Generally, the basics of any skill are often overlooked, yet oftentimes they are the most important. The same applies to golf. Proper fundamentals, such as grip, are particularly essential in building an effective and repeatable golf swing with relative ease.
Having a solid understanding of how to grip club is cardinal to your overall gameplay. Your golf grip is the only point of contact you have with the club, hence its great significance. Here, we'll take you through how to hold a golf club properly. By the time you're done reading this article, you'll be equipped with all the crucial elements that make up a sound grip.
Equipment is Key
It's rather self-explanatory that you need the right tools to do the job right. Before you even knuckle down on the fundamentals of a proper grip, you need to ensure that your grips are the right fit for you. The right grip encompasses both size and the right material composition for a top game, ideal hand texture and efficacy depending on where you'll be playing.
How do you get the right fit for your grips? There are two simple ways to go about it:
- Local Golf Retail Shop: Local is always the easiest and, most times, the best option. The shop attendant can measure your hands to determine the perfect size grip for you. More so, they can also show you the grips in stock that fit your measurements. This also allows you to find the ideal feel in your hands, which is vital for mastering your grip.
- Buy Online: If there's no local golf shop near you, you can search for the right grip online. You simply measure your hands with a ruler, add the details on the relevant online stores and you'll have plenty of options that match your hand size. Unfortunately, you don't get to evaluate different feels with this option. The best next step would be buying just one unit of the grip you like, then testing it on a club your use often. If you like it, then you can buy a full set. If you don't, you can always find alternatives and try them out.
When you're looking out for the perfect grip, it's best to have the same grip on all your clubs for consistency, unless it's a putter or a very specific situation.
What is The Right Feel?
Typically, it's always best if the grip, first and foremost, feels secure in your hands. Ideally, the tip of your middle and ring fingers should barely touch the palms. Most importantly, the grip should always feel comfortable in your hands, giving you more confidence on the golf course. If it feels good in your hands, go with it.
Size adjustments are also crucial at this point since they have a fairly significant effect on ball flight. For example, a narrow grip width means that the club face has an easier time closing slightly, which is pretty effective when producing a draw.
After you've found your perfect grip, it's time to dive into the mechanics of how to hold a golf club properly.
The Top Hand
The top hand has one primary objective; to provide a support anchor to the golf club. This is an area that most beginners and amateurs seem to struggle with, especially since it entails having sufficient strength in the less dominant hand, usually the left hand. Getting a proper top hand starts with finding the right pressure points.
A strong top hand is quite important. The most efficient way to go about it, first and foremost, is to hold the golf club as naturally as possible. Using your bottom hand, with only two fingers at the grip's base, balance the club on the ground. Adjust the clubface square, wrap your pinky around the top of the grip, then close the rest of the hand on top of the grip. Cock your wrist straight up in the air. If you can do it fully with no resistance, then your grip is correct.
A solid grip should hold firmly within the pinky and ring fingers of the top hand. The fingers farthest from the thumb are usually the weakest, which presents two main challenges when you're learning how to grip a golf club:
- The top hand tends to break down mid-downswing, forcing the bottom hand to compensate. This typically leads to scooped shots, translating to higher trajectories which reduce distance and accuracy.
- The rest of your arm may also lift up as it tries to compensate for less support, often causing a "chicken-wing" follow-through, which leaves the clubface open.
The Bottom Hand
The bottom hand, mostly the right hand, steers and/or guides the golf club. This explains the use of the more-dominant hand, often the right hand. Pressure points are just as essential here, but it's mostly just the index finger. In fact, even your thumb shouldn't place any pressure on the shaft.
This means your index finger on the bottom hand has to be sufficiently strong. However, this is fairly easier since you're using the dominant hand. However, if you find yourself squeezing the club with the rest of your hand for a more secure grip, you can use the same strengthening technique from the top hand to work on it.
Bringing It All In
Now that you have a clearer picture of how each hand sits on the club individually, it's time to blend them in together. The first thing you need to do is work out how both hands will meld with each other. This brings us to the different grip variations that help you build a solid hand on the club.
Which Configuration Suits You Best?
Before we look at the various ways you can hold a golf club securely, it's important to highlight that you must always be conscious of pressure points to achieve the best performance. For instance, the 10-finger grip, as we'll see shortly, delivers the most tangible feeling of club "control" since all your fingers come into contact with the grip.
Let's take a closer look at the different configurations in which your hands can link together. To avoid confusion between a left-handed and a right-handed, we'll walk you through the configurations using top and bottom hand.
1. Interlocking Grip
In this configuration, the bottom hand pinky interlocks with the top hand index finger. It gives you a more sturdy connection between the club and your hands. This golf grip is fairly popular among golfers with medium to smaller hands. However, interlocking fingers can create tension around the intertwined fingers and knuckles. Generally, in golf, tension in the hands should be preferably avoided.
2. Overlapping Grip
The bottom hand pinky finger rests in the groove between the top hand index and middle finger for this grip. As such, your hands overlap. This is mainly common among golfers with larger-than-average hands. Overlapping brings your hands closer together, allowing them to function more in tandem, without any additional tension. However, this configuration offers the least feel for club control.
3. 10-Finger Grip
As mentioned before, this configuration entails using all 10 fingers, hence the popular moniker baseball grip. The bottom hand fingers sit just below the top hand's, with no overlap. This is more suited for junior golfers. On the one hand, more contact points mean a more secure club grip. On the other hand, several contact points can also create inconsistencies in grip pressure.
