Grip Pressure - Part 2
We're seeing good feedback on this topic (PART 1 HERE) and some of it was pretty darn funny. Thanks for keeping it light guy (oops, there’s that pun again.) Expanding on this week's post, managing grip pressure is one of the hidden keys to better golf. It begins with your "standard" grip pressure, which I addressed in the earlier column. Getting that right is kind of like practicing any other basic fundamental – posture, set-up, ball position, swing mechanics, etc.

But we all know the hardest part of this game is getting it from the range to the course, right? And that applies to the tour professionals as well as the average amateur. Think Tiger hits any of those “uglies” on the range? Or does anyone else? And how much easier are those 3 footers on the practice green than out there when it counts? That’s all about playing “pressure”. Whether you are playing for lots of money on the PGA Tour, gambling heavy at your regular course, or just having fun on an afternoon nine holes, you exert internal pressure on yourself to perform to your best capability, right? And pressure causes the entire body to tense up.

In golf, that typically manifest first in the squeeze you put on the golf club. And that squeeze pretty much insures a bad shot, most of the time.

The good thing is that you can practice grip pressure just like you do the other fundamentals, but anywhere you can keep a golf club handy – beside the sofa or your favorite chair, next to your desk, etc. When you are watching TV or on a phone call at work, pick up that club and practice gripping and re-gripping, focusing on both the position of your hands and your grip pressure. For most amateur players, time spent on this simple fundamental will pay bigger dividends than anything else you can do.

But how do you manage grip pressure when you are out on the course? That’s the key to consistent shotmaking and scoring. And it’s tough, but a few simple techniques can help you beat the tendency to allow your grip pressure to get too tight, especially after a bad shot or two. It’s easy to build into your pre-shot routine a determined mental focus on your grip pressure during your practice swings. Make sure that is right while you are rehearsing the shot.

Another technique that works well is to hover your club behind the ball before your takeaway, rather than rest it on the ground. Even with your putting, hovering the club will reveal your grip pressure. Hold it too tightly and the club will tend to move around more, as a conduit for the tension in your forearms. The only way to hover it really steady is to have a light hold on the club.

So, I’ll leave you with these thoughts as we head into winter, and you are looking for ways to improve your game without being able to go to the course as often, or at all. Keep a club handy; practice your grip form and pressure all the time. It will pay big dividends, more quickly than you might imagine.
Thanks guys. See you Tuesday. Send me some topics to address, OK?

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[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
Terry, I read an article in this month's Golf Magazine (thanks WAHC) on grips as well and they mention grip SIZE as a determining factor as well. Exactly how important is the right grip size. I've been working with my swing coach and she has built a new hand position in my grip. yes it feels uncomfortable but gripping the club properly makes the grips feel like they're entirely too skinny in my hands. i was compensating for this with my other grip and it has become apparent that i have to squeeze a little with the new grip. I'm average size with a wrist-to-middlefinger tip of nearly 8", so do you think i would benefit from a +1 wrap or maybe even a midsize grip?
Michael Colucci says:
Nice writeup(s) on a small but significant part of the golf swing. But I gotta tell you, take a look at the banner ad on the right side of your blog. Nice picture of the Eidolon wedges, but the guy's grip is horrendous. His right hand is wrapped way under the club and it looks like the club is stuck in his palm and not the fingers...
Tee it High. says:
birdie - I think grip size is very important. I have hands a little bigger then yours (8.5")and was fitted for an oversize grip. According to the clubfitter I work with a grip thats too small can lead to hooking the ball and your fingers should just gently touch your palm when wrapped around the club. I will say that for me there was a noticable difference in comfort and play when I got the correct size grip.
birdieXris says:
@ Tee- yea i've been playing with standard grips forever and it's gotten me to where i am now, but some days i feel like i'm swinging a toothpick and know that if i just had a little more control i could really get my scores down. I'm glad someone else found the same issue.
hp says:
I can't stress enough how a light grip pressure on my chips and putts have improved my short game tremendously, chipping especially. I used to have a medium firm grip on my chips (maybe a 6 on a scale of 1-10), but it led to distance control problems. Since the epiphany (now a 3 on a scale of 1-10), my chipping has improved 100%. Such a simple fix on a part of the game everyone needs help on. Go on, try it now...on the carpet if you have to.
Dazinkster says:
@birdiexris, I got fitted recently, my wrist to finger is 8in but apparantly I have long fingers. He tried me out with 3 wraps under the grip and it immediately felt more comfortable. In that I was able to place the club in my hands rather than really grip it in. I'm not too sure if this changed my game/swing too much but it definitely feels nicer.
birdieXris says:
@Dazinkster - i'm going to head out to the shop today and try out a few different grips. Golfpride's website actually had me at a midsize grip according to my "measurements" so i think it's probably a good idea that i go out and try a few to see what feels better.
birdieXris says:
For real - shop around. Local golf shop has the grips i want for 12.30 each!!! then has the juevos to charge $4 each for installation. 3 blocks away another shop has the grips for 8.20 each and charges $2 each to put them on or $10 for the whole set. HMMMMM... something's fishy in golf product land.
legitimatebeef says:
I've been learning over the past season or two that it doesn't really matter how I place my hands on the grip, if the clubface is improperly aligned. :o
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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