The Trigger Finger in Your Golf Grip

There’s a grip feature that isn’t talked about very much. You hardly ever read about it in instruction books, maybe because the authors think it is an advanced technique. It might be.

But if you have been around the game for a while, you might have seen it, and you might want to try building it into your grip in an advantageous way.

Your right index finger is probably resting alongside the right middle finger when you hold the club, and doesn’t do much but sit there. If you play left-handed, I’m taking about your left index finger.

What I want you to try is separating that finger by placing it farther down on the handle. Put about one finger-width away from the middle finger so there is a gap between the two. That makes it what people call a trigger finger.

For you Golfing Machine nuts, it is Pressure Point #3.

You can stop there, but I went a step further. With my thumb, which is sitting on top of the handle, I press the handle against the middle bone in my index finger (medial phalange, if you must know). That clamps the handle between those two fingers and gives them a major role in guiding the club throughout the swing.

For Ben Hogan buffs, of which I am one, this is the exact opposite of what he said to do with these two fingers in his book Five Lessons, which he called swing wreckers. A more careful reading of the book reveals that he was opposed to the use of these two fingers for the average golfer, but they are used by advanced golfers for touch in striking the ball.

I see what he means. I find I have placed the club in the firm grasp of the two most sensitive fingers, the ones with which I, or all of us, do any kind of precision handwork. Given the precision that is required to hit a golf ball on the center of a square clubface, why wouldn’t I want to have these two fingers play a leading role?

When I take the club back, I take it back with these two fingers. That lets me bring the club up to the same place for the start of the forward much more often than not. During the forward swing, the pressure of these two fingers serves to prevent my right hand from turning over the left and hooking the ball.

The result is a stream of very straight shots, rather than draws that can get out of control without notice. I wish I had discovered this twenty years ago!

More specifically, I get more center hits with my driver, and more precision hits (ball first, ground second) with my irons.

What about short shots, that get hit with finesse stroke? Aren’t your right thumb and forefinger the name of the game when it comes to finesse?

What I’ve told you so far is how this is going for me. This might not work for you, or work in this form. I went through several variations of the trigger finger, to figure out just how to do it, before I hit upon this one, and it has taken some time to get to this place with it.

It’s just something you can play with that you might not have heard about. A few videos might be help you along.

Shawn Clement has a video that led me to the grasping concept, but he emphasizes power. And those are muscles in your forearm, not tendons.

One more, from the irrepressibly cute Aimee Cho, emphasizes the control aspect.

2 thoughts on “The Trigger Finger in Your Golf Grip”

  1. Bob,

    Nice article. I’ve tried a variation of this before with some success, although not quite what you mention. It does take some experimentation. I seem to recall a photo of Arnold Palmer using a form of the trigger finger on his grip, but I could be wrong.

    Also, just a note that your links at the bottom are not formatted correctly.

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