The "V"s: From Strong to Weak
Equally important to a solid grip is how your hand sits relative to the clubface. This revolves around the "V"s formed by each hand's thumb and index finger, as well as how they link together. Grips are often classified depending on where these "V"s point:
- Strong Grip: When the "V" leans more towards your strong-side shoulders, exposing 2-3 knuckles on your top hand while your bottom hand's palm faces the sky. This usually produces a draw or a hook.
- Neutral Grip: When the "V" points in between your strong-side shoulder and collarbone. If you look down, you should see 1-2 exposed knuckles on your top hand. A strong neutral grip minimizes the margin of error between a draw or a fade.
- Weak Grip: When the "V" points closer to your neck, in such a way that you can't see any knuckles from your top hand while the bottom hand faces down. These require a bit more hand manipulation, mainly favouring players who like to fade the ball.
Suffice it to say, there's no grip that's particularly better than the others. As long as it helps you improve your scoring and overall performance, each can be quite useful in specific circumstances. Above all else, you can only determine which one suits a particular situation through experimenting and diligent practice.
Having mentioned pressure points severally, it only follows that we should look at the role grip pressure plays in how to hold a golf club properly. There are two aspects to consider:
- The exact pressure to apply.
- The key pressure points.
The Right Grip Pressure
Generally, the ideal grip pressure should be just enough to hold the club securely in play while still allowing you to swing freely. The trick is to imagine holding a banana in your hand, one you'll eat after swinging it. If you hold it too gently, it might end up flying out of your hands. Too firmly, you might end up squeezing and mashing it.
More often than not, most golfers find themselves gripping the golf club way too hard. Excess grip pressure causes your forearm muscles to contract, reduces your wrist hinge and ultimately leads to less clubhead speed. It can also reduce forearm rotation during the back and/0r downswing, which spirals into hooks and slices when you hit the ball.
For the perfect grip pressure when holding a golf club, light, soft & loose is your best bet for optimal distance and accuracy! If you are struggling to hold the club comfortably without squeezing pretty hard, you can use tackier grips.
You need at least two key pressure points to hold a golf club securely. When the golf club is held in the correct grip position, you should feel the top 2-3 fingers of your top hand securing the club. There should also be a small pinch between the bottom hand's thumb and index finger at the bottom of the grip. These are the two points where the most grip pressure is exerted and felt. Therefore, every other part of your hands in between should feel more relaxed.
Nailing these two aspects requires a bit of experimenting to settle on the grip that's best suited for you. Once you've found it, stick with it, regardless of the several temptations to tweak around that will naturally occur on the course.
How to Hold a Golf Club in a Nutshell
We've looked into the fine details that go into how to grip a golf club correctly. But how does the right golf grip affect your gameplay?
Roughly 8 times out of 10, the direction a club face points at impact determines the direction of the golf shot. This is more commonly known as the clubface angle. Optimal performance is usually achieved when the golf ball is struck with a square club face at impact. This almost always translates to straight golf shots.
The golf grip is the only link between your golf swing and the clubface angle. Therefore, the right grip improves your chances of landing the right face angle at impact, hence more accuracy and better distance.
Is There a Perfect Golf Grip?
There's probably no such thing as the ultimate golf grip. The ideal grip will always be a subjective sentiment. Like most other personal experiences, you'll need to experiment a little to find a great golf grip that really matches your style, needs and preferences. That being said, the ideal grip should suit how you release the golf club and produce the intended ball flight, from a straight to a slight draw and fade.
Therefore, you'll have to head to a golf range to fully understand what you're getting from your grip and how you can make the most of it. Real-time feedback for ball flight and curvature will also be immensely vital to finding what works best for you. At that, you'll need to experiment with exaggerated grip changes. For instance, if hooks are a challenge to you, you'll overplay the grip changes until you can land a soft fade.
Common Pitfalls & How to Work on Your Grip
Changing your grip is possibly one of the most taxing things you'll ever do in the game. Consequently, most people give up on this endeavour rather too quickly. It's far too easy for a player to throw in the towel and go back to their old grip when they can't get used to the new and uncomfortable feeling in their hands. It doesn't make things better that they also have to learn the feedback loop all over again with a new grip.
Another common grip misconception is the notion that a player tweaks their grip based on the next shot in play. This is completely misinformed and might actually do more harm than good. After all, it's arguably impractical to spend several hours practising how to hold a golf club properly only to change for one shot, which can easily throw off your feel for the remainder of the round. Instead of altering your grip based on the next shot, it's far much simpler to tweak around the club face while maintaining the grip.
To expedite the whole process of relaxing your hands, minimizing your grip pressure and developing a normal, natural feel:
- You can start by hitting simple or delicate shots, say some chipping, particularly bump-and-runs, while ensuring you have the desired grip before each shot. The key thing is repetition.
- You have to be patient. Different people take different durations for the changes to become second nature. Don't be too hard on yourself if you're still struggling a few weeks in. Keep doing it, and do it right.
- You can also consider using a golf grip trainer for better feedback.
This guide sought to dissect and demonstrate the elements and importance of how to hold a golf club correctly. Hopefully, you're now well-informed to embark on the next step; practising. Learning and mastering such a fundamental skill sets you well on the way to taking your golf to a new level.
Finally, it would be remiss of us if we didn't highlight the key takeaways of a building a sound grip:
- Learn how to hold a golf club properly using the right equipment. Get grips that are fit your hands, style of play and the climate around your local range.
- Take the time to fully grasp how your hands work both individually and together in the golf swing.
- Practise the right grip as much and often as you possibly can.
- Once you have a consistently reliable grip, don't change it.