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Grouchy Golf Blog

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 at 10:32 AM

Golf Tips - The Proper Golf Grip

The first time someone told me to use a strong grip, I gripped the club so hard I almost ripped my glove open.

"No, you idiot," this person told me. "A strong grip means you turn your grip towards the right (for a right-handed golfer)."

"Why the hell is that called a 'strong grip'?"

"I don't know, but it is."

To this day, I still don't know why it's called a strong grip. But whatever the reason, I've learned that a strong grip allows your wrists to hinge properly and squares up the clubface at impact. This is essential to hitting the ball straight with the most distance.

The great Ben Hogan wrote in Five Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, "Good golf begins with a good grip...The grip is the heartbeat of the golf swing." I agree with Mr. Hogan and I believe that a proper grip (strong to neutral) is probably the most important fundamental in golf. However, it is also one of the most neglected and ignored, especially over an extended period of inactivity such as the golf off-season. Now that the golf season is finally in full swing around the country, it's important for golfers to pay special attention to their grip as they start playing golf again.

Butch Harmon, the #1 instructor in the world, wrote an article in Golf Digest several months ago about an easy method to achieve the proper grip each and every time. According to Butch, "Always establish your left-hand grip with the club positioned outside your left thigh, your left arm hanging naturally from your shoulder. See how my left hand is turned inward a bit? That’s how nature intended it. All you do now is close your left hand on the club. As for the right hand, it simply joins the left as you move the club in front of your body in preparation for hitting the shot." I would also emphasize that the right hand should be placed on the grip from the side, rather than the top and that the right hand grip should be more along the fingers.

Since I have a tendency to revert to a weak grip, I found Butch's method extremely valuable. It's fast and very easy to do, and I have even integrated it into my pre-shot routine. I recommend that all golfers give Butch's grip drill a try, especially those who have problems with a slice or generating adequate distance. It's amazing how something as simple as the grip can be the solution to many golfers' swing woes.

Here's a video of the man himself showing you how it's done:

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Blogger AgamGolb said...

That's a great drill.

What about the left hand, though? I had the tendensy to hook it before I realized I need to turn it towards the "left" as I turn the left hand towards the "right".  

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Blogger Eric said...

I am a member of the "weak grip society" as well. I find it very difficult to naturally hold the club with a stronger grip and often revert back to my weak grip, which more often than not gets me into trouble.

I saw this method a few months ago in Golf Digest and tried it out, but it isn't as easy for me as it seems to be for you. The stronger grip feels very unnatural to me and I don't quite know where to place my right hand. I use an interlocking grip to hold the club, and my fingers don't quite lock properly with a stronger grip. Any advice?  

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Blogger Golf Grouch said...

Adam,

According to Butch, "As for the right hand, it simply joins the left as you move the club in front of your body in preparation for hitting the shot."

Good luck.  

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Blogger Golf Grouch said...

Eric,

I had the same problems that you have mentioned.

I use interlocking and the strong grip felt unnatural to me as well.

I still don't feel completely comfortable, but I am convinced that you must not use a weak grip. A strong to neutral grip is definitely a must.

Before I dispense any swing advice, remember that I'm no PGA instructor. I recommend that you consult such an individual instead of reading some hack on the internet. But if you'd rather not, then read on!

Your right hand placement should come right over your left thumb. The knuckles of your right hand should align with that of your left hand. It probably feels very uncomfortable to you because you probably had your right hand more on top of the grip with a weak grip, whereas your right hand comes more from the side with a strong grip.

I suggest that you have a club available around the house and try practicing a strong grip whenever you can. I think you need to practice as much as possible to overcome the years of "weak grip" conditioning.

As for your full swing with a strong grip, I recommend that you practice 3/4 swings and focus on delaying your wrist unhinging on the downswing as long as possible. With a weak grip you may have over-unhinged your wrists on the downswing. This action will cause hooks with a strong grip.

Hitting balls where I tried not to unhinge my wrists at all was probably the best drill for me. Good luck.  

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Blogger dave said...

Simple routine to get into...I think I remember seeing several of the pros doing this on TV.  

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Blogger Eric said...

"It probably feels very uncomfortable to you because you probably had your right hand more on top of the grip with a weak grip, whereas your right hand comes more from the side with a strong grip."

That is exactly what feels so uncomfortable to me. The strong grip feels like it is much more powerful than my old weak grip also and makes me feel like I am choking the club. As I do have a problem squaring the clubface at impact with the driver, I do consider this a necessity and am not going to give up on it. I've been practicing just gripping the club for the past several days around the house, and though it still feels unnatural, I am begining to adjust somewhat to it.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I comprehend all this disussion about strong and weak grips is that, the 'weak' grip would be designed for a strong leading hand, and the 'strong' grip fro a strong pushing hand. Also, I would think that with the strong grip, one would have a problem with hitting down with the irons unless there was some incorporation of lateral movement on the downswing.
Dan in Delray - thecollegesun@yahoo.com  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more about the comment that having a strong grip is one of the most important fundamentals for a "slicer" to learn. I had a very weak grip because that is the way it felt like I should hold the club. Consequently, I hit a lot of slices or pushes and hit fat a large amount of the time. So not only was I off track, but I wasn't hitting the ball very far either. After about 7 years, I finally took a 45 minute lesson. All the instructor did was show me the correct grip and I was instantly hitting balls like I had always wanted to hit them. It feels kind of weird until you get used to it, but seriously, don't give up on it.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

ben hogan didn't have a very strong grip,at least not when he wrote his book, five fundamentals.he sad that the v should be pointing at your right eye or ear, now thats not a strong grip.  

