Driver vs. Iron Grip: Adjust By Club for Better Performance?

How you grip your driver and irons should not differ. The fundamentals of the grip, including hand placement and grip pressure, should remain the same throughout. However, there are reasons why you may want to consider a weaker grip, a more neutral grip, or a stronger grip to hit different shot shapes.

Read on as I cover how to grip your driver and irons properly and when you’ll want to vary your grip from the standard approach.

Additionally, I will look at the advantages and disadvantages of different grip types, how to do the various grip types, and how your grip can affect the flight of your golf ball.

Read more on Golf Span: Midsize vs. Standard Golf Grip [Avoid This Big Mistake!

How To Grip A Driver & Iron Properly

man showing woman hold to grip golf club featured

The term “proper golf grip” is somewhat subjective. There is indeed a standardly taught golf grip. Still, as is the case for many basic golf techniques, because people come in many different shapes and sizes and have different levels of strength and abilities, slight standard modifications may be advised for some.

That said, the essence of the standardly taught golf grip is to allow a golfer to control the club as they swing consistently. This includes controlling the club’s face as it comes into impact with the ball.

The hands must work together so that one hand does not try to take over the other during the swing. If that happens, control of the club face will be compromised, and your golf shots will fly off target.

The quick and easy steps of gripping the club include:

  1. Put your lead or top hand on the club first (the left hand for right-handed golfers and the right hand for left-handed players).
  2. Your palm will face in toward the golf club.
  3. The club will sit across the fingers where they meet the palm.
  4. You will then close the hand with your thumb running down the right side of the grip (for righties).
  5. The “V” created with your thumb and index finger should point toward your trail shoulder with the club in front of you. The trail shoulder is the right shoulder for righties and the left for lefties. Additionally, you should see two knuckles when you look down at this hand when addressing the ball.
  6. Now place your trail hand or bottom hand on the club, just below the lead hand (the right hand for right-handed golfers and the left hand for left-handed players).
  7. Like with the lead hand, you will want to start with your trail or the bottom hand with the palm facing in toward your club.
  8. The “lifeline” that runs diagonally across your palm will lay across the club.
  9. Next, wrap your fingers around the club with your thumb running down the grip’s left side (for righties).
  10. The thumb pad, just above your thumb on the trail hand, will cover over your lead hand thumb.
  11. The “V” created with your thumb and index finger on this hand should also point toward your trail shoulder with the club in front of you. The trail shoulder is the right shoulder for righties and the left for lefties. Additionally, you should feel slight pressure with your middle and ring finger as you grip with the trail hand.

This would be considered having the hands on the club in a neutral position. A little later, I will address a slightly stronger and slightly weaker grip. A neutral grip promotes the highest chances of having a square clubface at impact, reducing the chances of hitting hooks and slices.

Whether you are making a driver grip or an iron grip, the above steps should remain consistent.

Next, We will examine how you connect the hands as you grip the club.

More great info: Best Golf Grips For Drivers

The Different Grip Styles

Overlap vs Interlock Grip

In the previous section, I walked you through steps for setting your hands in a neutral position on the club. We will now examine how you connect the hands. This is a very important part of gripping the club. You want the hands to work together as a unit and not independently of each other.

  • Interlocking Golf Grip: This style of grip sees the pinky fingers on both hands intertwine. This is a very popular grip style that many golfers like.
  • Overlapping Golf Grip (Vardon Grip): This style has the pinky finger of the trail hand lying on top of the pinky finger of the lead hand. It is the second most common grip style.
  • Ten-Finger or Baseball Grip: The final grip style, which is the least recommended, is the ten-finger or baseball grip. With this, you do not connect the hands but rather have them sit tight against one another. Golf professionals do not usually recommend this, as the hands have a greater chance of not working together throughout the swing.

Whether making a driver or an iron grip, these ways of connecting the hands should remain consistent. The style you pick comes down to personal preference, but it is important to ensure a secure connection of the hands.

