Get a grip on your golf game

The grip is an interesting part of the game. A good grip is essential to good golf, after all it is the only contact you have with the club and therefore dictates how you will control the club throughout the swing.

The grip and the flight of the ball are closely related and quite often the correction of the golfer's ball flight starts with the grip. The most common flaw with the grip is with the golfer hitting the ball to the right due to a grip that is too weak. A weak grip is one in which the club is too high in the palm of the left hand.

This weak grip causes the wrists to rotate the club head to an open position throughout the swing. This open club face is difficult to recover from, the golfer must try to rotate the face the same amount on the downswing, an unlikely proposition. Usually the golfer does not rotate the face enough and therefore hits the ball with the club face aiming to the right of the target.

This type of swing relies on perfect timing, it works well on good days and badly on bad days. Some golfers also grip the club with both hands turned too much to the right on the club. This causes the face to turn to the left through impact resulting in a hook or pull hook. A neutral grip eliminates the need for wrist rotation in the swing resulting in more consistent golf.

Not all golfers should have the same grip, we must consider the individuals needs. A golfer with the tendency to slice should consider a slightly stronger than neutral grip. The golfer with a hooking problem should make sure the grip is in a neutral position.

To develop a neutral grip the fingers of the left hand should wrap around the underside of the grip. The pad of the left hand and the left thumb should be on top of the grip. Looking down on the left hand you should see at least two knuckles. The common mistake is the golfer thinking the club should be in the palm, it actually should be more in the fingers. The thumb and index finger should form a V on top of the grip that points to the right shoulder.

The fingers of the right hand also wrap around the underside of the grip. The palm of the right hand should fit snugly on top of the left thumb. The V formed between the thumb and index finger of the right hand should point at the right shoulder, in the same direction as the left.

Grip pressure is important, the grip should be firm but not create tension. It must not be so loose that the golfer has little control. If you have a problem with accuracy look to the grip for the answer. A neutral grip is a good start on the road to consistent golf.

Terry Gingell, a PGA professional, is offering adult and junior group lessons at Eagle Valley Golf Courses. For information, call Terry, 690-7970.


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