When holding the golf club, there is often a fine balance to be struck between too firm or too weak a grip.
Golfers need to hold on to the club tightly enough so it doesn’t fly out of their hands but soft enough so no tension is felt throughout the hands, arms and body. There are a couple of popular maxims that players could keep in mind when trying to get the feeling of how tightly they are holding the club.
- Imagine you are clutching a live bird in your hands. You have to hold the bird so it doesn’t fly away but not too tightly as you don’t want to hurt it. Try picking up and holding the club with the same force and tenderness.
- Imagine you are holding an open tube of toothpaste with the cap facing down. Adopt your golfing posture as if you are about to hit a shot. Grip the tube tight enough so it doesn’t come loose from the hands but soft enough so the toothpaste doesn’t spurt out. Try to keep this feeling during the swing.
These are two great ways for golfers to better feel how tightly to grip on to the club. However, during a round of golf there are occasions when different shots will require different grip pressure.
When players are faced with either a long or short shot from heavy rough, they must be careful. When coming through impact, the long grass will wrap around the club’s neck and twist the club face closed. Because of this, players are better suited adopting a very firm grip to stop the face twisting closed.
High Flop Shot
To hit a high floating flop shot when close to the green takes skill and a sound technique. It also requires a very delicate and light grip. The lighter a player holds on to the club, the more feel they will have. For a high floating shot over a bunker or obstacle, players should be holding the club as they would a butterfly and hopefully the resulting shot will land as softly.
Putting is a skill that requires a high amount of feel in the hands. It is almost impossible to achieve consistent distance control in putting if the grip becomes too firm. This is because the extra tension created by a firm grip not only resides in the hands but travels up the arms and into the shoulders. To better understand the delicate nature of the putting grip, imagine a scale from 1-10 with 1 being the lightest possible grip and 10 being the strongest. Aim to have a grip pressure no tighter than 3 or four. Ben Crenshaw, one of the game’s greatest ever putters, held the short stick so lightly it almost fell from his hands.