Correct Grip Pressure for More Distance - Golf (Video)
Correct Grip Pressure for More Distance - Golf (Video)

Now when you’re playing golf, you’re only connection to the golf club is through the grip. And if you’ve watched or read anything about golf, you’ll appreciate that getting the right grip is quite important, whether you choose the baseball grip, overlap, or interlink. I don’t really like the baseball grip by the way, so if you want to improve that, interlink and or overlapping is a good starting point. But then grip pressure is an important factor. Now I’ve often called grip pressure the golfer’s secret because it’s very difficult to tell how someone’s gripping the golf club. And even by asking them, I say, “How’s your grip pressure?” “Oh, it’s fine, fine. Yeah, yeah. Oh actually I’m strangling it, I’m really holding on to it too tightly.” And it’s not until I ask that question, until I actually try and take the golf club off someone’s hands, that I can actually tell how tightly they’re holding the club. So let’s make sure the overly tight grip pressure isn’t your little bad secret that you’re not telling anybody.

So when you’re setting up to the golf ball, if you feel tension through your forearms, it’s very difficult for anyone to see this. But if you can feel tension through your forearms, or you’re getting blisters on your fingers, or sore spots on your hands, that’s a good sign that maybe the grip pressure’s getting a bit too tight, particularly when you’re under pressure on the golf course. So the first tee nerves example you know, everyone around the first tee watching you. And the grip pressure rises through the roof, your shoulders tense up, your swing starts to shorten and get a bit quicker, all caused by bad grip pressure.

So a really nice way to make sure you got decent grip pressure, just hold in the golf club right in front of you. Pretty much focusing on the back three fingers and try and hold the club as lightly as possible without letting go of it. So don’t strangle it, just loosen it off until you can almost feel it fall out of your hand. And then bring it down and just drop your right hand in there at the same sort of pressure. Bring that down to the back of the ball and have a little waggle and everything should just feel relaxed, almost like you’re going to let go of the club. During your swing, your grip pressure will start to increase slightly.

Now that’s an almost an involuntary reaction. The golf club will get heavier as you swing. It will try and pull out of your hands and the natural reaction is to grip that tighter. A nice explanation of how and why that happens is similar to when you drive a car, if you’re driving a car in a straight line, you’re holding the steering wheel but you’re barely touching the steering wheel. You’re certainly not strangling it. Yet if you come up to corner or a roundabout, you hold the steering wheel a bit more tightly and you grip it as you go around the corner and then you let go and loosen your hands as the car straightens up again.

And the fact of it, the same thing happens to the golf club. We grip it nice and relaxed to start with, we tense the grip pressure a little bit, getting to an impact position here which is really quite tight, and then we’ll relax it off again. And you’ll feel the same thing when you drive the car, straight line relaxed, you’re not strangling it when you’re driving, turn it, you start to squeeze that steering wheel when you turn the corner and you relax and it strikes again. Feel like you’re doing the same thing with your golf swing.

It’s important you have a nicely relaxed grip pressure to allow you to release the golf club correctly. The releasing action is the caulking this way, and then the releasing and the unhinging of the wrist going this way. Any grip pressure that’s a bit too tight will often result in a quite a stunted follow through. Actually a loss of power, maybe even an opening of the club face which would cause the ball to slide left to right. So relaxed grip pressure, let the hands and the arms release quite evenly, and after a round of golf, you shouldn’t have blisters, you shouldn’t have sore spots, you shouldn’t have sore forearms. Those are all good indicators that you got the grip pressure incorrect. So next time you hit the driving range on the practice ground, try and work on just checking your grip pressure, make sure that’s not your little bad secret.

2012-05-23

Grip pressure is a fundamental which is often overlooked in golf.

Correct Grip Pressure for More Distance

Despite its significant role in the overall quality of the swing, many golfers never bother to think at all about how tightly they are holding the club. If you have ignored your grip pressure up until this point, we hope to give you a new perspective with this article. Not only can optimizing your grip pressure help you to make smoother, more reliable swings, it can also make you a longer hitter.

Right off the bat, we can say one thing with near certainty – you are currently holding on to the club too tightly as you swing. How do we know this? Well, we don’t know it for sure, but we can be pretty confident simply because this is such a prevalent pattern among amateur golfers. The average player holds onto the club far too tightly, and their swing is severely restricted as a result. The majority of this article is going to be dedicated to helping you reduce the grip pressure you use while swinging the club.

Before we get too far into the article, we need to point out one thing, which should be pretty obvious – you still need to hold onto the club tight enough to keep it in your hands. Yes, you want to use a relaxed grip pressure that allows for a smooth and rhythmic swing, but you can’t let it get so relaxed that the club goes flying out of your hands. Obviously, that would not be a good thing for your game, and it would not be a good thing for the safety of those around you. As you work toward a lighter grip, be sure to always err on the side of caution and keep the club safely in your hands from start to finish.

