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Golf Today > Equipment > 2Thumb putter grip
 




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The 2Thumb putter grip by Gazeley

I've always been a lousy putter. Not the yips - at least not yet - so I don't even have that excuse. Just a poor putter, with poor feel, poor mechanics and no confidence.

I've a suspicion that may be about to change however, thanks to an ingenious invention by professional putting coach Philip H Gazeley. After years of working with pros and amateurs, Gazeley concluded that the single greatest fault in putting is the inability to achieve natural stance and posture while putting with the hands one above the other on the grip.

This causes the shoulders to tilt rather than stay level, setting up open to the target line and requiring adjustments in alignment in order to stay square to the hole. If the hands could be level at address however, everything would stay square.

 

Gazeley therefore began experimenting with different ways of gripping the club to achieve this, finally designing a grip which was broad enough for the thumbs to be comfortably side by side, allowing a more natural and balanced putting position, with the shoulders level, arms hanging naturally down. He points out that the shoulders should be levelled by dropping the left hand down to meet the right, rather than by lifting the right hand up to the left, as this encourages a slightly more "over the ball" position with the eyes directly above the ball.

After two years of intensive testing and design, the innovative, one size, 2Thumb putter grip, which conforms to both R&A and USGA regulations (Appendix II-3iii) and can be fitted easily to any model of putter, was launched in 2005.

I first tried the 2Thumb grip on Gazeley's stand at this year's London Golf Show, and promptly holed out three times in a row from 5 feet, with an uncanny feeling of confidence, if not exactly comfort. Not wishing to push my luck I stopped there, but Gazeley kindly gave me a grip to take away and experiment.

Back home, there were gasps of horror as I took a Stanley knife to the old Golf Pride grip of my not so trusty Ping, but this was an act of faith. Ten minutes later, with great ease and no more outside help than a little white spirit poured in the 2Thumb to help it slide down the shaft, my putter was ready. (Don't forget, if your putter does not have any double-sided fitting tape under the old grip, that one, or better still, two layers should be wound round the shaft before applying the grip.)

The first thing you need to do is decide whether, with the hands side by side, palms facing each other in parallel, you are going to overlap or interlock the fingers around the back of the grip. Gazeley suggests simply going with what is most comfortable.

I tried both at some length and have emerged with a clear preference for the overlap, both for comfort (I have rather short, stubby fingers, which don't intertwine easily) but also because I feel it further reduces any tendency my right hand has to give a last-minute shove, something which has always blighted my putting in the classic mode.

 

That resolved, the hands are now united, thumbs down the shaft, and immediately another great advantage of the 2Thumb becomes apparent. It is virtually impossible to grip the putter tightly from this position. The words of the great Sam Snead come to mind: "Hold the club like you were holding a small bird". This could be the end of strangling the putter and white knuckled three-footers. Your grip feels solid, yet very light, and that lightness is itself an antidote to the short, quick stab.

Taking address, and following Gazeley's advice to position the back of the ball in the middle of the stance - another change to my method - with my now level hands and consequently level shoulders, I find it easy to stand comfortably upright with my arms hanging naturally and the eyes directly over the ball, looking at the back of the ball, not the top. I felt, for the first time ever with a putting method, that my shoulders, arms and hands were a single, firm (but not tight!) triangle, which I could now simply rock backwards and forwards to produce a smooth stroke.

The beauty of this is that now I really feel I am swinging the putter through the ball, not at it, with a gentle, natural acceleration as the putter moves towards the target. The strike now makes a noise which is most unfamiliar to me - a solid, clean sound, not the tinny thunk I usually get, and the ball seems to accelerate off the clubface with a very satisfying feedback through the hands and grip. I feel I am keeping the putter lower to the ground, but without forcing it artificially, and the ball is definitely rolling far better end over end and staying on line. I'm no longer hitting those putts which seem to jump off the putter and skid the first few feet of their journey; now the ball is rolling true straight off the face.


