CLAP YOUR HANDS By Zachary Allen, PGA
One of my favorite drills for perfecting the impact position is to do what I call the "clap your hands" drill. What this drill does is help you get a sense of what it means to stack your left side at impact and make solid contact into the golf ball.
To get started, address the ball as you normally would, only don't use a club this time. From here, go ahead and simulate a big backswing, but when you do it, keep your left arm in the same position from start to finish, which ought to be pointing at the golf ball.
Finish the simulated backswing, then on the forwardswing, let your right arm come down and through and actually clap your left hand. When this happens, your body should be situ-ated just as mine is in the photo, with your left arm stacked over your left leg, the hips open and the shoulders square to the target.
If you practice this drill often enough, you'll not only ingrain the proper impact sensation, but also prevent your shoulders from spinning out of position and taking your eyes off the strike with the ball.
What's the most overlooked component of your clubs? Easy: the grips. It shouldn't be, since the grip is the only connection you make with the club, so making sure you have the right grips for your clubs is even more important. This year, pay attention to not only the new colors and styles, but also the types of grips, textures, compounds and thicknesses available.
(Prices for grips vary. See your local golf shop for pricing information.)
Black Widow Signature II
Key Feature: The BW Signature II uses Web Traction Technology that delivers exceptional gripping power, not to mention it's one of the coolest-looking grips you can buy, in our opinion at least. Who It's For: Golfers who want an aggressive pattern than wicks away water and perspiration. Material: Proprietary compound Design: Round, ribbed Size: Standard bwgrips.com Black Widow Widow Maker
Key Feature: The dual-compound Widow Maker is two grips in one. The lower half is like the Tour Silk Grip (not shown), and the upper half is corded for more gripping traction in the upper hand. Who It's For: Players who want added traction in the gloved hand (where it's most important), but also want a softer feeling in the ungloved hand. Material: Dual-compound Design: Semi-corded Size: Standard bwgrips.com Feeltec Feeltec
Key Feature: The new Feeltec grip has a multilayer, seemless design that promises a comfortable feel, added durability and weather resistance. Who It's For: Folks who want to try a new grip that we thought was incredibly tacky and great for absorbing shock on off-center hits. Material: Proprietary multilayer compounds Design: Seamless Size: Standard feeltecgrips.com Golf Pride NDMC Whiteout
Key Feature: The __ber-popular New Decade Multi-Compound Cord is back in white with black, blue or red. The upper region is corded and rugged, while the lower half is softer for more feel. Who It's For: Golfers who not only want to use one of golf's most popular grips, but also like to coordinate their grips with their golf outfits (a la Sergio Garcia). Material: Multicompound Design: Semi-corded Size: Standard golfpride.com Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360
Key Feature: The Tour Velvet 360 is specially designed for clubs with adjustable hosels (although it's great in any club) because of its 360-degree pattern that's the same in any orientation. And yes, it too has that classic, Tour Velvet feel that so many of us love. Who It's For: Adjustable drivers and other clubs. Material: Buffed rubber Design: Round velvet Size: Standard golfpride.com Golf Pride Z-Grip Cord
Key Feature: A deep "Z"-shaped, textured pattern that winds vertically down the grip combines with a heavy corded texturing for what Golf Pride considers to be its firmest corded grip. Who It's For: Typically Tour players and faster swingers like firm grips, but this grip is an awesome choice for those who play in wet or damp conditions. Material: Corded Design: Velvet cord Size: Standard golfpride.com Iomic Art Grip Series
Key Feature: Using a proprietary elastomer compound called IOMAX that has a unique feel all to its own, not only is the Art Grip Series incredibly durable and tacky, but its marbled look is incredibly stylish. If we could describe the feel, we would. You have to try it to know what we mean. Who It's For: Golfers who want some pizazz in their golf bag, and who like the unique firm feel of Iomic grips. Material: Proprietary IOMAX elastomer Design: Round Size: Standard iomicusa.com Lamkin R.E.L. 3GEN
Key Feature: The R.E.L. 3GEN is back in 11 colors, each with the grip's distinct surface texture that provides extra comfort and reduces the amount of grip pressure needed to maintain control throughout the swing. This means the hands can move faster and, you guessed it, longer shots. Who It's For: Golfers with a rich color palette and who want what we think is Lamkin's best grip. Material: Proprietary rubber Design: Velvet Size: Undersized, standard, midsized, oversized lamkingrips.com Lamkin X10
Key Feature: The new X10 grip is a no-nonsense grip, thanks to an all-black design and a pattern that's easy to grip. Best of all, it comes in four sizes, making it a solid, durable option for any type of player. (They're affordable too, averaging less that $5 per grip.) Who It's For: There's an X10 grip that's right for every type of player. Material: Synthetic rubber Design: Velvet Size: Undersized, standard, midsized, oversized lamkingrips.com Macro Macro Grip
