There are various styles of putting, none more contentious than the arm lock putting style. Besides this, you have your traditional style, gripping the putter as you would an iron. Other popular options include reverse-hand, the claw, and the occasional right-handed golfer putting lefty, or vice versa.
Gaining notoriety is the arm lock, you know, the one from the title. As you might have guessed, this article is going to walk you through every step of switching to an arm lock putter and the arm lock putter grip. We’ll talk legality, the putter you’ll need, how to master this craft, and round it out by highlighting some of the best in the business using arm lock putters.
What is an Arm Lock Putter?
While most of the putting styles listed in our intro can all be done with the same putter, using the arm lock style requires its own putter. An arm lock putter is one that you take your typical stroke with, but reduces the use of your lead arm.
Arm lock putting is done with the same head as any other putter, but these are longer in length to account for the arm lock putter grip. Length is the only major difference, with the largest changes coming from how you use the club.
Arm lock putting will feature an increased lie (around 5 degrees), compared to a standard putter, typically about 3 degrees. This helps to keep a forward press. These also have a higher lie, which helps you to keep the putter flat at address and as you make your stroke.
Most top putting brands have already began producing arm lock putters. As these continue to gain popularity, you will see even more variations hit the shelves. If you want to get into arm lock putting, it’s not too hard anymore.
Putting the Arm Lock into Play
Arm lock putting is done by holding the club against the arm of your top hand, (left arm for a right-handed golfer), reducing the ability of your club to waver. The grip should sit just below your elbow, allowing to utilize your full forearm for stability.
You will lean your hands a bit forward, just as you would a forward press with any other putter. This adds control and consistency to your stroke. Most people will use a traditional grip with this method.
Much of the work is done by your trailing hand. As long as that is controlled, your putting stroke can be smaller and thus room for error decreased. Luckily, the nature of arm lock putting and taking one wrist out of the equation all but guarantees this.
Arm lock putting is pretty simple. Once you’ve adjusted to the grip style, your putter does the heavy living. It’s intuitive, it’s why people like it. As more pros adopt arm lock putters, it will surely trickle down into play at the local and amateur levels.
Is the Arm Lock Putter Legal?
Yes, arm lock putters are legal. While some may view this method as anchoring, the rules of golf have yet to put the kibosh on the method growing in popularity each day.
As golfers began winning tournaments using anchored putters, traditionalists became outraged and called for a ban. Their cries were heard and the USGA introduced rule 14-1, prohibiting a golfer from anchoring a club against their body and making a stroke.
Arm lock putters have gotten around the rule as it is not illegal to use an arm or wrist for additional support. The anchoring rule specifically prohibits golfers from using additional parts of their body, such as the stomach, chest, or even chin.
When most people think of anchoring and banned putters, they think of long and mid-length putters. While these themselves are not illegal, the typical stroke one might take with them is. As long as the putter is not anchored against the body, you are free to use whatever putter you’d like.
Can I Do an Arm Lock with Any Putter?
Long story short, no. If you want to do an arm lock, you need an arm lock putter. Sure there’s nothing preventing you from using this grip with a normal putter, but it just won’t work the way it’s supposed to.
The arm lock putter grip is not all too unique. This grip is made of the same materials as any other option, but its length much longer. If it were not as long, your hands would hold the putter on the metal shaft. By extending the grip, you are able to keep the same comfortable grip you’re used to, just much further down the shaft.
Putter length is also very different with an arm lock putter. Standard length of a normal putter is roughly 34 inches. For an arm lock putter, that number grows to 40+ inches. The extra 6 to 8 inches are basically all for the arm lock putter grip. This is essential to being able to properly hold the putter using the arm lock method and make a good stroke at the ball. And this is what it really comes down to. Even if you have mastered a method, without the proper piece of equipment you cannot take advantage of everything the style has to offer.
Pro Golfers that use the Arm Lock
Bryson DeChambeau is the highest profile golfer using an arm lock putter. Forget your feelings on the guy, there is no debate that Bryson DeChambeau is one of the most electric players on Tour. Whether he’s making headlines for his ongoing beef with Brooks Koepka, being called out by his fellow pros for refusing to yell “Fore!”, or being a normal guy while playing golf with Mickleson, Brady, and Rodgers, Bryson is approaching appointment television when he plays. No matter the conversation, DeChambeau’s high profile makes his game on the greens synonymous with the arm lock putter.
Other pros using arm lock putters include Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, and Will Zalatoris. Zalatoris using the funkiest arm lock putter grip, with a backhanded reverse grip, but still counts for the purpose of our list. Many PGA players have dipped their toes into the water that is an arm lock putter, but haven’t quite made it a permanent switch. Based on what we see, this group is sure to grow in the near future. It should also be noted that Bradley and Scott are converts from the old, now illegal, style of an anchored putter.