Every golfer loves straight drives.

How to Find the Right Grip Leading to the Best Driving Results

And why not? Standing on the tee knowing you can hit the ball down the middle of the fairway is a great feeling. You can aim for the middle in order to play it safe and find the short grass, or you can aim down one side or the other in order to set up a nice angle for your approach. While straight drives alone are not going to guarantee that you are a good golfer, they are certainly a great place to start. With the ball in the short grass hole after hole, this game suddenly gets a lot easier.

One component of your swing which can help contribute to straight drives is your grip. By using a grip which matches up well with your swing, you will be able to control the club face nicely and you will have a much better chance of actually finding the fairway on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the question we asked in the title of this article – what is the best grip for straight golf drives? – isn’t one that really has a definite answer. You are going to have to work through a variety of options in order to determine which grip works best for your game.

In the end, the best grip is going to be the one which offers you the best possible results. That might sound like an obvious statement, but many golfers miss this point. You shouldn’t be building your game based on what other golfers are doing, as those players have nothing to do with your game and your swing. While there are basic fundamentals that you should pay attention to with regard to the grip, you should also feel free to use your own personal style. After all, golf is not a game which is played by robots. This game is played by real people, and to succeed on the links you need to be willing to find your own way.

Our goal with this article is to help you find the grip that is going to lead to the best possible results off the tee. For some golfers, that will mean using a rather weak grip, while others will be best-served to use a strong grip. There is going to be some time and effort required to work through this process and figure your grip out for yourself, but it will pay off in the end when you hit some of the best drives of your life.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Basics of the Golf Grip

The Basics of the Golf Grip

To kick things off in this article, we want to discuss the basics of the grip and how it has a direct impact on the shots you produce in your game. Despite its tremendous importance, many golfers don’t take much time to think about their grip. Some just grab the club however feels comfortable and never look back. Others were told how to grip the club by a teaching pro many years ago, and they just stick with that grip – regardless of the results. By taking some time to learn about the grip and understand how it works, you should be able to make wise decisions moving forward regarding this important part of your technique.

Let’s take a look at a list of some of the key things to understand about gripping the club the right way.

  • The hands work together. One of the important keys to keep in mind regarding your grip is the fact that your two hands should be working together nicely during the swing. The left hand and the right hand should not be fighting for control – rather, they should be working in tandem to move the club properly through the ball. To encourage teamwork between the two hands, make sure your palms are facing each other on opposite sides of the grip. In other words, if you have a strong left-hand grip, you want to also have a strong right-hand grip. If you were to place your hands in contradicting positions (such as a strong left hand with a weak right hand), it would be hard to get your hands to cooperate during the swing. Ideally, you won’t feel like either one of your hands is ‘in charge’ of the swing at all. Instead, they should be sharing the task, working together to produce quality shots.
  • Relaxed grip pressure. This is one that you can’t really see when you watch someone else grip the golf club, but it is essential. When standing over the ball getting ready to swing, your hands need to be nicely relaxed as they hold onto the grip. You need enough pressure to control the club, of course, but not so much that the swinging motion of the club is restricted. The general rule of thumb with regard to grip pressure is pretty simple. You need to hold on tight enough to avoid losing control of the club during the swing, but no tighter. Start by working on hitting some short shots with a light grip pressure until you build up the confidence to make longer swings. Also, while we are talking about drives in this article, it is worth noting that relaxed grip pressure is particularly important in the short game.
  • A solid connection. Perhaps the most important decision you need to make with regard to your grip is determining how you will connect your two hands. The two main methods for bringing your hands together are the interlocking grip and the overlapping grip. One is not better than the other in general, but one will likely work better than the other for you. With an interlocking grip, the pinky finger of the right hand is laced between the pointer and middle fingers of the left hand. This creates a rather secure connection, and many golfers like the stability that this grip provides. On the other hand, an overlapping grip has the right-hand pinky finger ride in the crease between the pointer and middle fingers on the left hand. The pinky is on top of the left hand, rather than being interlaced. Most players would agree that this is a ‘looser’ grip, and that can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your perception. Some players like the way the club can whip through the hitting area freely, while others don’t enjoy the lack of control in the right hand specifically. The best thing to do is test them both out on the range for yourself before deciding which will serve you best out on the course.

