A counter culture view on grip.

(I know, I know, it’s a lot more complicated than I am going to make it…but it shouldn’t be)

(oh yea and you have never heard this theory before…probably)

(one more thing…make sure you read the addendum at the bottom, that is what it boils down to)

There are three basic schools of thought.

Some people advocate a strong grip so the hands are inactive, some people advocate a weak grip to promote more hand action and more power. Some advocate a neutral grip…well, because it’s neutral…whatever that means.

There are also sub groups of finger placement, in the fingers or palms, long and short thumbs…Vardon, 10 finger, interlocking, double interlocking…sheesh!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are too many variables of people’s anatomy, too many variables in minor adjustments (eg long/ short thumb) and too many variables about the way the swing works to come up with a “standard grip.”

I advocate two things comfort and being open to minor, subtle adjustments, one at a time.

Yes…I am advocating the swing dictate the grip, not the other way around. We have been taught to swing with the big muscles, so why do the small muscles in the hands and the way they grab the club have to dictate how we swing?

Huh? We have all been taught that everything starts with the grip. Well, if you take a grip that creates a situation where the rest of your body can’t work freely and create a straight shot…what good is it?

I am saying two things. I advocate no grip…per se. I think your hands need to be comfortable on the club, or there will be tension. Tension creates bad things. Maybe a neutral grip is too uncomfortable and you will never be without excess tension if you use it. Maybe your hips are double jointed and allow for lots of rotation, so a neutral grip will hit hooks. Maybe you have one leg shorter than the other and a slightly strong grip makes you setup with horrible posture. You get the idea.

As your swing and body dictate, small adjustments may need to be made to the grip in order to deal with swing changes and body changes.

As your swing improves, your grip may need subtle changes. As you get older and your body changes, your grip will need changes. If you wake up with a stiff neck and can’t turn, you may need a temporary grip change.

This sounds like a daunting task, but it’s not. All you have to do is start from a place of comfort and make minor adjustments as the ball flight dictates…most often, you will need no adjustments at all, as your body is smarter than you.

I know this sounds complicated, but it is not. As in most things on this blog, I am not going to tell you a right way to do things I am going to tell you what to avoid. There is no right way to grip the club. Grip is probably the most individual thing there is.

1. Do not have grips that are too small for your hands.
2. Do not go too strong or too weak as it will influence posture and setup way too much. Like most things, there is no perfect way, just keep the car in between the freeway lines.
3. Don’t make drastic changes from one day to the next unless you are forced to play with a physical issue and return to normal when that is gone.

There are a few things that may be universal and this is not a comprehensive list.

1. The closer your hands are together, the less likely the dominant hand will take control, so a 10 finger grip is probably bad for most.

2. The closer your hands are together, the less leverage you will have, so a double interlock will lack power.

3. 1 and 2 tell us to look for a happy medium that is comfortable…duh!

4. Hitting a draw with a strong grip is asking for trouble.

5. Massively strengthening the grip to avoid blocks and slices is most likely a band aid that will create new problems.

Addendum: I would tell most people to start with a “neutral grip,” an overlap or single interlock, the club not too far back in the palms or too far out in the fingers…and work from there. That grip will work for the vast majority of people. Like I said, swing improvement, temporary or permanent injuries and physical changes due to aging may require small changes to grip. Basically, unless you have an abhorrent grip that doesn’t work, keeps you from setting up with good posture or keeps you from swinging without excess tension, just grip the club the way it feels good and forget about things like what a long thumb may do to your wrist action.

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7 Comments

  1. Tom

    Monte,

    My left leg is about 3/8″ shorter than my right. I played for years without knowing this but now I wear a lift in my left shoe. I read in Knudson’s book that his right leg was shorter and by pulling his right leg back, he felt that really helped his move through the ball. I have always had a tendency to slide forward and I think the shorter left leg may have contributed to that over the years.

    Any comments on grip, setup etc would be appreciated.

    Thanks (and enjoy the blog)

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      EDITED: I assume you are a right handed golfer. A lot of variables to consider and not having seen your swing…here is one thing you could try. Create the tilt in your shoulders (right lower than left at address) by bumping your left hip toward the target and bending you right knee slightly more than your left.

      Make sure you are in balance. This adjustment is supposed to be subtle.

      Reply
      • Carrera

        “Create the tilt in your shoulders (right lower than left at address) by bumping your left foot toward the target”

        Did you mean to suggest that he bump his left hip toward the target (not the left foot)?

        Reply
  2. Tom

    Yes, I am right-handed. When bending the right knee, I should be careful not to let my hips open when addressing the ball, correct?

    I always wondered if Knudson’s fix was a typo as it seemed to me that pulling his right foot back would effectively lower his right side instead of his left.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Yes, be careful the hips don’t open. Watch tomorrow’s video and you might see a little clarification on the hp bump.

      Reply

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