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February 5 2013

10:00 AM

Tip from Travis: Phil's pencil grip

Phil Mickelson won last week in Phoenix using his new pencil grip. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy

It seems that whenever I see a player go to the “pencil grip,” it always seems to help. Most recently, the pencil grip helped Phil Mickelson capture his 41st career victory on the PGA TOUR at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Mickelson’s success last week in Scottsdale proves that even good putters need to shake things up to get back on track with the flat stick. What’s great about the pencil grip is it puts the trail hand in a position where it takes it out during the stroke.  It’s alignment to the putter shaft won’t allow for a “scooping” action that changes the path and face at impact. Instead, the hands become more passive, encouraging more shoulders during the stroke.

With this grip, Mickelson also has his lead hand in a different position. Historically, Mickelson always had a lot of forward press in his set-up and impact, positioning the lead hand very flat. With the pencil grip, he seems to have less forward lean in the shaft, allowing the lead wrist to be slightly cupped versus completely flat. This dynamic can allow the path and face to agree more at impact, leading to better starting direction.

So the question becomes can the “pencil” grip help you? With the perceived stigma a thing of the past and belly and long putters soon to go away, the pencil could be the answer for those looking to do something different to improve your putting.

Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.

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