During one of my first rounds of disc golf in 2002 I lined up for my first disc golf putt with my index finger on the rim of my Discraft Elite Z Putt’r. My mentor, Matt, immediately corrected me and sternly stated, “Never putt with your finger on the rim!”. Matt never provided a compelling reason against using my index finger to support the putter, he only warned me that that it can cause unbalanced putts and suggested that many people carry this habit over from throwing Ultimate discs or casual Frisbees.
So, is it okay to put with your index finger on the rim of your disc golf putter?
Advantages of Putting with Finger on Rim
The short answer is that putting with your finger on the rim is acceptable as long as you can remain consistent.
The advantages are few but quite significant. Primarily, the index finger extended on your putter’s rim adds support. The below diagram shows that without the index finger extended, my grip covers approximately 16% of the rim (60° of the rim), but when extended it’s about 23% (85° of the rim). That’s a lot of extra grip on the rim!
*The Berg is one of Chris’ favorite low-glide putters. You can pick up your own Berg at Infinite Discs!
Not only can you get extra grip but by extending your index finger on the disc’s rim you can put your entire hand in a better position to spread your other fingers under the putter for extra support.
Additionally, your index finger on the putter’s rim can provide extra control at the nose of the disc allowing for more precise nose angles and release orientation and trajectory. When putting, especially from far distances, that slight increase in precision control can be the difference between hitting chains and three putting.
Disadvantages of Putting with Finger on Rim
As alluded to above, the disadvantage of putting with your finger on the disc’s rim is decreased consistency. Think of it this way, you’re adding one more component to your putting form that you must remember. Compounding on this, your finger would then be one of the last parts of your body that the putter is in contact with before you release especially if you allow the putter to roll off your finger. In this case for RHBH throwers, if your finger is stiff and not flexed backward enough the putter may release left, and conversely if your finger flexes backward too far the putter may release to the right.
Also keep in mind that your fingers are likely to change more than other parts of your body. Fingers are small and they’ll tighten and loosen with the temperature change. You also use your hands for just about everything so if you’ve been doing any manual labor your fingers may be tired and swollen thus decreasing consistency.
Conclusion: Is It Alright To Putt with A Finger On Your Putter’s Rim?
Ultimately, if you can maintain consistency then putting with your index finger on the rim of your putter has significant advantages. It’s the consistency part that makes this a risky move. Many spin putters choose to extend the knuckle of their index finger to provide additional support under the putter’s rim but don’t actually put a finger outside the rim. There’s not a correct answer to this, it’s going to be a matter of personal preference, repetition, and careful consideration of the affects of your form adjustment.
If you’re in the process of testing new putters, visit Infinite Discs to see a great selection of putters and all of the flight ratings or check out our list of best disc golf putters!
Don’t forget to follow the DG Puttheads on socials so you never miss a post and for other great content!
We are affiliated with Infinitediscs.com but we will still provide our honest opinion and will never recommend an item unless we have tested it and believe in its quality. We also fully support Infinite Discs and the customer service that they provide and would do so even without any affiliation.
When push putting, the finger under the rim catches the edge of the disc as it leaves your hand, imparting some spin on the disc for added stability.
Thanks for adding that! I wrote the article specifically addressing spin putting and neglected the affects on push putting. I also rarely push putt so I’m not familiar with all the effects finger on or under the rim will have on push putting, I’ll start my research on that.
You are correct that the index finger can impart spin on the push putt. And that is the exact reason why I have moved my index finger to the rim during a push putt.
Per the Feldberg clinic linked in this article: https://dgputtheads.com/push-putting-technique, you’ll hear him mention how the index finger should be very loose and the back two fingers are imparting spin.
So I use a fan grip with my index finger on the rim to get it out of the way. My pinky and ring fingers have opposing pressure with my thumb and I imagine a motion like flicking water off my fingers.
Just as Chris describes in his article, the index finger can give you a better feeling of grip even while push putting. After your pinky and ring finger catch up in strength however, the advantage is improved consistency by moving the pointer to the rim and keeping it out of the way.
I’d be interested to know if you have issues with an occasional putt over turning, or almost grip-locking, as you rely on that index finger pressure to impart spin.
Sorry for using the comments section but I can’t find a “contact” section on the site. I represent authors Justin Menickelli and Ryan Pickens and their new book: The Definitive Guide to Disc Golf. The book pubs April 1st and I’m hoping you’ll consider it for review. Please be in touch if you’re interested and I’ll get you a complimentary copy.
No problem and we’d be happy to review! I’ll shoot you an email in a few minutes.