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Blogger Golf Grouch said...

Ben Hogan fought a hook his entire life and therefore favored a weak grip. However, the modern swing favors a strong or neutral grip. Sorry, I didn't intend to imply that Hogan advocated a strong grip...  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over the past two years, my game had been becoming more eratic and frustrating as H^**. In a two year time-frame, I went from a 2 to a 10. I had lost distance, consistency, and confidence. My pro recognized my problem during a club scramble about two weeks ago....a very weak grip. I didn't even realize I was working my right wrist over left during address! A weak grip typically promotes a very "handsy" swing. If your timing is "on," everything feels pretty good. However, if your "off"...you get to see the whole track..haha. Even when I was on, I still was a club shorter than I was even a year before. I just thought I was getting older. He showed me this exact grip tip that day...results..79,73,75. My confidence is back and I'm a club longer. My game has taken a great turn for the better. I was pretty surprised to see how one little thing could change my game and my view at the game as a whole. wow...  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a little testimonial here from someone that was taught by a pro as a youngster that 'everyone has to use a neutral/weak grip to play good golf'. I fought it all my life until about 5 years ago when I finally became tired of fighting what God gave me. I saw a piece on The Golf Channel, can't remember who it was, but the point made stuck with me. Stand normally with your hands at your side and make a fist. When I do that I see all 5 knuckles as the top of my hand points in front of me, indicating my natural tendency is for an extremely strong grip. Once I incorporated this into my swing over the next 6 months my game went ballistic from tee to green. I shot my career low of 70 at World Woods 4 months ago utilizing what my teaching pro would call a 'bad grip'. I still go weak for certain shots such as a flop or bunker, but strong is a natural grip for this old dog. It truly revolutionized my golf game, especially with the driver. My iron shots are so much more solid and the dispersion and distance control improved as well....just my sentiments. DON'T fight what God gave ya!  

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Anonymous Dilip said...

Grouchy, your tips are amazing!!! I wish you well and do hope more and more mediocre golfers read them and improve!!! Super!! Thank you..  

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Blogger ordinaryman said...

Hi, Glad to see golfers commenting here. Can anyone give me some links to free resources for success in quick short games? I’m interested in audio-visual contents.

Cheers.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have added at least 15 yards to my clubs by experimenting with my grip (neutral to weak) this week. My irons have always been accurate but a little short. Going with the stonger grip I now can hit a pretty nice little draw with more distance. I'm off to the range later this week to check out the driver. I've been a chronic slicer (killed the enjoyment of the game for me... stopped playing for 15 years) my whole life and I think this just might be the cure. I too was taught as a junior golfer to have a neutral grip for a 'proper' swing. Screw that - go strong - long- and it won't do you wrong!  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said earlier ...

"Stand normally with your hands at your side and make a fist. When I do that I see all 5 knuckles as the top of my hand points in front of me, indicating my natural tendency is for an extremely strong grip."

I'm a late-in-life beginner (late 30's), but for what it's worth, I've had a similar experience. When I stand and look in a mirror, the top of my hands face forward. I was fighting that natural grip - because what I had read lead me to believe that grip was too strong. I gave in and just "went with it", and I've never looked back. Everything just feels so much more "natural" now.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Good golf begins with a good grip...The grip is the heartbeat of the golf swing."
Hogan's successes came after he switched to a weak grip as his bad shot in his earlier years was a quick hook.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which is correct. In using the overlapping grip technique my ball is much straighter. However,when i place the pinky of my forward hand in the groove between the index finger and the middle finger my comfort feel is to place my ring finger on top of my index. During the drill that teaches not to pinch the forward hand index and thumb to the club you hold them out like shooting a gun during your stroke. I realized the only finger of my forward hand touching the club was my middle finger. To compensate i find myself with some effort sliding my forward ring finger down next to my index. While not interlocking this places my index finger between my ring and pinky keeping the pinky in the groove between the index and middle.
Which is the correct position of the forward ring finger,on top of or next to the index? Thanks for all the comments its a great blog for us just taking golf serious.
Kam  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you notice butches grip v points to his chin right before he swings
 

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Anonymous adrian smits said...

My grip has both hands facing the sky,double overlap and the but of the golf club in the middle of my palm.My clubhead hands and shoulder are on a straight line with my left shoulder for all full shots.Because the size of my swing arc is 10 inches larger than my regular swing I can hit the ball 15 to 20 yards longer. However because I fold my left wrist on the backswing instead of rotating I keep the club square to the target line and as a result hit the ball much straighter as well.  

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Anonymous Jake said...

I agree I think this was phenomenal information and is helping tremendously with not only my grip but as well as my swing.  

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