The three points listed above go a long way toward explaining what is important when forming your grip. If you can hit on each of those points – hands working together, light grip pressure, and a solid connection between the hands – it’s hard to imagine your grip giving you much trouble. As we move forward in this article, we’ll explore some ways in which you may be able to modify your grip in order to produce straighter drives.

Finding Balance Between Strong and Weak

Finding Balance Between Strong and Weak

A strong golf grip is one where the hands are turned significantly to the right on the handle of the club. If you can see at least three knuckles on the back of your left hand at address, you have a grip which would likely land in the ‘strong’ category. On the other hand, if you can only see a couple knuckles – or less – you probably have a weak grip. As is usually the case when talking about the grip, you can find success with either of these options. Some pro golfers like to play with an extremely strong grip, while others prefer to keep their hands in a weak position. You shouldn’t be following anyone else’s lead here – you should simply be trying to determine what works best for your swing.

You can use your current ball flight pattern to learn something about what kind of change might be necessary to your grip. Since we are talking about driving in this article, take a moment to think about all of the drives you hit during your last round. If necessary, write them down on a piece of paper so you can accurately represent your performance. For each shot you hit with your driver, note which way the ball turned in the air, and anything else that you think might be relevant. You can do this just for your most recent round, or you can go back a few rounds, depending on how accurate your memory happens to be.

Once you’ve finished reviewing your drives, try to pick out any patterns that you can find. Does the ball seem to be turning one direction more often than another? For instance, do you tend to be hitting a lot of draws/hooks, while relatively few of your shots are curving to the right? Or is the opposite true? If you are able to spot an obvious pattern in your ball flights, it should be relatively easy to take action on a grip change.

Generally speaking, players who are turning the ball too much to the left will want to move their grip into a weaker position. That means turning the hands to the left on the grip, so they are less able to release the club head through the hitting area. Players who are struggling with shots that turn too far to the right will want to make the opposite adjustment. By using a stronger grip, it will be easier to rotate the club face into a square position at the bottom of the swing, hopefully resulting in a straighter flight.

It should be noted that adjusting your grip is only one of many options you will have when trying to straighten out your flight. And, it may be that your grip is not actually the problem at all. If there are other major flaws with your technique, it really won’t matter what kind of grip you are using – your swing is still going to struggle to produce the results you desire. Make sure the rest of your technique is in good condition before you go to the trouble of adjusting your grip. While it might not seem like a big change, altering your grip is one of the most dramatic changes you can make to your game. The club will almost certainly feel uncomfortable in your hands for a period of time, so you have to be committed to the change and willing to see it through to a successful conclusion.

Another Way to Adjust Your Grip

Another Way to Adjust Your Grip

When you think about gripping the club in a way which is going to promote straight drives, you probably think first about whether to use a strong or weak grip, and how to connect your hands successfully. While those points – which have been covered earlier in the article – are important, they are not the only option you have as you work toward hitting more fairways. In this section, we are going to talk about an extremely simple adjustment you may be able to use to help you keep the ball in play more often.

The adjustment in question is probably one of the first things you learned how to do in golf – choke down on the grip. By moving your hands down from the top of the grip by an inch or two, you may be able to improve the control you exert over your shots. Let’s look at a few reasons why you should consider choking down when hitting at least some of your drives.

