Sometimes, the basics are the best place to start.
Scratch that. The basics are ALWAYS the best place to start. This is very true when it comes to one of golf's most fundamental aspects - gripping the club.
Oftentimes, golfers- usually beginners, but sometimes even intermediate and advanced players- think that they need to buy an expensive new set of clubs, or invest in some accessory that will offer the breakthrough they need to improve their game.
However, what often pays dividends far more than any purchase is a focus on the grip. Why? Because it's the only part of the golf club that you actually touch, and therefore has the greatest impact on how well you hit the ball.
Ready to better your grip? Read on as we discuss golf's grip basics!
Step 1: Be Honest With Your Current Grip
The first step to bettering your grip is admitting that there's room for improvement. This can be a difficult thing to do, as it requires an honest assessment of your current skills.
No matter how long you've been playing, there's always room for improvement- even if it's just a small change. Once you've decided that you want to focus on your grip, a good step is to have someone (preferably a professional) evaluate where your grip currently is.
Oftentimes, players who have been self-teaching themselves or who have picked up bad habits from friends may not even realize that their grip is less than ideal. Having a professional take a look will help you understand what areas need improvement.
Remember- the goal is not to grip the club like you're holding a baseball bat or attempting to hit the living daylights out of the ball.
Step 2: Find A Suitable Grip
The one size fits all nature of many things in life; golf clubs included, hardly ever works out. Most golf clubs come with a standardized grip size that is chosen based on the average golfer. However, since no two golfers are exactly alike, it's important to find a grip that fits you specifically.
The best way to do this is by visiting a professional golf store and having them help you select a grip size that is comfortable for your hand. They will have you hold various clubs and help you find the grip size that is most comfortable.
It's important to choose a size that feels good in your hand, as this will help you have more control over the club and make it easier to grip properly.
Grip sizes usually come in eight different sizes, with the smaller sizes being meant for those with smaller hands and the larger sizes for those with bigger hands.
Pulling and slicing, two of the most common problems with golfers, are often caused by an improper grip size. If you're having difficulty with either of these, it may be worth looking into getting fitted for a new grip size.
Step 3: Grip Pressure
The amount of pressure you exert on the grip while swinging is important as well. Many golfers grip the club too tightly, thinking that they need to exert maximum effort in order to hit the ball far.
However, this usually has the opposite effect. When you grip the club too tightly, you lose feeling in your hands and have less control over the club. This often leads to a loss of power and accuracy.
So, how hard should you grip the club? A good rule of thumb is to grip the club lightly enough that you can still feel it in your hand, but not so tight that your knuckles turn white.
You should be able to hold the club fairly loosely in your hand while still maintaining control. You'll also know if you're not exerting enough pressure on the clubs, as they will swing too freely when suspended from your hands.
Step 4: Decide On A Type Of Grip
There are 3 grip variations often used by golfers: interlocking, overlapping, and 10 fingers. The type of grip you use is a personal preference, and you should experiment with each to see which feels most comfortable for you.
This is the most common type of grip in play today and is the one most coaches and professionals recommend. In this grip, the pinkie finger on your right hand (the one on the bottom of the club) interlocks with the index finger on your left hand (the one on top of the club), assuming you're a right-hander.
If you are left-handed, the reverse is applicable. The interlocking grip is also particularly favored by people with smaller to medium-sized hands.
Many golfers find that this grip provides them with more control over their shots, as it gives both hands something to hold onto while swinging.
Players with larger hands find this grip more comfortable, as the pinkie finger rests on top of the left hand, between the index and middle fingers- effectively overlapping them.
This grip is also favored by players who find that the interlocking grip puts too much pressure on their pinkie fingers.
10-Finger (Baseball) Grip
This is the least common of the three grips and is mostly used by beginners or those with very small hands. In this grip, all 10 fingers are on the club, with none of them interlocking or overlapping.
