The Grip


Part 1. Left Hand

Perhaps the oldest cliche in golf instruction is that a sound grip is the foundation of a sound swing. Every golf book ever written contains a chapter about the grip. With every detail of the grip lavishly illustrated.

Unfortunately, the function of the grip in the swing is less frequently discussed. If it were, players would have a better understanding of the importance of an "orthodox" grip, and how to achieve it.

As the details of the orthodox grip are so well known, how is it that so few golfers actually possess such a grip?

The tragic fact is that the orthodox golf grip simply will not work for most players… they have too many errors in their swing actions to live with it!

Most of them spend years searching for a grip . . . any grip . . . that will minimize the errors in their swings. Hence, the endless variety of grotesque grips one sees on the course.

Go to any golf range.

Most of the victims can be seen fiddling with their grips, experimenting endlessly in the hope that natural selection will provide them with a position that will reduce, or eliminate the slice. They should, of course, be rebuilding their swings, not their grips!

So get your grip right, and stick to it.

If you cannot play golf with an orthodox grip, it’s your swing that needs attention . . . not your grip. You cannot cure a bad swing with an equally bad grip.

It is not generally appreciated that the set-up and grip are closely inter- related. A poor set-up makes a good grip more difficult, and a bad grip affects the set-up. This is important. So relate what is said about the grip to what I say elsewhere about the set-up, particularly of the arms. They are the two sides of the same coin.

Like every other aspect of the swing, common sense principles govern the "orthodox" golf grip. You should be aware of them.

First, what is the role of the grip, in the swing?

In all "bat and ball" sports we aim to get the striking surface of the "bat" (or racquet, club, etc.) moving squarely along the intended line of flight of the ball. If the face of the striking implement is not moving squarely along the intended line of flight, sidespin is imparted to the ball, and it does not fly straight.

A correct grip simply enables one to swing the club backwards (to the top), and return it to the ball (in the downswing) so that the club-face is both square to the intended line of flight (as it was at address), and traveling along the intended line of flight at impact, and slightly beyond.

A so called "good grip" will, barring other complications in the swing, bring about these two requirements. "Bad grips" make the attainment of these two conditions almost impossible.

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