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Golf 101: How to properly grip the golf club

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I’m sure you’ve heard by now that a good grip is one of the cornerstones of a good swing. Clichés become clichés because they’re true, and putting your hands on the club is extremely important… for reasons you know, and for some reasons you probably haven’t heard before.

Let’s start with the big, obvious one you already know. Your grip establishes the default relationship between the clubface and the golf ball. If you set your grip in a way that promotes bringing the club back to impact open or closed, you’re going to have to do something else in your swing to compensate for that. In other words, a sound grip makes the job of squaring the club easier.

The less obvious reason that a good grip is important is speed. If you set the club in your hands correctly—so that the handle runs across the base of the fingers in your left hand and not across the palm—you’re giving your wrists much more freedom to move. This wrist “mobility” is what allows the final transfer of energy from the body to the club. A great swing thought is to envision that your wrist joints were just greased up. They should feel like they are unrestricted and “oily.”

Another less obvious problem caused by a bad grip is that it tends to perpetuate itself. If you have a bad grip and repeatedly make off-center contact on the clubface, the off-center hits will actually jar the face of the club more off-line, and you’ll hit it even more crooked. And the bad feeling those shots produce in your hands will cause you to continually adjust it. There’s no consistency or feel there. It’s like hitting a whole bunch of baseballs off the end of an aluminum bat on a 39-degree day. A recipe for pain.

To fix your grip, start with your left (top) hand. Set the handle along the first joints of your fingers, and hold it like you would carry a suitcase or briefcase by its handle.

When you get the grip in this position, you’re creating an angle (and a lever) between the club and your left arm, and you’re giving the wrist freedom to move. If you turned the handle so that it crossed your palm diagonally—like a putting grip—you’d immediately feel how your wrist would be much more restricted in how it could bend or turn. That’s why it’s great for putting—because it restricts how the face turns. But on a full swing, you want to take full advantage of the range of motion that comes from rotating from open to square. (this is what the club is designed to do!)

Get a firm grip on the handle with all of the fingers of your left hand and get as much of the thumbprint pushed onto the grip as you can. Now, place your right hand on the handle so that the underside of your right thumb covers the left thumb as much as possible, and get as much of the thumbprint on your right hand onto the top of the grip as possible.

Where you place your hand on the grip is more important than if you decide to interlock, overlap or play with all 10 fingers on the handle. I prefer the overlapping grip because it keeps the index finger of your left hand on the handle, and that extra finger can make a difference for many players.

If your grip isn’t great and you make these changes, it’ll definitely feel strange at first. But I’m betting that straighter and longer shots will make up for it.

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Michael Jacobs is the Director of Instruction at X Golf School and the owner of Jacobs 3D. He's was recently named on the of the 50 Best Golf Teachers in America by Golf Digest (2017-2018). He's also a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher in America, a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher in America, and the 2012 Metropolitan Section PGA Teacher of the Year. Jacobs is also the author of two books and the only golf professional to ever design his own golf research software program.

46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. Dr. Freud

    Nov 1, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    You should grip the club handle with your lower dominant hand the same way you hold your member when you pound it… 😮

  2. skip

    Oct 24, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    I dunno, his grip looks sloppy and in the palm.

    • steve

      Oct 27, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      He’s got fat-palmed hands… so thin grips fill his hand gripping style.

  3. allanengineering

    Oct 16, 2018 at 12:12 am

    Michael and Brian sound so amateurish trying to explain Dr. Sasho’s scientific sham… so pathetic…

    • steve

      Oct 24, 2018 at 12:50 am

      If you understand the alpha-beta-gamma torques you have your golfswing aced… but it only applies to the lead hand/arm…. a one armed swing… lol

  4. James

    Oct 15, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    A good grip starts with the right size grips! The most underlooked part of even most ‘high-end’ fittings. It’s ‘too hard’ to go through shafts/heads/loft/lie adjustments – then test 5 grip sizes. Not practical – yet we all know about the tour player with ’12 wraps under left hand & 5 1/2 under the Rt” (etc). We just LOVE the guy who needs mizuno’s – off the wall – but ‘with ONE extra wrap’ pulleeze…

    I am constantly surprised when new students who can palm a basketball MAYBE have std midsize grips – or guys with 90+mph 6iron speed – who can crush walnuts in their paws come in with MUSHY winn oversize wraps! Ruin an otherwise good fitting….

