[Editor's Note: The following article was written by Todd Casabella, Director of Instruction at Grey Hawk Golf Club in Lagrange. Todd is a member of the Professional Golfers' Association of America and a TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor.]
Most golfers hold the club in a way that feels good to them. But what may initially feel good and the best way are very rarely the same thing. Most good players have spent an incredible amount of time perfecting how their hands hold the club. Why? There are numerous reasons. One very important one is that the grip dictates the position of the wrists in relationship to the shaft and club face. The ability to hinge the wrists properly is related to how the hands are positioned on the club and each other. This positioning is critical for getting the most out of your swing. The wrists are the biggest producers of speed. If you have a bad grip then you are going to be losing distance.
Naturally, most players put their hands on the club in what is considered a strong position with the palm of their left hand facing the ground and the palm of their right hand towards the sky. This can be powerful but hard to control the club face. A more neutral grip is preferred where the palms are facing the horizon. For the correct placement of the hands try this. Put your left arm straight out. In your right hand, hold the shaft of the club just below the grip. Keeping the club face perpendicular to the target line bring the club right in front of your chest with the butt of the pointing at your belly button. This should put the club at about a 45 degree angle to your torso. Put your left hand on the grip of the club chest high, keeping the butt of the club pointed at your belly button. Put your left hand on the club with your thumb on the top right side of the grip. Your thumb is pointing to 1 o’clock if the toe of the club is pointing to noon. Your left wrist should be directly in front of the club. This is your left hand grip. Now point the butt of the club at the ground. Use the fingers of your right hand to grip the club. Be sure to hide your left thumb in your right hands life line. The right index finger should be in a trigger position.
Once you’ve established your grip how much pressure you apply to it can ruin your swing. With your left you should be apply pressure with the last three fingers. The index finger and thumb should be very relaxed. In your right hand, I prefer that you feel as though you are barely holding onto the club. As you swing the club back you should begin to feel pressure in the right index finger. Keeping this pressure constant on the downswing is a key to consistent ball striking.
A good grip can’t be stressed enough. It’s your only connection to the club and dictates your golf swing. Constantly work on a proper grip and it will eventually become habitual, feel natural and allow you to get the most out of your swing.
Featured in the pictures in this post is Nikki Kulasa, a student of Todd’s who qualified for the U.S. Women’s Public Links Championship at Bandon Dunes.