Basics of the Grip: Your only link to the club

The late great instructor Harvey Penick said it perfectly, “ If you have a bad grip, you don’t want a good swing.”

A fundamentally sound grip and setup is essential in your pursuit of straight and solid golf shots. Many times golfers get hung up on trying to achieve specific positions  in their golf swing and they forget the importance of getting into a proper address position and having a sound grip.

A proper grip is what allows the club to move and respond in the proper way as you turn your body and swing your arms back and through.   Mistakes in the grip are the cause of many compensatory positions and movements that golfers work so hard to get rid of.   So if you are struggling with your golf swing or a beginner to the game, I encourage you to closely examine your grip.

First of all, I like to see my students with a neutral grip.  It allows the club to square naturally and gives you the best chance to make a proper arm swing and wrist hinge.  It’s ideal because it requires no manipulations in the hands or path to hit straight shots.  Although this is the “ideal” grip, remeber,  the correct grip for you is the one that allows you to consistently square the clubface at impact.

You can spot a neutral grip by looking at the ‘V’s formed by the thumb and forefinger. They will both be pointed somewhere between the right ear and right shoulder.

neutral grip 200x300 Basics of the Grip: Your only link to the club

A strong grip occurs when the right hand is positioned far under the shaft and the left hand is on top (for right handers), revealing 3 or more knuckles. A strong grip will cause the clubface to shut at impact. Let your ballflight determine if your grip is too strong. If the ball is curving too much to the left, weaken the grip. Conversely, if it’s a slice that you are fighting, a stronger grip will make it easier to return to impact with a square clubface.

strong grip 200x300 Basics of the Grip: Your only link to the club

A weak grip occurs when the left hand is far underneath the shaft and the right hand is on top. The ‘V’ created by your right thumb and right forefinger point to the left of your right ear. The weak grip will tend to leave the clubface too open at impact. The open clubface imparts the left to right spin on the ball that causes fades and slices. So again, let your ballflight help you determine if you need to make a change. If the ball is turning too far left, try weakening the grip. If the ball slices, strengthening your grip a touch will help you square the clubface at impact.

weak grip1 200x300 Basics of the Grip: Your only link to the club

There are few changes in golf more difficult than a grip change. Your only connection to the club is through your hands, when you change their orientation it rarely feels ‘right’ or comfortable. If you have determined a grip change is necessary, commit to it 100%. The first few swings and even the first few practice sessions will feel awkward.  It takes many, many repetitions before it will become a habit and start to pay off in higher quality shots.

Persevere; a sound grip that allows you to return the clubface squarely at impact is ESSENTIAL to playing good golf.

Hit ’em straight,


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