The Golf Grip: How to Grip a Golf Club (HOW TO HOLD A GOLF CLUB FOR YOUR SWING TYPE)

Welcome to B4G and our golf grip fix guide! The importance of a proper and correct golf grip fundamentals is one of the most written about topics in golf instruction. Just about every golf instruction book I have ever read has a chapter about the grip. You know the chapter. Every single detail of the grip is photographed from all different angles. The first fundamental rule of the golf swing is typically the proper golf grip and choosing witch of the proper golf club grips is most comfortable for you.

However, the actual function of the grip in the golf swing is rarely discussed. Golfers deserve to have a better understanding of the importance of a proper grip for golf and how to achieve it with their swing type.

The main purpose of the golf swing grip is to control the position of the club face at impact. Your grip is your only actual connection with the golf club and a correct grip helps you generate power with accuracy in your swing from the driver on down through your irons and wedges.  The golf ball itself only reacts to the speed, direction, and position of the club face at impact in the golf swing.

The greatest one plane golfer of all time, Ben Hogan, stated at the beginning of his book “The Modern Fundamentals of Golf” that “good golf begins with a good grip”. In fact, Hogan believed so strongly in a correct grip that he spent nineteen pages on just the grip! I would say that is overkill, but it shows the importance of the grip in Hogan’s mind.

Golf Grip

Image: AZ Quotes

In 1946 when Hogan went back to playing professional golf after being drafted into the US Air Force for WWII, it was clear that the duck hooks he was famous for almost completely disappeared. At this moment when he re-joined the PGA Tour, Hogan told one sportswriter in 1947 “I’ve found the secret.” It is at this point, Hogan became the greatest ball striker the Tour has ever seen. Hogan never revealed exactly what his secret was however.

You can easily find many different solutions for the proper golf grip with any Google search. So why is it that so few golfers actually have an ideal grip? I see many golfers spending hours on the range tinkering and hoping to find the mythical “perfect golf grip” that will eliminate all of the faults in their swings and magically turn them into the 2000 version of Tiger Woods.

Just look around next time you are at the range and you will see what I mean.

The main problem with changing your grip so often is that people actually think that fiddling with the grip will magically fix everything else that is wrong with their swing.

I am here to tell you that this rarely (if ever) works. Especially if your swing plane is wildly inconsistent from one swing to the next.

I urge you to start getting better at golf today by getting your grip corrected and then sticking to the correct golf grip for your swing type for the rest of your golfing life. Your driver grip should be same as your iron grip. You will never get your swing in order if your grip is consistently inconsistent.

I hate to tell you this but you will not cure a terrible golf swing with an equally terrible grip.

In talking about achieving your best golf grip it is important to realize that there are a few different components in gripping a golf club.

The first component that goes into the the perfect golf grip is determining your natural swing type (one or two plane). Second is what a style of grip (how you hold the club) do you have. Third is hand positioning involved (where your hands are positioned while holding the club) Strong, Weak, or Neutral. The fourth and final aspect is the grip pressure on the club itself.

Here is what we will cover in this article about the golf grip:

Are You a One Plane or Two Plane Golfer?

Before we dive into what grip you should be using, first start by figuring out if you are a one or two plane golfer.

See the video below from a fellow Plane Truth Golf Instructor Kevin Flynn explaining the difference between one and two plane swing types on Today’s Golfer

Which one are you? I believe that I can give you a better idea of what your grip should be based on which swing type you are. Pick the type of swing that you are (1 or 2 plane) and only read the information below for that particular swing type. If you are a one planer, read only the one plane golf grip solutions below. Same goes for the two planers. Stick to one swing type and follow only those tips. Simple as that.

Three Styles of Golf Grips

There are three most popular golf grips. Let’s cover how to hold a golf club and take a golf grip. The types of golf grips are the Ten Finger (Baseball) Grip, the Interlock Grip, and the Vardon (Overlap) Grip. Each of the three gives you various benefits. Let’s get an overview of how these grips look in this video by GolfTipsSuccess.

