How To Hold a Golf Club

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How To Hold a Golf Club
How To Hold a Golf Club

How to hold a golf club correctly is one of the most fundamental requirements out of a golfer. It can be regarded as the foundation of a good swing. Be it a beginner, intermediate, or even a tour pro, the golf grip defines the kind of shot-making as well the quality of the shot.

While holding a golf club might seem the easiest thing to do as compared to some of the other complex requirements of the game, if ignored, it can be equally hazardous as a poor golf swing. A golf grip defines the stance and subsequently the swing of the golfer.

So now, since we’ve established the importance of a golf grip, let us dive into the actual method of holding the golf club correctly for you to hit those golf balls solidly consistently.

Step by step guide on how to hold a golf club

Note: the guide is written with the right-handed golfer in mind. For the left-hander, everything will be the same except that the hands will be interchanged.

  • Hold the golf club with your left hand ( non- dominant hand) and keep the shaft horizontal to the ground in front of you
  • Place the club on the ground at a 45-degree angle on the ground and make sure that the heel of the left palm is resting along the top edge of the shaft.
  • From the top, the first two knuckles of the left hand should be clearly visible. This will ensure that you have a neutral grip and will help you to square the clubface easily.
  • After this, bring in the right hand and place it below the left hand in such a way that its heel is resting above the thumb of the left hand.
  • The thumb and the forefinger should rest in such a way that a ‘V’ is formed between which the shaft of the club is running and this ‘V’ should be pointing to the middle of the sternum.

Types of golf grips

Once you’ve secured the shaft of the club in your hands, the next objective is to establish a connection between the dominant and the non-dominant hand. To achieve this, there are different types of grip options.

  • Overlapping/ Vardon grip
  • Interlocking grip
  • Baseball grip

Overlapping/Vardon grip

This is the most common technique of gripping the golf club.

This grip involves taking the pinky finger of your dominant hand and placing it between the index and the middle fingers of the non-dominant hand.

Advantages of the Overlapping Grip

  • Most suitable for players with larger hands
  • It minimizes the use of the wrist in the swing which helps with a better impact
  • It promotes a neutral clubface which makes it easier to square the clubface at the point of impact. This promotes a straighter ball flight.

Interlocking Grip

The difference between the overlapping grip and the interlocking grip is that in the latter, there is an interconnection between the pinky finger of the dominant hand and the index finger of the non-dominant hand.

Advantages of the Interlocking Grip

  • The interlock helps to improve the consistency of golf swing since it forces both hands to work together in unison.
  • It increases the strength and stability of the golf grip and swing.

Baseball or 10 finger grip

As the name suggests, a baseball grip involves holding the golf club as if holding a baseball bat.

It involves grabbing the shaft first with the dominant hand and placing the non-dominant hand above it without having any connection between the two.

This is the most common way a beginner holds a golf club.

Advantages of the Baseball Grip

  •  this grip helps improve the leverage due to the absence of interlocking
  • This enables the golfer to hit the ball further

The drawback of this grip that I’ve noticed is that it reduces the consistency and accuracy of the shot.

Importance of a proper golf grip

  • The most desired result which every golfer dreams of is to hit the ball straight consistently.
  • To achieve this, the clubface has to be completely square at the time of impact in the downswing.
  • Most of the errors in direction of the golf ball post-impact are caused by the non- square clubface at impact and almost always, you will notice the cause of this error is a faulty grip.

The aim is to have a neutral golf grip which makes it easier to square the clubface at impact. By holding a golf club with an excessively ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ grip can cause the clubface to stay open or close at impact which makes the ball move away from the target.

key point

  • A note is that golf grip is only way in which you can link your body to clubface angle. If you are struggling with your alignment or constantly hooking or fading a ball, then, by changing the way you hold a golf club is the first and probably the last step which is required to fix that.
  • It helps shape the shots into draws and fades, something which is of key importance to the advanced golfer.
  • The arms and hands have a natural tendency to stay inwards without the golf club in hand. The aim of any golfer should be to bring the hands back to their natural position in the downswing. This can be done with the help of a neutral golf grip.
  • It helps remove swing flaws.
  • A good golf grip permits a more fluid movement of the wrists and hence better strength in the golf swing
  • It promotes the hands to work together to provide more clubface control and improved clubhead speed.
  • Let us take my example,

When I first started playing golf, I was holding the golf club with a  weak grip causing the clubface to stay open at the point of impact.

