If you haven’t experimented with a larger putter grip used to eliminate wrist movement — you may be a little behind in the times!
However, some golfers are trying to stay ahead of the curve and take this to another level. This new trend is to use a putter grip on the driver.
Matt Fitzpatrick even does this, but just as a warmup. I’ll show you why later on.
So, if you are wondering if a putter grip on a driver makes sense, is legal, and why you might even consider doing this, we have you covered. Read on!
But first, the important question:
Is It Legal to Use a Putter Grip on Driver?
It is not legal to use a putter grip on a driver: “For clubs other than putters, the grip must be circular in cross-section, except that a continuous, straight, slightly raised rib may be incorporated along the full length of the grip, and a slightly indented spiral is permitted on a wrapped grip.” (USGA)
That said, golf equipment rules apply to the game at a competitive level. If you’re simply playing recreationally, you’re within your rights to experiment.
For instance, some golfers use chapstick on their driver face to reduce spin.
So, is it worth testing out a putter grip on your driver? Read on to find out!
Should You Use a Putter Grip on Your Driver?
Now that we’ve addressed the elephant in the room and it’s clear that the putter grip on a driver is not legal, let’s look at the benefits, why it’s illegal, and whether or not this may be something you would want to consider doing.
The Pros of Using a Putter Grip on Driver
If you’re to make an equipment change, there has to be an underlying reason.
What do most golfers want with their tee shots? More distance and accuracy.
Effectively, when the driver is equipped with a fat putter grip, it can unlock more distance and accuracy (depending on the skills of the player).
Let’s dive into the core reasons behind this.
Better Hand Position Through Impact
The first benefit of using a thick putter grip on the driver is to improve your hand position through the point of impact.
Matt Fitzpatrick uses his old driver with a Flat Cat putter grip to warm up on the range before every round. The reason he does this is because he feels like it keeps his right hand a little less active through the impact zone.
Fitzpatrick said: “It helps me keep the right hand on top through impact rather than flipping, and it keeps the face stable through impact.”
When that right hand remains stable through the impact zone, it makes it much easier to control the clubface and deliver the ball on the target line.
For most better players, the miss with a driver is often a hook. By keeping the right hand less active in the driver swing, Fitzpatrick can negate that hook.
Of course, this club never makes it into a tournament round. Rather, it’s a useful training aid to help him develop the correct feel before play.
+ Flat sides for consistent hand position
+ Comfortable polyurethane material
+ Slick and easy to remove from bag
– Not legal for tournament use on driver
Increased Distance with Incorporation of Larger Muscles
In addition to a little less action from the lower hand, using a putter grip on the driver can help you incorporate your larger muscles in the swing.
Take your putter and pretend it’s a driver — don’t actually hit a ball.
One of the first things you’re going to notice is that making a hinge with your wrists and incorporating your hands into the swing is much harder to do.
So what do you do instead? You use larger muscles like the shoulders, arms, and, hopefully, the lower body to help generate power in the swing.
When MrShortGame tested this theory, the larger SuperStroke putter grips helped to increase total distance. However, accuracy and consistency can sometimes present a problem simply because it’s an unusual feeling in the hands.
The Cons of Using a Putter Grip on Driver
In short, the underlying negative of using a putter grip on your driver is that it does not satisfy the USGA Equipment Rules. If you’re playing in any kind of tournament situation, this can’t be anything more than a training aid.
However, the other major problem with using a large putter grip on the driver is that it limits your ability to release the club through impact.
PRO TIP: In the golf swing, release is the action of the club head traveling past the line of the hands after impact.
The majority of everyday golfers struggle to rotate their forearms and wrists and properly release the golf club through impact.
The thicker the grip is, the harder it is to release.
For this reason, it’s important to incorporate grip sizing and fitting into any custom golf club fitting you do. Sometimes, a factor as minor as grip size can be the cause behind your fade or draw, even if you’re naturally good at squaring the face.
Is It Worth Testing a Putter Grip on Driver?
Personally, I would not use a putter grip on my driver — here’s why:
- USGA Rules: If the USGA is not allowing this, it’s really not going to help you long term. Playing with legal equipment will ensure you don’t pick up any bad habits and can transfer your practice directly into your rounds.
- Those with small hands may suffer: If you have smaller hands, you may have some issues with the ability to turn the club over through impact.
- Club modifications need to match swing profiles: Do you struggle with flipping the club through impact the way Matt Fitzpatrick does? If not, don’t change your clubs to accommodate or fix an issue you don’t have.
- Traditional grip weighting: The traditional golf grip weighs around 50 grams, while a large SuperStroke putter grip can weigh as much as 110 grams depending on size. I’ll take all the weight savings I can get on a driver!
What’s the Legal Alternative?
Do you want to unlock some of the same benefits of using a putter grip on the driver — without actually breaking the USGA rules?
Fortunately, there is a legal alternative.
Take a JumboMax golf grip (like Bryson uses) and put it on the driver. Ensure the grip is a no-taper design to see additional benefits and similarities.
+ Stable & oversized profile
+ Shock-resistant design
+ Tacky feel for extra grip
– Takes some adjusting to!
Of course, this is a circular grip rather than the flat-fronted style, so it won’t have exactly the same feel. However, the principles are very similar.
Check out the demonstration video below from Peter Finch: