“Matched hands” has never really felt comfortable to me whether the grip was strong or weak.
Lately I have been hitting it pretty well, but my grip feels awful…and has throughout my struggles. It is still affecting my chipping, as chipping is all about feel.
To me, grip is not about what’s right in a textbook, but what gets your hands on the club in a way that allows you to have good posture at address and allows you to release the club without grabbing it.
On Sunday I decided to practice chipping and pitching and experiment with grip until I got one that felt good and produced good results.
What I ended up with is something that sounded weird at first, then made perfect sense in the end.
A strong left hand and a weak right hand.
“WHAT THE HELL????!!!!”…is probably what most of you are thinking right now. “Monte has lost his mind!”
I would have reacted the same way to someone else suggesting this just a few days ago. Let’s forget everything we have been told and know about golf for a second and just look at it from a common sense angle.
Stand straight up and down with no club and just let your arms hang at your sides. You get “matched hands” where the back of your left hand points toward the target and the palm of your right hand points at the target.
If you put your hands on either side of a golf shaft flat like that, and just closed your hands around the grip…that is the way I was taught to grip it. I never liked the feel of that, but that is the way I was taught, so that is what I did most of my career.
I listened to a few others and did a few experiments with strong grips so I could get my hands out of it and “hold off the release.”
LOL, I know, I know, but I was ignorant.
Anyways, gripping the club like I described above creates a supposedly neutral grip, which makes it hard to release it without the hands taking over big time. So that is bad…and never mind a weak grip.
Remember, the worst hooks are not created by a club that is too closed coming into impact but one that is way too open coming into impact…necessitating a flip to prevent it from going right.
A strong grip never allows the right hand to get on top of the shaft until really late (will probably do a video at some point to explain this) coming into impact without creating a massively shut club.
So what the heck are we supposed to do?
Get back in the same straight up and down stance with your hands at your sides and no club. Start to bend at the waist and knees, while letting your hands hang straight down and start bringing them around to the place where you would grip the club and see what happens.
Low and behold the hands start to turn in…and the result is the thumbs face each other producing a strong left hand and a weak right hand.
That is the way natural body mechanics set the hands when your hands are in a position to grip a golf club.
So my question…
WHY IN THE WORLD DON’T WE GRIP THE CLUB THAT WAY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
I am sure there are all sorts of golf theorists who will have all sorts of reasons why this won’t work…but there are probably the same ones that say hold the lag.
It creates square shoulders at address makes it difficult to whip it too far inside…both of which will go a long way to avoiding over the top for the higher handicappers.
For better players, it makes it less likely to get the right elbow stuck behind the right hip coming into the ball.
So it helps eliminate the worst issues of bad golfers, the biggest issue good golfers face and lines up the hands the way they would hang naturally.
What’s the down side?
Keep an open mind, try it on some short shots and tell me what you think.
Again, grip can be very individual, I am just suggesting a way not too many have…and a way that actually makes some sense when you put aside what we have been told was correct.
Not controversial at all. See “On Learning Golf” by Percy Boomer. This book was probably the book that Ben Hogan studied in the late 40s as referenced in Gardner Dickinson’s book “Let er RiP” as a catalyst for the swing changes that made Hogan change his swing.
I hope that’s the missing link for getting your game back to the level I’ve seen you play. Too cool.
How does it feel to you on full shots including your driver?
It feels good.
Awesome! I’d say my chances just got better of seeing you play (and play well) in Springfield. You’ll be full of confidence, and I’m sure I’ll be full of something. We’ll be quite a team. 🙂
You are spot on. Feels more natural to me to have strong left and weak right. Matches how my hands naturally hang.
I did that very grip today and hit a more piercing ball with little sidespin!
I don’t think the grip is anything to obsess about. I will say that if anyone doesn’t know what a proper release is, they should stay away from an interlocking grip.
Other than that, I just put my hands on a club with no more thought than putting them on a baseball bat. Why should it be complex?
This video is verrrry pleasing to me, and as far as I’m concerned, this chick (and Hogan) aren’t mistaken.
In “The 7 Laws of the Golf Swing”, Nick Bradley addresses the grip in just the manner you describe. When we stand vertically with relaxed arms, our hands tilt in about 45% so the thumbs point towards a point in front of us. Like you, Nick thinks the alignment of the natural hang should be the way we grip the club. A stronger left than traditional and a weaker right.
Like you, I had the traditional weak left and strong right. I also had a tendency to get a long left thumb. I was able to hit good shots, but had two mistakes – pulls left when the right hand took over and wipes when I restrained the right too much.
So, I have been working on gripping with a stronger left (with a short thumb) and weaker right. I am finding it much easier to get the club on plane at the top of my backswing and, if I get the transition right, I am finding it easier to swing on plane with a natural release from the inside at impact.
There is one change I notice between the two grips. When I used the old grip, the outside of my elbows felt most natural pointing paralell to the target line. With the new grip they feel more natural pointing towards the outsides of my hips (I don’t understand it, it is just feel). I think this may be what is making it easier for me to be on plane.
I don’t find your thoughts about the grip heretical at all.
I actually used a grip like this before (messing around with warmup balls before an iron fitting). It worked very well. I was hitting it more consistently than I had to that point, and it felt a lot more comfortable than my normal grip. Of course, since I was an incessant tinkerer with limited range opportunities, it didn’t last past that session. Maybe something I should revisit…
my thought is, just because this is the way the hands “naturally” align why does that make it the best way to hold a golf club?
seems to me that the key is having a grip that matches the swing, i.e. given one’s particular swing mechanics the proper grip allows the club to square up at impact. trevino, hogan, nicklaus, azinger, all had different grips, and different swings.
what would have happened if they all had switched to what is biokenticalomechicologically “correct?”
i’d rather concentrate on kendra.
Man you are a golf terrorist. I love you but with that grip you will hit hooks that pass the golfcourse, the motorway, the Tesco, the local highscool and the ball might even leave the state.
By saying this, you do not understand why the ball hooks…and probably why you do not release the club.
Yes on the second and no to the first, just misread your grip. You are still a golf terrorist 🙂
Identify the touring pros who use this technique…there are several.
Hogan grip. No wonder he was so damned good.
Being real coordinated didn’t hurt either.
Freddie Couples also is stronger with his left than his right.
Not too bad either.
I believe you would really restrict your wrist hinge with this grip and the swing would not feel natural. You’d loose power and accuracy.
Monte, you don’t teach these “revelations” to your students, do you?
It’s really gratifying to have people condescend me, disagree with me and prove my point all in one fell swoop.
Thank you Mike for always playing this important role.
No problem, glad to help.
Are you saying you want to restrict wrist hinge!?!?
And my question was a serious one. It seems you have sudden revelations on the course and the next day are writing posts about it. It would be concerning if you taught this to students without giving the thought time to develop and see how it affects your game.
If you think maximum wrist hinge is the most accurate way to hit a golfball then please do not try this technique. But if you would like to approach the ball on a path that is is very difficult to be too inside or outside of a preferred path and has a consistent release then I would say consider practicing this grip with chips first then wedges then mid irons.
For me this grip needed to be slightly tweeked for hitting the driver but everyone is different.
It is actually just the opposite. Hold the club in front of you and hinge the wrists deeply and you will see both hands turn IN! Strong left and weak right
I tried strong left/weak right just fooing around one day. Was amazed how it improved my shots. Better swing path and easier to square the club face. Works for me. Senior Hacker
If someone were to hand you a club handle first and said holf this the way you grabbed it is your natural grip
You are the 2nd person I’ve heard say this. The first one is a guy I play with here. I tried this grip briefly and I gained about 1.5 clubs distance but it felt so uncomfortable I went back to my Vardon grip. Here’s his website: http://theswingwizard.com/
You were close but the answer is just the opposite.
Week felt hand, strong right hand.
In this position the club cannot flipped open or shut because your hands(and club) are ‘locked’ throughout the swing and one has a repeatable square club face at impact.
I’ve never seen this taught, but since I’ve adopted it, the ball goes nothing but straight…
Just to be clear: Weak left hand, as far as you can turn counterclockwise on the club. and strong right as far as you can turn it clockwise (as under the club). You are now locked and the club ain’t going anywhere but back to square.
YES YES YES!!!!!!!
BANNER I have recently changed my grip to weak left and strong right and I cant believe how well I am hitting the ball. Very controlled baby fade and if I really release my hands a slight draw but mostly pretty straight ball flight My shots with my regular grip where much lower and accuracy was hit and miss. We play in a 9 hole league and my scores are about 41 on average. I shot 36 this week.
