencil Grip
Since the pencil is more of a variation of the claw, there are not too many professionals that use it consistently. However, the claw grip does have players like Phil Mickelson and even Webb Simpson, who are known for their ability to master the claw style.
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about the golf pencil grip in putting.
What is the difference between claw and pencil putting grip?
The position of the right hand is slightly different in the pencil vs the claw putter grip; the right hand holds the club a bit more like a pencil or a pen, and they are not holding it as if their hands are in a claw shape.
What is a pencil grip in putting?
The pencil grip has a golfer position their dominant hand as if holding a pencil or a pen. The non-dominant hand is the one that should lead the putting stroke.
What kind of grip is best during putting?
The grip you choose for your putting game must match your putting stroke as well as your personal preference. Putting is very much feel-related, and if you are not pleased with the way the golf putter feels in your hands, you will not be as confident on the greens. You should also consider changing up the style of putter you use to find the optimal fit.
Hopefully, you now feel a bit more knowledgeable about the pencil style putting grip and what it can do for your golf game. I always say that if your putting stroke is currently not causing you any issues, you probably want to leave it alone.
However, if you feel you lack confidence or could stand to make a few more putts in that 5-15 foot range, the pencil-style grip is certainly one to consider.