How to Hold a Golf Club: A Step-by-Step Guide to SuccessPublished on 08/09/2023 · 8 min readMastering your golf club grip is a pivotal first step to perfecting your game! This guide breaks down techniques and tips to elevate your golf game!
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Grip is one of the fundamental aspects of a golfer's setup, directly impacting the accuracy, power, and control of shots. Regardless of a player's skill level, mastering the golf club grip is essential for achieving consistent and successful performance on the course. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll delve into the different types of grips, their key components, and step-by-step instructions. As an avid 2-handicap player and golf instructor, I’ve picked up quite a few things along the way! By following these tips and practicing diligently, you’ll hopefully enhance your game significantly and achieve lower scores.
Understanding the Basics of the Golf Club Grip
Before diving into specific techniques, it’s crucial to grasp the basics of the proper golf grip. The grip is essentially the connection between the golfer and the club, serving as the primary point of contact. There are three main grips in golf: the overlapping grip (Vardon grip), the interlocking grip, and the 10-finger grip (baseball grip). Each has its advantages, and golfers should experiment to find the one that best suits their comfort and style.
Note: this article explains how to grip a golf club from a right-handed perspective. For left handed golfers, the instructions are the same, but the hand nomenclature is reversed. For example, the right hand for left handed golfers is known as the “lead hand,” and the left hand is referred to as the “trailing hand.”
The Overlapping Grip (Vardon Grip):
The overlapping grip, also known as the Vardon grip, is the most widely used in golf and is favored by many professional players. The Vardon grip was named for and popularized by professional golfer Harry Vardon in the early 20th century, due to his success at that time. Here's how to achieve it:
- Hold the club in your left hand (the lead hand for right-handed golfers), positioning the grip diagonally across your fingers from the base of your pinky to the middle joint of your index finger.
- Wrap your left hand around the grip, ensuring the thumb points down the shaft and slightly to the right of center.
- Place your right hand (the trail hand for right-handed golfers) on the club, nestling the little finger of your right hand between the index and middle fingers of your left hand.
- Close your fingers around the grip, allowing the lifeline of your right hand to rest on top of your left thumb.
- Keep a relaxed grip pressure, neither too tight nor too loose, in order to maintain control and feel throughout your swing.
The Interlocking Grip (Used by Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus):
The interlocking grip is another popular choice, especially among players with smaller hands or those seeking a tighter connection between their hands. Follow these steps to achieve the interlocking grip:
- Hold the club in your left hand, positioning it similar to the overlapping grip.
- As you wrap your left hand around the grip, extend your left index finger and tuck it beneath the base of your right pinky finger.
- Place your right hand on the club, interlocking the pinky finger of your right hand with the index finger of your left hand.
- Close your fingers around the grip, ensuring a unified connection between both hands.
- Like the overlapping grip, you should maintain a balanced and relaxed grip pressure for optimal control during your swing.
The 10-Finger Grip (Baseball Grip):
The ten-finger grip—commonly known as the baseball grip, for how one holds a baseball bat—is often preferred by beginners, young golfers, or those with weaker hand strength. Follow these steps to achieve the ten-finger grip:
- Hold the club in your left hand, positioning it similarly to the overlapping and interlocking grips.
- Place your right hand on the club, ensuring that all ten fingers are in contact with the grip.
- Close your fingers around the grip, forming a solid connection between your hands.
- As with the other grips, maintain a balanced and relaxed grip pressure to promote a fluid and controlled swing.
Key Components of a Proper Golf Club Grip
No matter which grip a golfer chooses, there are essential components to maintain for a proper grip:
- Alignment of Vs: With the overlapping and interlocking grips, you should have two V-shapes formed between your thumb and index finger on each hand. These Vs should point towards your right shoulder (or left shoulder for left handed golfers), or just outside of it—this helps achieve proper clubface alignment during the swing. With this position, one hopes to achieve a neutral grip (which doesn’t favor a fade or draw). If you rotate your left hand more over the top of the grip and/or the right hand more underneath the grip, this causes a "strong grip," which typically leads to draws/hooks. Conversely, if the left hand is rotated more underneath and/or the right hand moves more on top of the grip, this creates a "weak grip," which can cause fades/slices.
