Few aspects of the golf swing hold more fascination for struggling club golfers than how to achieve the correct golf grip.
Swing plane, pronation, supination, re-routing, downswing transition, leg drive, and hip resistance on the backswing are some of the more elaborate theories investigated by golfers who habitually slice or hook. Yet more often than not the real cause of wayward shots lies in the way a golfer places his hands on the club. So, before you start making extreme changes to swing mechanics, you should first simplify the golf swing technique by making sure the grip is correct. Following are three of the most important aspects of the grip that affect the takeaway, swing path, plane, and control.
Correct Golf Grip Golden Rules and Tips
The ‘V’s created by the index finger and the thumb of the left and right hands must point to the right shoulder.
Although this is extremely well known, it’s surprising how many golfers have trouble achieving this orthodox hand position. A golfer who slices normally has a weak grip where the left hand is too much underneath the shaft. If you slice, the first thing you should check is that the left hand is turned more to the right, with three knuckles visible after taking up the stance.
Conversely, a golfer who hooks should check that the left hand is not in a “strong” position where it is turned to the right too much.
How the Grip Affects Golf Swing Plane Mechanics
The path of the golf swing takeaway is directly affected by the grip. If the left hand is twisted round to the right too much in a ‘strong’ grip, it generally sets the left arm higher than the right – this leads to a swing path that is too inside and a swing plane that is too flat, which results in a hook. If the golfer’s left hand is on the club in a “weak” position, the right arm is set higher than the left at the address which leads to an outside swing path, a steep swing plane and invariably a slice. Although you may know that you swing the club too flat or upright, before you try to swing onto a more effective plane, check that the hands are placed on the club in a neutral grip.
The Grip Right Thumb and Index Finger Position
Topping the ball is a very common fault. In many cases it can be cured with the correct placement of the right thumb and index finger on the club of the right hand. As the club comes into impact the index finger of the right hand is responsible for accurately squaring up the blade and must be in the most efficient position to guide the club. The thumb is responsible for driving the clubhead down into the ball. It is vital for the thumb to be set on the left-hand side of the shaft — not on top of the shaft, which may seem logical but is wrong.
Backswing Control and the Long Left Thumb
One of the most common causes of mis-hit shots is the loss of control at the top of the backswing. An overswing means a loss of control but with good placement of the left-hand thumb on the club, unless double jointed, an overswing becomes almost impossible.
When taking up the grip, allow the left thumb to sit naturally on the club and not stuck down the shaft, which creates an ugly gap between the thumb and index finger. With the thumb in this position, it is much more capable of controlling the downswing transition, when leverage is at its maximum.
Brian Jame is editor of lasergolfrangefinder.com