While even the smallest change to the position of one or both hands can affect the swing, it can be useful to look at what the optimal movement of the hands can achieve in your swing:
- Makes the cocking and hinging of the wrists easier
- Influences the plane and path you swing the club on
- Helps bring stability to the club face through impact
- Helps to deliver full power into the ball
Keep these points in mind when you come to forming your grip; they can help you make the link as to why it is so important to position the hands in a certain way.
I will now cover some of the key points to check for each hand. It shouldn’t matter what style you choose from baseball (10 finger grip) to interlocking or overlapping, these checkpoints should prove helpful. Before we start, I want to stress when learning new hand positions, focus on the inside fit and feel, NOT the outside look!
Left hand (Top hand):
Let your left arm hang to the side of your body. Bend it slightly at the elbow so the hand comes out in front of you just enough so you can see your palm. It is crucial you do not turn your palm to face you; keep the fingers pointing down.
In this position, very slightly begin to curl the hand as if starting to form a fist. Within the first inch of movement, you will notice a predominant crease appear in the palm just above your little finger. (Image 1) Stop at this point.
Now position the club into this crease and see if you can balance it between there and the middle of your index finger. (Image 2)
It is essential that the fleshy pad just below your wrist sits directly on top of the handle, NOT to the side. In this position, you should be able to support the club and this fleshy pad would feel soft and plump!
From here, you can close your fingers at the same time as closing the top of your palm and thumb onto the handle.
With this procedure, you will have formed an airtight fit around the handle. (Image 3)
Check this by running your right index finger around the little finger of the left hand where it joins the club. Your little finger should feel soft, as should the pad we discussed earlier sitting on top of the handle. If these two are tense, you know the club has not gone through the palm in the correct place – and/or you had your palm facing up when you gripped the club instead of fingers pointing down. You must form your grip through ‘feel’ not by looking.
Right hand (Lower hand):
First, I would like to give you the reasoning why I suggest the right-hand position I do.
Without a club, assume your set-up position with your right hand up against a post or door frame. (Image 4)
Take a little backswing and prepare yourself to deliver your hand to impact the object. How do you want your hand to be positioned for maximum power? I am sure your palm will be facing the target with your wrist still bent. I am also sure you wouldn’t want to return the hand at an angle that would be less powerful and hurt!
This is precisely the role we are looking for from the right hand and shows why focusing on the inside fit (feel) and not the outside ‘look’ is effective. If your focus is on having your V pointing in a certain direction, you may not get your hand in the most powerful position on the golf club.
Now put your right hand on the club. Hold the club in front of you in your left hand with shaft parallel to the ground. (Image 5) Bring your right hand up with the palm open and facing the target. Place the two bulbous pads (Image 6) against the side of your left thumb so the thumb pad sits on top of the left thumb. (Image 7) Close your fingers around the bottom of the handle and complete closing the right (lower-hand) thumb over the left. The base of your right thumb should be against the side of its neighbouring index finger.
Practising the grip
You can practise the grip in the comfort of your own home as long as you are focused; otherwise, you will form bad habits. You are better off spending even three minutes a day where you are committed and focused to learning your grip than 10 half-hearted minutes. And yes, it is the same grip formation for each standard full shot – no adjustment is necessary.
Always include some closed-eyes practice, so you really have to feel your way through it. This will really speed up the learning process. (Image 8)
Ultimately, it will take you just a few seconds to form your ideal grip. Once you are happy you have formed your grip correctly, by all means use some of those external references. But don’t rely on them, as depending on the angle you look from, you will get different readings.
I repeat: Focus on the inside fit and feel, NOT the outside look!
Short cut options
Below are some suggestions I often use in my coaching that yield quick results:
■ Reference other activities: Using a hammer or holding a tennis racquet can give you an instant feel. Try hammering a nail with your hand in what would be the equivalent of a weak position and see how difficult it is! (Image 9)
■ Use your intuition: With an understanding of how the club needs to work at impact (see earlier articles), making an appropriate change to your grip can be as easy as asking yourself to simply do something different and letting your intuition make a change. You’ll be amazed how many times this approach will bring about a small but necessary change to form a better grip and help create a more stable club at impact.
And a bonus here is that, done this way, the change won’t feel awkward; never underestimate your intuition and its wisdom to do the right thing.
For more tips to help your golf visit, go to https://www.facebook.com/intuitivegolf
Scott Cranfield is a PGA Master Coach. For over 30 years, he has dedicated his life to helping golfers achieve their goals through a natural approach that embraces the true laws of how the human mind and body work. Scott’s unique approach has led to the creation of multiple training programmes, and the experience of coaching every standard of golfer from complete beginners through to Ryder Cup players. As well as enjoying a long TV career with Sky Sports and Setanta TV, in 2011 Scott was honoured with the award of PGA Master Professional & Coach.