That’s a great putting grip as it locks your elbows in place even with a light grip but for a full swing, I don’t think I could mentally get over the feeling of being ‘locked’ in at address… A strong left hand and weak right hand frees up the elbows.
Played nine with that modified grip last night. Really felt good to my right hand.
No ill effects to report!
I have always been taught to put my thumbs at the 1 o’clock position for ‘wrist hinge’ purposes. Went through 3 different “PGA professionals” and none of them could fix my constant slice, eventually the instruction would ultimately regress to having me ‘roll my arms’ faster or having my right hand more active at impact. And forget about lagging the club, it only opened my face even more. Predictably, I had horrible inconsistency and timing issues and I nearly left the game because of it.
I saw your post and decided to try a combination of different left and right grip positions at the range. I eventually settled upon having my left almost at 3 o’clock and my right at 12… and I’ve never hit the ball straighter. In fact, the more passive my hands and wrists are, the straighter the shot. In five weeks of work, my swing speed has significantly increased, my club lags properly (and naturally!) according to video, and my drives have gone from a pedestrian 230 to a respectable 270. I thought my short game would be awkward, but now that I hit straighter, its never been better. I think things will only improve as I get more accustomed to this new grip.
I’m bitter that conventional instruction had pigeon-holed me to grip a certain way and I wasted a lot of money and time in frustration. I think we’re all built differently in terms of physiology and this specific grip position aligned everything in the proper place at impact for me.
Monte, thank you for your post and I hope you continue to give us your thoughts. You’ve completely renewed my enthusiasm for golf.
Do you still grip this way?
I recently changed to this grip initially on pitches and bunker shots, and both my pitching and bunker play improved so dramatically that I started using it for all shots. The hinging and unhinging action I seem to get with this grip on short game shots really creates a lot of control, and virtually no side spin at all. Higher shots, lower shots, the stop and drop control is pretty unreal . It also seemed to help my late flipping action on full shots, dropping my trajectory and increasing my ball striking results. I’m sticking with it.
I have just come back to playing after more or less a 7 year hiatus for several reasons. my first 2 outings were absolutely awful…no control…no follow through…all arms or club face wide open…today I went to the range to practice and changed my grip to a 2 o’clock left hand and 12 right. Immediately I started coming through on my shots finishing with hips to the target and hands high. I also noticed that I had a slight draw again and the shots were going where I aimed them. Admittedly, the backswing felt a little awkward but this grip seemed to force me to go through the ball with the clubface square and it also felt almost impossible for me to hook it! I felt that my swing was tied closer to the rotation of my hips and that I finished in a much better position. I hit 7 irons for about an hour…not all good but better than before…then I switched and hit wedges…VERY straight but distance control was an issue. I played in the bunker for a while and came back and hit 3 wood and driver. Not all perfectly but I was making good contact and feeling that I had better control. I hope the grip is the key and I will continue to practice with it.
I always struggled out of bunkers could never master it. Saw Pete Cowan talk about the butterfly grip which naturally aligns your hands this way. Left strong weak right. It’s transformed my ability to get out of bunkers. Also my soft pitches and chips with the bounce on the sand wedge are almost fool proof.
Full swing I tend to move my right hand more neutral and off the tee strong. I used to play a lot of tennis and obviously grip changes are very common so why golf pigeon holes matching hands is a traditional idea that has stuck.
Sometimes imagination trumps accepted techniques much like putting styles which run against the grain. Why not full swing shots.
“From Ben’s instruction, here are the main points of the right hand grip. It is a finger rather than a palm grip. The little finger either overlaps or interlocks with the left hand’s pointer finger. The right thumb doesn’t wrap to the bottom of the club creating an oppositional force, it rides the left side of the shaft.
The most important part of the lower (right) hand grip is what Ben called, fitting the left thumb in the cup formed by the folded right palm. This idea gives me the best feedback for taking an effective grip on the club. With the left (upper) hand holding the club, slightly compress the right (lower hand). The cup that is formed “is destined to allow the left thumb to fit snugly inside it. Just turn the right wrist over and lay the cupped hand over the left thumb on the club handle.”
Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/KfNyD.l
Monte, What is your grip like nowadays?