Learning how to play golf is a unique personal experience for every player. Every person learns at different paces and uses different styles. However, all players must learn the basics in order to advance to the more difficult skills of playing golf. One of these basic skills is the golf grip, simply defined as how a player holds the golf club using the lead hand and the trailing hand.
Golf grips may sound technical at firsts but the actual execution will come naturally with enough practice and coordination. A good grip at the club will enable the player to control the force that hits the ball, therefore dictating the distance and direction it takes. It also enables the club to move in synchrony with the body’s rotation before hitting the ball, creating a perfect timing. The grip should be the player’s only physical contact with the club, and the palm should seldom, if not never, touch the club. The fingers should be the only ones doing the gripping. The reason for this is that they are more sensitive than the palm, so the player could feel best how much force to release. A grip that touches the palm is a weak grip because it gives out a weak and uncontrolled swing.
To position the lead hand, hold the club’s handle in a slanting position. The club should touch the base of the smallest finger and rest at the level of the first joint of the index finger. Then grip the club and the thumb towards the back side of the shaft (if using the right hand). The trailing hand’s position depends on the type of grip the player uses.
There are three types of golf grips that are very popular and most commonly used.
The first one is the Overlapping Grip or the Vardon Overlap, as it was popularized by Harry Vardon in the 20th century. To do this grip, position the lead hand in its usual position. Then, the little finger of the trailing hand is put in the middle of the index and middle finger of the lead hand. The thumb of the lead hand is then placed at the lifeline of the trailing hand. Among all golf grips, this grip is the most commonly taught by instructors to beginners.
Another type of grip is the Interlocking Grip which is executed by putting the little finger of the hand intertwined with the index finger of the lead hand. The thumb of the lead hand is then put in the lifeline of the trailing hand. This grip is for people with small hands and weak forearms and wrist. The golf champions Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are known to use this grip. A pitfall of this grip is the great chances that the club will touch the palm. However, a player who’s comfortable with this grip may master it and prevent such from happening.
The third most common grip is Ten Finger Grip or the Baseball Grip because it resembles the way a baseball bat is held. To position the hands, put the lead hand in the standard position then put the little finger of the trailing hand near the index finger of the lead hand. The thumb of the lead hand is then covered by the lifeline of the trailing hand. This grip is ideal for beginners because of its simple execution. People who have weak hands, with joint pains and arthritis and small hands could also benefit from this grip style.
Golf grips are important in defining the way a player plays golf. They are technical because golf is a game of precision. But with regular practice and good instructors, a player will be able to figure out which grip is ideal for him or her. The more comfortable the grip, the more enjoyable the game will be.