Category Archives: grip

A golf grip fundamental

“That’s everything,” Sam Snead said, when Jim McLean asked him, “How important do you feel the grip is in the golf swing?” So many problems are caused by a bad grip, and so many are solved by a good one.

Here is one aspect of a good grip that you don’t read about too much, but is nonetheless a vital feature.

In Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons, he said the the V in the left hand should point to the right eye, and the V in the right hand should point to the chin. That’s a pretty weak grip, which most recreational golfers could not use successfully.

What this alignment does, however, is get your hands working together as a unit, something your grip does not likely do for you now.

Try this: Put a tee between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand, all the way up in the V. Put another one in the same place of your right hand. Now take your grip.

The tees should be lined up and pointing in the same direction, as in the pictures below.

If they point off to different places, the means your hands are not lined up, and thus not working together. Everything good in your swing is working under a great handicap. Controlling the ball could be a problem.

The good news is that it is not necessary for the Vs to be pointing in the exact direction that the Hogan grip describes. You might want to rotate both hands to the right, but in doing so, making sure the tees end up pointing in the same direction.

There is, on the other hand, Sam Snead’s method. He tells you to have both Vs pointing to the right shoulder. That’s a stronger grip, good for most recreational golfers, but it gets the hands out of alignment. The tees will be pointing in different directions.

It worked for Snead, and it might work for you. But if it doesn’t, the Hogan method is something you can try.

It could be the only adjustment you need to make to bring every shot around to the center. That’s what it did for me.


Two Grip Tips

(Actually, only one.)

The grip is the first fundamental of golf. Get a good grip and building a good swing is much easier.

A vital grip fundamental that you never hear about is to hold the club at its balance point.

If you put your hands on the club about an inch from the top of the handle, you will find a place where the clubhead feels like it is an extension of your right hand.

Above this point the hole club feels whippy. Below this point, the club feels stiff and unresponsive. In neither case do you feel connected to the clubhead.

Be sensitive in finding this balance point. Sometimes moving your hands just a quarter of an inch up or down the shaft makes the difference. By holding the club at its balance point, it will feel like a tool in your hands ready to do your bidding.

Lighten Up on the Golf Club

I just got back from a day at the range. It’s been raining hard here for the last few days, so the putting green was closed. The only thing to do then was to hit balls off the practice tees. Sometimes I just go through the motions on the tees because I like the practice green better. Tees, beets. Green, chocolate pudding. Since the option of the green was taken away today, I focused a lot better than usual on my full swing. Here’s what I took home with me.

Lighten up your grip pressure. You hear this all the time. Don’t squeeze the handle. Relax your hands. Yet you don’t. Why? Because it doesn’t make sense that a grip that light can hang onto and control the club during such a violent act (more on that in a bit) as the golf swing. Well, it can.

Try this. Pick up the club and hold it so it sticks straight out in front of you. Relax your grip to where the club starts to fall out of your hands. Now tighten up your grip pressure again just to the point where that does not happen. That is how much pressure you should have on the club when you hold it. Any more pressure in your hands will start locking up muscles throughout your body, preventing them from moving freely to build up the clubhead speed that you want.

Then there’s that slash at the ball you call your swing that makes the ball go everywhere but straight and long. There might be nothing wrong with your swing, it’s just that you’re overdoing it.

Here’s another thing to try. Swing at your normal speed, but feel like you’re swinging in slow motion. Imagine that you’re watching yourself swing, from inside your head, and you want to go slow enough so you can see everything. That will feel slow, but it won’t be slow. The result will be a swing with all the clubhead speed you need.

Lighten up your grip pressure, lighten up your swing. Especially with your driver, but that’s another post. Do those two things and see what a difference it makes. A good difference. And in the meantime,


Five Tune-Up Tips For Your Golf Swing

These five tips are little differences that will make a big difference literally overnight in the way you swing a golf club. One hour of practice is all you need to install them in your swing. They will give you a feeling of confidence, control, and ease, three characteristics of good golf.

There is a natural balance point for every club. This is where you hold the club and it feels light, and as if it were an extension of your hands and arms. For most clubs this will be felt when you grip down about 1″-1½” from the end of the grip. When you hold the club at this point, you will feel relaxed and at ease. Swing the club the way this feeling suggests.

Take your stance slightly open to the intended line of flight. Just a little bit. No more than 5 degrees. Being slightly open will let you get your left hip cleared better, and allow you to come into the ball with the right side a little more “underneath” the ball. The first gets the club down the target line more easily, and the second gets the ball in the air more easily.

Swing the club easily. There is no need to rush going back, and certainly no rush going down. If anything, swing more slowly than you think you need to. Make it almost like an easy practice swing. The speed that such a swing will build up is greater than you feel. Combined with the design of the club, you will hit the ball a long way. If your ball-striking gets off during a round, check the speed of your swing first. Odds are that you are swinging too fast, especially at the start of the downswing.

You might have heard the phrase, “finish your backswing.” What does that mean? For every club you swing, from driver to wedge, and even when pitching, it means to finish turning your body before you start your downswing. Get the left shoulder as close to your chin as you can, and your right shoulder turned away as far as you can, without straining. It is not necessary that your arms go to a particular place, but that your turn be full. When our mind begins to wander on the course, this turns gets shorter, and our ball-striking worsens.

One difference between the professional swing and the amateur swing is that professionals do not allow the clubhead to pass their hands until after the ball has been struck. That means when the clubhead is impacting the ball, the shaft is tilted toward the target, not vertical, or worse, tilting away from the target. You ensure this happens by maintaining the wrist set you have at the top of the backswing until your hands get back down to hip height. At that point, the momentum of your swing will release the set, but continue swinging and let the hands win the race with the clubhead to get to and past the ball.