You can have the best club in the bag, but if you don’t know how to hold it well, you won’t maximize its full potential. This is why knowing how to hold a golf club properly is as crucial as buying the right one. For this post, we will help both beginners and experienced golfers improve their grip for maximum swing speed and power.
Why your grip matters
When it comes to gripping the club, there’s a wrong and right way to do it. The tricky part here is that there are many right ways to do it.
If you have a golf instructor, you possibly heard about poor posture, poor stance, and so on. All of these affect your golf grip and the power you can produce.
How you grip your club is the foundation of your swing. It’s the manner of how you connect your body to the golf club. That means it will also affect how you transfer energy from your body to your shaft and into the clubhead.
Also, the weak grip will lead to shoulder strain and even golfer’s elbow. Knowing how to hold your club is also a matter of safety so that you can play numerous matches without an aching shoulder.
How to hold a golf club properly: Grip styles
There are three widely used golf club grip styles: overlapping, interlocking grip, and ten-finger. Below, we discussed how each of these grip styles works and how to do it:
The overlapping grip is common, both in beginner and experienced players. It’s also dubbed as the most common grip for the 20th-century golfers and also known as the Vardon overlapping grip. It’s also the grip that many golf instructors will teach their students.
This grip was introduced by Harry Vardon, a professional golfer in the early 20th century. He’s part of the much-celebrated Great Triumvirate together with James Braid and John Henry Taylor. Vardon also won the 1900 U.S. Open.
There’s a good reason why golfers and instructors alike choose the overlapping grip. It gives a secure yet comfortable grip that allows you to move your hand during a swing. This prevents tension buildup on the shoulder and arm area.
However, if you have small and week hands, the overlapping grip isn’t the right choice for you. Small hands will find it difficult to manipulate the club in this type of grip.
How to do the overlapping grip (for right-handed):
Place the club grip across your left-hand fingers and going into your palm. After that, grip the club. The line that will form between your index finger and thumb is at the top.
At this grip, the last three fingers (middle, ring, and pinky) exert the most force. Next, place your right hand on the grip, with your pink finger overlapping the middle and index finger of the left hand. Make sure that the base of your right hand has the most force applied.
Always remember that you shouldn’t apply too much force. If you feel like your shoulder and arms are too tense, you may be using too much strength on the grip.
To know more about this grip, here’s Duncan Woolger from World of Golf London as he demonstrates how to do this grip:
A grip similar to the overlapping style is the interlocking club grip. Unlike the overlapping style, the interlocking grip is ideal for those with small hands. It offers a physical linking, which makes the club grip solid. This seals the club on the hand of the golfer with ease.
Aside from that, this grip allows both hands to work together. There are no gaps on the interlocking finger, allowing both hands to transfer energy into the club.
The good thing about this grip is it reduces the risk of hip pain. It’s also a consistent grip with a firm nature.
However, the problem with the interlocking grip is the tendency of beginners to apply too much pressure on the linking fingers. If your interlocking fingers are hurting, you may be gripping too strong.
How to do the interlocking grip (for right-handed)
This has significant similarities with the overlapping grip. Start by holding the club with your left hand with the club resting on your fingers and across your palms. Hold it snugly with force concentrated on your last three fingers.
After that, open your index finger and thumb so you can slide your right pinky finger through it. This will make an interlocking gesture on your hand. The feel should be solid and your right-hand thumb should be resting at the top of the grip, parallel to the shaft.
If you want to know the difference between the interlocking and overlapping grips, here’s George Connelly from Scratch Golf Tips:
The last of the third grips is the ten-finger grip. This is, by far, the simplest and easiest to do. It’s also known as the baseball grip because the golfer uses ten fingers to hold the club. There are no overlapping or interlocking fingers here.
You’ll use all your ten fingers to hold the club, with the thumbs resting parallel to the shaft. It’s also an excellent grip if you want to achieve the natural release and smooth swing without any technicalities.
But how does the ten-finger grip fare in performance? Usually, this is used by juniors and female golfers. It’s rarely seen on professional golfers because this is a beginner’s grip. Nevertheless, PGA Tour members Dave Barr and Scott Piercy swear by the power of this grip even on tournaments. It’s also an alternative grip for golfers with arthritis and weak hands.
