To pitch well, should your grip pressure be relaxed and soft, or firm? The obvious answer would be relaxed and soft, but let’s explore that a bit more …
For those shorter pitch shots around the green, a simple action is best. You don’t want the club swinging inside (behind you) too quickly or, in fact, outside. That means the club’s swing path will be fairly close to the ball to target line as shown in images 1&2.
When you can swing the club on this simple path, you increase your chance of getting a better strike and being more accurate. Ultimately, to be good around the green, you need control and, when you feel in control, you will also feel confident, and we all know that leads to better results.
So, back to my original question: should your grip pressure be light or firm?
I am going to encourage you to make sure your lower hand (right for me) is nice and firm – I like to call it a ‘meaningful grip’.
When you have a meaningful grip on something, you can be purposeful with how you move that implement, in this case the golf club. With this type of grip pressure, you will naturally swing the club on a more direct and simpler path. Again, refer back to images 1&2.
The other benefit that comes from a firmer hold is it helps integrate our whole system and we move more as ‘one’. Even on a small pitch, your whole body should be involved and, when you are holding the club properly, the rest of your body relaxes and moves more naturally. This means that even on a short shot like I am playing here, my lower half will also be working – you can see my left knee has bent forward, even from a relatively short arm swing (image 3).
So, I encourage you to experiment with your grip pressure and find what is a ‘meaningful grip’ for you.
A good measure is when you feel the rest of your body relax and you start to move as a whole body rather than individual parts.
Good luck, and I would love to hear how it works for you.
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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 and Coach.