There's No Substitute For A Good Grip
One of the things I notice most quickly in other golfers is their grip. And I’d say over 90% of golfers over a 5-7 handicap have a grip that will completely prevent them from getting any better !

To me it is unconscionable to stubbornly stick to holding the club in a way that will surely prevent you from ever having a better swing, hitting better shots and getting lower scores.

Learning and ingraining a sound, fundamental and functional grip is something EVERY golfer can accomplish - it has no limitations caused by strength, flexibility or other skill.  It’s a totally learned thing that applies equally – no good golfers have bad grips, and few bad golfers have good ones !

A proper grip on the golf club greatly reduces the tendency to make a bad golf swing, but an incorrect grip will completely prevent you from ever making a good one. The light at the end of the tunnel is that if you change your grip now, you will be well on your way to a better swing immediately.

2008 could be your best year of golf ever, just by working on your grip in the off season.

And of all things, don’t hold to some belief that your grip is a personal thing – it’s not.  While teachers and accomplished golfers may disagree on the merits of the interlock versus the overlap or Vardon, or even the full-finger (not “baseball”) grip, the basic fundamentals apply to every one of them, and here they are:

1) The left hand (for right hand players) is the controlling hand – you should firmly (but not tightly) hold the club in the last three fingers, with the forefinger and thumb more lightly on the grip (particularly the thumb). The grip is under the pad at the heel of your hand and if it’s not, you can’t control the club with your fingers.

2) Your left hand should be placed so that the butt of the grip sticks out at least ½” – this allows the club to release properly and naturally through impact.

3) A “neutral” left hand is where you can see 3 knuckles when you look down at the back of your hand at address. You can rotate your left hand hold to the right (weaker) or left (stronger) to promote or reduce a draw or fade.

4) The right hand is placed so that the grip is totally in the fingers – the grip should be under the pads at the base of the fingers. Do not let the grip migrate up into the palm.  Your right palm should always face your left palm if you open both hands, regardless of whether your grip is neutral, weak or strong. It will rotate right or left with the left hand if you are trying to promote a draw or fade.

5) The right thumb should be resting lightly on the grip. We use our “pinchers” (thumb and first two fingers) for nearly everything, but that's not the way to hold a golf club. If you engage your pincher fingers, your forearms will tighten. Conversely, if your thumbs are resting lightly on the grip, it is very easy to maintain relaxed forearms so that the swing can work properly.

A fundamentally sound grip will allow you to “swing” the club properly, but it will not encourage you to “hit at the ball”, which most of us do. I can guarantee you that if you work on learning and grooving a sound grip on the golf club, your swing will improve as a result. And that is something you can do while you are sitting in your office on the phone, watching TV in the evenings . . . just about anywhere. With just a little focused practice, your new fundamentally sound grip will become ingrained.

If you have a couple of old clubs that you don’t use, cut them off just below the grip, and keep one handy wherever you find you have a little time. Practice gripping and re-gripping until holding the club properly becomes comfortable and second-nature.

For more on this technique, complete with photos, subscribe to “The SCoR Zone” newsletter from EIDOLON, as this is the December subject. The signup is available in the right-hand sidebar by clicking the Join Newsletter button.

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Thanks again for letting me help you improve your game.
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[ comments ]
Steve Wozeniak PGA says:
Hi Terry, looks like you have some great wedges keep up the good work!!!

I will tell you one thing a great many players I see with a bad grip have it because of there set up. I get them set up like they had to curl some light weights and this gets there elbows pointing to the ground or hips as Hogan said. Then there in a position to grip it like a golfer!! Talk to you later Steve Wozeniak PGA Director of Instruction Bellevue/Lake Spanaway Golf Courses
wedgeguy says:

Thanks for chiming in on this. I just returned from giving a 3-day wedge fitting school for PCS and we talked about grip a lot. It's the first fundamental, in my opinion. Feel free to always offer your input on these topics.

wedgeguy says:
Hey guys, I wanted to share with you an experience I had this past trip regarding the importance of a good grip.

While in Florida, I met a golfer through my partner in EIDOLON. This guy, Jack, is a lifelong athlete, mostly baseball, but has been a golfer mired in the high 90s for life. I immediately realized that his grip would prevent him from ever hitting quality golf shots, and I watched him shoot a 58 or something on the front nine. As we started the back nine, I asked him if he would like some direction there. He eagerly said "Yes", so I showed him how to hold the club properly so that it could release through impact. My observation is that changing a disfunctional grip to a good one then allows the swing motion to improve as well. But I also am leary of suggesting changes be made on the course. Jack, however, was eager and willing, so we did it.

Well, Jack hit the first shot with his new grip about 40 yard further than he had ever hit a ball in his life, by his estimate. He was ecstatic to the point of whooping and hollering his way around the back nine as hit more and more of these outstanding shots. And he scored 47, followed by a 45 on the third nine (which we had to play!), giving him a 92, one of his best three rounds ever he said.

The next day, he shoots 88, his first time to ever break 90, though he still struggled with his short game. He's now committed to keeping a club in his office to practice and has "warned" me that I better watch out the next time we get together.

Now, here's the best part of this. During our first round, Jack -- who is a very active PR professional -- was on his cell phone constantly. I told him that was not in his golf's best interest, but he said that business was too important to leave behind on the golf course. I came to realize that was because golf was not that enjoyable for Jack becauseof his lack of progress. By the second round together the phone was being ignored, and he proudly told me that his third round in Florida (which I did not play), he left the phone in the car.

Guys and gals, this is proof that the grip is the very first fundamental. Work on yours and you will change your golf forever . . . for the better of course.

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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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