Hints and tips - THE GRIP
If you look at the best players in the world, it is obvious that they do not all grip the club in exactly the same way. Their different styles of swing and physical set up are best suited with the grip that they use.
I personally have a strong left hand grip and I have had this since being a junior golfer therefore my swing has developed over the years based around my grip. (I will touch on Strong & Weak grips later on and discuss players who have succeeded over the years with them)
Often when people start to play golf, they grip the club in a manner that feels confortable, but which, in most cases will not produce powerful / accurate shots. Sound foundations are necessary in order to achieve a reliable swing.
The GRIP is the only part of a players body that is in contact with the players club and is solely responsable for clubface alignment particulary at impact. IF THE CLUB IS NOT SQUARE AT IMPACT the ball is going to curve.
In this first Part I will explain a Neutral method and a grip that would be suitable for a golfer who is just beginning (or if a P.G.A Professional recommends this change).
Be mindful that changing the grip can be the most uncomfortable experience but as I say if starting out or advised to change it is worth the patience.
NB: The Instruction Below is written based on a Right Handed Golfer.
THE LEFT HAND
The club sits very much in the palm and the fingers of the left hand. This in turn assists with a more solid grip for it’s guiding role during the swing.
The club rests across the index finder and under the fleshy pad at the heel of your hand. (see diagram below) You can actually balance the club in the air without using the last three fingers of the hand.
This moves me nicely on to the last 3 fingers of the left hand in that these provide the main and important pressure during the swing.
On looking down at your grip you should see at least two and a half knuckles of the hand and the ‘V’ formed by the thumb and forefinger should point towards your right shoulder / ear, with the thumb sitting to the right of centre on top of the grip. It is important not to let a large gap appear between the thumb and forefinger as they are required to provide a soild support at the top of the backswing. I always think of creating a short thumb, by pulling my thumb back towards me on the grip (Short Thumb)
THE RIGHT HAND
The club is gripped a lot more in the fingers with the right hand to encourage a active action through impact. The hollow of the palm should fit over the left thumb (See diagram below). Ideally looking down you should see very little of your left thumb.
The ‘V’ formed by the right thumb and forefinger (again having very little gap between them) should point in the same direction as the left thumb and forefinger (Towards the right shoulder / ear). The thumb will sit to the left centre of the grip.
The middle two fingers of the right hand are the main suppliers of pressure during the grip. this should be firm but not too tight to restrict movement and relaease.
The Great Sam Snead said in regards to grip pressure – You should hold the club like you are holding a live bird (Not to light so that it can fly away, but not too tight that it dies.
A Golf grip that is too tight will result in loss of power and also will cause many shots to be thin. (Try gripping the club lightly with the club on the ground and then tightening your grip. You will see the the club comes off the ground, hence thin strikes during a shot)
WHAT TYPE OF GRIP TO GO FOR?
For the hands to work together as a whole unit, the right little finger is taken off the grip and either Overlapped the left forefinger or Interlocked with the left forefinger.
The Overlapping grip / Vardon Grip (b) has its benefits as generally for a right handed golfer this would be their stronger hand. Therefore by removing / overlapping the right little finger on the left hand, i beleive this counter balances the strength in both hands.
The overlapping grip has for many years been the choice of top – professionals. However many players have been using the interlocking grip (a) with amazing success, with the likes of the two greatest players / top two major winners in Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Also there is the Baseball style grip (c) which places all ten fingers on the grip. I would specifically use this grip with young juniors and golfers who do not have great hand strength. Although in 1989 Ronan Rafferty was European Order of Merit No.1 and he used this grip
Even more interestingly enough Jordan Speith uses a reverse overlapping grip whee his Left little finger (pinkie) is resting / sligthly interlocking his Right little finger. There is a good article written by GOLF DIGEST if you click oon the hyperlink.
In essence like everything in sport there are many ways of getting a result and I cannot re – iterate enough that if the clubhead is returning squarely to the ball at impact then I personally would NOT be looking at changing you grip.
As i said at the top of the Article, there are many great players with different styles of grips and I will Name a few: (Please click on names to see the pictures) or just put them in Google
Paul Azinger (Srong grip)
Rory Mcllroy (Strong left hand)
Fred Couples (Strong grip)
David Duval (Strong left hand)
Hope you enjoyed the Article! I will be producing a Short video showing the grip shortly so look out for that along with my next article on A – Alignment. This is something that should be checked regulary by all golfers NO matter what standard of golfer you are!