This was causing my ball to slice from left to right consistently ( a common issue seen with beginners).

By changing the grip to a more neutral position not only helped me correct that, but also enabled me to hit those tight draws which any golfer desires.

What should my Grip Strength be?

Now that we’ve had a look at various types of golf grips and the importance of a proper grip, it is time to introduce a key concept as far as golf grips are concerned namely the grip strength.

Depending upon the position and orientation of the non-dominant hand of the golfer, a grip can be termed as

  • Strong grip
  • Weak grip
  • Neutral grip

Strong grip

In the case of a strong grip, the non-dominant hand of the golfer is placed in such a way that it is pointed away from the target. This causes the clubface to close at the point of impact, thus promoting a draw favoring shot shape.

In the extreme case of a strong grip, the golfer tends to hook the ball, something which is not desirable on the golf course. This is because an excessively strong grip causes the clubface to remain too closed at impact.

Weak grip

It is the exact opposite of the strong grip. Here, the thumb of the non-dominant hand is facing more towards the target hence promoting an open clubface at the point of impact.

This causes the ball to move from left to right. In the extreme case of a weak grip, a golfer can expect to hit a slice. This is because an excessively weak grip will keep the clubface too open at impact.

 

Neutral grip

As the name suggests, a neutral grip involves positioning the thumb of the non-dominant hand along the shaft of the golf club, hence promoting a square clubface at impact. This is the most favorable and desirable grip position since it causes the ball to go straight towards the target.

Which grip is best suited for me

In terms of grip style

If you likes seeing the ball go a long way, then baseball or 10 finger grip is suited for you. This ensures less connection between the hands and helps with leverage to increase the distance. However, this grip can cause inconsistency.

If you have long hands, then the overlapping grip would be most suitable for you. It is the most natural way to hold a golf club.

If you have shorter hands and want to promote the connection between the hands while playing, then the interlocking grip is the best suited for you.

This grip is especially beneficial in improving accuracy and consistency. However, mastering this grip may take more time than usual.

In terms of grip strength

The neutral golf grip is the most desirable of all since it promotes a straighter shot.

However, if your swing is causing a natural fading (left to right movement) or slicing( extreme left to right movement), then it would be a good practice to make your grip a bit more strong.

On the other hand, if the balls are moving more and more from right to left, it is advisable to weaken your grip a little to promote a straighter swing path.

How much Grip Pressure Should I have?

A common mistake made by a beginner or an amateur golfer is to hold the golf club too tightly.

This problem is quite understandable looking at the anxiousness a beginner has to hit the ball well.

Also, the lack of confidence to keep the club intact in the hand can create a negative impact on the ball striking ability of the golfer.

Common problems caused by incorrect grip pressure

Incorrect impact

With the grip pressure too tight, the club will not move smoothly through swing which can break rhythm of swing. The more fluidic the motion of the swing, the better will be the ball striking ability.

Problems with the short game

If the golfer is holding his/her wedge too tightly, he/she will not be able to utilize the bounce of the club to its full potential and hence causing lack of spin on the ball, something which is of prime importance around the greens.

Lack of distance

Golf is a game of opposites. To hit the ball higher up in the air, one has to hit down on the ball, to hit the ball from right to left (draw), the feet should be aligned to the right of the target.

Similarly, to get maximum distance from the golf shot, it is essential to not hold the club tightly. Instead, the grip pressure should be light to promote the club to move more swiftly through the swing.

A strong grip pressure decreases the clubhead speed.