- Grip Pressure: Finding the right grip pressure is crucial for a consistent swing. Many golfers make the mistake of gripping the club too tightly, which can lead to tension and lack of control. Conversely, gripping too lightly can result in the club slipping during the swing. A balanced, medium grip pressure allows for control and comfort.
- Hand Positioning: The position of your hands on the club's grip is critical. They should be placed slightly ahead of the ball at address, which promotes a proper impact position and helps square the clubface at impact.
- Finger Placement: Each finger plays a specific role in the grip. The index finger of the top hand (left hand for right-handed golfers) is responsible for control and clubface positioning, while the pinky finger of the bottom hand (right hand for right-handed golfers) contributes stability and power.
- Thumb Placement: The position of the thumbs can influence the swing path and clubface control as well. Keeping the left thumb (for right-handed golfers) straight down the shaft helps promote a square club face at impact.
Step-by-Step Guide for Correct Grip Form
Now that I've covered the different types of grips and the key components of a proper grip, let's delve into a step-by-step guide for gripping best practices:
1. Choose Your Grip Type:
Experiment with overlapping, interlocking, and ten-finger grips to determine which one feels most comfortable and provides the best control for you.
2. Start with Your Left Hand:
For right-handed golfers, the left hand is the top hand, while for left-handed golfers, it's the right hand. Position the grip diagonally across the fingers from the base of the pinky to the middle joint of the index finger.
3. Wrap Your Left Hand:
Wrap your left hand around the grip, ensuring the thumb points down the shaft and slightly to the right of center. The V formed between your thumb and index finger should point towards your right shoulder.
4. Place Your Right Hand:
For the overlapping grip, nestle the little finger of your right hand between the index and middle fingers of your left hand. For the interlocking grip, interlock the pinky finger of your right hand with the index finger of your left hand. For the ten-finger grip, place your right hand on the club so that all ten fingers are in contact with the grip.
5. Close Your Fingers:
Close your fingers around the grip, ensuring a secure but relaxed grip pressure. Avoid squeezing the club too tightly.
6. Check Alignment:
Confirm that the V-shapes formed between your thumb and index finger on both hands point towards your right shoulder or just outside of it, since this ensures proper clubface alignment.
7. Positioning of Hands:
Make sure your hands are slightly ahead of the ball at address, helping to establish the correct impact position.
8. Finger and Thumb Placement:
Ensure that your fingers and thumbs are positioned correctly on the grip by using the aforementioned steps, with the left thumb pointing straight down the shaft (for right-handed golfers), ensuring the V points towards your right shoulder.
9. Practice, Practice, Practice:
The grip is one of the most important fundamentals in becoming a better golfer. At first, changing to a new grip can feel unnatural and awkward at times. During practice, just focus on keeping a consistent grip positioning and striking the ball in the center of the clubface. Over time, the grip will become second nature, and you’ll be on your way to lower scores!
Getting a Grip on Your Game
The golf club grip is the foundation of a golfer's swing and can significantly impact the outcome of each shot. Whether using the overlapping, interlocking, or ten-finger grip, adhering to the key components of proper gripping is essential for consistent and successful performance. By following the steps in this article and dedicating time to practice, you can work to achieve mastery in accuracy, power, and control.
Remember that while grip is just one component of a complete golf swing, it sets the foundation for subsequent improvements in your golf swing. The grip helps you swing the club on the correct plane, ensure good positioning at impact, and also helps with ball striking and accuracy. If you have further questions about golf grips or any other aspect of the sport, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or one of my fellow Curated Golf Experts. Happy golfing!