Swinging a golf club may appear deceptively easy, but it is much more challenging than you may think. A proper golf grip is essential for hitting the ball correctly. There are many benefits to maintaining a consistent golf grip, including improved ball striking and better game performance.
Without knowing how to handle a golf club correctly, you will struggle to enjoy the game or achieve lower scores. Renowned golf coaches around the world start by teaching their students about golf grip as a fundamental aspect before going over other elements of the game.
In this article, I will explain the importance of maintaining the perfect golf grip, explore the various grip types that you can practice, highlight common mistakes to avoid, and provide expert tips to enhance your game.
I will also address a selection of frequently asked questions at the end of the article.
The Fundamentals of Golf Grip
Many young golfers often blame their equipment when they underperform, but what they fail to realize is that they’re overlooking a key fundamental in the game of golf. While having good equipment is essential, what’s even more crucial is maintaining a proper golf grip.
Remember the saying, “It’s not the car but the person behind the wheel?” I keep telling everyone that working on your grip is the best way to improve your golf scores. Your hands are an important connection to the golf club as they’re the only ones touching it, which can affect the clubface position, the swing path, and the strength of the swing.
You must work on your grip and understand the key components that affect it, including hand placement, finger positioning, and pressure distribution.
Let me show you how you can work on these fundamentals to improve your game.
Step-by-step Guide: How to Grip a Golf Club for Right-handed Golfers
Although there are several factors that play a crucial role in how you play golf, such as alignment and setup, maintaining a proper grip is essential to the success of the game. Whenever somebody asks me to analyze their swing before they make a shot on the course, I start by looking at how they hold their golf club.
I provide them with step-by-step instructions on gripping a golf club the right way, which include the following:
Step 1: Don’t Hold the Club in Your Palms!
A common mistake many rookies make is palming the golf club, but the key to maintaining a strong grip lies in your fingers. Begin by holding the club at a 45-degree angle and use your right hand to grasp the top of the grip.
Now, with your left hand, grip the golf club in a way that tucks it under your knuckles and rests comfortably on the upper portion of your palm’s pad. This ensures that you’re holding the club primarily with your fingers rather than your palm.
Curl your three fingers (pinky, ring, and middle) around the grip, establishing direct contact with the club. Then, roll your left index finger and thumb over to the golf club, ensuring that the latter is positioned towards the handle’s right side. Gently bend your wrist and apply a moderate amount of pressure to the club.
Step 2: Focus on Your Right Hand
Similar to how you are holding the club with your left hand, slide your right hand towards the left, eliminating any space between the two hands.
At this stage, you have the option to choose between the interlocking or overlapping grip. Once your right hand makes contact with the left, you can either interlock your right pinky finger by sliding it between your left hand’s index and middle finger or overlap your right pinky finger over the left index finger to secure the grip.
Step 3: Roll Your Right Hand
After securing your pinky finger, it’s time to involve the ring and middle fingers of your right hand. Roll them around the grip while placing the palm over the left hand’s thumb. Remember, it’s crucial to ensure that your fingers are the primary points of contact with the golf club and not your entire hand.
Complete your grip by rolling your right hand’s thumb over the left side, facing the golf club in an upward direction.
When you begin practicing these grips, it may feel uncomfortable. This is normal as you are not accustomed to correctly holding the golf club. I recommend practicing the grip at home and using it during shots on the course.
It will take time to get used to it, but it’s worth the time and effort you put into maintaining a proper golf grip. Once you have enough practice, it will feel natural, granting you greater control over the club and enabling you to play with consistency.
By diligently following the above-mentioned steps and engaging in consistent practice, you will achieve optimal hand placement, precise finger positioning, and effective pressure distribution, resulting in an outstanding golf game.
How to Grip a Golf Club for Left-handed Golfers
Whether you’re a right or left-handed golfer, maintaining a proper golf grip is key to consistent ball striking and shot control.
I’ve gone over the steps on how you can hold the club if your dominant hand is the right one. If you’re a left-handed golfer, you should follow the same steps but reverse the hands this time.
Always maintain a firm but relaxed grip and let your fingers perfectly cradle the club while letting it rest on your palm. Take the time to refine your technique, and you’ll get better with every shot at the golf course!
The Importance of Maintaining a Proper Golf Grip
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of maintaining a proper golf grip when holding a club. The key to making great shots lies in releasing the club properly, and to achieve that, you need to have excellent hand placement.
Throughout the years, I’ve witnessed many talented young golfers miss the perfect shot by failing to generate enough power or maintain control of their swing due to a poor grip.
No matter how much money you invest in top-of-the-line golf equipment, you’re not going to be successful at the game if you have bad hand placement.
Whether you’re dealing with a hook or a slice (different ball flights), any experienced golf instructor would advise you to examine your grip before working on your swing.
