Golf Tips - Use a Strong Grip on the Club

By Joe Sullivan

The grip is probably the most talked about area of the swing in terms of instruction. As a matter of fact, I don't think I have ever seen someone getting a lesson who is NOT told to alter their grip somehow.

I am not a big stickler on the grip for the following reasons:

  1. Every great player in the world has a different grip.
  2. We all have different ways of putting our hands on the club that makes us feel comfortable.

I am a big stickler on the grip for the following reasons:

  1. The grip has an effect on clubface positions. Too weak of a grip, with your hands turned too far to the left, will lead to an open clubface through impact, and, hence, a slice.
  2. Although most pros are different, most of them have some form of a strong grip. They just differ on how strong, not necessarily if it's strong or weak.

So the basic idea with your grip, as far as I am concerned, is to have a strong grip. This means that your hands are turned more to the right, and underneath the club. This will make it so much easier for you to keep your clubface square throughout the entire shot. You will no longer have the tendency to roll the face open during the first three feet of your swing.

How strong your grip should be is in large part up to you. There are some great players on tour with super strong grips, like David Duval and Paul Azinger, and those with barely a strong grip at all, like Tom Weiskopf and Hale Irwin. I think a good way to measure a strong grip is to make the "V's" formed by the thumb and index finger point towards your right shoulder.

This strong grip is especially true for the longer hitters. There is Tim Herron, John Daly, Scott McCarron, and, of course, Tiger Woods. They all have a strong grip.

This is especially true with their left hand. With each of these players, you can see about three to four knuckles on their left hand. This gives them so much more leverage in terms of their wrist movement. They are able to wait to the last moment to release the club, which results in a surge of club head speed through impact.

Or maybe you should look at the shorter hitters. People like Corey Pavin and Curtis Strange are short hitters on tour and have weak grips, with their "V's" pointing toward their chin.

So to sum up this entire grip issue, let me say this. We know that there are only two reasons why someone can slice the golf ball. It's either from going over the top, or having an open clubface at impact. Coming over the top is obviously caused from swinging above the plane on your downswing. Having an open face at impact is 95% of the time caused from a weak grip.

That said, if you look at the tour players, they do the exact opposite of the two causes of a slice. Just about all of them swing underneath the plane on the downswing, and just about all of them have some form of a strong grip. (It's funny how it works that way)

So, grip it strong, hit it long, and you can't go wrong!

Columns ©1999 Joseph K. Sullivan and GolfLink Inc. All rights reserved.

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