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Good Grip-Good Golf

By: Bob Burns

Golf Professional

The majority of golfers never develop a proper grip. They regard the way they hold the club as a minor, and relatively boring, aspect of the game compared to the fascinating technical intricacies of the swing itself. Additionally, even if they do make an effort to develop a correct grip, few persevere because any change feels a little uncomfortable at first. 

The way the golfer holds the club, however, controls the critical geometrical alignment of the club face at impact. This determines the success or failure of one's shot. Thus, finding a grip that consistently returns the club face square to the swing line is an absolute first priority. The improper grip will not yield good results even if all other parts of the swing are perfect. 

Since no two people have hands that are exactly alike, it is impossible to say that any one grip is best for all. One should experiment until they find the grip that feels the best and gives the best results. There are three grips used: 1) The standard is the overlapping grip. It has been widely used for over half a century, ever since Harry Vardon popularized it in Great Britain. 2) The interlocking grip is basically recommended for those with short fingers or small hands. 3) The ten-finger grip, or baseball-type hold, is usually most natural for children and beginners.

All of those grips are similar. Variations in the grip are achieved mainly by changing the position of the little finger of the right hand with respect to the index finger of the left hand (for the right-handed person).

To acquire the proper grip, let the handle of the club rest diagonally across the left hand, from the second joint of the forefinger to the heel of the hand. The handle is pressed up under the muscle pad at the inside heel of the palm. The main pressure is in the last three fingers of the left hand. The thumb runs straight down the shaft or slightly to the right of the center. The end of the handle should extend about one inch beyond the heel of the left hand. Most individuals hold the club at the very end, but because the diameter at the end of the club is so large, the golfer loses control of the club at the top of the swing. 

After the left hand is correctly affixed, place the club in the right hand so that the shaft lies across the top joint of the four fingers and definitely below the palm. The club is held primarily in the fingers. The position of the thumb is slightly on the left side of the shaft. The student should note that any pressure in the "pincher fingers," the forefinger and thumb, should be avoided. The grip pressure should be the second and third finger on the right hand. 

If overlapping grip is being used, the little finger of the right hand should wrap around the knuckle of the forefinger of the left hand. Seven fingers will be holding the club. 

If the interlocking grip is being used, slip the finger of the right hand between the forefinger and second finger of the left hand. Usually people with short fingers will find this most appropriate. Six fingers will contact the club. If the non-lapping or baseball type grip is used, eight fingers will contact the club. Although the hands are not overlapping or interlocking, the fingers should be close together. This type grip usually feels comfortable to youngsters because they can also relate the same sensation with playing baseball, and thus it enables them to become more receptive. 


Remember that golf is an individual activity, so experiment until you find the grip that gives you the most consistent results. If you are an established golfer but feel you have never reached your full potential at the game, chances are your grip is the root of the problem.  

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