    Anyway, the STRONG HAND MUST BE positioned in a position to function – at speed as the article says based on Functional Human Anatomy & the size & shape of the head of the Radius bone. How much ‘on top’ of the lead hand’s thumb is relative to the person’s size , strength & rotational flexiblity – as well as the right platform to place the hands on.

    • geohogan

      Oct 15, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      5 different grip sizes is bound to change the SW.
      Std grips are 50 grams and oversize up to 100 grams. That is serious counterbalancing, which will significantly change feel.

      Many great ball strikers with large hands use(d) woman’s grips.

      • allan

        Oct 16, 2018 at 12:07 am

        Only if they have fat hands… and thin skinny hands may need oversized grips to fill the hand grip volume/

        • geo

          Oct 19, 2018 at 9:01 pm

          Control is the pinkie of the top hand.
          Grip hand volume has nothing to do with control of a lever.
          oversize grips work for some golfers because of the change in SW as a result of heavier weight at the butt end of the lever.

          • steve

            Oct 24, 2018 at 12:39 am

            The pinkie is the weakest of the all the fingers… and you depend on ‘control’ with that weakness??!!! The club is NOT a “lever”… it’s just a simple segment that flips over and around. Stop with the “lever” nonsense…!!!

            • geohogan

              Oct 26, 2018 at 10:02 am

              There is more than one way to swing a golf club for sure. Some like you are flippers… carry on.

              • steve

                Oct 27, 2018 at 7:47 pm

                …. and you don’t know the difference between kinematics and kinetics… btw it’s you who flips out… 😛

            • geohogan

              Oct 26, 2018 at 10:09 am

              Now you understand why a small diameter , womans grip is preferred by many.
              It is easily controlled by a pinkie.

              • steve

                Oct 27, 2018 at 7:51 pm

                No… you need a bigger grip butt diameter to counteract the gamma torque which twists the club axially…. and the weak pinkie finger need a bigger grip butt end to apply more counter-torque. You are ignorant about shaft torque science.

    • the dude

      Oct 15, 2018 at 8:14 pm

      well done sir….

  5. geohogan

    Oct 15, 2018 at 11:31 am

    But on a full swing, you want to take full advantage of the range of motion that comes from rotating from open to square. (this is what the club is designed to do!)

    beg to differ. Our body turn is what causes the clubface to square not the club(or hands)

    • steve

      Oct 16, 2018 at 12:15 am

      The clubhead flips square because it’s eccentric from the shaft. It’s all in the hands and arms. The body will align the swing path only. Do I have to teach you everything?!!

      • geo

        Oct 19, 2018 at 8:24 pm

        Good luck squaring the clubface consistently with hands
        when it impossible to even know where our hands or club is in space during the 1/4 second of DS and when impact is
        5, 10,000th second.

        Whereas we can rotate and consistently square the clubface to the target, SIDE ON.

        • steve

          Oct 24, 2018 at 12:36 am

          No… I didn’t say that duufus…. I said the eccentricity of the clubhead squares the hands and arms…. if you time it correctly with body aligned swing path. Jeez, you are non-scientific … lol

  6. Tom

    Oct 14, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Suggestions for next articles; tying ones golf shoes, teeing up the ball and how to use the ball washer….deep deep info…

  7. geohogan

    Oct 14, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    The key to a good grip is establishing the proper fulcrum point. The proper fulcrum is fundamental to lag, IMO.

    • allanengineering

      Oct 16, 2018 at 12:19 am

      You are confusing a static fulcrum with dynamic torque pivot points. Sheesh, you are really engineering ignorant.

      • geo

        Oct 19, 2018 at 8:58 pm

        Lag increases radial acceleration
        The proper fulcrum established by the hands
        maximizes the kinetic energy of lag.

        Ke=1/2mv2

        Another example is the “one inch punch”

        • steve

          Oct 24, 2018 at 12:44 am

          What a pile of nonsense!!!!
          Lag decreases accelerations because it interferes with the Kinetic Chain.
          There is no “hand fulcrum” because you “release” the club approaching impact. There is no time to apply any hand leverage effectively.
          What is the “one inch punch”… references?

          • geohogan

            Oct 26, 2018 at 9:27 pm

            Clubhead behind the hands at P6, means when arms decelerate (kinematic chain),
            there is maximum (maximum radius) for radial acceleration of the clubhead to impact.

