In last week’s post, I wrote, “It is one thing for your grip to be identical for every shot. That takes lot of practice, and is a good subject for another post.”
I use the phrase, “a good subject for another post” without following through more often than I should, but this week I’m following through.
My topic is what your hands are supposed to feel like as you take your grip — again, something you read very little about in discussions of the grip.
Most of what is written describes what the grip is supposed to look like. What it feels like is just as important in having your grip be identical every time you pick up a club. Your grip can look right, but still be off. It has to feel right, too.
Let’s begin without a club in our hand. We’ll take an air grip, so the feel of the club in our hands does not distract us from the main points of how the hands should feel when they come together.
The key feeling of the hands working as one lies where the side of the left thumb rests in the pocket of the right palm. It is not enough for the left thumb just to be placed there.
There needs to be a feeling that the thumb is locked into that place, and there is only one placement that will give you that feeling. A shift of even a quarter-inch either way, by sliding the thumb in the pocket, is enough to destroy that connection.
I have written that there needs to be a slight bit of pressure in this spot so the hands stay together, but that is not what I’m talking about now.
I mean a feeling that the left thumb and right palm touch each other, fitting so neatly together, that you feel as if someone who tried to pull your hands apart couldn’t do it.
The second feel is of the right little finger interacting with the back of the left forefinger and middle finger.
There are lots of places this little finger can go. Wherever that is for you, it needs to have the same feeling as the left thumb does — it’s comfortably in place, but fitting in with the other hand, in this case, the left, in an inseparable way.
Those two fingers, the left thumb and the right little finger, are what lock the hands together — not because they are fixed in place by pressure, but because they are in the right place.
Now we can pick up a club and work with the fingers that actually hold it. They are the last three fingers of the left hand and the first three fingers of the right hand.
The feeling in the last three fingers of the left hand is that they, and no others, are holding the club. That doesn’t mean to squeeze those fingers, just hold on with them.
The feeling in the first three fingers of the right hand is of stability. They support the action of the last three fingers of the left hand, but do not take over their function.
The segment of the right forefinger closest to the palm presses gently against the handle of the club. That pressing action keeps the right hand rotated inward a bit, in support of the left thumb resting against the right palm, to keep the hands from coming apart.
In all, none of these feelings should be pronounced. There should be firmness, but light firmness and not heavy or tense firmness.
Finally, regarding grip pressure, you know how Sam Snead said you should hold the club as if it were a little bird? Sam Snead had large hands and very strong hands. You might not be able to get away with holding a club that lightly.
If you feel the handle pressing against, but not compressing, the soft pads of your palm and the underside of your fingers, that is about right.