Grip style: Vardon (overlapping)Arnold Palmer Vardon grip Hand position: NeutralArnold Palmer Neutral grip Putting grip style / hand position: Reverse overlap / neutral
Arnold Palmer reverse overlap grip

Arnold Palmer

The King’s swing has been fodder for good-natured impersonations for decades. But if you want a model for how to correctly hold the golf club, look no further than the famous Arnold Palmer grip.

Arnie, whose father was a teaching pro, was (and remains) a firm believer in sound setup fundamentals. His grip shows perfectly matching left- and right-hand positions – the “V” formed by the thumb and forefinger of each hand points just right of his sternum, with the back of his left hand perpendicular to the target line.

If Palmer’s grip was so good, you may be asking, how did his swing end up looking so awkward? Simple. He under-rotated the hands and arms on the backswing, causing the clubface to close. To avoid hitting a huge hook, he compensated by holding off on releasing the club at impact, causing the so-called “helicopter” finish.

Now let’s look at the Arnold Palmer grip with the putter. He was conventional here, too – neutral with the hands, his left forefinger placed over his right fingers in reverse-overlap fashion. His grip pressure was very light, something amateurs would do well to copy.

A light putting grip – about 3 – 4 on a pressure scale of 1 – 10 – prevents stroke-wrecking tension in the hands and forearms. On the other hand, Palmer’s wristy “pop” stroke is a relic from yesteryear. In Palmer’s playing days, greens were much slower and bumpier than today’s sleek surfaces, necessitating a much firmer hit to get the ball rolling on line.


Golf Grip Terms
Note: All descriptions are for right-handed golfers.

Vardon / Overlapping Grip: Method of holding the club by placing the right pinky finger on top of the crease between the left index and middle fingers. Named for British golf legend Harry Vardon.
Interlocking Grip: Method of holding the club by wedging or locking the right pinky finger between the left index and middle fingers.
vardon grip interlocking grip
Neutral: Position in which the hands are directly aligned with the clubface. The golfer with a neutral grip can typically see two full knuckles on the back of the left hand when addressing the ball.
Weak: Position in which the hands are rotated left (toward the target) on the club’s handle. The golfer with a weak grip can typically see one full knuckle on the back of the left hand when addressing the ball.
neutral grip weak grip
Strong: Position in which the hands are rotated right (away from the target) on the club’s handle. The golfer with a strong grip can typically see more than two full knuckles on the back of the left hand when addressing the ball.
Reverse Overlap Putting Grip: Conventional putting grip style with the left hand above the right and the left index finger extending downward, on top of the fingers of the right hand.
strong grip reverse overlap
Cross-Handed / Left Hand Low Putting Grip: The right hand is placed at the top of the handle, above the left hand, the opposite of a conventional grip.
Claw Putting Grip: The left hand is placed in the conventional position, at the top of the handle, with the right hand lower on the handle and holding the club between the thumb (on the grip’s underside) and fingers.
cross handed Claw Grip