Your stance and your grip are the two most important fundamentals one has to master in order to play a decent round of golf. The challenge is that there is no one size fits all answer to the question of grip.
Many golfers, particularly beginners, wonder which grip is the best. The best golf club grip is the one that feels the most comfortable and confidence-inspiring to you.
Even though you have to feel comfortable with the grip that you opt for, there are some basics that you have to recognize and apply to achieve the best possible outcome.
Terminology can be pretty baffling as well, so we will attempt to simplify the most frequently used terms as we go along.
How To Grip A Golf Club
Before we look at the 3 most popular grips, Vardon, Interlock, and Baseball, there are some essentials to contemplate in the way that you hold your golf club.
The lion’s share of golfers grip their clubs, including the putter which we are not discussing here, between 75- and 105-times a round. It is imperative that the essentials are dealt with and understood to facilitate improved scores and lower handicaps.
To achieve the best contact between ball and club, the clubface must be square at impact. The proper positioning of both your hands on the grip combined with the items explained below will make it possible for this to occur frequently.
The proper golf grip is a two-part process:
- The top hand which refers to the highest spot on your handle, or lead hand as many golfers describe it, is located on the golf club grip, or for clarity’s sake let us call it the handle.
- Then place the bottom hand which refers to the lowest hand on the handle of the club, or trailing hand is added to the grip.
There are two techniques applied most frequently to get the grip correct.
- Lay the grip in the palm of your fingers, placing your left thumb right of center for the ideal neutral grip.
- Add your right hand to the grip with the middle two fingers and forefinger interacting with the club handle. Ideally, your right thumb should be left of the center in the finalized grip.
Let us first address the 3 different strengths of grips, and here we are not implying the tension placed on the grip.
1. Neutral Grip
The neutral grip has a natural propensity to turn the clubhead towards a square impact position thus producing a straight ball trajectory and neither of your hands becomes dominant during the swing.
To produce a neutral grip you start by positioning your clubface square to the ball at address, then place your leading hand on the handle and make sure that only the two knuckles of your index finger and middle finger of the leading hand, are detectable when looking down at it.
Add your trailing hand at a lower point the handle in a mirror image of your leading hand and the palms facing each other. As per the leading hand, only the two knuckles of the index finger and the middle finger of the trailing hand should be detectable.
The neutral grip produces 2 V’s facing marginally to the right of your nose for right-handed golfers.
2. Strong Grip
The stronger grip will produce a closed clubface at impact and will generate left to right ball trajectory resulting in either a draw or a hook. A strong grip will allow your dominant hand to turn over further away from the middle of the handle causing it to turn over more in the course of the swing. The non-dominant hand will turn over the middle of the handle following the dominant hand.
A strong grip is produced by positioning your leading hand on the handle and move it towards your dominant hand. At this juncture, the knuckle of the ring finger ought to be detectable in addition to the two knuckles that are detectable from the neutral grip.
The V formed between your thumb and your index finger ought to point to your dominant shoulder. An example of this is for right-handed golfers the V must point to your left shoulder and the contrary for left-handed golfers.
Now position the trailing hand in a similar fashion to the neutral grip, the palms should face each other. The V formed by the trailing hand thumb and index finger should be pointing to the same shoulder as the leading hand.
A perfectly executed strong grip will result in the Vs formed by your thumbs and index fingers aiming in the direction of your dominant shoulder.
3. Weak Grip
A weak grip is the inverse of a strong grip and the hands are more orientated to the non-dominant side. This will result in the hands not turning over and will lead to an open clubface at impact and a left to right ball trajectory.
To produce a weak grip the leading hand is positioned on the handle facing away from your dominant shoulder and only the knuckle on your index finger detectable at address.
Positioning your trailing hand on the handle and the palms facing each other results in the V’s formed pointing to your non-dominant shoulder.
Now that we have explained the various ways of holding the club in your hand, let us consider the ways to link up your fingers to the handle. There is no perfect way and the type that feels the most secure and comfortable would be the one that is the most suitable to embrace.
The various types of grips are employed by golfers of all levels from beginners to professional golfers and it is contingent on the golfers’ hand size and personal preference.
1. Vardon Grip
First of all, let us examine the Vardon Grip that was made fashionable by the famed British golfer Harry Vardon at the turn of the 20th century and remains as the most prevalent grip with top golfers. Golfers with larger hands and longer fingers will find this a more comfortable and suitable grip. It is also often described as the overlapping grip since the little finger of your trailing hand overlays the groove between the index finger and middle finger of your leading hand The thumb of the lead hand should fit into the lifeline of the trailing hand.
2. Interlocking grip
Following the Vardon grip, the interlocking grip is the most frequently used grip by golfers. It is often used by those with slightly smaller hands and shorter fingers. It is particularly prevalent on the LPGA tour but similarly frequently used by male golfers on the PGA tour.
Top golfers that have adopted this grip are Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Since they are the leading golfers of their generations, the interlocking grip has unquestionably made its mark in the history of golf.
As with the Vardon grip the hands connect via the trailing hands’ little finger and the leading hands’ index finger. While the fingers overlap in the Vardon grip, they interlock with each other in the interlocking grip. This interlocking action boosts control as the hands are held tightly together through the interlocking position. The thumb of the lead hand must fit in the lifeline of the trailing hand.
3. Ten Finger grip / Baseball Grip
Finally, we will clarify the least favorite grip amongst golfers and teachers alike. Similar to the grip used on a baseball bat, the hands are positioned underneath each other with no connection between the hands unlike the first two grips reviewed.
This grip is more preferred by golfers with difficulties flexing their arthritic fingers or golfers with exceptionally small hands and short fingers such as juniors, as this grip is fairly instinctive to hold onto.
The lead hand is placed on the handle first followed by the trailing hand. The hands are pushed together with the little finger of the trailing hand touching the index finger and perhaps the thumb of the trailing hand. The thumb lead-hand ought to cover with the lifeline of the trailing hand.
While not extremely popular, it does work for a number of golfers and many find that it gives them more power.
This video will give you some more insights into golf grips.
It is certainly worth giving some serious thought to your grip as it will have a major impact on your performance. This might require a bit of experimenting to determine what works best for you and it is a worthwhile endeavor.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.