Understanding the laws of ball flight can assist you in making the necessary adjustments and improving your game. The face angle of the golf club determines the direction of the ball, while the swing path plays a crucial role in its curve.
However, without having a proper grip, it can become incredibly challenging to hit the perfect shot.
By focusing on your grip and ensuring it is correct, you lay a strong foundation for consistent and successful shots. Make sure you practice and seek guidance from professionals to refine your grip technique.
Remember, a proper golf grip sets the stage for better control, improved power, and enhanced performance during the game.
The Three Basic Types of Golf Grips
One of the most common questions new players ask is, “What is the best way to grip a golf club?” The answer is not as straightforward as you might think, as it depends on the style you’re most comfortable with.
Remember, the key is to maintain a consistent golf grip, and you can only achieve that by practicing a particular style.
Most golfers use one of the following three golf grips:
The Vardon Grip (The Overlapping Golf Grip)
Also known as the overlapping grip, this type of grip is popular among professional golfers and beginners due to its comfort and ease of use. Named after Henry William Vardon, an American professional golfer who perfected this grip, it was initially introduced by Johnny Laidlay, a Scottish amateur golfer, in the 1800s.
To use the Vardon grip, players overlap their dominant hand’s pinky finger over the other hand’s index finger, eliminating the space between the ring finger of one hand and the index finger of the other.
Many professional golfers consider this the perfect golf grip because it creates a harmonious connection between the two hands, providing the right balance of power and control. However, players with small hands may find it challenging to use it.
The Interlocking Grip
Golf legends like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, who have a combined 33 championships to their names, prefer the interlocking grip.
Numerous successful golfers in the history of this sport have mastered this type of grip. It requires players to interlock their pinky finger with the opposite hand’s index finger, creating a “lock” between both hands.
By locking the hands and wrists into a single unit, players gain more control, and the grip helps promote a fluid golf swing by reducing pressure on the club.
This golf grip is particularly suitable for players with small hands. However, the interlocking grip limits wrist movement, which can make it challenging to execute big drives if the swing is not perfect.
The Ten-finger Grip (Baseball Grip)
The ten-finger grip, also known as the baseball grip, is popular among beginners as it feels natural and requires minimal effort.
To achieve the ten-finger grip, place the left hand on top of the club, with the right hand resting below it. The thumb of the right hand should rest against the shaft of the left hand.
This grip is easy to learn, especially for beginners, and it provides a high level of comfort. Since all the fingers are gripping the club, players have enough power at their disposal, which is advantageous for long shots.
However, because the hands do not interlock or overlap, they can move independently, potentially causing a power imbalance without sufficient practice.
Additionally, the grip gives the wrists a lot of freedom, which may lead to mishits if not controlled effectively. Experiment with different grips and determine which works best for you.
Make sure you practice regularly to develop a consistent grip and improve your overall performance on the golf course.
What Is Grip Strength?
Contrary to what the name suggests, grip strength in golf refers to hand positioning, and there are three types, including the following:
To achieve a neutral golf grip, form a “V shape” with your left thumb and index finger and your right thumb and index finger. Both “V shapes” should point downward, allowing for a more consistent strike.
A neutral grip lets players hit the golf ball without manipulating the swing. However, it’s worth noting that players lacking in strength might find it challenging to generate clubhead speed.
In a strong golf grip, both thumbs point toward your right shoulder. The knuckles of your right hand should disappear under the shaft, while the three knuckles of your left hand should be visible.
In a weak golf grip, the right hand moves toward the left, causing the “V shape” to shift as well. This grip is ideal for players who want to hit a fade, as it allows for more clubface rotation through impact. A weak golf grip can help players neutralize an inside-out swing path.
Most professional golfers prefer a strong grip, and it is rare to come across a top player who uses a weak grip.
Everything You Need to Know About Grip Pressure
In addition to mastering your grip, it is important to focus on the pressure applied to the club to improve your game. Grip pressure refers to the amount of force you use when holding the golf club.
One common mistake I’ve observed among amateur golfers is gripping the club too tightly, which can negatively impact their ability to make a great shot.
Proper pressure and tension distribution across your hands are essential for an effective golf grip. Balancing the pressure is crucial for maintaining control of the swing.
Gripping the club too tightly restricts the natural fluidity of your golf swing and can affect shot accuracy. On the other hand, gripping too loosely results in a lack of control. Aim to maintain a firm yet relaxed grip, allowing your hands to work in harmony with the club.
If you’re a beginner, I recommend practicing consistent grip pressure on every shot. Contrary to the advice of holding the club like a baby bird (something that Sam Snead said), I’m afraid I have to disagree with this approach.
Snead had exceptionally strong hands, and what worked for him may not be suitable for the average player. Unless you are a bodybuilder, my suggestion is to hold the club slightly tighter.
