In a sport that demands attention to so many details in order to play it successfully, perhaps no aspect of golf is more important than the correct golf grip.
There are so many mental distractions on the golf course, from sand traps to deep patches, that it's easy to forget about an important part of the game -- the connection your hands have with the club. Holding the golf club correctly gives you a feel for the club head, and is the source of everything that follows in a golf swing.
Everyone who plays golf strives for a few basic things in a natural grip. Your swing should be fluid and continuous from the moment you line up the ball to the end of your follow-through, and the club head needs to hit the back of the ball directly to avoid awkward slices. You also want to bring enough power to the ball with a strong swing, but at the same time you need to adjust your grip in order to avoid making the club slip from your hands [source: U.S. Golf Schools and Travel].
But how do you achieve that perfect balance? Read on to learn five golf grip tips that will give you the best chance at a good swing.
There are three basic golf grips: the overlap, the interlock and the 10-finger grip.
The most widely used grip is the overlap. To achieve this grip, take the little finger of your right hand and place it over the forefinger of your left hand. If you're a southpaw, do the reverse. If you have average-size or large hands, this is likely the best grip for you [source: U.S. Golf Schools and Travel]. But if your digits are shorter than average and you've been told your hands are a little "meaty," the interlock grip might be what you need.
The interlock grip is similar to the overlap, but instead of your right-hand pinky covering your left-hand index finger, the two digits interlock.
According to former PGA Professional Louis Esselen, senior golfers may prefer the hammer, or 10-finger, grip, because it gives more freedom of motion. It's supposed to be ideal for people with small or weak hands, too. All 10 fingers are placed directly on the club, with the little finger of the right hand and the forefinger of the left hand touching.
Gripping the club too tightly, especially with your strong hand, can make your swing cut across the ball instead of connecting with it directly.
A light grip can actually produce better results than a tight grip, because unnecessary muscle tension slows down the speed of your swing [source: LearnAboutGolf.com].
On the left hand, all the pressure on the grip should be coming from the last three fingers. Neither the forefinger nor the thumb of the left hand should put any pressure on the club.
With both hands, pressure on the club should come from the pads of the hand and the fingers, but never the palms.
The proper golf grip can help eliminate slicing. You just have to remember to look for "the V's."
The V's are the intersection of your thumb and forefinger on both hands. In order to get them pointing the right way, make sure that when you grip the club with your left hand, you can see only two knuckles pointing toward your face [source: LearnAboutGolf.com].
With your right hand, grip the club with your forefinger pointing directly down the shaft of the club. Grip the club with your two middle right fingers and place the pad of your right thumb directly over your left thumb.
Last, wrap your right forefinger around the club. When you look down at your hands, the V's formed by the thumb and forefinger of both hands should be aligned properly [source: U.S. Golf Schools and Travel].
Proper alignment of the golf club and your hands is crucial. When you have it nailed down, you can work on other aspects of your game, confident that you'll be able to produce more consistent swings. Without it, accurate shots will be few and far between.
When your left hand grips your club correctly, it should cover up the end of the club completely. The wrist must be on top of the grip of the club.
You can have the most natural grip in the world, but if it's not aligned with the club face, you won't get a good shot. Before addressing the ball, look down the length of your club to make sure your grip and the club face are in proper alignment. This way, when you hold the club, the face is square with the ball. [source: LearnAboutGolf.com]
If you're gripping your club with your palms, your elbows will tell you. A correct golf grip results in straight lines along your arms. If your elbows are bent, your palms are doing too much work, and your arms won't extend properly in your swing, which means less speed [source: Easy2Technologies.com].
Worn-out club grips can be slick, causing your grip to slip or making you hold on too tightly.
Grips that are too large cause your hands to react too slowly to your swing. Grips that are too small cause your hands to overreact. Either way, your shot won't go straight [source: Easy2Technologies.com].
The only thing between you and your golf club besides the grip is your glove. While some golfers do fine without one, having a good golf glove on hand is another way to reduce slippage and increase consistency in your shots. Most gloves are made of leather and are worn on the hand opposite the one that is dominant.
For best results in finding the proper grips or gloves, contact your nearest PGA Pro. He or she can also help you with techniques and tips for your grip and other areas of your golf game.
For lots more information on improving your golf game, line up the links on the next page.
Calculating your golf handicap is a fairly complicated task. Visit HowStuffWorks to learn about calculating your golf handicap.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Bob Mann's Golf Web Site. "Question from Paul: Golf Grip. 2010. (March 18, 2010). http://www.golfbobmann.com/answers/gripa.shtml
- Easy2Technologies.com. "The Golf Grip." 2001. (March 18, 2010). http://www.easy2.com/tutorials/glf0100/index.asp
- LearnAboutGolf.com. "Golf Tips to Improve Your Golf Grip." 2010. (March 18, 2010). http://www.learnaboutgolf.com/beginner/golf_grip.html
- U.S. Golf Schools and Travel. "Gripping the Golf Club." 2010. (March 18, 2010). http://www.ussog.com/aboutus/mr_teach_com/lessons/Golf-Grip.asp
- U.S. Golf Schools and Travel. "Golf Grip- Pressure Test." 2010. (March 18, 2010) http://www.ussog.com/aboutus/mr_teach_com/drills/Grip-Pressure-Test.asp