Sunday, February 1, 2004
Great swings match grip with hinge. Does yours?
Strong Concave Wrist
A More-Desired Hold
Despite the fact that the weak grip/flat left wrist relationship is easier to control, I prefer that my students adopt a stronger left-hand hold. For one, a stronger grip paired with a slight left wrist cup allows for more hinge, which helps create additional lag in the transition from backswing to downswing and can generate greater clubhead speed.
If you’re looking for more power in your swing, grip the club so that the “V” created by the left thumb and forefinger points toward the right shoulder. The right hand should be positioned so that the palm faces the target. As expected, a stronger hold requires a completely different hinging mechanism. The hinge itself will have a much more concave type of look to it and make it a lot easier to set additional angles during both sides of the swing.
To feel the correct hinging procedure based on the stronger hold, hinge the club right in front of you as before. At the top of the hinge, your left wrist should be slightly concave with the toe up and in perfect relationship to the hinge. If you took that stronger hold and hinged into the flat wrist position, you’ll discover that the face closes—now you have to find a way to open the face on the downswing so that it’s square at impact.
To understand the big picture, change to a weak grip and hinge the club so that the left wrist cups. Now, the face has opened and, suddenly, compensations are needed to bring the clubface to a squared position at impact. See how the hinge and hold must match?
Return to your stronger hold, hinge the club up, build in the desired concavity in your left wrist, and rotate your body to the right, like I asked earlier. Take that hinge to the top of the swing without adjustments of any kind. This is your top position that puts everything in ready delivery for the forward motion.
I believe it’s a whole lot easier to play with a stronger hold than it is with the weaker one. Nevertheless, my ultimate recommendation is to use a grip that allows you to employ your natural hinge and still maintain the proper clubface angle from address to impact. This requires a small amount of experimentation, but just a bit of trial and error will pay huge dividends.
Using a strong grip, hinge the club in front of you so that the left wrist cups slightly. Notice how the face remains square. Perform the same drill, but this time hinge so the left wrist remains flat. Presto—the face closes. If you paired a weak hold with a left wrist cup, the face would rotate open. The grip/hinge relationship is an important one to know and work to your advantage.
PGA Master Professional Joe Thiel has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years. He instructs at World Wide Golf Schools in Olympia, Wash.
Page 2 of 2