The Golf Grip
"As the left hand has to turn down towards the ball in the last section of the down swing, it is obvious that the club-face can be squared up more easily if the grip between the index finger and thumb is strong. Harry Vardon recommended this over 60 years ago." Henry Cotton
Get The Clubhead Moving By Robert Baker
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The Unequal Grip or Cricket Grip (1907) By Alex Smith
"We are now ready for the two-handed swing with the driver.
The grip is taken as follows : Grasp the club in the left hand, letting the thumb lie on top of the shaft directly in the middle. Now shift the thumb so that it coils around the handle but rests on the nail of the forefinger.
This is a somewhat unusual position for the thumb, but I favor it for the reason that it permits the two hands to be brought closer together. If the thumb simply curls itself around the shaft, its knuckle prevents the right hand from snugging close up to its fellow. It is important to get the hands to work, as nearly as possible, as one, and this can only be done by getting them together. So much for the grip with the left hand.
Now place the right hand on the shaft directly below the upper or left hand, and gently pressed against it. The right hand should be turned somewhat under the shaft, so that you can see the finger nails.
This is called the unequal grip, the left hand being well over the shaft and the right hand a trifle under.
It is the grip generally used by reformed cricketers in England and by old baseball players in this country, and at one time it was considered quite unorthodox.
My argument is that the underneath position of the right hand permits of a more effective wrist action, and also brings into play the muscles of the right forearm, which means driving power.
Of course, it has its disadvantages as well. If the right hand is allowed to entirely overpower the left, a pull, or worse yet, a hook, may send your ball to the left of the true line of play.
Be careful, then not to exaggerate the position.
GOLF. Overlapping Grips (1911)
"J. H. Taylor and Harry Vardon and many other leading players now employ a grip which they claim as superior to any other.
The left hand holds the club in the usual manner, except that the thumb points down the shaft instead of lying across it, but the right hand, instead of resting completely below the left, is raised so that the left thumb is completely covered by the ball of the right thumb, and the left forefinger is covered by the little and two next fingers of the right hand.
This overlapping grip differs in small details with different players, but the principle is to make, as it were, one big hand, instead of two, and thus ensure their united action.
There is no doubt that the grip is a most effective one for those who can use it, but, unfortunately, it requires a much greater strength in the hands and fingers than the average player possesses.
For full strokes with all clubs the club should be gripped with equal firmness with both hands, but in the shorter strokes and putting, where the left arm does not have so large a proportionate share in the work of hitting, the right hand should have the firmer grip.
The practice of the best modern players is undoubtedly to use a much firmer grip, and to grip more equally with both hands than was formerly correct, and no doubt with the Vardon or Taylor grip a much securer hold can be maintained than with the older method.
But even with the overlapping grip the club is bound to have a certain amount of play in the hands, and at the top of the swing the left hand must open to some extent, leaving the club handle to be grasped chiefly by the fingers.
The question of the proper thickness for the part of the handle to be gripped by the player is an important one.
It depends primarily, of course, on the size of the player's hands and the length of his fingers.
A golden mean is the thing, but whatever the thickness of grip, it should be the same on all the player's clubs."
Reference : 'The Encyclopedia of Sports & Games' Edited By The Earl of Suffolk And Berkshire Volume II Crocodile Shooting - Hound Breeding. With About Five Hundred Illustrations London : William Heinemann 1911. Golf, page 333-334.
The Grip Or Hold (1914) By Arnaud Massy
Golf Champion of the World 1907
"There are few players to be found who know how to "grip" their club correctly, and this though the position of the hands is of capital importance and forms one of the chief factors in a successful stroke.
Some grip their club too high up or too low down, others separate the fingers overmuch, others again squeeze them far too close together, few succeed at the first go off in acquiring a correct and normally close grip.
This is the very first point to be studied in learning to play, and before attempting anything further, the beginner must get a correct grip and have its correctness carefully verified by someone competent to advise in the matter.
There are two several ways of holding the club. The first, which is the most commonly practised and the one I use myself, is generally known as the "two V grip," because of the two letter V's formed by the thumbs with the rest of the hands which characterise it. It is the simplest and therefore the most practical.
The other, known as the "Over-lapping grip" is employed by some famous players, James Braid for one who swears by it.
It is a little more complicated than the ordinary double V grip, and I fail quite to understand the advantage gained; nevertheless, proposing as I do to make a complete study of the game, I cannot pass it over in silence, and will describe it impartially side by side with its rival.
For the "grip" to be effective, the player's hands must rest perfectly at their ease round the grip (or handle) of the club, and in this instance again their exact position will depend on their special conformation; it goes without saying that a player whose hands are short and somewhat massive will not hold his club in just the same way as a man whose hands are long and slender.
Muscular strength also has a great influence on the grip, according as it resides chiefly in the fingers, the wrist, or the shoulders.
In a word, the best way to grasp his club for each individual player will be the one he finds most comfortable for himself, and thanks to which he finds he can get the best results out of it, but without neglecting certain fixed rules which I now proceed to formulate.
How To Grip The Club (1920) By Ernest Jones
"The true finger grip is to be achieved, not by laying the club along the fingers of the hand, but by the following method :
- Lay the face of the club-head against the ball, allowing the club to take its natural lie.
