If you could chop strokes off your score would you do it? Sure you would. Who wouldn’t? After all, shaving strokes off your score—and your golf handicap—is what it’s all about. It’s why we read golf tips in magazines, take golf lessons at the club, and hit balls on the range. Well, you might be able to shave strokes off your golf handicap by just perfecting your grip.
Unfortunately, some weekend golfers don’t hold the club properly. In fact, many golfers spend almost no time thinking about their grip. We see it all the time in our golf instruction sessions. Students just grab the club and swing away. But how you grip the club is critical to hitting good shots. It affects distance and accuracy. That’s why instructors spend time in golf lessons working with new students on gripping the club.
If hitting good shots with consistency is a problem for you, you may want to try the step-by-step grip plan described below. Instructors at the Pinehurst Golf Academy developed this plan:
Step 1: Place the handle
Grab the club where the grip meets the shaft with your right hand. Hold the club out in front of you at a 45-degree angle. Now turn your left palm toward you. Set the grip in the area between your first knuckles and the top of your palm.
Step 2: Secure your left hand
Without changing your left hand grip, curl your baby finger and two middle fingers around the handle. It should feel as if the undersides of these fingers are in contact with the grip.
Step 3: Set your left thumb
Without change the grip’s position roll your left thumb over to the right while curling your left index finger around the grip. You want the fatty portion at your thumb’s base pressing directly down on the handle.
Step 4: Position your right hand
Slide your right hand down the club. When it gets to your left hand, adjust your hand so that the shaft sits between your first knuckles and the top of the palm.
Step 5: Secure your right hand
Place your right baby finger into the fold between your left middle and index fingers (or interlock them). Then wrap your right ring and middle fingers around the grip. This connection is critical. Focus on doing it right. Use the last two fingers on the right hand to add pressure to the club.
Step 6: Set your right thumb
Place the lifeline on your right thumb directly over your left thumb by rolling your right thumb slightly to the left. Now curl your right index finger around the handle. You should feel pressure from the fatty pad at the base of your right thumb on your left thumb.
You can also mark your glove to make sure your grip is correct. (But I would use that glove only in practice, not on the course.) Start by removing your right hand from the club. Now open your left hand without changing position. Grab a Sharpie with your free hand and mark the shaft’s edges where the club meets your hand. Mark both sides. Marking the club assures you that you’re gripping it correctly with your left hand. After that, it’s easy to place your right hand correctly.
If you’ve been gripping the club incorrectly, gripping it correctly will feel strange the first few times. These types of changes often do. So practice gripping the club correctly until it feels comfortable. Then try it on the course.
How much changing grips will help your game is anybody’s guess. But it’s worth a try, if you’re struggling. In fact, anything that might help you cut strokes from your score and/or golf handicap is worth a try. If this method described doesn’t work, you might try taking a couple of golf lessons. Working with a pro on how to grip the club might be the best approach for you.