|Golf Equipment Buyer's Guide|
Harvey's Quick Tip: If you have a bad grip, you don't want a good swing. With a bad grip you have to make unattractive adjustments in your swing to hit the ball squarely.
There is more than one way to grip a golf club. However, finding the right grip for yourself can require a lot of patience and some practice, either on your own or with the assistance of a qualified teaching professional. Harvey Penick stressed the importance of finding that perfect grip more than almost any other golf instructor, but even he would not make a change unless the student was committed to improve.
No two golfers are exactly alike, so there is more than one way to grip a club. The perfect grip does not exist, but there is a perfect grip for every golfer.
The most common grip is the overlapping grip, with the little finger of the right hand on top of, or hooked around, the index finger of the left hand. This grip works well for players with large, strong hands. The interlocking grip, with the index finger and little finger laced together, is better for those with short fingers and/or small hands. Many golfers also use the 10-finger grip, which means that all the fingers are placed on the grip of the club. This method works well for those who lack hand strength. It is also usually preferred by those who have played baseball, because it is similar to the way a bat is held.
Most golfers choose a grip based on what feels right or by copying someone else's grip, but Mr. Penick believed that a strong grip, with the left hand turned to the right so that the “V” formed by the thumb and the back of the left hand pointing toward the right shoulder, was best for the average golfer. This grip is also used by most of the best golfers in the world since it promotes distance and control.
One of the problems many golfers have with the grip is the word itself. Gripping implies tension and tension ruins the best of swings. Mr. Penick preferred the word “place.”
The best way to place your hand on the club is to let your arm hang at your side and have the club rest in your fingers without turning your hand under the club. Now, place the club in front of you. The top inch of the grip should be supported by the bottom of your hand and your wrist is on top of the club. You should see two or three knuckles, and your thumb will be right of center on the club without a gap between it and the back of your hand.
To place your right hand on the club, extend your arm as if to shake hands and place the left thumb along the lifeline running across the middle of your right hand. Now, gently wrap your fingers around the club. Your right thumb should be on top of or slightly to the left of the center on the grip. Again, there should be no gap between your thumb and the back of your hand, and the “V” should point to your right shoulder.
A strong grip allows your hands to naturally square the clubface while you freely swing your arms. Mr. Penick said it best, “If you have a bad grip, you don't want a good swing.”
This tip can be found on Page 30 of Harvey Penick's Little Red Book.