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.

How Light Grip Pressure Can Add Yards

How Light Grip Pressure Can Add Yards

At first, the idea of using light grip pressure to hit the ball farther might seem a little counterintuitive. Don’t you need to squeeze tightly if you are going to make a powerful swing and launch the ball out into the distance? No – as it turns out, you do not. You’ll be much better off making a smooth swing with a light grip while focusing on executing your fundamentals to the best of your ability.

To help you buy into this idea of using a light grip to hit long shots, we are going to list some of the benefits of correct grip pressure in this section. By the time you have finished the list below, you should have all the motivation you need to get down to work on improving your grip pressure.

  • Let the club do the job. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to force your golf swing. Some players try to force it by pushing the club through the hitting area, using as much muscle as possible instead of a smooth rhythm and powerful rotation. As you might have guessed by this point, trying to overpower the golf ball is not the way to succeed. A good way to think about it is to simply let the club do what it was designed to do. The club was built to do the job of striking the golf ball – let it work while staying out of the way as much as possible. One of the best ways to ‘stay out of the way’ is to use a light grip pressure. This will permit the club to swing freely through the hitting area without any interference or restriction. Once you experience what it feels like to let the club work freely through the ball – especially with the driver – you’ll never want to swing any other way.
  • Improve your rhythm. It is hard to make a rhythmic swing when you are holding onto the grip as tight as possible. That tight grip places a significant amount of tension in your hands and forearms, and it is almost inevitable that the tension will find its way into your swinging motion as well. Rather than making a swing which is free and relaxed – which is the best way to generate power – you’ll make a tight swing which lacks the speed necessary to launch the ball into the distance. In order to produce a smooth, rhythmic swing, you will want to pay close attention to your grip pressure, both during practice and out on the course. Don’t be surprised to see your shots suddenly flying a little bit farther as your rhythm improves, even if you don’t feel like you are swinging any harder. Often, it is the swings which feel slow and smooth that wind up producing the greatest amount of power.
  • Feel the club head. The word ‘feel’ is often tossed around in the game of golf, yet it is difficult to get a precise definition on what it means. For many players, the word ‘feel’ means the ability to feel where the club head is during the swing, so that the face of the club can be placed on the back of the ball cleanly time after time. If you have a good feel for your swing, generally you will be a good ball striker. Along with that line of thinking, using a light grip pressure will help you to feel the club head properly as the swing develops. Squeezing the club tightly actually takes feel out of your hands, and you may not have a good sense of how the club is positioned or what you need to do to make a clean strike. From the short game all the way up to the driver, you’re likely to find improved feel when you relax your grip a bit.
  • Perform under pressure. This last point doesn’t relate directly on adding distance to your shots, but it is important nonetheless. If you want to know why some golfers are able to play well under pressure while others seem to wilt, it often comes down to nothing more than keeping tension to a minimum. The golfer who manages to keep his or her tension level down as low as possible is going to be in a position to succeed when the nerves set in. As we’ve already established in this section, one of the best ways to limit the tension in your swing is to maintain a light grip pressure. If you make a habit of swinging with minimal grip pressure, you should find that you fare better when the pressure is on.
    • In the end, it all boils down to this – you should expect to pick up yardage if you manage to learn how to swing with less grip pressure. Are you going to gain 20 or 30 yards with your driver by making this change? No – probably not. But that’s okay. You very well could add five or ten yards, and that would be a big improvement. Give yourself some time to get used to a lighter grip pressure and the benefits – both in distance and otherwise – should make themselves known relatively soon.

      Starting Small

      Starting Small

      It would be great if you could just walk out to the driving range, lighten your grip and go on about your business. Of course, if golf was that easy, everyone would be shooting great scores. This is an extremely difficult game, of course, meaning the changes you make are going to take time and effort in order to become permanent.

      We would not recommend just heading to the range with your driver in hand when you decide that it is time to lighten your grip pressure. Instead, we think the better way to go is to start small, hitting shots with your short clubs in order to build confidence and comfort before working your way up. When you are ready to get started on this endeavor, keep the following tips in mind.

