TULSA, Okla. — The hands are the only connection professional golfers have to their craft. But as for how you should orient them? That’s an open question.
Just ask Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick comes into Sunday at the PGA just three back of Mito Pereira. And when he’s chasing him, he’ll be using a chipping technique that’s rarely seen in golf.
Cross-handed, or left-hand low, putting grips have become relatively commonplace on the greens. About 12 percent of Tour players use it by the latest count. But only very rarely do we see a player use the technique actually around the greens. Fitzpatrick is one of those elite few. He started using the technique in late 2020, first around the greens (except in bunkers) and has been slowly working his way back. He uses the grip on pitch shots, and wants to get as far back as potentially 80 yard shots, if he’s comfortable with it.
As for the reason why: His left-hand low grip helps him release the club. On his full swing, Fitzpatrick’s hands stay ahead of the ball through impact, which delofts the clubface. It’s a great way to create compression on his full shots, but once it started leaking into his chipping technique, it started causing issues.
“I had a tendency to drive the handle and then the ball would fall off the face,” he explained after his round on Saturday.
Chipping cross-handed started as an experiment, a holdover drill from noted golf instructor Pete Cowen, who Fitzpatrick has worked with in the past.
“Cack-handed swings,” Cowen calls the drill. “It teaches a full release of the club by forcing the body to rotate through the shot.”
For Fitzpatrick, it provided the solution to his problems.
“If [swung incorrectly] with this grip I would shank it,” he says. “It forces me to throw the clubhead, and I just feel like it’s much more consistent in strike, flight and spin.”
It’s certainly been effective this week, and it could help him put two hands on the Wannamaker Trophy on Sunday.
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