The grip is the most basic foundation in the sport of golf. It is the way, as golfers, that we place our hands on the handle and in turn, it’s the only point of contact with the golf club.
There are many different ways of holding a golf club, and your golf grip depends on what feels most comfortable for you.
You can have an interlaced grip (with the little fingers and index fingers interlaced), overlapping (little finger on the index) and baseball (with the ten fingers on the handle). It will depend on how you are taught and what your natural grip preference is.
The interlacing way of a holding the golf club is recommended for small fingers, overlapping is said to be better for large hands and baseball for children or people with limited swing strength.
An interesting part of how we hold a gold club comes from the orientation of the hands on the handle of the club itself. With the wrists more turned towards the target the grip will be weaker and with the wrists turned away from the target it will be a stronger grip.
A weaker grip will have the face of the club more open, and a stronger grip will be more closed. This can usually be easiest to see when at the top of the swing climb.
For most golfers, when you learned your grip, you were taught to hold it interlaced, overlapping or with ten fingers and put your hands oriented neutrally with your thumbs on the top of the rod. Since the strong grip is thought to be bad because it can lead to hooks or closing the ball and the weak grip tends to slice the ball or open it. If most golfers want to hit the ball straight, the neutral grip is the option that is more natural and reliable and is what most golf teachers tend to start with.
Why A Golf Grip Is Important
Swing, club or hole are terms of golf known to the vast majority of the population and, above all, to those interested in learning to play. However, and although it is part of the basic vocabulary of this sport, the grip does not usually enjoy the popularity of the three words mentioned above. This is paradoxical because to achieve a perfect swing, it is essential to master the golf grip. Once you master the grip you have the perfect foundation to improve your overall game.
What is the grip?
As you could see, when we show you the most common terms in golf, the grip is the grip of the club. What we don’t tell you is that this word is polysemic (it has more than one meaning), so, when it is used, it can also refer to the way of holding the golf club.
Depending on the way the fingers are placed, there are three types of golf grip:
- The left and right hand are joined by the pinkies, which are intertwined. It is ideal for people with small fingers.
- The little finger of one hand is placed on the index of the other. This form of restraint is recommended for golfers with large hands.
- Baseball is also known as the ten-finger grip. All fingers of both hands touch the handle. This way of grasping the handle is especially suitable for children.
In addition, depending on how the wrists are placed, the golf grip can be strong or weak. The first is achieved when the wrists are turned away from the target. Instead, the second one is the one you will have if you turn your wrists towards the targets.
Although most of the elite and successful golfers make use of the strong grip, in the golf schools, the one taught is the weak one because it is considered the easiest to get the ball when struck to go in a straight line avoiding hooks and slices.
3 ways to improve your golf grip
Since the hands are the only part of the body that comes into contact with the club, most beginners have serious problems getting a good golf grip. That is why we recommend that you put into practice the following tips:
- Prevents the palm of the hand from rubbing the handle. The “force” must be placed on the fingers because if you concentrate it on the palm, your wrists will suffer and your grip will be a disaster.
- Focus on the angles that form the back of your wrists, make sure they are symmetrical.
- The pressure you exert on the grip should be midway between the unadvisable “too loose” and “tight.” Yes, easier said than done.
Finally, we leave you with a phrase: “a good golf grip does not guarantee a good swing, but a bad grip does cause a bad wing.” So you know, master your golf grip and you will be on your way to becoming a better golfer.
Improving and developing your golf grip
So that’s how us mere mortals start but as you become more familiar with the game, watching pro golfers on the tours becomes more fascinating as we start to look at the intricate details of their game.
So, how do the professionals hold their gold clubs, what golf grips do the favor? There was a study done by a pro-Hawaiian instructor and he studied 200 gold pro’s to gather data for which grip was most used by the pro’s and why.
The most commonly used grip by the pros is the strong grip. At least 60% of tour professionals use what we call a normal strong grip, by far the most popular. Next, we find the extreme strong grip used by the next 20% of pros in the study. So that is a HUGE 80% using strong or extremely strong grips.
Breaking things down further
10% of the players used a consistent grip on both hands in a weak or neutral position. The remaining group that adds up to 10% uses a mixed combination of strong left – weak right or weak left – strong right.
So, if most professionals use a strong grip, why do most amateur golfers use a weak grip?
A golfer who went on to become a successful author you may know called Ben Hogan made the weak grip popular simply because, for him, it worked like magic. He had immense power but was fighting a truly ugly hook and he could not win tournaments because of this. With some modification and a change to his grip (the left hand in a weak position with your left thumb straight on the rod. His right hand was also in a weak position with the Vs pointing at his chin) he cured his hook and started to find a more successful game.
Several books such as “The Five Lessons: The Modern Foundations of Golf” and ” The A Swing ” helped Ben Hogan and David Leadbetter manage to influence millions of golfers to place their hands in a weak position.
So, while it’s easiest to use to hit straight and is the grip taught by most golf teachers, really only a very small percentage of professional players use it.
Differences between a strong grip and a weak-neutral grip.
We already said at the beginning of this article that a weak-neutral grip favors having an open face and a strong grip favors having the face of the stick closed. So far everything simple.
Not so fast. We have said that when we have a weak-neutral grip, the face will be open in the descent (pointing to the right in right-handed players). If we want to square the club’s face at the moment of impact we will have to use a hand turn and arm movement to close the face and arrive square at the moment of the blow.
That will result in left and right shots because due to our ability to coordinate our arms and turn hands there will be times when we arrive with a square face, open to the right or closed to the left at the moment of hitting the ball. That’s a formula for inconsistency.
However, with a strong grip, we know that the club’s face will be a little closed, which will result in having a square face before the moment of the blow. At that time there is no need to make any turn of hands or arms, since the rotation of our body will be responsible for moving the stick with the face of the stick aiming at our goal before, during and after hitting the ball.
We will have more powerful shots thanks to the rotation of the body and more consistent power due to not turning the face of the stick through the impact.
Strong argument for a strong grip
It is true that a player like Ben Hogan could win important tournaments and become a legend with a weak grip. But the players with the most victories in majors and in American circuit tournaments used a stronger grip than the grip considered “ideal.”
Legends like Jack Nicklaus with 18 victories in big tournaments, who also played a strong open punch, placed his left hand in a neutral position and his right hand in a strong position.
Sam Snead with 82 PGA Tour tournaments had a very strong grip with the clubface closed at the top of the climb and still hit very straight punches.
You have already seen that the majority of great players use a strong grip and square the club’s face before impact to hit stably. They use the turn of their body to have a more powerful swing and to hit 300-yard drives.
Weak neutral grip for short and inaccurate shots. Strong grip for more powerful and straight shots. But try it and see for yourself, it’s your golf game.
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