Having the correct grip pressure is essential for several reasons and the left handed golfer should be aware of how they could affect their game.
Firstly, players need to remember the only point of contact they have with the club is their hands and the amount of control they have over that club is determined by grip pressure. Because the hands are the only point of contact between the body and club it needs to be correct.
If a player’s grip pressure becomes too tight, tension will build through the hands, forearms and eventually the upper body. This will limit the amount of feeling and freedom of movement. If the grip pressure becomes too loose, the player could lose control of the club face throughout the swing.
Grip pressure is something unique to each player. Sam Snead had an extremely relaxed grip whilst Arnold Palmer was on the other end of the scale; grip pressure must fit the player’s personality and must strike the balance between freedom and control.
A good way to think about grip pressure is to use the following mental imagery or scale.
The Little Bird and the Toothpaste
- Imagine you are holding a small, live bird. Imagine holding the bird with enough strength to stop it flying away but soft enough so you don’t hurt it. This imagery can be carried over on to the golf club, light enough so the club doesn’t fly away but firm enough that control is maintained.
- Secondly, imagine you are swinging a tube of toothpaste. It needs to be held tightly enough so it remains in the hands, but lightly enough so toothpaste doesn't fly from the end. This again can be transferred on to the club
If the two thoughts above don’t register, using a sliding scale could work. At the top of the scale is number 10 which represents the tightest grip pressure and at the other end is number 1, which is the lightest.
This is the same scale and thought process that Tiger Woods uses when gripping his clubs.
There are different shots which require different grip pressure. High flop shots for example need a very relaxed and soft grip whilst digging a lofted iron out of heavy deep rough would require a tighter hold on the club to stop it turning in the long grass.
Getting the correct grip pressure allows the correct combination of control and freedom. This combination, at the point where the body meets the club, is essential for left handed golfers to maximize their potential on both the driving range and on the course.