Generally speaking, the Vardon (Overlapping) grip is more suited for golfers with larger hands. The interlocking and Baseball grip (10 finger grip) are best suited for golfers with small hands. Most of my students’ use the interlocking grip. The club feels locked into your hands and I think people with smaller hands like this feeling. Nobody wants to accidentally throw their driver 30 yards down the range and have to go pick it up. Each of the grip styles work just fine. It’s just a matter of preference and what feels most comfortable to you. No one grip style is better than the other in my opinion.

Ten Finger (Baseball) Grip

The Ten finger grip is often called the baseball grip because it is similar to the grip that a baseball player uses to hold a bat. For the 10 finger grip, the left hand is placed first at the very end of the club. The right hand immediately placed below it, just like you would if you were holding a baseball bat. In the awesome image above from Golf Distillery, the club is held upwards, so the right hand appears on top. If the club were resting on the ground in the natural take away position, the right hand would be below the left.

Interlock Grip

The interlocking grip is a one of the two most common grips you will see. Jack Nicklaus made this grip famous and I would say a majority of golfers, use this grip. For the interlock grip, hook the pinkie finger of the right hand under the index finger of the left hand, resting between the index and middle fingers. That’s it. Pretty simple and effective.

Vardon (Overlap) Grip

The Vardon or overlap grip, which was popularized by Harry Vardon, is another popular golf grip. Hogan himself used the Vardon/Overlapping grip. This is still used by the majority of professional golfers today. In the overlap grip the pinkie finger of the right hand rests in the space or crease between the index finger and the middle finger.

Strong Golf Grip vs Weak Golf Grip vs Neutral Golf Grip

Honestly, I hate the terms “Strong” or “Weak”. I think they only add confusion to an already confusing game, but that is the way it is. Please note that these terms have absolutely nothing to do with grip pressure, but yet they sure do sound that way. We will cover grip pressure later in the article.

Your left and right golf grip hand position on the club itself determines whether your golf grip is strong, weak, or neutral. The key to knowing whether your grip is strong, weak, or neutral is to look down at the V’s formed by the thumb and index finger of each hand. A strong grip will have both the V’s are turned to the right and you can see three knuckles of your left hand. A neutral grip position shows the right V pointing just slightly to the right and the left V pointing just slightly left of center with with two knuckles visible. A weak grip with have both of the V’s pointed to the left with one left knuckle visible on the left hand.

Strong Golf Grip

To make a “strong” golf grip, first realize this doesn’t involve grip pressure or how hard you hold the club. A strong grip simply means rotating both hands slightly to the right so that the “V” of your thumb and index finger points in between your right shoulder and your neck. This is considered a “strong” grip. A strong grip will typically force the ball to draw to the left or hook if the face is closed too much. If you have problems with hooking the ball, an overly strong grip can compound this problem FYI. This is a grip is best suited for a two plane golf swing.

Weak Golf Grip

To make a “weak” grip, simply rotate your hands to the left, where both “Vs” point towards the are between your left arm shirt sleeve and your neck. Again, this has nothing to do with how softly you hold a club. A weak grip typically helps fade or hit the ball to the right. An overly weak grip can lead to slicing and poor contact with ball. This is a grip is best suited for a one plane golf swing.

Neutral Golf Grip

A “neutral” grip is where both “V’s” of the hands point directly towards your chin or slightly towards the area between your neck and shoulders of the respective arms. This grip can be used for a either a one plane or two plane golf swing. I teach most of my students to have a neutral grip. In theory, you should hit the ball relatively straight with a neutral grip.

After selecting the style (The Ten Finger (Baseball) Grip, the Interlock Grip, and the Vardon (Overlap) Grip) make sure that the grip you use is as close to a neutral grip as possible. Feel free to keep the same style you are already using. No need to change that if you feel better with that style.

What is the Proper Golf Grip?

The proper golf grip or ideal golf grip will allow you to swing the club naturally and return the club head correctly to the back of the golf ball as it was at address. Simple as that.

I personally don’t believe there is just one correct grip or technique for everyone to get the club face back to the ball. Not everyone swings the golf club the same. Every one of us is different. One plane and two plane gofers have very different swings and different releases. I want you to own your own natural swing. I don’t cookie cut every golfer that I teach into only one swing. I do not expect everyone to have the same grip either.