  • Reduce speed slightly. It’s hard for amateur golfers to voluntarily give up swing speed but doing so can help you improve the control you have over your driver shots. By choking down a couple inches from the top of the grip, your swing is likely to get a bit slower – and that can actually be a good thing. When you are playing to a tight fairway and you want to prioritize accuracy over distance, choking down to take some speed out of the swing is a smart move. With less speed through the hitting area, you should produce less spin, and your ball will be more likely to hold its line.
  • Improve your margin for error. Most drivers are somewhere in the range of 45’’ long. Therefore, at impact, your hands are roughly 45’’ from the ball. If you were to choke down by a couple inches at address, however, that distance would be reduced to 43’’ (give or take). That might not seem like a big deal but moving everything a couple inches closer to the ball is going to give you slightly more margin for error. It will be easier to strike the ball on the sweet spot, or at least very close to the sweet spot. For a drive where you are focused on hitting the fairway first and foremost, giving yourself a bit more margin through the hitting area is a good thing.
  • Flatten your ball flight. This is another point which has to do with the reduced spin rate on these kinds of shots. Without as much spin on the ball, your trajectory will likely remain closer to the ground. That is a good thing in this situation as it will help you to bring the ball down in the fairway before the shot has a chance to stray into the rough. Also, you can use this adjustment when the wind is blowing in an effort to keep your ball down out of the breeze. Too many golfers fall in love with the high, towering tee shot, when hitting a lower ball can actually be quite an effective strategy. Sure, there is a time and place for a high drive, but you don’t want to be using that type of shot on every hole.
  • Instill confidence. Let’s face it – some tee shots are just plain intimidating. You are standing on the tee and you are having trouble building up the confidence to make a great swing. When that happens, you are almost destined to fail, as your lack of belief in the swing you are about to make will sabotage the shot before you even get started. To give yourself a little boost of confidence before hitting the shot, you may wish to choke down on the grip slightly. This minor adjustment could have a major impact on your mindset, as you’ll suddenly feel that you have something working in your favor. Sure, the fairway may be narrow and there may be a large hazard lurking just off to one side or the other, but at least you have choked down and you can expect to gain some control as a result. A big part of golf is convincing yourself that you can rise to the challenge. Sometimes, all it takes is something as small as choking down on the grip to give yourself a mental edge.

Of course, choking down on the grip is an adjustment you can use in a variety of situations on the course. It is useful on the tee, but it is also helpful when playing approach shots into tight targets, or when hitting any kind of shot in the wind. During each practice session you complete at the range, try including at least a few shots where you choke down on the grip. Pretty soon, this adjustment will become natural and you will be willing to use it on the course when the time is right.

Other Straight Drive Tips

Other Straight Drive Tips

To finish up the article, we are going to step away from the topic of the grip and talk instead about some other methods you can use to hit more fairways. We hope at least one of the tips below helps you place the ball in the short grass with greater regularity.

  • Play off one edge of the fairway. This is a strategic tip which is not used by nearly enough players. Imagine that you are standing on the tee of a par four, and the fairway runs perfectly straight from tee to green. Where are you going to aim? For most golfers, the answer is ‘right down the middle’, of course. Unfortunately, that’s usually the wrong answer. Assuming you have a typical ball flight pattern, such as a draw, you should be aiming down the edge of the fairway opposite of the direction you expect the ball to turn. If you normally hit a draw, aim down the right side and give yourself as much room as possible for that draw to work. You may need to alter this plan when there are hazards to consider, but it is a good approach for a ‘standard’ tee shot.
  • Tee it low. It is a good idea to tee the ball high when you are trying to maximize distance. When you want to optimize for control, however, your best bet is to tee the ball low to the turf. Test this method out on the driving range before you use it on the course.
  • Play the slopes. Sometimes, your tee shot will land in the fairway only to roll out into the rough. You might be able to avoid this fate by evaluating the slope of the fairway before you hit your tee shot. Play toward a position where the slope won’t get you into trouble, if at all possible.

There is a lot to like about standing on the tee with the confidence that you can hit the fairway. Keeping the ball in the short grass is going to make the game easier, of course, and it should be more enjoyable, as well. We hope the information provided in this article will help you adjust your grip in a way that leads to more excellent drives in the near future. Good luck!