According to Butch Harmon, a former golfer, and a current golfing instructor, the general rule of thumb on a scale of 1 to 10 is to maintain a grip pressure between 5 and 7.
However, it’s important to note that this is a general guideline and may vary depending on the type of shot you intend to play.
What Is a Slice and Hook in Golf?
Earlier on in this article, I mentioned the terms “slice” and “hook” without providing an explanation. These terms deserve their own section to help you understand what they are.
When you hit a shot, it can be either desirable or undesirable. A fade (a slight leftward curve for right-handed golfers), a straight shot, and a draw (a slight rightward curve) fall under the desirable category. On the other hand, a slice and a hook are considered to be undesirable shots.
A hook refers to a shot that curves drastically to the left (for right-handed golfers), while a slice refers to a shot that veers to the right. If you find yourself consistently hitting these shots, it’s a good idea to check your grip.
Having a stronger grip on the club will enable you to rotate your hands more easily during the golf swing, creating a powerful draw and helping you avoid slicing the ball. On the other hand, a weaker grip prevents the clubface from twisting, which can lead to a fade and help you avoid hitting a hook.
Expert Tips for Improving Your Golf Grip
Golf is a game that requires intense focus and a commitment to improve. All of these come from practicing your shots as much as you can. I’m going to share with you some expert tips that will make your practice sessions worthwhile, allowing you to learn the sport and become a better player quickly.
Here are some tips that I tell every beginner:
Work On Your Grip Pressure
You can hit as many shots as you want, but if you don’t have the right grip pressure, you’re simply putting in wasted effort.
Maintaining control of the golf club without sacrificing comfort and feel is important. Your grip should be firm but relaxed.
When practicing, try hitting shots with different levels of grip pressure and analyze where the golf ball is heading. It will help you understand what you’re doing wrong, allowing you to adjust your grip to ensure the perfect shot.
Play with the Right Grip Size
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the different grip sizes, which include undersize, standard, midsize, or jumbo.
Golfers with small hands may benefit from using undersized grips, while those with larger hands may require oversized grips. Choosing the correct grip size ensures a comfortable and secure hold on the club. Knowing that the golf club feels right in your hands gives you the confidence to commit to a shot.
If you’re not sure what grip size you should stick to, the following is a brief guideline that you should follow:
- Use an undersized grip if your glove size is small (small or medium for women).
- Experiment with a standard grip if your glove size is medium (large for women).
- Practice using a midsize grip if you have a large glove size.
- Men with XL or XXL glove sizes should try the midsize or jumbo grip.
Select the Ideal Grip Texture
The texture of your golf club grip can significantly impact your grip control and feel. Grips with different textures, such as corded, rubber, or leather, offer varying levels of traction and feedback.
A golfer playing in wet or humid conditions might prefer a grip with a more aggressive texture for better control. It’s essential to consider the playing conditions, personal preference, and the level of grip security.
Properly Maintain Your Golf Clubs
Maintaining your golf club grips is essential to preserving their performance and longevity. Over time, they can wear down, lose traction, and affect your grip stability.
Clean your grips periodically using mild soap and water, and inspect them for signs of wear. If they show visible signs of wear or have become hardened, it’s time for re-gripping. As a general guideline, consider re-gripping your clubs once a year or after every 40 rounds of golf.
You can either change the grips yourself or visit your local golf shop. If you’re a beginner, I recommend letting the professionals handle the re-gripping as they know what they’re doing.
The price for re-gripping varies depending on whether you want to do the entire set or just one golf club, as well as the quality of the grip. It should cost you between $35 and $190.
Change Your Grip for Specialty Shots
Although I mentioned that you need to master a grip type to have a consistent swing, it is essential to note that sometimes in the game of golf, you may need to make slight changes to your grip to play specialty shots.
If you want to hit a fade or a draw, you may have to adjust your grip slightly. I’ve already discussed earlier how practicing different pressures can help you understand the physics of a shot, which is critical in this sport.
Don’t Feel Demotivated
The game of golf is all about learning, improving, and adapting. If you’re not able to hit the type of shot you want, don’t feel disappointed or demotivated.
Experiment with different types of shots, grip pressure, golf grip, and hand movement. Take mental notes on how changing one element affects the shot and seek expert guidance. Following these tips can help you improve your game and impress your friends!
Common Mistakes in Golf Grip and How to Fix Them
The game of golf is all about learning from your mistakes, as they can help improve your grip control, accuracy, and overall performance. There are a few common mistakes that golfers make when they first pick up the club, and these include the following:
Holding the Golf Club Tightly
This is by far the most common mistake players make, and it can affect their swing and shot accuracy. Gripping the golf club too tightly exerts a lot of tension on the hands, wrists, and arms, restricting the golfer’s natural flow of the swing and hindering shot accuracy.
