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The 7 Steps Every Backswing Should Have: Strong Grip

Next up in our series of backswing posts focuses all on the grip. We won’t be digging into the exact positioning of your hands on the grip however, this post deals with where the club should be positioned during your backswing assuming you have a solid grip already. Interestingly, the grip of choice on tour is neutral to slightly strong, and we’ll dig a little more into why that is in just a bit. The ideal grip’s positioning has the V’s created by your thumbs and pointer fingers pointing up towards your lead shoulder. This is the best place to start anyway, but we’ll get into why this is important shortly.

As you swing the club back to the 9:00 position, or if you’ve been reading along in this series, the point when your arms ‘separate’ from your body and begin to extend the toe of the club should be pointing towards the sky, but a few degrees off. Another way to look at is the clubface should be pointing out in front of you but at a slight angle down towards the ground. This would be considered slightly closed by most instructors. This position is solely a function of your grip, not anything that needs to be manipulated in your swing in order to make it happen – so don’t do it.

With a properly grip and one piece takeaway, you position should automatically be slightly closed on the backswing, at the top and on the downswing. At this point though you’re probably wondering how this is possible, and how this doesn’t produce a hook or draw on every swing. And you’re right, if you did come into impact the same way as you addressed the ball this indeed would happen, but the truth is your impact position is very different than that at address.

When it comes to impact, a few things happen. For one, the centrifugal force of your swing and the clubhead force the shaft and your hands to be more upright than the are at address. This would normally encourage a slight left to right spin on the ball, however it doesn’t in this case. In addition, your hands will be positioned a few inches further forward than they were at address. In fact your lead arm should make close to a straight line from your shoulder down to the ball. These few inches forward and your slightly upright shaft angle into the ball are enough to open the clubface a few degrees, which is offset by your slightly closed positioning throughout the rest of the swing to make a square clubface it impact. Interesting huh? If you don’t believe me, watch nearly every pros swing on tour, this is a commonalty that you’ll find among most of them.

The old adage that your address position and impact should be identical, is completely and utterly false. If it were true, you’d end up with a hooking ball with very little power behind it. The reasoning behind this will be covered in our next post which focuses on the key to power in the golf swing – the wrist cock, which is essential in creating lag in the golf swing…

Next Up: Delay Your Wrist Cock

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  1. You indicate that the “Vs” are pointing towards the lead shoulder. Don’t you mean to say that they are pointing towards the trailing shoulder?

    I am teaching my 14 year old daughter to golf as she wants to be on the High School team. Your site has been excellent as a ready resource to put together a “Golf 101” binder for her. Thanks much!

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