How Much Pressure To Grip Your Clubs

close up of golf grip

Generally, you want to have a very neutral grip pressure — not too weak or tight.

Some instructors and coaches will tell you to look at grip pressure on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being barely holding the club and 10 being a death grip. You should strive to maintain about a 6 to 7 on your grip pressure.

If you grip too light, the club can move and slip during the swing, causing inconsistency in your strike. If you grip too firmly, tension will run up through your forearms and into your shoulders, creating a swing with less freedom and robbing you of potential swing speed.

The famous Sam Snead once said of grip pressure…

“You should grip the club as if you’re holding a baby bird. You want to keep the bird in your hands without killing it.”

Whether using a driver’s or an iron grip, your grip pressure should remain consistent.

Learn more: Golf Grip Guide – Strong vs Weak vs Neutral Golf Grips

Strong vs Weak Grip: How They Influence Your Shots

Strong Grip

When we use the terms strong and weak, we refer to how the hands are positioned on the club. Remember those “V’s” I mentioned previously? With your hands in a neutral position, they would point over your trail shoulder.

  • A strong grip means those “V’s” are moving away from the target and past your trail shoulder. It promotes the closing of the club face and shots going to the left (for righties).
  • A weak grip means that the “V’s” are moving too far toward the target and going more toward your chin. A weak grip promotes the club face staying open and shots going to the right (for righties).

There will often be cases where you may want to take a little more of a strong grip to help the ball move more to the left or a weak grip to have the ball go more to the right. In these cases, ensure that both hands are working together.

Whether making a driver’s or an iron grip, you should maintain a consistent hand position with the hands working together.

Read on: What Size Golf Grips Should You Use? + Golf Grip Size Chart

FAQ’s

Do You Hold a Driver Differently Than an Iron?

No. Generally, you do not want to hold the driver any differently than you do with an iron.

Do I Need a Stronger Grip With the Driver?

No. Contrary to what many golfers may believe, you do not need to grip the driver with a strong grip. However, you can make an exception in some instances where you may want to hit a draw. Some golfers will always do this, but it is not necessary to play golf well.

What Grip Is Best To Have on My Driver?

There are many different golf grips on the market for your driver. The best driver grips feel comfortable and provide the best tackiness. Different driver grip options exist for any taste imaginable.

Which Grip is Best for Irons?

As with the driver, many different golf grips are on the market for irons. The best grips for maintaining a controlled iron swing are those that feel comfortable and provide the best tackiness. Like the driver, iron grips come in a variety of grip options.

Can Grip Size Make a Difference in Performance?

Grip size does indeed make a difference. The size of a golfer’s hands will generally dictate the grip a player should use. Less than a 5” hand size would be a junior golf grip. A 5” – 6.5” hand size would be an undersize golf grip, a 6.6” – 7.5” hand size is a standard golf grip, a 7.6” – 9” hand size calls for a midsize golf grip, and a 9”+ hand size would require larger grips, known as a jumbo grip.

What Type of Grip Does Tiger Woods Have?

Just like his idol growing up, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods uses the interlocking grip. Professional golfers generally prefer the overlapping golf grip, the Vardon Grip, but Tiger and Jack have always used the interlocking grip.

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Brendon is Class A PGA Professional and founded Little Linksters, LLC, and its nonprofit arm, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. He won 25+ prestigious industry honors, including the 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award. He graduated from the PGA of America Management Program and has a handicap index of 7.8.

He has played golf for over 40 years and currently plays twice a month at the Eagle Dunes Golf Club near Sorrento, Florida. He loves Srixon clubs and plays a ZX5 driver with Z 585 irons. He's written over 60 articles on GolfSpan and specializes in sharing tips to improve your golf game. You can connect with Brendon at LinkedIn, X, IG, FB, his website, or BrendonElliott@pga.com.

  • Best score: 69
  • Favorite driver: Srixon ZX5
  • Favorite ball: Srixon Z Star
  • Favorite food at the turn: Turkey and cheese on white

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