Your golf grip is the only connection you have with the club – consequently, it is pretty important. Here we’ll walk you through how to hold a golf club and answer all of these little questions players have when learning this important skill.
First a simple guide, then we’ll discuss some of the finer details such as grip pressure and variations of golf grips.
If you’re in a hurry and about to hit the 1st tee, check out the step-by-step images below. If you’re not in a rush, stay around for the whole article. Understanding the details of a great golf grip is probably one of the most valuable technical assets you can develop to help you achieve your golfing dreams.
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Step by step quick golf grip guide
The following sequence is for righted handed golfers. If you are left handed just follow the same steps but switch hands for each step.
Left hand golf grip
To hold the golf club, start by securing the top of the grip with your right hand, then place your left hand against the grip from the side, with your fingers pointing down towards the ground.
The grip should run from the middle joint of your index finger to the base of your small finger. Once your left hand is in place wrap your fingers around the club and position your right hand onto the grip as shown below.
Building your golf grip from face-on
Below we will run through from face-on explaining a few more details. Use the top two images below to check out what your completed left hand grip should look like in a mirror. When you have your left hand in this position, wrap your hand around the grip (top right left image).
It should feel as if you’re holding the golf club mostly in your fingers. It should also feel like you’ve created a lot of contact between your fingers, lower palm and the grip. This is a good indication that you will be able to control the golf club through your entire swing.
Notice how in the completed golf grip the hands sit closely together as if they are one unit. This is a key feature that all great golfers have. It ensures you are applying forces to the golf club about the same point – rather than the two hands fighting against one another.
Below we’ll take a deeper dive into how the hands can link together.
Want to learn more about strong, weak & neutral golf grips? Check out this article
Types of golf grip
The interlocking grip variation is where you interlock the little finger on your right hand and index finger on your left hand – It is a great way to link your hands. It is favoured by golfers with medium to smaller hands, and is the golf grip used by Tiger Woods. This is the method I mostly coach.
This is where the little finger on your right-hand sits in the notch between your index finger and middle finger of your left hand – your hands overlap. It is a great grip and often favoured by golfers with larger hands who find interlocking fingers uncomfortable. I coach this variation too for golfers with broad hands or those who don’t like interlocking.
Both interlocking and overlapping grips are a great way to unite your hands – choose one and stick with it, there is no performance reason for you to change between the two.
10 finger golf grip
Finally we have the 10 finger grip – this is where all of the fingers on your right hand sit below your left (no overlap). It is great for junior golfers. However, ideally use one of the options above, as the 10 finger grip creates the most separation between your hands and can affect your consistency as you progress as a player.
There are two points to perfecting your grip pressure:
- How much pressure to apply.
- Where are the key pressure points.
How much pressure should I use to hold a golf club?
In terms of general grip pressure, a good strategy is to imagine you are holding a banana and you have to eat the remains after your golf shot. Too light and the banana will fly out of your hands, but squeezing too tight will turn the banana into mush.
Most golfers are guilty of gripping too hard and squeezing the club to death.
Too much grip pressure results in co-contraction of muscles in your forearms, less wrist hinge and reduced club head speed.
A second common consequence of a tight golf grip is less rotation of the forearms during the backswing and/or downswing. The result of poor forearm rotation can be hooks (too little rotation in the backswing), or slices (too little rotation during the downswing).
Think light, soft and loose when holding the golf club.
If you have followed this guide so far you should have your hands fitting snugly around the golf grip. The first time golfers use a correct golf grip they often feel the golf club is placed too far into their fingers – don’t worry this is normal and generally a sign you have a good golf grip.
Once the golf club is in this position you should feel the top 2-3 fingers on your left hand are securing the club, along with a small pinch between your right thumb and index finger at the bottom of your golf grip.
These points at the top and bottom of your golf grip are where you will feel the most grip pressure, with everything in between feeling more relaxed.
That sums up our details guide on how to hold a golf club. Let’s get on to why this is so important for your golf game and how to fix your grip issues.
The proper grip explained
A lot of articles show you how to hold a golf club with the correct grip. However, I can’t find any that really explain how your grip affects your game.
Here I will explain why a correct golf grip is so important and why changing your golf grip is the easiest way to improve your golf accuracy and consistency.
Roughly 80% of the direction of your golf shots is a result of where your club face points at impact – we call this club face angle. The most critical factor in hitting the golf ball towards your target is squaring the club face at impact – 61 to 83% of the ball’s start direction, and around 80% of total lateral error is caused by a non-square club face at impact.
Get your club face square and you will hit straight golf shots.
Your golf grip is the only link between your entire golf swing and where your golf club points (club face angle).
By changing your golf grip and keeping your entire golf swing as it is, you can make considerable improvement to your club face at impact and therefore the accuracy of your shot.
Why does my grip make such a difference to the club face?
Your arms and hands hang naturally inwards (watch the video below). When you’re swinging the golf club at speed, this is the position your arms and hands will want to return to. Hence why a neutral golf grip is one where both our hands appear to be twisted over and sit on top of the golf club – this is actually their natural anatomical position.