With that being said, I don’t mind being a little bit weak or a little strong, but too much of either (especially strong) can really create ball flight issues down the line for you. The proper golf grip is a neutral grip in most cases. A neutral grip is best for most golfers in my opinion regardless of being one or two plane.

Is your grip already neutral? How do you know? Check out this great golf grip video by ChrisRyanGolf and see if you are already using a neutral grip. Check out the simple and easy drill to check your grip.

The proper neutral golf grip might feel really weird for a bit to you. This is completely natural. Practice the new grip while watching TV and at the range. You will get used to it and you can play better golf if you stick to a correct grip.

Golf Grip Tips

One Plane Golf Grip

Check out these great images from hoganswing.com to see the differences in the grip Hogan used during the 1940’s.

golf grip

Ben Hogan’s grip before the change and the car accident.

golf grip

Ben Hogan’s grip after the change and car accident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Hogan is the greatest one plane golfer of all time and widely considered the greatest ball striker of all time to boot. I believe Hogan figured out that having a certain grip would keep the club face square longer at impact and release perfectly for his one plane swing.

What did Hogan change in his grip as a one plane golfer that set him up to be the GOAT?

Ben Hogan went from playing golf with a strong grip to playing with a weak grip. He did so to combat the closed or shut club face issue that caused these terrible hooks. He simply added the complete opposite of what he was doing to neutralize his golf swing.

If it worked for Hogan, I think it could work for you too.

How to Grip a Golf Club with your Left Hand

If you are a one plane golfer and want to figure out how to grip the club like the best one plane golfer ever Ben Hogan did, I suggest checking out these two great videos by Mike Kyle. Mike discusses in great detail the grip that Ben Hogan used when he discovered his “secret” and came back to the PGA Tour after World War II. I believe the grip was part of his secret, not the actual secret.

Here is the left hand golf grip that Hogan used.

How to Grip a Golf Club with your Right Hand

Here is the right hand golf grip that Hogan used.

Two Plane Grip

If you are a two plane golfer and want to figure out how to grip the club like the best two plane golfer ever Jack Nicklaus did, check out this clinic he put on for the Golf Channel a few years back. The Golden Bear knows a thing or two about the golf grip. Check out this golf grip video from the greatest golfer of all time.

Golf Grip Pressure

Finally, let’s talk a little bit about grip pressure. Grip pressure is an important factor to perfecting your grip and hitting solid golf shots. I see a lot of golfers on the range holding the club way too tight.  I have heard Hogan, Watson, and Nicklaus teach very similar methods of grip pressure. Check out these videos below to learn how grip pressure affects the golf swing.

Pressure points of the Golf Grip

If you are a one plane golfer, check out this great video about grip pressure from Ben Hogan himself:

If you are a two plane golfer, check out this great video about grip pressure from Tom Watson on Golf Digest.

Conclusion

Yes, I know, changing your golf grip can feel uncomfortable.  It will probably feel weird for a bit at first and you may even feel like you are taking a step backwards in the short term. Trust me, it is well worth the small amount of effort it takes to make a correct and proper golf grip every time. You will set yourself up to play more consistent golf for many years to come.

I want to reiterate the most important part of a golf grip is to pick your grip style most comfortable to you and make sure it is as close to neutral as possible. I plead with you to not be the guy on the range constantly fiddling with their grip. After you correct your grip stick to it.

If your grip is neutral and correct but your results are not changing, you have to check what is happening at impact and the corresponding ball flight produced by the ball. Check out Jim Hardy’s book “Solid Contact” to fix ball flight issues.

Looking for in person golf instruction? Check out the directory of  Jim Hardy’s Certified Instructors. The network of instructors spans over a dozen countries all over the world. Use the link below to find the nearest Plane Truth Certified Instructor in your area.

PLANE TRUTH CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR DIRECTORY

Further Reading

Ben Hogan on Encyclopedia.com

Pros Have No Trouble Grasping The Importance Of Grips

The Hogan Story

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