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Answer Will gripping down on the club improve my ballstriking

The massive distance gains in 21st century golf are mostly about technology – solid-core balls, lightweight shafts, huge clubheads and advanced materials. But equipment makers have used a couple of simple tricks, barely noticed by the average consumer, to juice yardage from tee to green.

First, theyve subtracted loft from irons. For example, todays 7-iron (around 34° loft) would have been labeled a 6-iron a generation ago.

Theyve also added length to shots by literally adding length to clubs, most notably the driver. Once upon a time, your typical off-the-rack driver measured 43” from end to end, give or take half an inch. Now its 45.5”. Thats a noteworthy difference that often translates to longer drives, but at the expense of solid striking and accuracy.

Of course, you can have clubs custom-built to match your specifications, which may be shorter than standard. (This sites sponsor, Thomas Golf, offers free online fitting.) Even then, however, you might find that gripping down on the club – another way of saying “choking up” – enhances your ballstriking and accuracy.

Long story short: The closer your hands are to the clubhead, the more control youll exert over the club. That makes it easier to a) square the clubface at impact, and b) hit the ball on the sweet spot. Those conditions mean not only straighter shots, but more consistency in your distances with each club. Instead of hitting your 7-iron 150 yards one time, 142 yards the next and 147 the shot after that, you might see yardages of 150, 147 and 151.

Gripping down may also lower your ball flight, which can be good or bad depending on a number of factors. What it wont do is cost you lots of distance. In fact, you may actually add length to your average shot because youll strike closer to the sweet spot.

How much should you grip down? Probably very little. Start by placing your hands a half-inch lower on the grip with the short irons. It may take a little more that than to rein in longer clubs like hybrids, fairway woods and your driver.

Despite what you may have gleaned from equipment ads and watching the pros, golf is more than just a power game. Accuracy counts – always has, always will. If you struggle to hit solid, on-the-mark shots, gripping down could be the simple answer you crave.

Lowering your hand placement is just one of many ways to improve your ballstriking. Here are more tips to boost your percentage of solid shots:

Eyes Need to Be Level for Best Ballstriking

Johnny Millers Drill for Better Ballstriking

Improve Balance and Tempo with Feet-Together Drill

The Basics of Proper Spine Angle

Hit Down to Get the Ball Up

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If your ballstriking is already in good shape, you may well lose a little yardage. Even with the driver, though, were talking 5 yards or so – a small price to pay if you straighten out that slice or hook. Besides, many golfers actually gain distance by gripping down because they strike the ball better.

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If youre like most golfers, youre standing too far away as it is. Perhaps out of fear for the shanks, amateurs tend to inch back at address. Then they reach with the arms or bend their upper-body forward, causing lots of swing issues. Gripping down will naturally move you closer to the ball; youll know your distance is correct if the clubs butt end points at your belt.

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True, choking up is a key to playing the punch or knockdown shot, where the goal is to keep the ball down in windy weather. And yes, you may well notice a lower trajectory when gripping down. This is a plus for many golfers, especially those who tend to impart excess backspin on their drives or hit weak, floating irons.