      • Chip shots are a great starting point. Perhaps the best way to get going on the process of learning to use light grip pressure is to head to the short game area and hit some chip shots. By starting with chip shots, you won’t have to deal with some of the worries that you might have in mind if you were to start with the driver. Will the club fly out of my hands? Do I need to change anything else about my swing? You can set these questions to the side and just hit a few simple chip shots with a light grip. As you continue to hit chips, vary your grip pressure until you find a level that seems comfortable to you.
      • Move on to pitch shots. In many ways, pitch shots are just miniature versions of your golf swing. With that in mind, they make for a logical next step on your way to hitting full shots with a lighter grip. Once you are happy with the progress you have made while chipping, go ahead and back up a little bit in order to hit some pitch shots. With any luck, you’ll find that you are striking your pitch shots cleanly thanks to your lighter grip, and your confidence will continue to grow with this technique. Of course, in addition to helping you work your way up to full swings with a softer grip, hitting pitch shots with light grip pressure is simply a good way to pitch the ball. As pitching tends to be an overlooked part of the game, the time you spend on these shots in practice will be quite beneficial when you get back out to the course.
      • Don’t jump to the driver. After you’ve worked through some chips and pitches, and you are feeling good about your progress, it might be tempting to jump all the way up to the driver and swing away. Don’t allow a lack of patience to get in the way of gradual progress. Instead of reaching for your driver as soon as possible, start by hitting full swing shots with your wedges. From there, move up into the mid-irons, then the hybrids/fairway woods, and finally the driver. It might be hard to stick with this plan when you are itching to launch a few drives down the range, but it’s best to let the progression move up slowly until you are truly ready to swing the driver with a softer grip.
        • For many amateur golfers, progress is slow to come – or never comes at all – because they are unwilling to work toward better play a little bit at a time. If you are always in a rush to find better results in this game, you’ll likely remain frustrated for years to come. Golf is a slow game, and you need to slow yourself down and realize that meaningful improvement takes time. Be patient with yourself as you work on using a lighter grip pressure while swinging the club.

          Facilitating a Solid Grip

          Facilitating a Solid Grip

          For some players, it may be difficult to develop the necessary level of trust in a light grip. Even if the results on the range are pretty good, you might find that you are struggling to trust it out on the course. Worried about being able to keep control of the club, you may wind up tightening your grip once again and losing any progress that you had made.

          To deal with this issue, one smart approach is to make sure you are providing yourself with the best possible conditions to maintain your grip. If your hands have plenty of traction on the grip during the swing, your worries about keeping control are likely to fade away. Let’s look at three tips which have to do with establishing a solid grip on the club.

          • Use a glove. Perhaps the best thing you can do to improve the stability of your grip is to use a golf glove. While it is possible to play well without a glove – plenty of golfers do it – most players find that they are more comfortable while wearing one. It is traditional for golfers to wear a glove on their non-dominant hand, so a right-handed player would buy a left-hand glove, and vice versa. This is common practice because it is that non-dominant hand which is largely responsible for keeping control over the club. If you have been playing bare handed up until this point, consider picking up a golf glove at your local pro shop and trying it out on the range. Golf gloves are relatively inexpensive, so it won’t cost you much to give it a try. It may be that all you needed to get comfortable with a lighter grip was a glove.
          • Replace your grips frequently. It is easy to forget about the grips on your clubs as being part of your overall golf equipment picture. You almost certainly didn’t put much thought into the grips when you purchased your set originally, as you were focused on things like the club heads and shafts instead. However, it is a good idea to replace your grips relatively often, especially if you play a lot of golf. Grips will wear down over time, and they will become slippery as they wear. If it’s been a long time since you put a new set of grips on your clubs, it’s quite likely that they are making it harder for you to maintain control. When you do go shopping for new grips, there really isn’t any secret - just pick out a model that feels good in your hands. Many golf facilities will install the grips for free, or for a small charge, if you purchase them in their shop.
          • Keep a towel close by. When getting ready to head out for a round of golf, remember to pack a towel in or on your bag – regardless of weather conditions. If it is dry and warm, you may need the towel to dry the sweat off your hands before making a swing. Or, if it is raining, the towel can be used to wipe the water off your grips. Whatever the case, make a towel part of your standard golf equipment.
            • You need to put yourself in a position to succeed when it comes to your grip. By creating conditions that will promote a solid grip on the club, you should have the comfort you need to play with relaxed grip pressure. It may take a bit of experimentation before you can settle on the perfect grip setup for your game, but you’ll have a newfound confidence in your swing once you reach that point.

              Grip Pressure While Putting

              Grip Pressure While Putting

              When putting, you obviously don’t make a full swing in the same way you make a swing with something like a driver or a long iron. With that said, you still need to pay attention to your grip pressure while on the greens. In fact, it might be even more important to maintain a soft grip while putting than it is when hitting full shots. If you find that you are putting with a tight grip, it’s almost certain you are going to struggle to achieve positive results.

              Why is it so important to keep your hands light on the putter? For one thing, you need to maximize the feel you have for the putter head as the club swings back and through. We talked about this concept with regard to hitting full shots, and it’s even more important with the putter. As you should already know, speed control is an essential piece of the putting puzzle. If you are going to succeed on the greens, you need to be able to roll the ball the right distance time after time. Generally speaking, players who use light grip pressure are going to have an easier time on this point, since they will typically have better feel.

