Good Golf Begins with a Good Grip

Grip / Hold
“Hold the club, don’t death grip it!”
Thomas T Wartelle, WGTF & PGA Pro

There is no one standard grip for everyone, only one perfect grip for each individual. Each person’s body is different. Therefore their anatomy dictates each person’s natural wrist and hand position. Once this is found, then we can find the lead hand’s natural position on the club.

A good grip starts with the target hand position. Have the student stand naturally with his arms to the side as if he were just speaking to someone. From this position, the arms are hanging comfortably on the sides. The palms of the hand should basically face each other with the thumbs side slightly turned inward. That being said, everybody’s anatomy is different. Some individual’s hands will turn more in or more out than the “average” position.

Note the position of the hands and if the wrists turn more in or more out. The target hand should grip the club from its natural anatomical position.

The club should lie across the target hand so that it runs diagonally from the heel pad to the first joint of the index finger. The thumb runs nearly on top and down toward the clubhead with just the pad of the thumb touching the shaft. This is commonly known as the short thumb position and will ease the connection of the trailing hand with the target hand.

The trailing hand should be placed with the club resting across the top joints of the fingers just below the palm. The grip is predominately in the fingers. When the hand is closed onto the club, the thumb pad covers / hides the thumb of the lead hand. The hands should be parallel to each other with the trailing hand’s position dictated by the leading hand’s position.
After the natural hand position is found, the v’s formed by the thumb and forefinger of each hand can be used as a reference. This can vary slightly among people because of different anatomy and hand types.

A good starting point when using the “v” as a reference point is the “v” on the lead hand should point at the non-target side ear and the “v” on the trailing hand should point up the trailing forearm.

It should be noted that this grip position is often considered slightly “stronger”. This is actually ideal because during impact, the hands are ahead of the ball. Therefore, this position puts the clubface in a square position.

A “neutral” or even “weaker” grip where the “v’s” are pointed more toward the chin would put the clubface in an open position at impact. Often this weaker grip is taught by instructors and leads to difficulty in squaring the clubface at impact.

Most good players tend to be in this “stronger” position. From this position, the hands can be more passive and the body rotation will square the clubface at impact. This is an advantage as the hands are less active in the swing.

Remember that each individual’s grip can be slightly different because we all do not have the same hands! We are looking for unity and ability to square the clubface at impact repeatedly.
Grip pressure should be light enough to encourage clubhead speed without losing directional control. The hold forms the basis of the golf swing, as the hands are the only contact with the golf club. The hands control the angle of the clubface throughout the swing and the ball simply reacts to the clubface.

The basic concept of the hold is to play a backhanded shot with the lead hand and a forehanded shot with the trailing hand. A fundamentally correct grip allows the hands to work as a unit on the club.

The two hands can be connected using several variations. The most important thing is that the golfer is comfortable with the connection and can consistently place his hands the same way. There are also many variations to these types of grips.

Three common variations of connections between the hands are:
Ten Finger Grip: Used by: Bob Rosburg
Overlap Grip: Used by: Most Pros, Harry Vardon, Ernie Els
Interlock: Used by: Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy

Remember what Ben Hogan said, “Golf begins with a good grip.”