Golf is a game of timing. The better your golf grip, the less you will require perfect timing to square up the club face. The correct golf grip means that when your arms are in a neutral position (pictured in the video below), the club face will automatically be square.
A bad golf grip requires you to manipulate and force the club face square. For slicers, this will feel as though you’re flipping your arms and hands over to get the club face square – forcing your hands to rotate past their natural position in time for impact.
For golfers with a hook, you will be familiar with the feeling of holding onto the golf club for dear life, praying that the club face doesn’t turn over too early through impact. This feeling is just your hands and arms wanting to get back to neutral and you trying to stop them doing so.
Why does my golf grip make me slice/hook?
Now we know how your golf grip links to your golf swing mechanics and club face, we can easily explain why certain golf grips cause you to slice and hook.
Why do I slice / fade?
The key point to remember is that the curved flight in a slice/fade is caused by the club face being open to your swing path at impact, not an out-to-in swing path alone. This misunderstanding prevents so many golfers getting better.
Watch the video below to see how a weak golf grip causes an open club face at impact.
Why do I hook/draw?
Likewise, a hooking ball flight is caused by your club face being too closed to the swing path at impact, not an out-to-in swing path alone. Watch the video below to see how a ‘strong’ golf grip at set up causes you to have a closed club face at impact.
How to fix my grip – fade/slice
Below are two videos to show you how to alter your golf grip. You’ll notice the key factor is to start with both hands twisted round from where you will be used to having them. Ensure when you alter your grip, you do so with the club face pointing to the target.
For most golfers, the top hand is the key culprit for slicing. Once you have a great left hand grip, your right hand should fall into place.
Below is a video which shows you how to alter your bottom hand.
How to fix my grip – draw/hook
If you struggle with a hook here is how to correct your golf grip. For most golfers, a poor top hand grip is the main issue. However, for single figure players who struggle with the odd hook or over-draw, pay close attention to the second video on how your apply your bottom hand to the golf club.
Next up is a video which shows you how to correct a strong bottom hand golf grip.
Is there a perfect golf grip?
The ideal golf grip is one that matches how you release the golf club and creates your desired ball flight – straight, slight draw, slight fade. This article gives you a great template but your perfect golf grip may be 2-3º stronger or weaker than this model.
Your key feedback is the flight and curvature of the golf ball. Head to the golf range and start experimenting with your new grip. Keep exaggerating your grip change until a well struck shot results in a straight ball flight.
See if you can exaggerate your grip change to create the opposite of your bad shot.
If you fade the golf ball, keep exaggerating your grip change until you can get the ball drawing through the air. If you struggle with a hook, keep exaggerating your grip change until you can hit a soft fade.
With this in mind you’ll start to realise there is no such thing as a ‘perfect golf grip‘ when we get down to the fine margins. A great golf grip is roughly neutral and one where the hands sit close together. These are the two factors to master.
You’ll see many tour players with a slightly strong, or even a slightly weak grip. Once you get your golf grip roughly in the right place keep using the ball flight to determine your optimal golf grip.
What is a shorten left thumb?
You’ll notice all images and videos of the left hand grip show the thumb slightly pulled up (flexed). Your left thumb is one of the major contact points and helps control the golf club. It should fall directly under the club shaft at the top of your backswing, and stops the club slipping or bouncing.
A shortened left thumb allows you to apply more force and keep control of the golf club. Whereas, when your thumb is fully extended it has less capacity to apply force and control the club.
Grab a golf club and make a backswing just with your left hand – you’ll quickly see how important this contact point is as you reach the top of your backswing.
How to change your grip
The biggest challenge with changing your golf grip is getting used to the new feeling and feedback it provides you with. Your golf swing will look exactly the same, but it will feel very different as new parts of your hand are now in contact with the club and providing feedback.
A great place to start is to practice some chipping with your new golf grip. Hitting delicate shots really speeds up the process of relaxing your hands, reducing your grip pressure and making things feel normal.
A golf grip trainer can also be useful for providing feedback. However, I’m yet to find one that is foolproof.
New to golf? Check out our best golf clubs for beginners guide
Should I use the same grip for my irons and driver?
Yes, keep your golf grip the same for all your full iron shots, driver, fairway wood and hybrid shots.
Should I chip and pitch with the same golf grip?
Yes, keep the same grip when hitting shots inside 50-yards, but you may find it helpful to grip lower down the club – towards the bottom of your golf grip. This will give you more control and allow you to make a more positive chipping / pitching action.
Is a putting grip different?
Yes, you should grip the club the same for all the shots you will play apart from your putter. If you want to learn the proper putting grip check out this guide.
How to hold a golf club – Summary
When you change your golf grip it will feel awkward to begin with, but stick with it. A great golf grip is the foundation of becoming a great golfer.
I hope you’ve found this guide useful – if you have any other questions add them in the comments below and I’ll update this article with answers for you. If you would like articles similar to this one sent straight to your inbox, come join the golf insider newsletter, it’s free and always will be.
Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK
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