              If you aren’t sure about this, feel free to test it out for yourself on the practice green. Set up a long putt across a practice green and place a few golf balls down on the ground. For the first few putts, use a tight grip – go ahead and squeeze the handle of the putter quite firmly while making your stroke. Then, for the next few putts, relax your grip and be sure to keep your hands rather loose from start to finish. What do the results look like? Most likely, you’ll find that your touch was far better when using a soft grip as opposed to a firm one.

              Another benefit of using a light grip while putting is an improved ability to hit your target line regularly. This comes down to the way you release the putter through the ball. During the backstroke, the putter is going to rotate open slightly in relation to the target line. That’s natural – but it needs to rotate back to the left in order to land in a square position at the moment of impact. When you use a tight grip, that rotation may be restricted, and you might find it tough to get all the way back to square. If you are missing putts to the right frequently, consider the possibility that your tight grip is at the root of the issue. Work on getting comfortable with putting while using a light grip and your overall performance should quickly improve.

              We understand that grip pressure is probably not something that usually ranks very high on your golf priority list. There are certainly other issues to consider within your swing, but don’t overlook the importance of getting your grip pressure just right. You stand to gain distance with proper grip pressure, and the quality of your ball striking as a whole should take a step forward as well. Remember, nothing happens immediately in golf, so give yourself some time to get comfortable and look forward to progress down the line. Good luck!

              Now when you’re playing golf, you’re only connection to the golf club is through the grip. And if you’ve watched or read anything about golf, you’ll appreciate that getting the right grip is quite important, whether you choose the baseball grip, overlap, or interlink. I don’t really like the baseball grip by the way, so if you want to improve that, interlink and or overlapping is a good starting point. But then grip pressure is an important factor. Now I’ve often called grip pressure the golfer’s secret because it’s very difficult to tell how someone’s gripping the golf club. And even by asking them, I say, “How’s your grip pressure?” “Oh, it’s fine, fine. Yeah, yeah. Oh actually I’m strangling it, I’m really holding on to it too tightly.” And it’s not until I ask that question, until I actually try and take the golf club off someone’s hands, that I can actually tell how tightly they’re holding the club. So let’s make sure the overly tight grip pressure isn’t your little bad secret that you’re not telling anybody.

              So when you’re setting up to the golf ball, if you feel tension through your forearms, it’s very difficult for anyone to see this. But if you can feel tension through your forearms, or you’re getting blisters on your fingers, or sore spots on your hands, that’s a good sign that maybe the grip pressure’s getting a bit too tight, particularly when you’re under pressure on the golf course. So the first tee nerves example you know, everyone around the first tee watching you. And the grip pressure rises through the roof, your shoulders tense up, your swing starts to shorten and get a bit quicker, all caused by bad grip pressure.

              So a really nice way to make sure you got decent grip pressure, just hold in the golf club right in front of you. Pretty much focusing on the back three fingers and try and hold the club as lightly as possible without letting go of it. So don’t strangle it, just loosen it off until you can almost feel it fall out of your hand. And then bring it down and just drop your right hand in there at the same sort of pressure. Bring that down to the back of the ball and have a little waggle and everything should just feel relaxed, almost like you’re going to let go of the club. During your swing, your grip pressure will start to increase slightly.

              Now that’s an almost an involuntary reaction. The golf club will get heavier as you swing. It will try and pull out of your hands and the natural reaction is to grip that tighter. A nice explanation of how and why that happens is similar to when you drive a car, if you’re driving a car in a straight line, you’re holding the steering wheel but you’re barely touching the steering wheel. You’re certainly not strangling it. Yet if you come up to corner or a roundabout, you hold the steering wheel a bit more tightly and you grip it as you go around the corner and then you let go and loosen your hands as the car straightens up again.

              And the fact of it, the same thing happens to the golf club. We grip it nice and relaxed to start with, we tense the grip pressure a little bit, getting to an impact position here which is really quite tight, and then we’ll relax it off again. And you’ll feel the same thing when you drive the car, straight line relaxed, you’re not strangling it when you’re driving, turn it, you start to squeeze that steering wheel when you turn the corner and you relax and it strikes again. Feel like you’re doing the same thing with your golf swing.

              It’s important you have a nicely relaxed grip pressure to allow you to release the golf club correctly. The releasing action is the caulking this way, and then the releasing and the unhinging of the wrist going this way. Any grip pressure that’s a bit too tight will often result in a quite a stunted follow through. Actually a loss of power, maybe even an opening of the club face which would cause the ball to slide left to right. So relaxed grip pressure, let the hands and the arms release quite evenly, and after a round of golf, you shouldn’t have blisters, you shouldn’t have sore spots, you shouldn’t have sore forearms. Those are all good indicators that you got the grip pressure incorrect. So next time you hit the driving range on the practice ground, try and work on just checking your grip pressure, make sure that’s not your little bad secret.