Holding a golf club is one of the most important fundamentals to a great golf swing. The slightest change to the position of the hands has a tremendous impact on whether the ball finishes in the woods or in the middle of the fairway. Focusing on how to hold a golf club is the first step to developing a great golf swing.
There are three basic golf swings: the baseball grip, the overlapping grip and the interlocking grip. Each grip has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. As each player evolves, many have experimented with each grip to suit their game.
The Baseball Grip. The baseball grip, sometimes called the ten finger grip, is preferred by beginners. As explained at the Perfect Golf Swing Review, many golf instructors recommend a baseball grip for children, senior golfers or female golfers. They believe that it creates the possibility of a golfer getting greater leverage. They suggest that all golfers should avoid using a baseball grip. However, as a beginner, it may be the easiest to use. One of the advantages of the baseball grip is that it is easy to duplicate and simple to understand. As a beginner, the baseball grip might be a good place to start. I could not find any professional except possibly Bob Estes, but it was only experimental.
The Overlapping Grip. This grip is often called the Vardon Grip because Harry Vardon popularized it during the early part of the 20th century. The Perfect Golf Swing describes the overlap grip as follows: the characteristic feature of the Vardon overlap grip is the overlap of the right 5th finger over the left fingers, usually resting in the groove between the left second finger and left third finger. The gripping action of the 5th right finger helps to keep the two hands together so that they can function as a single, cohesive unit. Some golfers prefer to rest the right 5th finger over the top of the left second finger, rather than nestle the right 5th finger in the groove between the left second and third fingers, and that personal grip choice is a perfectly acceptable Vardon grip variant. The benefits of the overlapping grip: are stability, comfortable, and easy to adapt too. The disadvantages: harder to control the club during the swing, minor flaws have consequences on results, may limit distance. Most professional golfers use the overlapping grip; players such as Ben Hogan, Phil Mickelson, and Adam Scott.
The Interlocking Grip. Golfsmith.com outlines In the interlocking grip for right-handed players. The pinky finger of the right hand hooks (or dovetails) around the forefinger of the left hand. This forms a physical connection that pulls the two hands tightly together. When hands using this grip wrap around a club’s cushioned grip, the result is an extremely strong “joint.” This physical strength is the big attraction of an interlocking grip, and its advantages manifest themselves in a variety of ways. They also suggest that this grip is good for creating unity, natural strength and a player with small hands. Yahoo Answers suggest the disadvantages to the interlocking grip are: challenge to get used to using and causes pain in joints if grip is too tight. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy use this grip.
The grip is an important aspect of any golf swing. There are three basic types of grips, but only two used by élite players. The evolution of any player’s grip is unique and should match their swing requirements.
Check out The Grateful Golfer Infograpic to help bring everything together.
Through the years, I have experimented with all three grips. Starting with the baseball grip as a beginner; I eventually transitioned to the overlapping grip. However, I found that neither of these grips worked for my game. I would play well until I plateaued – never reaching my goal of a single digit handicap. At each stage, and it is different for each player, my first adjustment was my grip. Changing my grip allowed for the other changes required in my swing to keep lowering my score. Now, I use the interlocking grip. It took time to master and my hands hurt at first, but the unity of my hands during the stroke was well worth it. Using the interlocking grip has allowed me to “up my game” and set the goal of going for scratch.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!