Golf Tips from the pros

The Grip

Rob Anderson,
Associate Professional,
Harvest Golf Club,
Kelowna, British Columbia

As long as Golf has been around, there has been much debate over the many styles of gripping the club that have evolved over the centuries and its importance in the swing. These days we think of interlocking, baseball or overlapping (Vardon). No matter what your personal style is, your grip plays a marquee role in the performance of your swing.

Much time and effort has been spent in detailing the exact position of the hands on the handle of the club. (I will not try to detail the technical points yet again!). For instance, in 'The Modern Fundamentals of Golf', Ben Hogan devoted the entire first chapter to his views on 'The Grip'. We have seen many poor grips on Tour, (Lee Trevino or Paul Azinger), and the poor swings they result in. Unlike these two excellent players, the very natural grips of players like Ben Crenshaw or the late Payne Stewart produce more fundamentally sound swings.

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Rarely do you see a poor gripper of the club have success at the highest levels. David Duval and Tiger Woods both have slightly strong, but very comfortable grips. Their hands are close together on the handle and act as a single unit. Their grip pressure is neither too loose nor too tight and the positioning of their hands, (along with a sound back-swing), allows for the left thumb to comfortably support the club at the top of the swing by being underneath the shaft. This is a hard position to create if you have to compensate for a really strong grip!

An often overlooked notion is the size of the grip on your club. Like a golf glove, the grip must fit your hand in order to be effective. Most players these days have grips that are far too big. They feel better to the player because they can be squeezed a bit harder and are a bit softer. Unfortunately, a larger grip will take some of the natural rotation of the hands and wrists out of play and will result in a ball flight that is more left to right for a right handed player. If you are a senior or have arthritic hands and enjoy the feel of a large grip, try having one of your clubs re-gripped with a much smaller grip. Work on the positioning of your hands and loosen the tension. If your hands have less tension, your entire swing will feel more free and easy going yet produce straighter, longer hits. Whether your grip is technically perfect or not, build some consistency to your swing by ensuring that your grip is the same for every shot, with every club. Your nearest BCPGA Professional will gladly show you the technical points of a sound grip. Remembering that the grip is a key ingredient to the swing will help you overcome the desire to return to a Motorcycle Grip or something previously unknown to the game!

Good Golfing!

Courtesy The B.C. Golf Guide

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