Knowing how to grip a golf club is the most important element of the golf swing. So many problem shots and faults can be traced back to the way you hold the club. Is it too strong? Maybe it’s the opposite. So, what is the correct way to grip the golf club?
Whilst it’s true that there is such a thing as an orthodox grip, different types of grip can be effective. As PGA professional Alistair Davies explains: “There are compensations going on in your golf swing that make your grip work”.
For example, players with a strong grip, which tends to encourage a hooky flight, often end up making adjustments elsewhere in the swing than means they hit the ball straight – in which case Davies wouldn’t recommend making any tweaks.
However, it sometimes helps to go back to basics – something even the pros will do from time to time to ensure bad habits aren’t creeping in. Here, Davies looks at how to grip a golf club in 5 easy steps.
1. Cradle your fingers to avoid a ‘palmy grip’
Let’s start with the placement of the club in your lead hand. Where the golf grip sits right in the middle of the hand, it’s known as a ‘palmy grip’ – and, according to Davies, it’s one of the biggest faults he witnesses amongst amateurs.
“A palmy grip can cause issues squaring up the clubface because it makes it harder for your wrists to work,” he explains. “It can also cause the backswing to have a collapsed lead arm and a limp wrist position.”
As a result, you’re going to struggle to strike the ball consistently out of the middle, plus you’re likely to lose a lot of power. “Look to align the grip much more in the fingers, so through the middle joint of the index finger to the bottom joint of the little finger. Try cradling your fingers and let the club sit in the cradle (pictured). Finally, you want the thumb to be sitting ever so slightly to the trail side of the grip.
2. Check the ‘V’
If you’re talking about a perfect golf grip – one that’s neutral, as opposed to strong or weak – the ‘V’ created by the thumb and finger on your trail hand should point somewhere between your chin and right shoulder.
This is where you hear a lot about how many knuckles you should see, but it’s not an exact science, as Davies explains. “The ideal number of knuckles you should see on the lead hand is two to three, but it depends on the size of your hands. That’s why it’s more important to see where that ‘V’ is pointing.”
If you have a strong grip, the ‘V’ will point more towards your trail shoulder and you’ll see more knuckles on your lead hand. Golfers with this grip will often hook the ball. With a weak grip, the ‘V’ points towards the lead side of the body and you’ll see less knuckles on your lead hand. Such a grip will encourage more of a slice.
3. Check the placement of the trail Hand
A lot of people get the centre of gravity in the trail hand too high, which means it doesn’t align with the shaft. When you try and apply pressure above the shaft, you’re not getting any power, plus you lose control and stability of the clubhead through impact.
If that sounds complicated, make sure you watch Davies’ video, here:
4. Mind The Gaps
Regardless of whether you’re using an interlocking, overlapping or baseball grip, you don’t want gaps appearing between the little finger on your trail hand and your first finger on your lead hand.
“Pockets of holes create movement of the club, mostly between transition and impact,” says Davies. “It makes the clubhead twist a bit and gives you lack of control of the clubhead through the ball.”
5. Apply the right pressure
If you’re talking about a scale where ten is very tight, Davies recommends gripping the club at a five or six. “It’s like holding a child’s hand when you cross the road,” he explains. “You don’t want them to slip out of your hand, but you don’t want to hurt them.”
Davies says to think, ‘firm hands, loose wrists’. “Your hands are gripping the club and you’re swinging between 70 and 90mph. You don’t want the club to be moving around. At the same time you don’t want unwanted tension that goes into your arms and stops your arms flowing properly.”
It’s also important to keep the pressure consistent. “If you swing the golf club thinking five or six, you’re not looking for it to increase or decrease. A decrease is just as bad as increasing.”
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