I still remember during my very first lesson, learning about the importance of getting control of the club face. This not only affects the direction of your shot, but it will also largely impact the loft you get, the spin you can impart but also how well you strike the ball. And this all begins with the way you hold the golf club so you want to be very meticulous about it.
Even among the most professional players on tour, they will all hold the club differently. The key thing is that it allows them to produce the output that they want from their swing.
What I found out quickly is that there is no such thing as a perfect grip in golf. But what my coach has told me is that there are certain things that if you do right with your grip, it certainly makes it easier for you.
There’re certainly things that will not help your game and if we can reduce these, then it will help you be more consistent.
Before learning about the grip, one must be aware of Trail and Lead hands:
Trail hand is towards the head of the club while standing in your stance to hit, for right handed player its right hand and for left handed player its left hand.
Lead hand is towards the player and away from the ground while standing to hit the ball, for the right handed its left hand and for the left-handed player its right hand.
How to Hold a Golf Club Left Handed
For anyone like myself who plays left-handed, I know when doing my research and looking at videos in general, the instructions are directed at right-handed players.
So, when it comes to talking about the grip and any videos or research you look at, it is simply the exact opposite of a right-handed player.
Our lead-hand for a leftie is the right-hand while the trailing hand is the left.
With the grips explained below in a minute, you would simply have the right hand on top instead of the left which is the case for a right-handed player.
Hopefully we have made it simpler by explaining the grips and the reference points in terms of leading and trailing hands so they are applicable for both sets of players.
Ok so here are the three grips to look at.
Three Different Types Of Golf Grips
1 – Overlapping grip
2 – Interlocking grip
3 – Ten Fingers grip
Overlapping grip sometimes called Vardon Overlap grip is most common grip among the current top players. This is the grip I use myself and is also the favorite of thousands of golf coaches. In this grip, the lead hand catches the grip of the club with all four fingers while the little finger of your trail hand is overlapped between the index and middle fingers of your lead hand. Remaining 3 fingers of trail hand are around the club. So, you are fusing the two hands together and only the little finger should be off the club.
The Interlock grip or interlocking, this is among the second most used grips out on the course. Its is adopted by many top players including 2 top players of their era and all-time toppers; Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. To grip the club with an interlock, it is similar to the overlapping grip but rather than just overlapping with the little finger, the index finger of your lead hand lifts off the club along with your little finger of your trailing hand and then these two interlock.
Ten Finger Grip
The ten-finger grip is also called a baseball grip which is the most awkward and least preferred by the golfers. This is usually adopted by those who start learning because it helps avoid the problems caused by interlocking your fingers as explained later. They start with all your fingers on the club, still feeling quite snug. You will feel the little finger and index fingers actually touching instead of overlapping or interlocking.
A nice grip generates a nice shot, does not matter which type of grip one chooses but it should be comfortable for you and allow you to achieve consistency.
How to Hold a Golf Club Correctly
So, with your leading hand, I want to see my club start from the base of my little finger and this is very key, something I will explain why a little later. The club then runs along the fingers up to about the middle of your index finger. You’ll notice that your fingers should point down towards your knees as you look down at the club.
What you should feel then is the heel pad sitting on top of the club as you wrap your fingers around the club, the V in-between your thumb and index finger should be pointing towards your trailing shoulder.
Again, there have been times where my V would point up towards my head making it difficult to control the club face so try and get that facing towards your trail shoulder which will give you more control at the top of your backswing. But don’t just move your thumb over, make sure to move your hands until you get to the position you want. It is as simple as that!
Now for putting the trailing hand on the golf club, whichever grip you decide suits your swing, you want to make sure that you cover your trailing hands thumb. The thumb should sit along the line within the palm of your trailing hand. Then wrap your fingers round as stated before making sure not to come from underneath but rather the palm of your hands facing the club. Again, you want that V pointing towards the trailing shoulder which will put you in the right position to tee off.
Here is a great video of Chris explaining the different types of grips.
This is the standard grip which I think is the most comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you have an overlapping or an interlocking grip, the way you place your hands on the club should be pretty similar.
Can the way you grip your golf club affect delivery at impact?
Absolutely!!! Your grip is one of the most overlooked aspects of your swing and I bet just sorting out your grip can take out many complications that you have with your swing.
The reason why we all look at our grip so meticulously is because our end goal is to ideally get a consistently good ball strike as well as being able to control our trajectory.
This all comes down to your club face at impact which stems from the way we hold our club.
You might remember this when you started off playing that you were finding yourself naturally slicing the ball and thinning the ball on delivery. It would not surprise me at all, if most of this was down to your grip because our grip directly affects the way we strike the ball.
Ok so now that we have the grip sorted out and the way to hold the golf club as well as understanding that our grip affects the club face, let’s take a look at how we can make sure we get a consistent shot.
How to Strengthen Your Grip to Hit With More Consistency and Control?
