Putter grip shapes are important because they affect how we move our bodies in conjunction with the club. Small adjustments in hand positioning can result in noticeable variations. And as we all know, even the smallest of variations with our swing can result in higher scores.
There are 6 main grip profile shapes when viewed, looking down, from the top of the putter. Each shape provides a different feel and may offer various benefits for certain golfers.
First off, it's worth noting that putter grip sizes and shapes tend to be a confusing topic. Swing grips are uniformly sized by the diameter measurement taken 5cm down from the butt end of the grip. And all swing grips (with the exception of ribbed and alignment grips) are round in profile, meaning the direction you measure the grip doesn't matter. Putter grips however, come in a variety of shapes, and thus their size has been more difficult to define due to this lack of uniformity.
Putter grip profiles fall into one of 6 categories: Circle, Oval, Flat Oval, Pistol, Flat Wide, and Mod Pistol.
One simplified method of determining putter grip size is to take the measurement of the width. Some manufacturers created their own sizing terms, like Super Stroke's 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 5.0. Still others like the Golf Pride SNSR refer to putter grip size by volume, like 140cc and 104cc.
The Circle shape emulates how swing grips feel. Circle putter grips have been made more popular by Super Stroke in recent years, with larger diameters and non-tapered styles. The Oval, one of the most popular and traditional shapes (sometimes called the "Paddle"), is a modified version of the Circle, with a large range of sizes offered by many brands, from Undersize, all the way up to Oversize/Jumbo. The Oval shape is conducive for hands to stay close together for a solid, stable grip.
The rest of the shapes, Flat Oval, Pistol, Flat Wide, and Mod Pistol, are more modern styles that usually have wider flat tops, which are great for players with longer fingers or prefer to have their hands turned out for a more natural feeling placement. Pistol putter grips in particular provide an ergonomic feel, allowing the bottom fingers to wrap around the angled (pointed) undersize part of the grip. Lamkin's Sink Fit Putter collection offers multiple shapes (Pistol and Flat Oval, or what they refer to as Straight), while utilizing the same Fingerprint rubber surface for non-slip performance.
Larger putter grips tend to be shaped either as as Circle, Flat Oval, or Pistol. With larger widths, they can help quiet the wrists during a putt, allowing a more full-bodied fluid motion for stability.
When choosing a putter grip shape, teaching pros and club-fitters agree, it's the feel and weight that matters the most. Because it's not just about how the hands fit around the grip, but rather how the grip guides (or affects) your swing. Heavier grips can help increase steadiness, but may be difficult to control. An ergonomic or non-tapered grip, like the Pistol shape, can relax your arms and shoulders which helps avoid tense or jarred movements.
If you have questions on a putter grip or if there's information you're looking for, let us know so we can help lock down the perfect grip shape for you.