Get A Grip
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.
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.
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A couple of winters ago I was going over Five Lessons. While I do have a ten finger grip, studying Hogan's insight gave me the impetus to "weaken" my grip - something Faldo also promotes. In this case (righty) rotating my left hand counterclockwise, and loosening my pointer and thumb considerably (#4 above). It felt pretty awkward at first, but i soon realized the increased fluidity, the de-emphasis of the right hand, and the fact that I could no longer roll the right hand over causing the occasional duck hook. Now I no longer appear to be swinging an ax or sledge hammer, but I'll get over that.
Tim Horan says:
Fundamental Logic... if your hands and as a consequence wrists are not set on the club correctly how in hell do you suppose you are going to take the club away on plane or return it to the ball square? If your hands are too strong (right hander)rotated too much to clockwise you cannot keep the clubhead outside the line and will always take it inside way too early drawing the ball at best hooking at worst and shanking a fair amount of the time.
Tim Horan says:
Too far the other way and it is impossible to hinge the wrists and will end up locking out either wild fade or pulled straight left.
It seems that most recreational golfers cannot be bothered with static positions such as grip and setup. They are too busy trying to control the moving parts of the swing. I am constantly taken aback at the descriptions I hear, of the various things people are trying to accomplish during their downswings. This IMO is why most golfers will continue sucking until the end of time.
I used the 10 finger grip until I bought 5 Lessons in 2007. I then switched to the grip that Ben Hogan said to use. I sliced and faded every shot for about 2 years and then it straightened out. Recently I developed a major hook with driver, 3w, and the occasional 5w, with a nice draw with the irons or an occasional pull with the irons. In May, I have worked feverishly to fix it and found it was not so much how I held the club, it was how I held the club. Let me explain: Before May when this hook epidemic developed, I began my pre-shot routine by setting up the grip before my stance. I had the ball at the bottom of the swing arc but the shots coming off were inconsistent. Now I set my line, then my stance, and then grab the club, and eliminated the waggle because that didn't help me, get my breathing right, slow take away, and fire through the ball. Distance and accuracy has increased, but now I need to re-learn how far I can each club because contact is way better now.
Never could make Vardon or interlock work. I use a "nine finger" grip. I'll explain. The Vardon grip causes me to feel too much pressure in my right hand (RH swing), specifically my pinky. I broke a bone in my hand years ago and now my pinky has a slight inward curl toward my palm and under my ring finger. This makes the interlock hurt my pinky after a few swings. So I use a ten finger grip but allow my pinky to naturally curl under my ring finger such that the ring finger is not on the club. Hence a nine finger grip.
The most important part of the grip is not the grip, but what it functionally allows. I may have a baseball grip actually - my left thumb actually wraps around the club. But then again I have broken my left wrist, my right hand - now more curved, and a number of fingers. That part has never been a problem, perhaps some kind of advantage - as with the plate in my left elbow which doesn't allow that arm to straighten. Had a chance to chat with a guy at the range last night, he'd gotten consistently worse since high school, and was trying to prep for a tournament, though he had no confidence, and no ability to hit the driver (1 out of 10 were quite good, the rest were duck hooks, misses, and severe slices). I said "this game is not for the faint of heart." and we chatted. I asked if he knew what his set up was. He didn't. He was thinking about swing plane exclusively; not about ball position or anything else - like legitimate beef said.
Just let the BIG DOG EAT! Right? hehehe
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