Learn to Form a Perfect Grip!

Introduction to the Grip – My Preference For Choosing the Overlap Grip

"Good Golf Begins With a Good Grip!" Ben Hogan was absolutely right on this and the grip is so important to the proper functioning of the golf swing that I’ve created a three-part video series that covers every detail necessary to teach you how to get your hands on the club correctly and form a perfect grip every time.

In addition, I explain the specific role each hand plays in the golf swing, why a good grip is necessary to develop a powerful and consistent release, and how the grip keeps the club on-plane throughout the swing. Finally, I’ll provide you with a few ways to confirm that your grip is right using some very precise joint and knuckle alignment checks, as well as introduce some important new phrases into your golf vocabulary such as keeping your “left hand on-the-forearm,” and “building the rectangle.”

If you’re a beginning golfer, a good grip should be learned as soon as possible. That’s why I’ve placed this three-part series right up front as the lead set of videos featured in our instruction vault. Even if you’re an advanced player, we recommend that you watch the grip series first, before any of our other instructional videos. Once you’re successful placing both hands in the right position on the club, you will immediately sense how some very necessary structure has been introduced into the hinging and unhinging of the wrists. This improved structural integrity is what will allow you to consistently deliver the clubface squarely back to the ball, the same way every time, just like the tour pros do.

Forming the Left Hand Grip

This is perhaps one of the most important videos to watch in the Instructional Vault. The biggest mistake I see among inexperienced golfers is a poorly formed left hand grip. If you don’t get the left hand on the club properly, you’ll never learn to hit it hard, and never have a chance of getting the shaft working "on-plane" at the top of the backswing.

  • Don’t worry about where the V’s are aligned and how many knuckles you see. Here’s the main point: The left wrist must sit directly above the butt-end of the grip – not off to the left side – and be aligned as close as possible to the underlying shaft.
  • A correct left hand grip forms a "martial-arts" fist – not a "sissy-fist" A martial arts fist enables the left wrist to perform two essential functions: (1) it allows the left wrist to easily form a 90* angle between the clubshaft and the left forearm, and (2) it creates proper structural support for the left wrist to stay "on-the-forearm" and keeps the clubshaft moving in alignment with the plane of the left arm. The opposite of the martial-arts fist is the "sissy-fist." With a sissy fist, the tip of the left thumb barely stretches past the outer edge of the left index finger, blocking the left wrist from forming a structurally sound right angle between the shaft and left fore-arm.
  • In a well-formed left hand grip, (1) the left wrist will sit directly above the butt end of the grip, (2) the distance between the tip of the left thumb to the outer edge of the left index finger will stretch at least 1.0-1.5"(a long thumb), (3) the left thumb will feel angled backward toward the 1 o’clock position, (4) the wrists will feel as though they are riding "high" relative to the grip, and (5) the left thumb will sit at 1:00 o’clock position and fit into the life-line of the right hand.
Forming the Right Hand Grip

I strongly recommend to all my students they use the overlap grip, where the pinky of the right hand hooks just underneath the left index finger. It should never rest on top the left index finger, but instead, should lightly hook in between the first two fingers of the left hand. The right index finger, together with the right thumb, form a critical connection to the leading edge of the clubface. The clubhead travels in an arc at 80-100 mph, too fast for a human to possibly know where the clubface is aligned at impact. Yet with the hands travelling only 20 mph, a golfer with a well-constructed right index finger trigger assembly can develop have a strong sense of his clubface alignment at impact.

To begin, take the first bone of the right forefinger and line it up so that it is straight with the connecting bone interior to the hand. These two joints must not only be aligned perfectly straight, but they must also sit vertical, so that the two joints form a coordinated trigger just that sits directly behind the grip in a 3 o’clock position. These two perfectly aligned joints form the right side of what I refer to as the "Rectangle."

  • The left side of the Rectangle is formed by the right thumb. The right thumb is best pointed to 11:00 o’clock to allow room for the two joints on the other side to form their straight line.
  • The two "smaller" sides of the Rectangle are somewhat imaginary. The upper portion is formed by the middle joint of the right forefinger. The lower portion is formed by an imaginary section of the hand that connects the biggest joint at the top the right thumb with the muscle that lies just to the right.
  • Forming the Rectangle is critical to playing good golf. You will notice it in the grips of all good ball strikers.

Properly aligning the two joints of the right forefinger not only helps the right wrist to bend optimally, it also maintains the right wrist bend well into and through impact. This puts the right hand (the dominant hand for a right-handed player) in charge of the pace and timing of the proper release of the wrists through impact. A right hand that forms a "doughnut" instead of a Rectangle will be unable to maintain its bend into impact and lead to a "dumpout" of the club toward the ground prior to impact.

Maintaining the right wrist bend into impact holds two key benefits: (1) it creates faster cluhead speed at impact, and (2) a lower vertical launch angle, both of which produce longer shots.
The clubhead moves at 80-110 mph, which is much too fast for the human mind to have any idea of where the leading edge of the clubface is at any given point in the swing. The two perfectly aligned joints of the right forefinger, aka the right side of the Rectangle, is the golfer’s link to the clubface. It provides a strong sense of where the clubhead is in relation to your hands, particularly at impact.

About Biv Wadden

Biv Wadden is a Class A Teaching Professional with the PGA of America, and a Level 9 Certified Clubfitter with the Association of GolfClub Fittting Professionals (AGCP). He provides golf instruction and custom clubfitting to his students in the western and northern suburbs of Chicago.

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