When we watch The Open or The Masters on tele, there’s nothing better than watching a big controlled fade around the trees and that has landed on the fairway. However, I found myself at the beginning, that I was having problems with the slice and unintentionally hitting these with my irons.
When I spoke to my coach about this, he mentioned to me that one of the biggest contributing factors to this is how you place your hands on the club. I hadn’t thought before that my grip could affect the trajectory of the ball and it’s one of the most overlooked things when it comes to fixing your slice. It could well be that your swing plane is slightly off or your club face is open, but for a lot of golfers, it could be as simple as tinkering with your grip.
The biggest mistake slicers make is having their hands too far over the club towards the target. So, for me as a left hander, my trailing hands was too far over to the right. What this means is that it will lead to an open club face on impact causing a slice in the flight path.
To now fix this, my coach told me that I need to turn my hands more towards the trailing side. Here is a couple of reference points you can use to make sure you are doing it correctly too:
- The base of your lead thumb should be on the trail side of the club and not directly on top of the club.
- This is achieved by turning your hands over until the V inbetween your thumb and index finger is facing towards your trail shoulder.
- Another good reference point is that your knuckles on your lead hand should be showing, roughly 2.5 to 3.
- With the trail hand, you want the base of your index finger to be place on the bottom of your club as it runs along your fingers.
- This should produce a club face which will be more square facing towards the target.
- It is very common to see with slicers that they have their trailing hand too far over on the club.
- Similar to the leading hand, you want that V going up somewhere between your trailing shoulder and your head.
When I first practiced this, I started with four knuckles showing on my lead hand because I wanted to emphasize this strong lead hand grip. Once I had a few swings, I’d try 3 knuckles and slowly work my way down until you find a comfortable medium where you are able to control your slice.
I did however find that my trailing hand went underneath the club too much when I had a strong lead hand. You might find yourself doing this too and one way to notice it is by looking down to see if your thumb of the lead hand is exposed.
What my coach noticed is that on my backswing, I was closing my club face too much and because of the club face on impact, I was now hooking my shots. To fix this, I imagine that I am bringing my palm directly towards the side of the club. Once I get in contact with the club, I grip the club with my fingers and make sure that V is pointing more towards my trailing shoulder or somewhere in-between my head and the shoulder.
I saw a drastic improvement in my consistency when I first made these changes and always refer to these check points with the two V’s when I feel like I’m not hitting it well.
I also thought I would add my biggest mistakes that I made when I started out with my grip. Might be something you don’t even realise that you do, however, I have picked up on these over my career and here are my ideas for fixing them.
3 Things To Avoid with your Golf Grip
- The first thing to look out for is the club being placed too high up in the palm of your lead hand. This is great for putting but not so great for a full golf swing.
- Another common mistake that could be affecting your game is the deep interlock between your hands. I was prone to this when I starting getting into golf where I would just jam my hands together and interlock my fingers. It was very rigid or just a lack of movement and would be all out of position by the time I wrapped my hands around the club.
- Getting your trail hand over around the club too much which adds more loft to your shots and can cause you to slice the golf club as you have to do more work to square the club face.
Club Too High Up in the Palm
So, to avoid the high hands as mentioned before, we can follow one easy procedure mentioned in the book of modern fundamentals of golf by Ben Hogan. If you hold the club up in the air with your trailing hand, then place your lead hand on the golf club and feel it run along the fingers while closing your hand on the club. This should put you in the correct position for your leading hand and should feel like the clubs in the base of your palm.
I know when I have done this correct because I’ll feel my heel pad sitting on top of the club and when I let go of all the fingers except my index finger, the club should still be in place without falling out of your hand. This is demonstrated below by….
Deep Interlock Issue
Now to resolve the deep interlock issue, I remember my coach had me clap my hands together with the club in between. You essentially want your palms to be facing each other on the golf club, you don’t close your fingers on the club and finally interlock your fingers if required. I say if required because a lot of the problems start once you start interlocking your fingers. It may or may not be suited for you and this will only come with practice. Also make sure your trailing hand doesn’t go underneath the club when bringing the hands together, always make sure the palms are facing each other which will avoid your trailing going under.
Strong or weak trailing hand
So finally, to correct your trail hand from coming over the club, the best thing I would recommend is to look at the V forming in between your thumb and your index finger. This V should be pointing towards your trail shoulder. If you are getting your hands over too much, then you will notice that your V will point towards your leading shoulder and so should take the necessary action to get this back around. Be aware that you can also bring your trailing hand too much under the club which I mentioned before is known as a weak trailing hand. Just find a happy medium in between and use the reference check point of bringing your palms from the side to help you out.
Hopefully this article has provided a great baseline to understand the different aspects of your grip and how you can do the best in terms of holding the club correctly to help be more consistent and gain control of your shots. Don’t forget, if you are in the market for a set of new golf clubs, then do yourself a favor and save tons of time by reading our post on 10 unusual golf irons that will help you strike the ball cleanly. Also if you need a new golf driver, then read our post on 10 weird drivers that will help you hit it further.