This grip can be difficult to master, but some players find it more comfortable and easier to control than the other two grips.
Beginners and junior players generally start with this grip, but progress to one of the other aforementioned two, as this type makes it difficult to maintain consistency.
Once you've decided on a grip type, it's important to be consistent with it. Inconsistent grips are one of the main reasons why many golfers never improve, as they are constantly having to relearn the feel of the club each time they switch back and forth.
Are All Clubs Held the Same?
That's a very good question since the answer is no. You won't want to hold your driver the same way you would hold a putter. Doing so would be very difficult and cumbersome.
Different clubs require different types of grips, depending on their functions. For example, woods are meant to be hit long and hard, while irons are designed for more accuracy and control.
As such, you'll need to slightly adjust your grip when switching between clubs. This can be a tricky task, but once you get the hang of it, it'll become second nature.
When gripping a wood, you'll want to hold it a bit more loosely than you would an iron. This is because woods are meant to be hit hard, and gripping them too tightly will result in a loss of power and accuracy. Instead, focus on maintaining a light grip while still keeping the club under control.
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When gripping an iron, you'll want to do the opposite and hold it a bit more tightly. This is because irons are meant for accuracy and precision, and a loose grip will result in wayward shots. Again, focus on maintaining control of the club without tightening your grip too much.
Putters, on the other hand, are meant to be gripped very lightly. This is because putts don't require much power, and gripping the club too tightly will only lead to tension and anxiety. Just take a deep breath, relax your grip, and let the putter do its job.
One final tip- regardless of which club you're using, make sure that your grip is comfortable and not causing any pain. A good grip should feel natural and allow you to swing the club freely. If your grip is uncomfortable, it will only lead to frustration and inconsistency.
How Far Up The Grip Should You Hold The Club?
Many people make the mistake of holding their club too high up on the grip, which only serves to make the club less stable and harder to control.
Instead, you should aim to hold the club in the lower half of the grip, as this will give you more control and accuracy. Many grips even come with markings to indicate where your lower thumb should be to give you a reference point.
Fail to do this, and you stand to make a poor shot off the hosel of your club instead of the face. The result is the dreaded golf shank.
Is Grip Responsible For Frequent Slicing/ Hooking?
If you find that you are unable to get a straight shot, then there's a high likelihood that your grip is to blame. Many golfers tend to grip the club too tightly, which can lead to a number of issues such as slicing, hooking, and loss of power.
You need to approach ensure that the club face is square at impact, and the best way to do this is by using a light grip. This will help you keep the face of the club from turning as you swing, resulting in a straighter shot.
If your shots are constantly veering to the right (for a right-handed golfer), then you likely have too strong of a grip. This will cause the club face to close at impact, leading to a hook.
On the other hand, if your shots are veering to the left, then you likely have too weak of a grip. This will cause the club face to open at impact, leading to slices.
The best way to correct these issues is by experimenting with different grip strengths until you find one that feels comfortable and leads to straighter shots.
4 Key Takeaways:
1. The grip is one of the most important, yet often overlooked aspects of golf.
2. Different clubs require different types of grip pressure application, depending on their function.
3. Many people make the mistake of holding their club too high up on the grip, which only serves to make the club less stable and harder to control.
4. If you find that you are unable to get a straight shot, then there's a high likelihood that your grip is to blame. Many golfers tend to grip the club too tightly, which can lead to a number of issues such as slicing, hooking, and loss of power. Since the club face is the only part that really comes into contact with the golf ball, a good grip is the best way to ensure that you have control over nice square shots.
Learning how to properly grip a golf club is a crucial first step in becoming a good golfer. By following the tips in this article, you'll be well on your way to improving your game and taking your skills to the next level.
Don't forget to experiment with different grip variations and levels of pressure until you find a combination that feels comfortable and leads to straighter shots. And always keep in mind that a good grip should feel natural and allow you to swing the club freely without any pain.
Best of luck out there ace!