How to Tee-Off without getting Teed-Off
I know the golf grip is not the most exciting place to start but it is the BEST place to start. And I want to make sure you never, ever underestimate the importance of having a good golf grip. The great players don't.
"The basic factor in all good golf is the grip. Get it right, and all other progress follows."
For example, at the start of every golf season Jack Nicklaus would go to his golf coach Jack Grout for a lesson on the grip. Now there's a man that knew the importance of great fundamentals and his career didn't turn out too bad.
With the grip it is very easy to slip into bad habits and this can cause huge problems in the golf swing. I've experienced this myself and I want to share with you a real life example of how much influence the grip has on the golf swing, so hopefully you can learn from it and not repeat my mistake.
You see, when I was a teenager I was having some problems with a hook. I couldn't figure out why this was happening, and like most amateur golfers I went looking for swing problems but I just couldn't figure out the solution. So in desperation I went to a pro for a lesson.
Now this pro immediately spotted the reason for the hooking problem. He told me that my grip was way too strong. He said it was a 4 knuckle grip and so he got me to change to a two knuckle grip.
But when I started hitting balls with this "new" grip it felt so strange. However, as a result of this grip change I went from hitting low hooks to hitting high fades. This experience was awesome for me as I could really attack the ball again without being afraid of hitting a hook.
Having said that I still had reservations about this grip because it felt so different from what I had been doing. This pro could see my concern so he took me inside the locker rooms where they had a full length mirror. He then got me to setup in front of this mirror with my "old" grip. I did and then he told me to look in the mirror.
Man o man was that grip strong!
Then he said to setup with the new grip and then look in the mirror. When I did I couldn't believe the difference. It was like night and day!
So after seeing this I persevered with the new grip even though I hit some bad shots.
Because I knew it was the best grip to use as most of the top pros gripped the club this way. And with practice this grip became second nature to me and felt natural. Also, my results started to improve with the "new" grip even though there were some rough shots while making the change.
You see, having a good golf grip is the most important element to building a consistent, repeatable swing.
Want to know why?
Because if you have a good golf grip your hands and wrists will naturally move where they should in the golf swing. But if you have a poor grip you'll have to make compensation after compensation in your golf swing and you'll probably never groove a swing that produces a consistent ball flight.
Also, by having a good golf grip you're far more likely to return the clubface to the ball in a square position and you're way more likely to do this consistently.
Plus, if your grip is correct then you can rule out your hands as a possible reason for inconsistencies.
Another great advantage of having a good golf grip is that it will allow you to produce a fade or draw when you want without changing your basic grip. And a good grip will allow you to control the club without having to hold it too tightly. This also means you'll get very high levels of sensitivity from your hands as you're swinging and when you strike the golf ball.
So are you now convinced of the importance of having a good golf grip?
I hope so. And the great thing about the golf grip is that anyone can learn how to hold the club correctly.
Now when talking about grips you'll hear people talking about a strong, weak or neutral grip. And some golf teachers have hard and fast rules about which grip you should use but I don't and here's why.
Some golfers naturally fade/slice the ball and some golfers naturally draw/hook the ball.
That's just the way it is.
Now a weak grip encourages a fade/slice. And golfers that have a tendency to hook the ball should try a weaker than standard grip. An example of a golfer that did this very successfully was Ben Hogan. Ben in his younger days had a lot of trouble with a hook. So one of his remedies was to position his hands in a weak position. It seemed to work pretty well.
Of course, the reverse of this principle applies. So if your bad shot is a slice then you should experiment with a stronger than standard grip. And in the practice plan I give my students I teach a standard, neutral grip but I give people the freedom to experiment with a stronger or weaker grip depending on their natural bad shots.
OK, let's now look at how you join your right hand to your left hand.
There are basically three different ways in which you can grip with the right hand, and I'm talking about the underneath part of the grip at the moment. The three differences are called the Interlocking grip, the Ten Finger grip and the Vardon/Overlapping grip.
Interlocking grip Ten Finger grip Vardon/Overlapping grip
grip is used by Jack Nicklaus and John Daly (just to name two). But for
most golfers and especially for golfers that slice the ball, this should not be
used, because the Interlocking grip tends to restrict the hands from releasing
in the swing, which can cause slices
The Ten Finger grip is great for young children and some ladies, and it's especially good for golfers who slice the ball to practice with as it encourages a more free and relaxed use of the hands, which can only encourage a draw.
Finally, the Vardon/Overlapping grip is used by the majority of the top golfers in the world today and this is the one that I recommend and teach my worldwide students to use.
Now at this point I must mention something that is very important when it comes to gripping the golf club, and that's relaxation. Most golfers have way too much tension in their arms, wrists and hands, which stops the club from working as it should, so you need to relax those parts of your body before you swing.
OK, finally on the topic of grips I want to mention about the actual physical grip that is on your golf club because it's very important.
Grips come in different sizes, shapes and styles and the size of your grips can have a big affect on the types of shots you can hit. For example, a thicker grip will reduce your hand action and will make a fade or slice more likely. Whereas a thinner grip encourages hand action and will help to produce a draw/hook.OK, that's a summary of the important elements you need to get right when it comes to gripping the club