            • steve

              Oct 27, 2018 at 7:40 pm

              What is P6? Define “maximum radius”.
              “decelerate” is a Kinetic Chain term… NOT kinematic!
              Kinematics is positions… kinetics is energy. Sheesh you really lost it now.

  8. Tom

    Oct 14, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    WOW, breathtaking!

  9. steve

    Oct 14, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    How does the hand grip affect gamma torque? Thanks.

    • allan

      Oct 16, 2018 at 12:03 am

      …or…. how is gamma torque affected by the hand grip?

  10. Greg V

    Oct 14, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Funny, I’ve never seen a really good professional golfer’s grip with the thumb on the top of the shaft.

    I would also generally see more of the two knuckles on the left hand.

    When your hands hang down naturally from your shoulders, they are not perfectly aligned. The left hand will be turned a bit to the right, while the right hand will be turned a bit to the left – if the arms are relaxed. They should be this way on the club as well.

    But the most important thing, which few reveal, is that the left hand heel pad should be mostly on top of the club, not beside it.

    • JD

      Oct 14, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Fantastic and excellent review! The article is most beneficial a single We have knowledgeable, and contains served me personally. Hold on to undertaking of which

  11. Don Underhill

    Oct 13, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Picture shows a baseball grip with back of top hand facing target and back of lower hand facing the opposite way = a weak grip resulting in club face open at impact. Need to place club in fingers of top hand and position top hand to see 2 knuckles when looking down. Then interlock lower hand = a stronger grip that allows the club head to square at impact.

    • Kevin B

      Oct 15, 2018 at 12:01 am

      Unless the picture has changed, that isn’t a baseball grip. Are we looking at the same article? Also, are you trying to say using a weak or neutral grip means you cannot square the club up at impact?

    • Jeremy

      Oct 15, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      Way too weak of a left hand grip. Will encourage slicing which is the biggest problem in amateur golf. Why not at least recommend a neutral grip?

  12. David B Tupper

    Oct 13, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Decent article but cover topic thoroughly. Hands work together. They are parallel and backs of hands are vertical. Put your palms together as if praying, then separate them enough to allow room for club. Non-dominant hand goes on top – this is your steering wheel. Dominant hand goes below – this is your engine. Overlap, interlock, 10-finger baseball grip is personal choice. Grip pressure is light – just enough to keep from throwing club; as if holding a rabbit or a bird… firm enough to prevent escape but not so hard as to hurt it.

    • geohogan

      Oct 15, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      We keep a light grip and feel by using small diameter grips
      A surgeon would not use scalpel the size of a baseball bat, nor do we use oversize pen.

      • steve

        Oct 16, 2018 at 12:21 am

        Then why do so many tour pros have extra wraps under the lower hand? Ever think of that?!!

        • geo

          Oct 20, 2018 at 9:02 pm

          Extra wraps of tape add weight .. counter balancing.
          A softjoy golf glove adds 25 grams to the grip end. Ever think of how that changes swing weight?

          Jack N said he added weight under his grips, as did Ben Hogan.
          Bobby Jones’ hickery shafts were tapered solid wood, therefore counterbalanced. Ever think of that?

          • Chip

            Oct 22, 2018 at 10:37 am

            So you think the only reason people use extra wraps or midsize grips it to change swing weight? Because that’s not the case at all.

            • geohogan

              Nov 9, 2018 at 3:02 pm

              I am saying that golfers who think an oversize grip changes their stroke or ‘feel’ is simply because the grips size is larger are fooling themselves.

              To prove it to yourself (because it means nothing to me that you dont believe this)
              Measure Swing Weight of the putter with the original grip(a), then with the oversize grip(b). With oversize grip on, now add lead tape or other weights, to the putter head until the swing weight is back to the original(a) SW.
              Now how does the putter work for you?

          • steve

            Oct 24, 2018 at 12:48 am

            But tape under the lower hand will be on the wrong side of your “counter balancing”… if you believe in “hand leverage” with the fulcrum between the hands. You are so disoriented in your analysis… lol

            • geohogan

              Oct 26, 2018 at 10:37 am

              The shaft is counterbalanced with weight at one end relative to the opposite end of the shaft.

              Articulates like you will find any excuse to polarize.

