The brief period long-putters and belly-putters has ended with a ban on anchored putting that went in effect in 2016. Many pros had adopted this form of putting, where an abnormally long shaft was “anchored” to a part of the body, usually the chest, to make the putter essentially an extension of their arm. This led to increased accuracy, and many of the pros who adopted long-putters saw a dramatic fall in their putting stats following the ban. But from the rule change has come the increased use of the arm-lock style of putting, which was adopted by noted former long-putter and 6-time PGA Tour event winner Webb Simpson. Other adopters include Ryder Cup member Bryson DeChambeau and LPGA superstar Michelle Wie. However, the style first came to the mainstream golf world’s attention with Matt Kuchar, who has used the arm-lock style of putting since 2011.
What is Arm-Lock Putting?
The basics of the arm-lock style of putting have to do with both equipment and technique. To be able to putt this way, you need a medium length putter. These putters are shorter than the long putters used in the now-outlawed anchoring style of putting, but feature longer shafts and grips than traditional putters and have a slight loft to them. Examples of these putters are Matt Kuchar’s signature model by Bettinardi or the Odyssey Tank Cruiser V-Line Mid used by Webb Simpson.
The arm-lock technique involves placing the shaft of the putter against the forearm of the leading hand while maintaining an otherwise normal putting grip (though notably DeChambeau has been seen experimenting with different grips). The end of the putter should be about 2 inches below your elbow. Set your feet under your shoulders and then lean your putter against the forearm of your leading hand. Because the end of the putter shaft is not anchored into anything, the technique is completely legal.
Advantages of Arm-Lock Putting
The main advantage of arm-lock putting is that it helps to streamline the putting experience. By using your forearm as a guide, golfers no longer need to use their wrist while putting. Instead, easier to control muscles like the chest and back are used to create a smooth swing. This style of putting helps maintain an even swing plane that allows for a clean, repeatable impact. While it may take an adjustment period, the arm-lock method is a viable alternative to traditional putting.