Maintain a relaxed grip. It should be firm but not aggressive. Mastering grip pressure can be challenging, even for professionals. However, with constant practice, you’ll get the hang of it.
Maintaining a Weak Golf Grip
Gripping too tightly or loosely are two extreme ends of the spectrum. A weak grip can result in a lack of control and stability issues. It can cause the golf clubface to turn before impact and affect the direction of the golf ball, leading to inconsistent shots. The correct golf grip is about maintaining enough pressure to ensure control without sacrificing comfort.
Use the muscles in your forearm and hands to get a good hold on your golf club. During practice sessions, it’s important to experiment with grip pressure variations until you find the right balance between comfort and control.
Poor Hand Positioning
Improper hand positioning is another common mistake among beginners, and it adversely affects clubface control and shot direction. Letting your lead hand rotate too far to the right or left can result in an open clubface at impact and has a tendency to slice the ball.
Always pick up the golf club with your weaker hand. In this example, let’s assume you’re a right-handed golfer. When you pick up the club and decide on the type of grip you want to use, rotate your left hand so that you can see the two knuckles.
To ensure that you’re holding the golf club properly, make sure your lead hand forms a V between the thumb and the index finger, pointing toward your shoulder (right shoulder for right-handed golfers).
If you’re a left-handed golfer, your left thumb and the index finger on your left hand should form a V that points toward your left shoulder. This helps create a square clubface position and allows for a straight shot.
When you have a good grip, leave half an inch of the golf club poking out of the top of your grip. You can do this by sliding both of your hands down. To ensure that the grip is comfortable, you can stick your left thumb out and let the right thumb rest on top of it, interlocking both hands. Both thumbs should be facing downward.
Overlooking Finger Placement
With so many things to keep track of, such as the right or left thumb, index finger, and other elements, most golfers often neglect to focus on their finger placement, which is vital for a proper golf grip. It can lead to inconsistencies and adversely affect the quality of the shot.
Make sure your fingers ensure a firm but relaxed hold on the golf club. Avoid using your palms for support. Ensuring that your fingers are in contact with the grip during a swing can provide stability and control.
Incorrect Grip Size
Having a grip that is too large or too small compared to the size of your hand can affect grip stability. Many young golfers do not emphasize grip size when they start playing the sport.
It’s important to ensure the correct golf grip size. If the size is too small, it can lead to excessive grip pressure, which can affect the swing path. However, if it’s too large, it can adversely impact hand movement and control.
By understanding these common mistakes, you can focus on what to avoid and take the necessary steps to improve your grip and your performance in the game. Practicing can help you achieve the consistency needed in golf and also develop a foundation for the correct golf grip.
Final Thoughts: Work On Your Grip to Improve Your Golf Game
If you’re worried about your swing or grip pressure and feel like it’s affecting your golf game, start by looking at your grip. A proper golf grip will help you improve other aspects of the game, such as finger positioning, power, pressure, and more.
In this article, I’ve covered the three basic types of golf grips. If you’re wondering which one you should perfect to improve your game, there is no single answer.
There is no such thing as a perfect golf grip, as it depends on your body style, the way you swing the golf club and the strength in your forearms. The more comfortable you are with a golf club, the easier it will be to hit a straight ball flight.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Tightly Should I Grip the Golf Club?
Many experts recommend maintaining a firm but relaxed grip. Experiment with different grip pressures during practice until you find the balance that allows for sufficient control and comfort.
How Do I Know If My Grip Size Is Correct?
Grip size plays a significant role in achieving a proper golf grip. The ideal grip size depends on your hand measurements and personal preference.
To determine the correct grip size, seek guidance from a professional club fitter. They will assess your hand size and consider factors like finger length and grip thickness to recommend the most suitable grip size for you.
How Do I Prevent My Hands from Slipping During the Swing?
Gripping the club with the correct pressure and ensuring a secure hold is vital for preventing your hands from slipping during the swing. Consider using gloves with good grip characteristics and inspecting your grips regularly for wear.
How Do I Grip the Golf Club for Specialty Shots?
Specialty shots like fades or draws may require slight grip modifications to promote the desired shot shape. To hit a fade, consider strengthening your grip by rotating your lead hand slightly to the right (for right-handed golfers).
If you want to hit a draw, you can weaken your grip by rotating your lead hand slightly to the left. Experiment with grip adjustments during practice to develop the versatility needed for different shot types.
How Often Should I Re-grip My Clubs?
Re-gripping your clubs is important for maintaining good performance in the game. Grips can wear down over time, losing their traction and affecting your grip stability.
Consider re-gripping your clubs once a year or every 40 rounds of golf. However, inspect your grips periodically and re-grip them sooner if you notice visible signs of wear or hardening.