If you're trying to improve at golf, you know just how difficult the process can be. Oftentimes, countless lessons, boatloads of money spent on equipment, and tons of practice only amount to little or slow improvement.
One of the best ways to quickly improve your golf game without expending much effort is to make sure you have a proper golf grip. An amateur player with a perfect golf grip will find it much easier to get their club face square at impact and improve their game than somebody with a poor golf grip.
This post will reveal six simple tips to help you get a consistent golf grip. Follow these and you'll be sending the ball on your desired ball flight and playing better golf in no time.
The 3 Different Kinds of Golf Grips
Before jumping into the different ways to get a correct golf grip, it's important to understand the three different ways that people hold a golf club. The tips here will apply differently to you depending on which method you use.
The 10 Finger Grip
The 10 finger golf grip is one of the most basic grip types and is the one that new golfers typically start out with. This grip is called the “ten-finger grip” because each one of your ten fingers is touching the golf club.
Also known as a “baseball grip”, the ten finger grip is accomplished by simply taking your right hand and sliding it underneath your left hand on the club (for a right handed golfer).
Though not a lot of pros use this grip, it can be a great grip to help golfers get into the game and is better suited for those with smaller hands.
The Interlock Grip
Used by Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, the interlock grip is slightly more popular than the ten-finger grip. To achieve this grip, start out with the ten-finger grip, move your hands closer together, and interlock the pinkie on your lower hand with the index finger of the higher hand.
The advantage of the interlock grip is that your hands and wrists are essentially “locked” together, giving you greater control over the golf swing. Also, it's a great grip for people with smaller hands who are looking for a more stable grip than the ten-finger grip.
The only downside to interlocking is that it can be a tough grip to get used to. Beginner players often feel awkward and frustrated as they are learning the interlock grip as it can seem quite unnatural.
The Overlap Grip
With over 90% of tour players estimated to use the overlap grip, it is by far the most popular in golf. Also known as the Vardon grip, the overlap grip is achieved by placing the pinkie of your lower hand over the ridge between your upper hand's index and middle finger.
The reason the overlap grip is so popular is because it combines both the power you get from keeping your hands free with the control you get from having them work as one unit. With the overlap grip, you can move your wrists as one unit without sacrificing any mobility.
The only drawback to the having your little finger sit on top of your other hand's index finger is that it might be slightly awkward for someone with smaller hands to get used to. Other than that, there are really no cons to this grip (no wonder overlap is the golf grip used most on tour!)
Tips to Grip the Golf Club Better
As Ben Hogan said: “good golf begins with a good grip.” How you grip a golf club impacts the entire rest of your swing, and as such, improving your golf grip is one of the single easiest ways to shave shots off your game without putting in too much work.
Here are some of the most useful tips for improving your golf grip so that you have the best chances of producing a consistent golf swing and straight ball flight every time.
Make Sure Your Hands Are Positioned Properly
The first thing you'll want to do to improve your golf grip is to grab a golf club and ensure that your hands are positioned correctly.
When learning how to hold a golf club, start with a shorter club that's easier to maneuver. Pick up the golf club with your weaker hand (if you're a right-handed golfer, this means to use your left hand) and make sure that you can see two knuckles of your hand. Then, lay the club on the ground on adjust your hand so that the “V” that is formed between your thumb and your index finger points towards your dominant shoulder (if you're right-handed, this means your right shoulder).
At this point in time, your thumb should be pointing straight down the shaft of the club all the way to the clubhead. Now take your other hand and grip the golf club. Your two thumbs should both be pointing in the same direction.
Regardless of which grip style you decide to use, you'll want to check and make sure that:
- The “v” of your upper hand points towards your dominant shoulder.
- Your two thumbs are pointed in the same direction (down the club).
Get a Molded Grip Trainer
If hand positioning on a golf grip seems confusing and hard to master, consider purchasing a molded grip trainer to help.
These training grips are a great way to get used to the feeling of placing your hands on the club the right way and can significantly speed up the learning process for beginner golfers. As you use these you'll start to get used to the proper golf grip feel and can eventually start removing them from your game and (hopefully) your muscle memory will take over and inform you of how to hold the club properly.
Most are available in both right-handed and left-handed versions and are made of durable rubber material that offers a comfortable feel with decent tackiness. The one drawback of these grips is that they are not approved for tournament use, so they should only be treated like training aids.
Use a Marker on Your Grips
If you don't want to go through the hassle of buying a molded grip trainer, but still want some guidance with your grip, you can carry around a sharpie with you and mark your gloves/hands accordingly.
