I am spending more and more time doing demo days and events as this company develops, so I’m getting many more opportunities to observe golfers at all stages of development of their games. One of the things that I’ve always been drawn to is the vast variety of ways that golfers hold on to the club, and that always troubles me. I’m one of those firm believers that all golf shots hinge on the connection you have with the golf club, and if that hold is not functionally correct, you have no chance of making a consistent, powerful and fundamentally sound golf swing.
The funny thing to me is that the grip is the easiest fundamental of the golf swing to learn. It has no moving parts, and it doesn’t take a driving range or bag of practice balls. You can keep a golf club next to your chair in the living room or office and practice your grip almost endlessly until it becomes dead-on correct and second nature to you.
So, the puzzling thing is . . . why do most recreational golfers have a flawed hold on the club? Is it because they don’t know differently? Or don’t care? Or were they misguided by someone who didn’t believe the grip was all that important?
Whatever it is, and no matter how long you’ve been playing this game, it’s never too late to learn how to hold the club properly so that a good swing can result. And when you make the commitment to learn a fundamentally sound grip, your swing will begin to change for the better as a result. Period. End of story.
There are, to be sure, idiosyncracies with the golf grip. Some golfers choose the Vardon or overlap grip, long the favorite by far. I see more and more golfers adopting the interlock grip than ever before, maybe because that appears to be the preference of Tiger. And there is a sound and solid argument that the ten finger grip (not baseball!) should be the choice of juniors, ladies and others with less hand power. But once that little “personality” of your grip is chosen, the rest of the fundamentals are pretty much set in stone, to my mind.
- The upper part of the grip must be under the heel pad of the left hand (for RH players) to set the angle of the club and forearm, and to allow proper rotational release of the club through impact.
- The last three fingers of the upper hand curl around the grip to securely hold it throughout the swing.
- The lower hand hold is totally in the fingers, with the grip positioned below the pads at the base of the fingers.
- And the pincher fingers and thumb are practically dis-engaged, resting only lightly on the club, with the control pressure felt in the last three fingers of the upper hand and the two middle fingers of the lower hand.
Ben Hogan thought the grip was so important, he dedicated an entire chapter of “Five Lessons” to the subject. It’s the most complete treatise on how to hold a golf club ever published, and worth not just reading, but studying, if you haven’t.
Here’s the simple truth, readers. Only if you hold the club in a proper manner can you begin to achieve ball striking optimization and efficiency. To struggle with this game and ignore this most basic of fundamentals is just downright crazy.
That’s my $0.02 anyway.