Key Feature: The uniquely shaped Macro putter grip has a reducing oval shape that tapers on the target side, and when used in conjuction with the recommended grip, can put an end to any and all of your putting woes. Who It's For: Golfers who want to make a change in not only their putter grips (Macro also sells putters), but also their philosophy in their putting routine. Material: Rubber Design: Reducing oval Size: Small, medium, large macrogolf.com Pure P2 Wrap
Key Feature: Made of pure rubber and needing no grip tape, this grip is as evenly constructed as possible. Comes in soft or firm and in undersized or midsized models. Oh, and it comes in color, too (Black, Red, Green, Blue, White). Who It's For: It makes a funny sound when installed using a pneumatic air tool, but the feel and performance is downright awesome. They're money in the rain. Material: Rubber Design: Wrap Size: Undersized, standard, midsized puregrips.com Superstroke Fatso Lite
Key Feature: Weighing in at 85 grams (that's light for its size), the Fatso Lite is the biggest and lightest in terms of its weight-to-size ratio, helping it to become the largest putter grip used on the PGA Tour. Who It's For: Golfers who want to put an end to yippy, hand-driven strokes. It's amazing how well it works. It's as though the hands slow down all by themselves. Material: Multimaterial Design: Nontapered Size: Mega-oversized superstrokegrip.com Superstroke Pressure Zone
Key Feature: First, this isn't a putter grip. Designed to reduce pressure in the lower hand, this grip has Modified Taper Tech, meaning it blends a traditionally shaped top half of the grip with a slightly larger, parallel bottom half of the grip. Who It's For: Those who want the hands to work more in unison and who want more comfort in the lower hand. Material: Proprietary synthetic material Design: Velvet Size: Standard superstrokegrip.com Tacki-mac Itomic it2
Key Feature: The negative ions in the it2 grip help calm nerves and the tacky, velvety surface makes this grip a top pick for golfers who want a soft, comfortable hold. Also available in midsize (shown), this grip is durable and a great wet-weather alternative. Who It's For: Players who need to relax more, and well, who want a great-feeling grip. Simple as that! Material: Proprietary compound Design: Velvet Size: Standard, midsized tackimac.com UST Mamiya Comp DV2 Torsion
Key Feature: The Comp DV2 Torsion utilizes the same Torsion Bar technology used in the Pro DV2 Torsion (below), helping to add stability in the upper region of the grip. The lower section stays soft for more feel. Who It's For: Everybody who wants a great-feeling, supportive grip with a unique dual-compound pattern. Material: Dual-compound Design: Velvet Size: Standard ustmamiya.com UST Mamiya Pro DV2 Torsion
Key Feature: The new Pro DV2 grip utilizes UST Mamiya's special Torsion Bar technology, which provides lower torque for increased stability with a firmer feel. It looks great, too, and the corded section holds up exceptionally in wet weather. Who It's For: Golfers who like half-corded models (the corded section is on the underside of the grip. Material: Dual-compound, half-cord Design: Half-cord Size: Standard ustmamiya.com Winn Dri-Tac
Key Feature: Using the new WinnDry polymer, the Dri-Tac is Winn's best all-weather grip to date. The tacky, nonslip, soft outer grip covers a firmer inner grip that makes gripping the club easier and more comfortable. Oh yeah, it absorbs shock like nobody's business. A top pick for 2012! Who It's For: Any golfer who wants that classic Winn Grip feel in a grip that's made to tackle wet conditions. Material: WinnDry polymer Design: Proprietary tread pattern Size: Ladies, standard, midsized, oversized winngrips.com Winn Dri-Tac Wrap Lite
Key Feature: Also employing the WinnDry polymer, this grip comes in a lightweight, spiral wrap-style design. Rain, sweat, both? No problem, this lightweight grip can handle it, and retains tackiness throughout. The lightweight design (22 grams) can actually help you swing the club faster for more distance. How cool is that? Who It's For: Golfers who want a light grip that performs. Material: WinnDry polymer Design: Spiral wrap Size: Standard, midsized, oversized winngrips.com Winn Jumbo Pistol
Key Feature: If you want a grip that quiets the hands and prevents handsy strokes, and that somewhat resembles a traditional pistol shape, the Jumbo Pistol is a great option. Comes in the soft Excel material, as well as in the firmer V17 Polycord. Also available with WinnLite technology. Who It's For: Those who probably miss a lot of putts due to shaky, yippy putting strokes. This grip can help you! Material: Excel, V17 Polycord Design: Pistol Size: Oversized winngrips.com Winn Long/Belly
Key Feature: The long-putter trend continues, and Winn is on top of it. Available in a variety of shapes and styles, these grips also come in two-piece designs. Who It's For: Those willing to adopt the hottest putting style on Tour today. It's up to you to decide which long putting method is right for you, and choose the right grip, based on your newfound stroke. Material: Excel, V17 Polycord Design: One-piece and two-piece options available Size: Long/Belly winngrips.com Winn Standard Pro Pistol
Key Feature: We like the clean edges in this grip, as well as the modest size. Better players likely agree, since it makes your putter feel like a precision instrument. The V17 Polycord material firms it up, lending a comfortable but steady feel in the hands. Who It's For: Golfers who want a Winn grip that's a little smaller and firmer. It's perfect for quick greens. Material: V17 Polycord Design: Pistol Putter Grip Size: Standard winngrips.com