A good golf grip is fundamental to the golf swing. A golf grip can have variations of different hand posiitons which we classify as strong or weak (not related to grip pressure). The strength of the golf grip will determine the characteristics of your golf swing and resulting ball flight patterns. Therefore, it is important to understand the cause and effect of your golf grip and decide whether your grip is too strong or too weak. Similarly, how to correctly adjust your grip to improve your golf.
In this article, we will discuss:
What Does A Strong Golf Grip Look Like?
To determine the strength of your golf grip, there are two essential characteristics. Firstly, the amount of knuckles that are visible to the camera or towards the the golf ball. The more knuckles you have showing, the stronger the grip. Secondly, the angle you create between your thumb and forefinger on the grip (creates a V, a key pressure point on the grip) will also determine grip strength. If the V is pointing outside the right shoulder this would be considered a strong grip. Similarly, as the V starts to point inside the right shoulder the grip would be classified as neutral. The difference between a strong golf grip and a more conventional golf grip are quite evident.
In this picture, we can see the V created between the thumb and forefinger clearly pointing inside the right shoulder. As a result, only two knuckles are showing towards the camera. This is a very conventional looking golf grip.
In this picture, we can see the V created between the thumb and forefinger pointing way outside the right shoulder. As a result, you can see all four knuckles showing towards the camera, this would be considered an ultra strong grip.
What is the cause of a strong grip?
The main cause of a strong golf grip is a closed clubface at impact, resulting hooks (shots curving to the left) or pulls (shots going straight left). Although this is true, we see professional golfers with strong golf grips that can even fade the golf ball. In other words, they are able to change the amount the club face closes through impact. Therefore, the outcome of the shot can depend on other factors. The result of a strong golf grip is a closed club face relative to the back of the lead hand. We can see this evidently from the top of the backswing.
In the images above, you can clearly see the difference in the green angles at the top of the backswing. The image on the left indicates an extremely closed clubface relative to the back of the left hand creating an angle of 45º. This would represent an ultra strong grip at setup.
The image on the right you can clearly the angle bettwen the left wrist and clubface much smaller at around 20º. This would be considered a very neutral or square poisiton at the top of the backswing.
Pros and Cons Of A Strong Grip
- Eliminate your slice
- Lower your ball flight
- Improve your club path
- Can cause big hooks
- Can change wrist positions and sequencing of the arms in the backswing.
When should you adjust the strength of your grip?
Eliminate Your Slice or Hook
The image above relates to an important Trackman parameter – Face to Path. The blue line represents the path of the golf club through impact and the red line represents the clubface. In order to hit the ball straight, the angle between these two lines need to be as small as possible and minimise curvature.
An acceptable face to path value would be around 2º depending on the travel of the club path. This image above shows quite a negative value which would represent a very closed clubface through impact. As mentioned earlier, this closed clubface is mainly caused by a strong golf grip. In conclusion, if you struggle with slicing the ball you will need to strengthen your grip to narrow the gap between your club path and face to path for straighter shots. Similarly, an ultra strong grip with big hooks will need to be adjusted to a weaker grip which will be demonstrated later.
Improve your Club Path
As you can see from the image, a strong golf grip can help you swing from in to out. This is due to the left arm having much more internal rotation and forearm pronation than a more conventional grip. As a result, the left elbow will point more to the right and will create a very in to out path.
Therefore, if you are slicing the golf ball and your club head is travelling out to in – the direction of the red line in the image would be moving in the opposite direction. A strong golf grip would be a good recommendation for you to eliminate the curvature of the golf ball and an improved club path.
Strong Versus Neutral Grip – Tour Player Comparison
Here are two images of two of the best golfers of all time. David Duval on the left and Tiger Woods on the right. Tiger Woods has a more conventional grip and as a result the toe of the club is pointing down towards the ground more. In addition, the back of his left hand will line up closer with his clubface. On the other end of the spectrum, you can see David Duval has a much stronger clubface due to his strong golf grip. The angle between the back of the left hand and the club face will be much closer to the ultra strong grip we showed you earlier.
How To Adjust the strength of your grip
To adjust your grip correctly, it is important that you hold the golf club correctly. Simply just turning the hand more on top or underneath the club will not have positive results if you are not holding the club correctly in the fingers.
This would be a common example of an incorrect way to grip the golf club. You can see that the fingers are diagonally positioned to the underside of the grip. As a result of not gripping the club in the fingers, this “palmy” grip will lead to poor contact, weak clubface positions and inability to generate power in the golf swing.
The Correct way to grip the club
In this image you can clearly see that fingers are perpendicular to the underside of the grip as opposed to diagonal. The further the grip is to the base of the fingers, the weaker the grip. Similarly, the further the grip is to the tips of the fingers the stronger the golf grip. Once you have decided on the right strength of grip, move the heel pad represented by the green dot on top of the grip.
Once you have placed the heel pad on top of the grip, you can identify where the V of the left hand is pointing. In this image we can see the two knuckles represented by the green dots and the green line will be pointing just inside the right shoulder. This will provide you with a more neutral golf grip to eliminate any hooks.
Are you looking to change your golf grip or undecided what golf grip would best suit your game? Please click here to visit our free golf swing evaluation page and seek the advice from our Tee Box golf professionals
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