Typically speaking, the way that the golf club sits in your non-dominant hand (left hand for right-handed players) is more important than how it sits in your dominant hand. This is because when you have your bottom hand on, your top hand naturally follows. For this reason, it's best to use your marker on your non-dominant hand.
If you're right-handed, this means you can draw two lines on your left-handed glove to remind you where to position the golf club in your hands.
Also, unlike the molded grip, this method of realignment is perfectly legal and can be used in and out of tournaments.
Aim For a Neutral Golf Grip
There are many different ways to grip a golf club varying from a weak golf grip (conducive to a fade) to a strong golf grip (conducive to a draw). Though many advanced players tinker around with their grip to achieve desired ball flights, as a beginner it's best to start out with a neutral grip.
A neutral grip entails setting up and being able to see exactly two knuckles of your non-dominant hand (left-hand for right handed players). If you can see any more knuckles, your grip is considered strong, and if you can only see one (or less than one) you have a weak grip.
Starting off, it's best to adopt a neutral grip as this will give you the biggest margin for error. Once you get used to swinging with the neutral grip, you can experiment and see which grip works best for you.
Hold the Club with the Right Pressure
When it comes to how hard you should hold a golf club, the right amount of pressure differs from person to person. That being said, there is a general range of pressure that you should follow if you're to achieve consistency with your swing.
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn't hold your grip so hard that your knuckles are turning white, but you also shouldn't hold it so light that the club is falling out of your hands. If you hold the club too tight, you might find that it's hard to turn the club face in the desired direction. If your grip is too light, the club might be hard to control (or worse, fly out of your hand).
Striking a good balance of pressure is key to having a good golf grip.
One good way to imagine the right amount of pressure is to pretend like you're holding a bird. You don't want to squeeze so tightly as to kill the bird, but you also want to hold it with enough pressure that it doesn't fly away.
Another good example is to imagine you're shaking someone else's hand. You don't want to crush their hand, but also want to maintain a firm pressure.
Buy a Better Grip
When you first buy your golf clubs, they'll come in a standard grip with a very basic grip design. Just because they are what originally come with your golf clubs doesn't mean that they are right for you.
Depending on how you feel after experimenting around, you might benefit from purchasing different size grips and different style grips.
If you find that you're consistently playing a miss (despite making adjustments to your swing and grip positioning), you could consider visiting a local golf shop and inquiring about getting new grips.
Before you make the switch, however, be sure to try out your new golf grips for at least a week or two. One way to do this is to just switch the grip on your favorite golf club and leave the rest of the clubs. If it feels good after a few weeks, feel free to change your whole set. Here's a list of some of the best golf grips on the market today. A new golf grip can go a long way towards helping your game.
FAQs About The Proper Golf Grip
Here are some frequently asked questions about the proper golf grip answered.
- Should my grip for the putter differ from my grip for the driver?
The golf grip you use for your driver will ideally be the same one you use with all your clubs… except your putter.
Putting is a delicate exercise and differs from swinging the club greatly. For this reason, your putting grip will likely be different from your regular grip. Chances are you'll use lighter grip pressure and can also explore various grip types including left-hand low, the claw, reverse overlap, and more.f
- What does choking down on the club mean and should I do it?
Choking down on the club means to hold a golf club further up (essentially making the club shorter).
A lot of golfers use choking down as a method to “flight” their shots, making them fly lower and perform better in the wind. However, it's recommended that you practice this shot before using it on the course as your club face angle can differ at impact with a choked down club.
- Why do people use different golf club grips?
The perfect golf grip will vary from person to person. Some people have bigger hands that require bigger grips. Some people have sweatier hands that need more traction. Some people hold the golf club in such a way that certain designs work better than others.
Between the difference in hands and actual swing mechanics itself, it's not hard to see why golf grips are not a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
Recap: 6 Tips to Get a Proper Golf Grip
How you grip a golf club makes a big difference in how you execute your swing. For that reason, achieving a perfect golf grip can make a huge difference in your final score, round after round.
This post has covered 6 of the most useful tips to help you grip the golf club better. As a quick recap, they are:
- Make Sure Your Hands are Positioned Properly
- Get a Molded Grip Trainer
- Use a Marker
- Aim For a Neutral Grip
- Hold the Club with the Right Pressure
- Buy a Better Grip
Once you learn how to properly hold the golf club, you'll find that the rest of the game will come much easier. So don't hesitate and start working on your golf grip today. Your future self will thank you when you start kicking all of your friends' butts on the golf course.
Jeff is a current Harvard student and author of the blog Financial Pupil who is passionate about learning, living, and sharing all things personal finance-related. He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys the pursuit of financial freedom. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.