Golf is a game with many aspects. On the surface, it may seem like a simple little game that involves knocking balls into holes. However, there are many skills that go into the making of a good golfer, and today we will be discussing one of the most important. The position and strength of your grip have a lot to do with the accuracy and consistency of your swings.
Step 1: Evaluate
Before you can plot your course, you must first realize where you are. If your golf grip is lacking, you have probably seen the results out on the range. When your performance is both poor and inconsistent, there is a good chance that your grip is the problem.
However, it is always possible that your grip is fine, and that you lack in some other area. At this stage, it would be a good idea to seek out the advice of a qualified trainer. If you can’t do that, you will have to evaluate the situation based on your results on the course.
Step 2: Build Your Strength
Once you have identified your grip as a problem, you need to realize one thing: A good golf grip must have both strength and technique. It’s not just about how strong your hands might be, because strength doesn’t necessarily equal accuracy. It’s also not just about your technique. Good technique with a weak grip is unlikely to be much better.
Let’s begin with a time-honored way to strengthen your grip: A set of grip trainers. These are just a pair of inexpensive devices that you can squeeze throughout the day to strengthen your grip. When buying one of these, make sure you try it out first. You don’t want to pick something that’s too strong to use, or too weak to give you a workout. These devices come in many different strengths, so we recommend that you get more than one. This way, you can start with the weakest and work your way up to the strongest.
Once you have improved your strength to a significant level, you might try the most hardcore method of all: Hanging. Ask yourself: Are there people whose lives depend on the strength of their hands? The answer is yes: They’re called rock climbers. You don’t need a mountain or even a cliffside to train your grip in this way. You just need something on which to hang.
You might use a tree branch, or a swing set, or maybe the rafters in your attic. They also make chin-up bars that fit a doorway so you might consider one of those. Either way, this type of thing has been scientifically proven to improve grip strength. In this study, researchers found that this type of training can improve grip strength as well as grip endurance. Over the course of only four weeks, the test subjects improved their grip strength by as much as 10% and improved their grip endurance by as much as 20%.
In spite of all this, it is important to remember that you don’t necessarily want to grip the club with all of your strength. In fact, the whole point of this training is to keep you from doing that. If your hands are not strong, you have to grip the club very tightly in order to keep it from flying away. This provides grip security but lessens your control. With a strong set of hands, you can be relaxed and secure at the same time.
That brings us to the subject of grip pressure. According to this research, most of the pressure should be exerted by the trailing three fingers of the left hand. The left-hand index finger acts as a controller, while the right hand exerts very little pressure. The thumb and forefinger of the right hand should exert almost no pressure at all.
Step 3: Build Your Technique
This part is a little trickier. While the need for a strong grip is universal, good technique is not. What we mean is: There is no one right way to grip the golf club. If you take the top ten golf players in the world and look at their grips, you will see that all of them have a slightly different grip. You have to find the grip that works for you.
If you are a beginner, you need a place to start. You can always modify your grip later (and you probably will), but we recommend that you start with the Hogan grip. This grip was popularized by golf legend Ben Hogan and helped him to win 63 professional tournaments. Thus, we know for a fact that this grip can produce top-level results.
We are fortunate in the fact that Mr. Hogan wrote a book in which he devoted an entire chapter to the development of the proper grip. One thing to know right away is that your left-hand serves as the stabilizer, resting near the butt of the handle. The other hand serves as a guide, being laid slightly farther up the shaft.
One thing that you can do is use a hammer as a training tool. Like a golf club, a hammer must be swung with a combination of speed and accuracy. A nail head is much smaller than a golf ball, and a hammerhead is much smaller than the face of a golf club. Thus, we know that a hammer grip can produce the accuracy that we need.
Start by holding a hammer in one hand as you normally would. When you do this, your palm-heel should be resting against the top of the handle. Hold the hammer vertically in front of you and practice moving the hammer with only the heel of your palm. Try not to use any other part of your hand or arm. Once you get comfortable with that, hold your hammer downward like a golf club and take some practice swings.
Now you can really get hardcore about this thing. Take a wooden board and drive some nails partly into it. Don’t drive them in very far: Go just deep enough to make them stay. Set this wooden board in front of you, and set it up in such a way that you can hit the head of the nail with an underhand swing. This way, you can practice swinging the hammer like a golf club and hitting a small target. The important thing here is that you play around with this and learn to develop a greater degree of accuracy. Many people like to do this as a mental exercise, but we recommend trying it for real.
Here is another training exercise that is intended to develop good grip technique. As you will see in the video (at about 4:00), you just hold the club using only your index finger and the heel of your palm. Obviously, this should be done with your left hand.
Practice a little bit with this method, as it will help you to develop better club control. You see, the index finger and the palm represent two important points of control, and you need to understand the kinds of movement that you can produce in the club using only these two points of contact.
Step 4: Experiment With Different Hand Positions
Once you have established a basic grip that works for you, it’s time to explore some variations. First, let’s discuss grip linkage. Many players choose to link their two hands together when gripping the club, as it helps you to maintain better coordination and move both hands as if they are one.
You may not find it helpful to link your hands, as not all players do. However, it’s well worth a try. Both Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have been known to use this little trick, so there’s no reason to doubt its effectiveness. There are two ways to combine your hands: Overlapping and interlocking.
An overlapping grip (also known as the Vardon grip) involves placing the pinky of your right hand over the fingers of your left hand. Most players put the pinky right between the middle and index fingers of the left hand. Ben Hogan, whose technique you have already examined, was an advocate of this method. The other method is called the interlocking grip. With this method, you hook your right pinky with your left index finger and lock them together. There are tons of other grips out there, so do some research and try a wide variety of them.
Step 5: Get Some Feedback
At this stage, you need to figure out how far you have come. By doing this, you can gauge the effectiveness of your training. This will be very similar to the evaluation that you did at the beginning of this process. Easy mode: Talk to a trainer. Hard mode: Play some games against other golfers and see how you do.
The development of a perfect golf grip is not an easy process. It may take months, or even years, for you to reach your full potential. The good news is that you can make some significant improvements by following the advice outlined above, and it probably won’t take you very long to see an improvement in your game. In particular, a perfect grip will produce the consistency needed to win again and again. We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this article and that it will help to make you a better player.