If done right, the ten-finger grip can give you more speed and power on your swings. To know more about this grip, here’s Alex Fortey of the Art of Simple Golf:
Aside from knowing how to hold a golf club properly, it’s also important that grip strength you’re applying to the club. Here are the three levels compared:
With a neutral grip, the V shape that your thumb makes points slightly toward the right side of your nose. You’ll also see two knuckles from your view if you have this grip strength. This is used for a straight ball flight in a square position.
With weak grip strength, you will only see one knuckle from the top view. Also, the V that the thumbs create will point to the direction of the left shoulder. Take note that a weak grip will lead to an equally weak release and a left to right ball spin.
Lastly, a strong grip is when you see three knuckles from the top. The V on the thumb will point toward your right shoulder. This grip level promotes an active hand upon release. If you have this grip, you must use a closed clubface for the best results. Still, you should avoid overdoing a strong grip as it can lead to injuries on your arms and shoulders.
Take note that each grip strength suits different conditions. You should know how and when to use it properly.
Holding a putter vs. holding a driver
There’s a big difference in gripping a driver and a putter.
When holding a driver, you start at the base of the handle using your left hand. Also, your right hand should overlap the middle and ring finger of your left hand. Once your two hands are gripping the club, your right index and thumb fingers should create a letter ‘V’ that line up in the middle of your upper body.
On the other hand, you hold a putter with an outstretched left hand with the handle running at the center of your palms. You’ll use the same position to your right hand.
This is just a generic take on the differences of gripping a putter and a driver. This can vary widely on the styles of individual golfers.
Gripping the club: left-handed vs. right-handed
Gripping a golf club can be a little tricky if you’re left-handed. Basically, you’ll have to mirror the method of holding the club from a right-hand reference.
Some golfers aren’t sure what hand they are most comfortable with. The key here is trying a few clubs and swinging using the hand you’re most comfortable with.
Take note that being left-handed doesn’t always mean that you’ll be more comfortable swinging with your left hand. Phil Mickelson, a lefty professional golfer swings with his right hand because the left hand gives a stronger arm to direct the club to the ball.
Things to keep in mind
Knowing how to hold a golf club properly isn’t just about the grip style that you prefer; you should also consider the small details that constitute your entire swing. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind:
-Observe the proper tightness
A very tight or loose grip will not do any good on your swing. You should observe the right pressure on the club: enough to maintain a nice feel of the shaft, but not too tight that it feels like you’re trying to choke the club.
There’s no formula in calculating the right pressure on gripping the club. It takes practice and personal preference to know which level works for you well.
-Hold with the fingers, not the palm
Also, you must remember that you’re supposed to hold the club with your fingers and less of your palm. This way, you can manipulate the club easier without using too much force. By mobilizing your fingers, you’re reducing the potential strain on your arms and shoulders.
-Use the right grip
Aside from practicing the best grip that suits your swing, you should also use the right club grip material. A very slippery grip surface will do no good on your game. Worse, it will reduce your power and speed as you try to compensate with force.
Are you looking for the best golf grips? Check our Golf Grip Guide HERE!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What happens if you grip a golf club too tightly?
A: When you hold your club too tightly, you’re impeding the speed and power of your swing. It will also cause tension on your shoulder and arm muscles. Over time, it could lead to injuries. Most importantly, a tight grip will prevent you from having proper rhythm.
Q: How do I keep my hands soft in golf?
A: To soften your arms during a downswing, allow your hand to drop on gravity. This will keep your hand soft while achieving the right lag on a downswing.
Q: How do you prevent blisters when golfing?
A: The first thing you have to do is to practice the right club grip. Aside from that, you can also wear a golf glove to prevent blistering. Take note that golf gloves have to be worn on the opposite hand as your dominant hand.
Q: What is the most common golf grip?
A: There are three commonly used golf grips: the baseball grip, overlapping grip, and the interlocking grip. Beginners start with the baseball grip as it’s a no-fuss way of holding the club. From there, beginners can adjust to other gripping styles.
Q: Who uses the interlocking golf grip?
A: Famous golfers like Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, and even Jack Nicklaus use the interlocking golf grip. Many PGA players also use this grip technique due to its versatility and ability to maximize swing speed.
Knowing how to hold a golf club properly is an essential skill. You must pay attention to how you position your fingers, how much strength you’re using, and how comfortable you are with the grip style you’re using.
It may take practice to get used to a specific grip style. For those having a hard time, you can consult with a golf instructor who can spot any mistakes on how you hold your club.