Of all the things you must learn to play better golf, the grip is the most important. The way you hold the golf club will affect virtually every other part of your swing, because your hands must work as one to hit the ball with both power and accuracy. This article discusses all three grips:
- the Vardon grip, or overlapping grip, where you overlap the pinkie of your bottom hand to the forefinger of your top hand. It is used by more than 90 percent of all golfers because it typically gives you the best chance to control your shot.
- the "interlocking" grip where you interlock your bottom pinkie with the top's forefinger.
- the "baseball" grip where all 10 fingers grip the club.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Set your club on the ground as if you are addressing the golf ball. Set the club grip across the fingers of your top hand (left hand if you are right-handed). Then place your other hand onto the club so that the pinkie of your bottom hand is securely resting between the middle finger and the index finger of your top hand. The thumb of your top hand should fit neatly in the palm of your second hand.
Check the "V"s made by the thumb and forefinger of your two hands and make corrections. When you look down the club, make sure the "V" of your top hand is pointing toward your chin and the "V" formed by your other hand is pointing toward your trailing shoulder. This method will produce a neutral grip, which you should use at the outset. If you are right-handed, you can create a "strong" grip by positioning the "V"s more to the right, and a "weak" grip by doing the reverse. With a "strong" grip, you will have a tendency to hook the ball; while with a "weak" one, you will be creating a likely fade or slice.
Make sure that the face of your club is pointing toward the target after you grip it. Too often, an amateur player will spend an inordinate amount of time making sure that he has gripped the club correctly and overlook this very important point. Notice that professionals make sure their golf club is aligned properly, because they realize its importance.
For the interlocking grip. Pick up the club in your left hand and make sure your small finger is near the top of the shaft. Take the small finger of your right hand and put it under the first finger of your left hand. Your thumbs need to align down the shaft. This grip is good for a golfer who wants increased power and added distance.
For the baseball grip. Hold the club in your left hand and make a fist. Put your right hand directly underneath your left hand. There is no overlap or interlocking of the fingers. This is the way you would hold a baseball bat. The two hands work independently giving you a sense of freedom.
Try each grip - the overlapping, the interlocking and the baseball grip at a driving range before you decide which one is right for you. Take 10 swings with each grip to determine which is the most comfortable to use. Try the grip on several clubs. You may find that you have greater control with a shorter club, such as a pitching wedge, if you choke down on the club about 8 inches.
Stick with one grip once you make your decision. You will have a much better chance of building a repeatable swing if you start with the same grip each time.
Too often, amateurs believe they must grip the club tightly to hit a golf shot longer. Actually, the reverse is true. You should hold the club with a grip strength of "5" on a scale of 1 to 10. That's the equivalent of a firm handshake. Holding it tighter will prevent you from getting a full and relaxed swing. Holding it looser will cause vibrations on impact and the ball will probably slice off to the right.