              • steve

                Oct 27, 2018 at 7:43 pm

                Okay…. where is the “fulcrum” in your balance-counterbalance set of leverages of or on the shaft ?!!

      • Tiger Noods

        Oct 16, 2018 at 6:32 am

        I really hate to break it to you, but you can see through a simple amazon search that scalpels have widely varying grip sizes.

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Instruction

Stop Practicing, Start Training. Part 1: The long game

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This article is co-written with Zach Parker. Zach is the former director of golf at the Gary Gilchrist and Bishop’s Gate golf academies. Zach is a golf coach, an expert in skill acquisition, and he has years of experience setting up effective training scenarios for golfers of varying abilities. 

Zach Parker

The act of working on your golf game is often referred to as practice. This is a problem, however, because the word “practice” infers repetition or rehearsal. But golf is a sport that has a constantly changing playing surface, varying conditions and mixed skill requirements. So, if we use the traditional practice model of hitting the same shot over and over again, then we have a complete mismatch between our training and the requirements of the sport. This can lead to the following frustrations

  • Grinding on the range but not improving
  • Being unable to transfer performance on range to course
  • Finding practice boring
  • Plateaus in performance

These annoyances can lead to overall disappointment at underperforming and falling short of expectations developed in practice sessions. The most likely root cause of this issue is having no structure and the wrong context to your training, mistakenly focusing on repeating the same shot over and over again. 

So let’s try shifting our approach and aim to train and not simply practice. By introducing these three key principles to your training, we can not only get better at golf, but do so a way that is more efficient and more fun too! For more detailed insight to this topic, check out the podcast that Zach recently recorded with Game Like Training Golf

Spacing

Dr. Robert Bjorks suggests that the theory of spacing dates back centuries and simply means taking some time between training or learning tasks. By spacing things out the learner is forced to try and recall what was learned in the previous session, which makes that original learning stronger. The act of remembering strengthens the retrieval process, meaning it is more accessible in the future and easier to bring about.

Variability

Performing the same task over and over can allow you to appear to have “learned” the skill however we know that this is simply a false sense of competency (good on the range, but not on the course). Therefore if you’re truly looking to “learn” the new skill or desired movement pattern you need to introduce variability to the learning environment.

Challenge Point

Challenge point theory is a relatively new concept championed by Dr. Mark Guadagnoli and Dr. Tim Lee. The central idea of this theory is to create training sessions that are appropriate for the learner. A large emphasis is placed on matching up the difficulty of the practice task to the skill level of the golfer.

Guadagnoli and Lee present the idea that a beginner golfer with a low level of skill is better off spending time on practice tasks that are easier, and in a blocked style. Whilst golfers with a higher level of skill are better off spending time in practice tasks that are slightly harder, and in an interleaved style.

Challenge point needs to reflect the ability of the individual

Practical Example

In this example we have a college golfer aiming to incorporate a particular technical move into his golf swing. He is using a GravityFit TPro to help with feedback and learning. But instead of simply bashing balls using the TPro, he has been set up with a series of stations. The stations are divided into learning and completion tasks and incorporate the principles of Spacing, Variability and Challenge Point.

The aim is to work through three stations. If at any point the completion task is failed, then the participant must return back to the start at station one.

Station 1

Learning task: Three balls with a specific focus (in this case technical), performing two or three rehearsals to increase understanding of the desired pattern.

Completion task: Must two-putt from 35-45 feet, right-to-left break

Station 2

Learning task: Perform posture drills with the TPro, followed by one learning trial (hitting a shot) where the focus in on re-creating the feelings from the TPro exercise.

Completion task: Must two-putt from 30 feet, uphill

Station 3

Learning task: Transfer previous technical feels to a target focus, aiming for two out of three balls landing inside the proximity target.

Completion task: Must make an 8-10 footer.

You can either have a go at this circuit or create your own. There are no set rules, just make sure to include a mixture of tasks (Variability) that are appropriate to your level of ability (Challenge Point) with plenty of time between repetitions (Spacing).

For more information on the featured GravityFit equipment, check out the website here

 

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WATCH: Gain 20 yards with this hip action

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The lower body is the engine of the golf swing! In this video I show you a key move for (a lot) more distance.

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WATCH: How to master the downhill lie

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Top-100 instructor Tom Stickney explains the adjustments your need to make to consistently send the golf ball toward your target from a downhill lie. Enjoy the video below.

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