For a golfer suffering from slicing the ball way too often, One of the key reasons can be the right hand being too tight. This causes a poor release of the club through impact thus making the clubface open to the target causing the ball to move from left to right.

Important Note: As a practice, never hold the golf club with the help of the palm. Instead, fingers should be used to hold on to the club to maintain optimum pressure throughout the swing.

The pressure should be applied in the right places.

For example, in the top left hand( for right-handers), the pressure should be applied with the last three fingers whereas, with the right hand, it is applied by the ring and the middle finger.

While trying to improve myself daily, I have tried many drills to improve my swing path, head positions, etc.

Even though these are some important topics to discuss, it’s the little things like the grip pressure which is sometimes neglected.

These can create a huge impact on overall performance. Hence it is recommended that whenever you go out to play the next time, try experimenting with the different grip pressures and find out the best equilibrium for you.

Driver Grip Vs Putter grip

Your sole aim as a golfer should always be to square the clubface at impact. However, while using different clubs, the end result can be achieved by using different methods.

In the case of Drivers and Irons, the idea is to generate some clubhead speed to get more distance. Hence, the grip should be such that it should allow some forearm rotation to turn the face and get it back to the square position at impact.

In the case of Putters, the idea is to have a smooth rhythmic motion, hence, the wrists and the arms should be kept as quiet as possible.

Common grip mistakes made by a beginner

As a beginner, it is quite often seen that gripping the golf club correctly is neglected most of the time which creates long term problems with the impact and swing.

Here are some of the most common grip mistakes made by beginners

The High Grip

It is seen that beginners tend to hold the club too high on the shaft to such an extent that the butt of the club is not visible from the top. There are limiting use of wrist which is unable to hinge properly thus eliminating power and swing speed.

Suggestion: The next time you hold a golf club, make sure that the pad of your lead rests a little below the top of the shaft. This allows a fluidic motion of the wrists which gives more power and distance.

The Deep Choke

As the complete opposite of the High grip, the deep choke is grip mistakes wherein the golfer is holding the club too low in the shaft.

While this is necessary for some shots like from a deep rough or a fairway bunker, it is not advisable to use it on a regular basis. By choking down too deep, you are limiting the lever motion of the golf club, which limits the distance achieved.

High Grip Pressure

As mentioned earlier, grip pressure is one of the most fundamental and important aspects of the golf grip.

As a beginner, it is quite natural to hold the club too tightly, as a result of anxiousness to lift the ball from the ground or trying to hit it as long as possible.

However, by holding the grip too tight, you are completely limiting the smooth and rhythmic motion of the golf club. This which is very important to hit the ball consistently and a long distance.

Just remember, the golf grip pressure should be equivalent to holding a squirrel in a hand tight enough to not let it slip away and loose enough to not squeeze it completely.

The Palmy Grip

Another common mistake seen with beginners is to hold the club with the palms and not the fingers. This generally happens when there is too deep an interlock between the two hands. This limits the proper turn of the clubface to reach a square position at impact, thus leading to deviation from the desired path and lack of distance.

Suggestion: The next time you grip a golf club, try to gently place your trial hand on the grip only with the use of the fingers and then interlock the fingers to eliminate the use of the palm.

Weak Trail Hand

A clear indication of a weak trail hand is seen when the ‘V’ formed by the trail hand is pointing towards the left shoulder ( for right-handers). This will keep the clubface open at impact which will lead to improper ball flight and lack of distance.

Suggestion: Make sure that the ‘V’ formed by the trail hand is pointing towards the right shoulder. This allows for stronger clubface at impact and hence straighter and longer shots.

A Final Word

As a beginner, the biggest mistake I did was to ignore the subtleties of the golf grip and focus too much on correcting the golf swing.

While it is important to have the correct golf swing, holding the golf club correctly is one of the most fundamental aspects of golf and the most important too.

As a beginner, my suggestion is to try out the 3 different types of golf grips and check which one seems to be the most comfortable. Also, try out different grip pressures and hold the club lightly from the shaft to avoid stopping the smooth release of the club through impact.

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