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Golf Grip

Golf Grip: Your grip is one of the most important parts of the swing. If it's off, all your shots will be too. Here are golf grip tips to help you hit straighter, longer and more consistently.

    The only connection you have to your clubs is through your grip, which makes having proper golf grip technique extremely important. If your grip is good, you'll feel it in your swing and see it in the results. But when your golf grip is off, nothing can save you. And you'll be in an eternal slump until you take a look at your hands and fix the problem.
    To get out of a grip-induced slump, you may only need slight changes or a refresher course in the basics. Give these a try before resorting to drastic measures. You may be surprised how a few adjustments can make all the difference.

How's Your Pressure

    If you have a deathlock on your clubs, ease up a bit. Tense fingers, tight forearms and rigid arms cause all sorts of crazy shots. They're a sure ticket into the woods. Experts can't agree whether you should pretend you're holding a bird, egg, silverware or other odd object, but they do all agree that your grip should be relaxed. You want to relax your fingers, forearms and arms so that you can feel the club head, which creates a powerful whip like motion (Curtis). Club head speed is generated by quickness, not brute strength, and tense muscles are always slower than soft, fluid ones (Kroen). When you're relaxed you'll swing faster and more accurately.

Positioning is Everything

    When your grip is askew, all your shots will be too. Proper hand positioning is key to hitting long and straight. An easy way to monitor your hands, ensuring they're where they're supposed to be, is to check out your thumbs and the "V" created by the thumb and pointer finger on each hand. First, see what your thumbs are doing.  Check that your left thumb -- for right-handers -- is positioned at 1 o'clock as you look down at your hands. Your right thumb - again, for right-handers - should be placed at 11 o'clock (Kroen). Basically, your two thumbs straddle the center of your shaft. As for those "V's," both of them should be aimed at your right shoulder - for right-handers (Curtis). That ensures that your clubface won't be open at impact, which would result in a slice of fade. The common mistake is aiming them at your chin, which will result many swing flaws. So, aim the your back shoulder not your chin.

Counting Knuckles

    Next time you're holding a club, look down and count how many knuckles you can see on your lead hand - left hand for right-handers and right hand for lefties. If you're counting less than three, even two and a half, you have a weak grip (Puett). Weak isn't supposed to be an insult. It just means that you aren't able to support the club head at impact, which often results in slices and fades. If you see more than three, you have a strong grip (Puett). Don't feel special. A strong grip is just as bad as a weak grip, except you'll have a closed clubface, which results in hooks and pulls. What you'll want to see is the three distinct knuckles of your pointer finger, middle finger and ring finger when you look down at your hands (Puett). If you can see those three knuckles, your golf grip is in good shape, and you'll be able to hit long and straight consistently.

    After passing all three of those golf grip diagnostics, you should be able to swing smoother and hit better. But keep checking your grip because it only takes a small relapse to fall back into your slump. If you keep checking your golf grip with those three tips, you'll see improvement in your game.


Curtis, Bruce and Jay Morelli. Beginning Golf. (New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc, 2001), 6-8

Kroen, Bill. Golf: How Good Do You Want to Be? (Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2004), 28-32.

Puett, Barbara and Jim Apfelbaum. A Woman's Own Golf Book. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), 5,7,20,34-40.