The writer tries a long putt - not yet 1/4 back, 3/4 through, but feel is greatly improved

I haven't weighed the 2Thumb grip and compared it to my old one, but the putter does feel noticeably heavier to heft. In my amateur view it also feels better balanced, and is more reassuring when faced with a long approach putt, while on the short ones the weight seems to encourage a slow, smooth stroke.

Lining up is far simpler than when I was putting right-below-left. I feel I can see the line better, and it is far easier to square up shoulders, hips and feet with the shoulders level. With the eyes directly (well, almost - see photos below) above the ball, by just tilting the head towards the chosen line I can tell if I'm square or not, and knowing this before hitting the putt gives me greater confidence and the ability to commit to a solid stroke.

I have also found that stroking the ball with the shoulder/arm/hand triangle makes it much easier for me to keep my head still well after the ball is hit. Confidence, I suspect, has a lot to do with this; because the putts feel good, I don't feel the need to look up and see what's happening. I have actually been able to listen to the ball drop in the hole on the shorter ones!


The writer sideways on - the shaft could be more vertical and the sole flatter to the ground at address, but much better nevertheless. Stroking through the ball, not hitting at it!

With a clean and almost effortless strike, I find it easier to "feel" the length of a putt. Gazeley points out that length comes from the through stroke, not the back stroke, and recommends one quarter back and three quarters through, holding the follow-through with no recoil, to give optimum accleration. I'm not quite there yet, but am certainly managing one third back and two thirds through, and I suspect that as I get used to the consistency and quality of strike, I will gain in confidence and be able to take less backswing and still feel I will get the ball up to the hole.

 

I think you will have gathered that I like this product, and would recommend it to anyone. I don't harbour the secret hope that I will become a Ben Crenshaw or Loren Roberts overnight, but now I feel that with the new grip, posture and Gazeley's simple, no nonsense tips provided (see below), I have the correct fundamentals in place to be able to concentrate on the line and length of my putts, rather than having all the mechanics racing through my mind. All handicap golfers know that feeling of helpless panic and the chaotic rehearsal in one's head of all the do's and don'ts of the stroke when faced with an important putt. This simple invention seems to me to eliminate a great deal of that, and free the mind to concentrate on the essential - getting the ball in the hole.

A word of caution. Don't expect it to feel "right" at once - nothing new in the golf swing ever does. It still doesn't feel entirely natural to me, despite a fair few hours of practice and play on the course - hardly surprising after nearly forty years using the old method - but it does feel comfortable and instil a sense of confidence. Even playing partners who borrow the putter to have a go immediately start trying to grip their own putter with the hands level, and remark on how much better they strike the ball.

6-time major champion Lee Trevino, as far as I know, has never tried the 2Thumb grip. But he was certainly on the right track when, asked if he had experimented with changing his putting grip, he replied: "If God wanted you to putt cross-handed, he would have made your left arm longer." Amen.

I have never believed that you could just walk into a shop and purchase a significantly better game, but this could be an exception to that rule. So, for a mere £14.99 (or £28.00 for two on Philip Gazeley's website), I suggest you give it a try. It may be cheapest investment you ever made in your golf.

Clive Carpenter
May 2006


The 2Thumb putter grip is available online from www.golfputting.com, most online and specialist retailers and your local pro. RRP £14.99.

Philip Gazeley provides the following simple tips with every 2Thumb putter grip:
  • Grip should control, not dominate
  • Both thumbs down the shaft, back of hands square to target
  • Arms should hang down naturally, never bellow out the elbows
  • Feet comfortably apart and parallel to target
  • Back of the ball should be in middle of stance
  • Sole of putter should sit flat on the ground - never toe up
  • Eyes directly over the ball
  • Look at the back of the ball during the stroke - not the centre
  • Stroke through the ball rather than hitting at it
  • Putter head should be held still at end of stroke - don't snatch or recoil
  • Length of putt comes from the through stroke - not from the back stroke - ie, quarter back, three quarters through gives acceleration
  • Putter shaft should always be vertical at address to give better ball roll
  • Keep knees still during stroke

You can also find more putting tips from Philip Gazeley by clicking here.

 




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