The Golf Grip: Fact and Fiction

the golf gripThe golf grip is one of the most important fundamentals of the golf swing and often the most difficult to teach and to learn. The reason for this is that everyone’s hands are unique. Length of fingers, width of fingers, width of palms all make for many different combinations of possible “proper” grips.

When learning the golf grip it is important to remember that the grip must be functional. Simply gripping the club according to basic generic principles like “more in the fingers than in the palm” or “in the fingers of the right hand” are destined to fail. The way a golfer grips the club must correspond to the way that the player swings the club, as the grip ultimately serves to square the club face and to add power. Some people use the hands more and others less in an effort to square the club and to give power. The way you grip the club influences what you can do.

Top Myths about the Grip

1)  Grip the club “in the fingers” of the left hand

It is very often said to grip it in the fingers of the left hand for better hinging. I have seen this cause many issues, especially for those people with big hands. Gripping in the fingers very often leads to excess “cupping” in the left wrist during the swing and often forces the hands too low at address and encourages the player to bend too much at the waist. It also makes the golf grip “weaker” because the hand can no longer use the functionality of the opposable thumb.

Read below to see some of the common myths and some facts about the golf grip.  Look at the pictures to see the whole story.

golf grip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2)  More knuckles showing equals stronger golf grip

Seeing more knuckles of the left hand does not always make the golf grip “stronger.” I often see students with the hand turned in so much (showing 3 or 4 knuckles) that the club shifts entirely to the palm. As a result, the grip is so “weak” that it slips at impact virtually every time. Just remember, more knuckles does not always equal “strong” in the golf grip.

proper grip

3)  Interlocking grip is the best for smaller hands

This is perhaps one of the more perplexing myths for me. Most people that try the interlocking grip find it most comfortable when the fingers interlock all the way to the base of the fingers. When someone has small hands, interlocking the fingers makes them open the palms to the sky so as to get the fingers locked in tightly. This results in a very poor, perhaps the worst, golf grip.  I see this often with junior golfers.

junior golf grip

Overlooked Facts About the Golf Grip

1)  The position of the arms influences the golf grip

The thing that I look at first when I see a bad golf grip is the position of the arms. I even like to tell students that you are not supposed to grip the club “with the arms.” By this I mean that if you take away the tension in the arms, the hands will more easily find a good grip. The most common mistake is to have the arms too straight. Some people have the arms so straight (especially the left arm) that they are hyper-extended and “bend the other way.” With arms in such a position, it will be virtually impossible to take a proper grip.

2)  Shaft lean and lie angle influence the golf grip

Because the correctness of a grip is determined by a position that enables proper hinging of the wrists all the while maintaining squareness of the clubface, the position of the club at the ground has a tremendous influence on the grip. A club that is pushed too far forward (toward the target) is going to create strong grip and a club that is leaning behind the ball will tend to create a weak grip. A club shaft that is too tall at address will have the person grip too much in the palms of the hands. The clubshaft too low will have someone take it too much in the fingers.  Learning how to properly position the club at the ball is imperative to gripping the club properly!

3) The design of the club can influence the golf grip (off-set clubs for example)

Because the club position at address is so important, the design of the club head has an influence on the golf grip. I am thinking mostly of the off-set models. Having the hands placed in front of the clubface with off-set clubs often makes it difficult for players to reconcile a slightly strong grip with a square clubface. I see this most often with higher lofted off-set drivers and some models of very off-set irons. I find few people who are able to have a proper grip with these styles of club. If you are using such clubs to help you correct ball flight problems, I suggest trying a more traditional, “blade-looking” club and working on your grip and swing in order to correct ball flight.