Your hands are your only connection to the club, and therefore the most important fundamental to have perfected. Your grip most significantly affects your ball contact and trajectory – but it also can dictate movements throughout your entire swing. Poor grips tend to produce poor swings for this exact reason. The video to the right will describe how to create a solid grip, and below you’ll find out how your poor grip is affecting your swing, ball contact and trajectory.
Strong Grip vs. Weak Grip
Strong and weak grips have nothing whatsoever to do with grip pressure; it has to do with the positioning of your hands on the club. A weak grip, shown to the right, has the hands turned to the left on relation to an ideal grip shown in the video above. Both of the “V’s” are pointing well left of your right shoulder when viewed from above. This hand positioning tends to have the club resting in the palm of your hands, which limits your wrists ability to rotate fully through impact. Because of this, this grip causes you to leave the clubface open at impact, resulting in a slice.
Conversely a strong grip shown to the left, has the hands turned well to the right compared to an ideal grip. You will notice that both the “V’s” are pointing well to the right of your shoulder now. With this grip, you’ll find your wrists will be over-active coming into impact, resulting in a closed clubface and a hook.
The Neutral Position
Apart from the tendencies your weak or strong grip can cause, there is one added affect that your grip has on your ball contact and face angle at impact. When swinging, your hands will always want to return to the most neutral position coming into impact. This means that your hands will want to return to the positioning of an ideal grip (if you were to open your hands in this position, you would call it a clapping position). If you set up with weak or strong grip, your hands will rotate as you swing to this position – this means a weak grip will turn to the right, opening the clubface, whereas a strong grip will turn to the left, closing the clubface.
Many professional golfers have made very good livings using both weak and strong grips, but keep in mind they had to offset their grips with other changes in their swing to insure they reached impact with a square clubface. In golf keeping it simple is the best route to take – fix your grip and with practice you should see a straighter more consistent ball flight.
Note: Correcting the grip has commonly been a no-no in the golf instruction world for most players, as it has a disastrous affect on your swing immediately. Remember though, you’ve ingrained tendencies in your swing to combat your slice or hook that stemmed from your poor grip. Now you have no use for these corrections, and naturally your swing will suffer because of them. If you are trying to change your grip – take your entire swing back to the fundamentals – basically re –learn how to swing and you should start to see some improvement with practice.