When your golf game is suffering, the signs are obvious. Sliced drives off the tee, chunked hits on the fairway, and chip shots that cause you to question whether or not you accidently mistook your 3-iron for your pitching wedge can all make for one miserable round.
If you're like most golfers, you probably begin racking your brain as soon as problems arise on the golf course, focusing on everything from your club choice to your stance. You may blame the ball, blame the lie, and sometimes may even blame the loud birds and chatty golfers for making too much noise during your backswing.
But how often do you hold your golf grip accountable for your wild shots and inconsistent striking pattern?
When you're having trouble on the course, the very first thing that you should focus on is your golf club grip. A few simple tips can help ensure that your grip is powerful and consistent during each and every swing of the club.
Evaluating Your Golf Grip
Your golf grip is the foundation of your golf game. Laying your hands on your club is the first thing that you do before taking a swing, and if you're just a little off from the beginning, then your grip is going to have a negative effect on everything that follows.
But what exactly is a good golf grip? As you probably already know, there is more than one way to hold a golf club. Let's go over the three most common types of grips that golfers use today.
- The Vardon grip. Also called the overlapping grip, the Vardon variation is by far the most common type used by both professional and intermediate athletes today. The Vardon grip is applied by taking the pinky finger of your bottom hand (the hand closest to the clubhead) and resting it between the index and middle finger of your top hand (the hand closest to your body, often called the lead hand).
- The interlocking grip. The interlocking grip is another common grip that is used by golfers, particularly those that have smaller hands. This is why it's a popular grip style on the LPGA Tour, but PGA legends like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods also utilize this holding style. The interlocking grip is applied by taking the pinky finger of your bottom hand and wrapping it around the index finger of your top hand.
- The baseball grip. This grip is widely used by beginning golfers, and is perfect for teaching children the basics of a golf swing. You can practice the baseball grip by placing your top hand (lead hand) on the club with your thumb and your index finger forming a slightly off-center "V" shape in front of you, then placing the pinky finger of your bottom hand snuggly against the index finger of the top hand.
So how can you tell if you're applying a proper golf grip? What exactly is a grip that is too strong or too weak, anyway? We're about to show you some simple golf grip tips that will help you evaluate - and correct - your golf club grip.
The Grip Test
First, choose the style of grip that is the most comfortable for you. Then, let the "V" shape that is formed by your top (or lead) hand point you in the right direction.
- A weak grip. Once your top hand is in front of you and you're gripping the club, look down to see where the "V" shape that is formed between your index finger and thumb is pointing. If your "V" is pointing directly at the center of your body, and you can only see one - or no - knuckles, then your grip is too weak.
- A neutral grip. A neutral grip should show the "V" pointing slightly off-center and to the right (or slightly toward the left for a lefty) and turned so that only two knuckles are showing.
- A strong grip. Strong grips reveal three knuckles on the top hand, and will cause the "V" that is formed to point to the side of the chest that correlates with your hand dominancy. In other words, the "V" will point toward the right side of the chest for a righty, with the "V" pointing toward the left side for a lefty.
Is your golf grip too weak, or is it a little on the stronger side? Varying golf grips can cause varying results out on the golf course, so the best way to approach the proper golf grip is to practice looking for your two knuckles to show and the "V" shape that is slightly off-center in relation to the club shaft
Most golf instructors agree that being a little on the strong side is all right, while maintaining that golfers should avoid a weak grip at all costs. Whatever golf club grip method you decide to go with, making sure that the appropriate strength and hand position is applied will allow you to get the most out of each and every shot; to better your natural handling, consider investing in golf practice aids to consistently better your performance.