Your Grip is the Most Important Component of Your Golf Game

The most important component of a solid golf game is the only connection you have with the golf club, your grip. There are no two grips that are alike, because are hands are all made slightly different. However, there are certain characteristics of a good golf grip that every golfer should aspire to obtain.

The grip should be as neutral as possible. This means you place your hands upon the club in a manner that allows for a biomechanical neutral position.

Playing golf. Club and ball on tee

As you hold your hands at your side when standing tall, you will notice that your hands hang at an angle in relation to your body. Normally, the hands are not perpendicular or parallel with your body but are at a slight angle placing the thumbs closer to the body than your pinky fingers. Called a “neutral hand position,” this angle is important when you grip the golf club; it offers maximum potential to return the clubhead to square at impact with the ball. As you bend forward from the hips to take your golf posture, your hands do retain this angle. If you can duplicate this angle when you place your hands on the club, you have a greater chance to be a substantially more consistent golfer.

To help place your hands in a neutral position on the club, you should place emphasis on the placement of the club in your fingers, not your palm. The true strength of your hand is in the fingers and thumb. The palm draws its strength from the wrist and forearm, which do not have the dexterity to hold things in place; rather, they push things out of place. A great example of this is if you hold a pencil with your fingers, it stays in place. Where as holding a pencil in your palm, the pencil has the ability to move within the hand because it is not securely fixed.

Typically, the top hand (left hand for the right-hander, right hand for the left-hander) is the first hand to grip the club. To insure it is in a neutral position, you should look for key visual clues that are easy to see. The first clue is your ability to see the first knuckle of the index finger and partially seeing the first knuckle of the middle finger when you grip the club. This will help you see if you have over rotated your hand on the club to the strong side (rotated away from your target) or to the weak side (rotated toward the target).. Another clue is the angular “V” that is formed by your thumb and forefinger. The point of this angle should be pointing to the rear shoulder area, not your chin or front shoulder. Once on the club the last clue is the top thumb fitting comfortably in the lifeline crease of your bottom hand.

Your bottom hand also holds the club in the fingers. The “V” formed by the thumb and forefinger should point directly to the back shoulder. Most amateur golfers over rotate this angle to the rear of their stance, pointing the angle away from their target and their body. The thumb rests on the club comfortably, not pressing down on the club.

As for the three main varieties of grips, the ten-finger, interlock, or overlap (Vardon) grip, you will probably be best served by using the one offering the most comfort and control of the club, without holding the club too tightly. Golfers who lack the finger strength to hold the club securely will probably find the ten-finger grip more advantageous. Golfers with long, slender fingers typically find the overlap grip most comfortable. Golfers with short stubby fingers find the interlock grip the choice for their hands.

With each variety option, you should use the toothpaste test determine if you are holding the club too tight or too loose. Imagine yourself holding a tube of toothpaste with both hands. The tube has lost its cap. Someone tells you that it is your challenge to hold the tube securely for an undetermined length of time, without squeezing any of the paste out of the tube. Using this metaphor will help you find the right pressure for your grip.

The grip is the one fundamental of your golf swing that is arguably the quintessential set-up position to insure a sound swing. There are teaching professionals who have made a great living instructing their students on this one concept alone. Without a good grip that repeats with each swing, your club is not a club; you actually use a weapon against yourself.

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