Arm Lock Putting Method Summary
What Is Arm Lock Putting?
Arm Lock Putting is style of putting, where the grip of the putter runs up the inside of your lead arm (usually your left arm if you’re a right handed player). There are four key characteristics of arm lock putting that you need to know:
- Arm Lock putters promote a big forward press
- They are 5-8 inches longer than normal putters
- They have 3-5 degrees more loft than traditional putters
- The putter head is usually around 400 grams (ie heavier than a traditional putter head)
The Arm Lock Style was pioneered by Matt Kuchar, and his work with Bettinardi ultimately gave birth to this particular product category. Now most of the big brands in golf have started creating arm lock putters, including Odyssey, Ping, Bettinardi, Cobra and SIK Golf. Taylormade and Scotty Cameron are the only big golf equipment companies that haven’t released an arm lock putter… yet.
Why Use An Arm Lock Putter?
Unlike every other stroke in golf (where the underlying goal is to create the right amount of backspin), the goal when putting is actually to impart topspin on the golf ball. The more topspin you create, the straighter the ball will roll. This is what causes a ball to roll end over end in a straight line, rather than wobbling from side to side.
In other words, because arm lock putters automatically create a lot of topspin (by encouraging a big forward press), you can potentially hit your putts straighter than you would with a standard putter, assuming there are no path or face issues at play.
2) It is arguably the most stable (legal) putting technique
By switching to the Arm Lock Putting Method, you effectively remove the need to release the putter head past the hands during the follow-through. You basically set the angle of your wrists at address, and then maintain this angle during the backswing and the follow-through of the putting stroke, by rocking your shoulders back and forth.
With a normal putter, you have to release the wrists during the follow-through. The putter head literally passes the hands after impact. This is what makes putting so scary for people with the yips. Once you lose confidence releasing the head of a standard putter, it’s very difficult to re-establish that confidence. The fear which often develops can be a career killer for amateurs and professionals alike.
Fortunately, you can rediscover your former confidence by eliminating the need to release the head of the putter past your hands during the follow-through. All you have to do is maintain the wrist angle set at address. This is what makes arm lock putting arguably the simplest legal putting stroke according to the updated rules of golf.
Benefits of the Arm Lock Method
How do you hold an arm lock putter?
There are two keys to the Armlock Method.
1. You must hold the putter grip against the inside of your lead forearm, using your leading hand
First and foremost, you need the arm lock grip to run up the inside of your lead forearm. Your left-hand holds the putter while securing the extended grip against your wrist and forearm. This is why it is called the Armlock method. You are locking the extended grip against your forearm. Once you have established this position, you should find that the putter effectively becomes an extension of your left arm.
At this point, it may be helpful to use an image that illustrates the difference between arm lock putting, and normal putting.
As you can see from the image above, the putting pendulum has a slightly different shape when you have an arm lock putter in your hands.
Instead of the putter head hanging in the middle of the pendulum, the putter becomes an extension of the left hand side of the triangle. Now all you have to is hold this angle throughout the putting stroke.
2. You place your right hand onto the putter, using whichever style feels most comfortable
Traditional Grip – Matt Kuchar simply places his right hand onto the grip, as if he were holding a traditional putter. Keegan Bradley does the same thing.
Claw Grip – Webb Simpson places his right hand onto the grip using the claw style grip. If you currently use the claw grip, you will find that it feels very comfortable with an arm lock putter in your hands. Will Zalatoris also putts this way.
Left Hand Low – You can also putt left hand low with an arm lock putter. However, cross handed arm lock putting is the least popular method, and you may need to add even more weight to the putter head if you go down this road. It makes the putting stroke feel ultra-secure, but a bit top-heavy. We would only recommend this method for people who have been putting cross handed for years.
How do you choose the right length Arm Lock Putter?
Bettinardi recommends that you start with a 40″ Arm Lock Putter, but ultimately it is the combination of your height and the length of your forearms that will govern the ideal length for your body. For a quick rule of thumb, use the following guideline:
- 5’0″ to 5’6″ – 38″ Arm Lock Putter
- 5’7″ to 6’0″ – 40″ Arm Lock Putter
- 6’1″ to 6’8″ – 42″ Arm Lock Putter
Most manufacturers offer Arm Lock Putters in 40″ and 42″ sizes. If you’re less than 6 foot, go for the 40″ version. If you’re 6 foot or taller, choose the 42″ version. If you’re shorter than 5 foot 7 you will need to look at either the Ping Piper Arm Lock Putter or the SIK range of Arm Lock Putters, because these are the only options that go under 40″ in size.
The last comment on sizing is that you don’t have to overthink it. 40″ should be fine for most male players, but if you’re super tall, the 42″ will probably be better.
What is the recommended loft for an Arm Lock Putter?
The recommended loft for Arm Lock Putters is between 6 – 8 degrees, with 7 degrees being the default loft in most cases.
Arm Lock putters have significantly more loft than traditional putters (which range from 3 – 5 degrees of loft), because the forward press position reduces the effective loft. In other words, the forward press delofts the putter, so more loft is needed to launch the ball off the face efficiently.
Why Are Tour Players Moving to Armlock Putters?
Let’s be honest. There aren’t that many tour players using Armlock putters. The players who choose this route tend to have some mental putting scars that are very difficult to erase. Armlock putting is a viable cure for tour players and amateurs that have a case of the yips, regardless of the severity.
Who Uses Arm-Lock Putters?
The following PGA Tour Players currently use an armlock putter.
- Matt Kucher
- Webb Simpson
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Keegan Bradley
- Ryan Fox
- Phil Mickelson
- Will Zalatoris
- Ted Potter Jr
- Thongchai Jaidee
Then it is also worth noting that Xander Schauffele and Bubba Watson have both experimented with the arm lock method, only return to a standard length putter, permanently. This suggests that this technique doesn’t necessarily work for all players.
What is the recommended lie angle for an Arm Lock Putter?
The default lie angle is 72 degrees in most cases. However, Ping has an option with a 70 degree lie angle, and SIK’s range of Armlock putters start range 75-80 degrees.
Can you anchor your putter to your arm?
In a word, YES. Golf Rule 14-1b states that it is permissible for the putter grip to rest against the forearm, which is the foundation of the arm lock method.
It is not permissible to create an anchor point against your belly, your chest or your chin. While the broomstick putter and the belly putter were traditionally considered ‘anchored putters’, you can actually still use them, provided you don’t anchor a long putter against your stomach or your chest. This explains why Adam Scott and Bernard Langer are still allowed to use a broomstick putter.
Also, while players like Rory Mcilroy and Billy Horschel have suggested that arm lock putters should be illegal, that is simply an opinion that these players share. According to the rules of golf, arm lock putters are perfectly legal, and the rules on this particular matter are unlikely to change any time soon.
So should you make the Switch?
There are numerous benefits to Arm Lock putting, and it is within the rules of golf to use one. If you’re still not sure if you should make the switch, there is one question that can make it pretty clear.
Are you comfortable over 3 foot putts?
If the answer to that question is ‘no’, Arm Lock putting might just be the best thing that will ever happen to your golf game. There are no guarantees of course, but from our perspective, it’s definitely worth a shot. You could start sinking more putts and having more fun on the golf course.