Proper Golf Grip
It’s debated over who made the famous quote regarding ‘golf is a game of inches, the space between your ears’. Whether it be Bobby Jones or Arnold Palmer the source doesn’t matter as much as the truth of the content. Confidence or lack thereof, when addressing the ball can result in great golf shots, or slamming your club into the ground with a few explicit words. And a proper golf grip is fundamental in building confidence each time you address the ball.
What You Need – The Best Golf Grips (but start with 1)
The only thing you need is a quality golf grip on at least one of your golf clubs for this lesson. It should also be the right size for your hands. With an incorrect diameter, even the most mechanically-sound grip will fail to produce quality golf shots consistently.
Proper Golf Grip Starts Here
Take a trip to your local golf retail shop. Ask one of the club fitters for help in finding the right grip for you. Then replace it on your favorite club only. I suggest starting with one grip. Get a feel for it on the range and/or the golf course before you change your entire set. Grips are not the most expensive item you’ll buy in golf. But having to swap out 13 at a time due to a less-than-ideal fit can add up quickly.
A little diligence can go a long way. Once you have a grip you love on your favorite stick, you’re ready to learn how to hold a golf club.
6 Steps to a Good Golf Grip
Step 1 – Stance
Stand as neutral as possible.
The most important concept to a consistent and reliable grip is to make it as natural as possible. The easiest way to achieve this is to stand tall, with your arms at your sides, hanging loosely. From this neutral and natural position, you can begin to take your grip.
Step 2 – The Top Hand
Start with your “top” hand
The top hand, for right-handed golfers, is your left hand and is by far the most important. Take your club (with its new, fitted grip) and simply close your top hand over it. Then bring it in front of you.
Here are a few things to look for.
- If you’re wearing a glove, you should be able to read the logo on the Velcro strip, and somewhere in between 2-3 knuckles should be visible
- The fingers should have a solid hold of the grip, with the fat part of your palm sitting on the right side of the shaft
- Your thumb can sit on top of the shaft or on the left side, as long as it doesn’t apply any pressure.
The “V” formed by the thumb and forefinger should point somewhere to the right of your sternum.
Now, you can move to your bottom hand.
Step 3 – Bottom Hand
Bring in your bottom hand (right hand for righties) from the side. Do your best to match your palm to the clubface, then close your fingers over. When done correctly, this is what you should notice.
- The thumb of the top hand rests nicely in the lifeline of the bottom hand
- The “V” formed by the thumb and forefinger in the bottom hand should be parallel to the “V” of the top hand, right of the sternum
- Most of the weight will be supported by the index and middle fingers
At this point, you’ll have to decide on how your hands should join together.
Step 4 – Grip Style
There are three basics styles of grips. Each is determined by the relationship between the bottom hand pinky and the top hand index finger. Here’s a brief overview of what they are, what they accomplish, and who should use them.
- Overlap Golf Grip: The most popular grip amongst male Tour pros. The overlap grip is achieved by resting the pinky on the index finger. This is ideal for players with larger hands who want more feel for the club and clubhead.
- Interlock Golf Grip: A favorite amongst juniors and female players. The pinky and index finger lock at the finger base. An ideal grip style for those with smaller hands who seek more control of the club
- 10 Finger Golf Grip (Baseball Grip): In this version, the hands stay separate from each other, similar to holding a baseball bat. This grip works well with beginners and high handicappers who are still becoming accustomed to swinging the club.
Once you choose a grip style ideal for you, there’s one more key fundamental to discuss…
Step 5 – Grip Pressure
The amount of pressure you use to hold the golf club can make all the difference in the world when it comes to consistency. On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is the club falling out of your hands and 10 is trying to choke the club out, I suggest a pressure of about 4, 5 tops. The golf club should be held just enough to not fall out or fly out of your hands during the swing. As a rule, most amateur golfers grip the club too tightly. The additional tension inhibits your tempo and adds tension to the rest of your body. These factors make a consistent swing nearly impossible. When in doubt, hold it lighter.
Step 6 – Stick With the New Golf Grip
If your grip feels awkward, stick with it.
One of the most common complaints of golfers trying to improve is that grip changes are too tedious and difficult. While they can certainly be tedious, making a change to any fundamental that will make you a better golfer is necessary. Here are some of my best tips for adjusting to a new or different grip.
- Start with simple chip shots with your new grip. It’s a great way to develop the new muscle memory without wearing yourself out on the driving range.
- Expect, in the short term, to struggle a bit with your ball striking. As you become more comfortable with your grip change, the quality of your shots will improve, along with your scores.
- Fight every urge to revert to the old grip. Old habits can be tough to break. The moment you go back to what feels comfortable, the longer it will take to make the changes needed to play better golf.
Applying What You Learned
Did you find this article helpful? Knowing how to hold a golf club correctly is essential to improving ball striking from chipping to the driver. Taking the time to learn the right grip helps players of all skill levels play better and enjoy the game more. Few things make me happier than golfers enjoying the game more.
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If you would like to learn more about the swing check out our How To Improve Your Golf Swing: An In-depth Analysis article.