- Take hold of the shaft with the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, pressing them together (Figs. 12 and 13). Note that the V made by them on top of the shaft is a short one, the crook of the forefinger being pronounced and slightly lower than the tip of the thumb.
- Wrap the other fingers round the shaft (Figs. 14 and 16).
|Fig. 12. - How the club is gripped||Fig. 13 - Another view||Fig. 14 - Note position of forefinger and thumb||Fig. 16 - A proper hold of the shaft|
Source : 'The Golf Swing The Ernest Jones Method by Daryn Hammond'. Click on an image to view a larger version
NOTE. - (a) The back of the hand is not on the top of the shaft, but at the side of it - that is, facing toward the hole. As the player looks down, he should see the knuckles of the first and second fingers, but not more than a suggestion of the third finger.
If the back of the hand is further on top of the shaft, the wrist and forearm will be stiffened, and the swing will consequently be cramped.
The Grip Question (1922) By Edward Ray
"In Britain, in America, in Australia, in India, and in South Africa the problem of the grip has excited controversy almost beyond measure, and when the most prominent players, amateurs and professionals, arrived in England in the beginning of the golfing season of 1921, the query raised by more than five people out of ten was as to whether Mr. "Bobby" Jones kept his thumb down the shaft, as to whether Mr. ("Siege Gun") Jesse Guildford used the overlapping grip at all, etc.
At this time of day it is apparent that the majority of golfers are in favour of the overlapping grip, even though such experts as Mr. Harold H. Hilton and Mr. Sidney H. Fry recommend a separation of the hands on the grip of the shaft.
Naturally when Mr. Hilton, the former Amateur and Open Champion, and Mr. Fry, the one time runner-up in the Amateur Championship, have expressed sentiments which go against the use of the overlapping grip, less important people in golf may be pardoned if they oppose each other in their views on this question, but, as I say, it really would appear as if within the next few years practically every golfer of note will be using the overlapping grip.
At the same time it must be kept in mind that even in the overlapping grip there are little points of difference amongst first-class golfers, and my own method is to point my right thumb directly down the shaft instead of slightly curling it round the leather grip.
A good hold of the club by the fingers of the left hand is advisable with, of course, the left thumb uppermost.
The right-hand fingers should encircle the shaft so that the little finger holds the left forefinger, the left thumb being completely covered by the ball of the right thumb.
Some players do have the right thumb round the shaft, but the essential point is to have the two hands working in concert as far as can be.
"If your grip is not correct your swing will be very short of perfection." Edward Ray
The Finger Grip (1924) By Cecil Leitch
"In order to make these chapters complete it is necessary to start with "the grip".
Roughly speaking, there are three ways in which the club can be held - by the palm grip, the finger grip and the overlapping grip.
The majority of writers refrain from referring to the first mentioned, as it is almost obsolete and not to be recommended; but as it is the method by which I hold the clubs used in the execution of all full shots, perhaps my readers will realize why I include it.
|GRIPS Top: Palm grip used for all full shots Center: Grip for short shots, in which fingers play a more important part Bottom: Grip for putting|
From my earliest golfing days I have remained faithful to this grip, which came to me naturally, in spite of many critics who have tried to persuade me to change to the finger grip.
Many years ago Sandy Herd took part in a match over my home links at Silloth. Of the spectators in the crowd on that occasion I was probably the most interested, as I was able to say ever after, "Well, Sandy Herd has a palm grip and no one can deny that he is a good golfer."
Although I use this unorthodox grip, I do not recommend it, because it requires a different wrist action, and I shall not even describe it, but shall turn to the more popular finger and overlapping grips.
"I have often held a club solely with the thumbs and forefingers, all the other fingers being off the shaft, and made satisfactory shots. Those other fingers, however, are very useful in guiding the club at all parts of the swing, and I do not mean to suggest that they should ever be off the shaft." Harry Vardon
The Flail In Golf By Peter Alliss
The Basic Swing by Peter Alliss with John Jacobs. Vardon writes "Personally I grip quite as firmly with the right hand as with the other one" and so not - quoting Peter Alliss - "so lightly." Available on Amazon
The Authentic Overlapping Vardon Grip
Source : The Complete Golfer (1905) By Harry Vardon
"Now comes the all-important consideration of the grip.
This is another matter in which the practice of golfers differs greatly, and upon which there has been much controversy.
My Grip Is One of My Own Invention
My grip is one of my own invention.
It differs materially from most others, and if I am asked to offer any excuse for it, I shall say that I adopted it only after a careful trial of all the other grips of which I had ever heard, that in theory and practice I find it admirable—more so than any other—and that in my opinion it has contributed materially to the attainment of such skill as I possess.
My grip is an overlapping, but not an interlocking one.
Modifications of it are used by many fine players, and it is coming into more general practice as its merits are understood and appreciated.
I use it for all my strokes, and it is only when putting that I vary it in the least, and then the change is so slight as to be scarcely noticeable.
The Left Hand
The club being taken in the left hand first, the shaft passes from the knuckle joint of the first finger across the ball of the second. The left thumb lies straight down the shaft - that is to say, it is just to the left of the centre of the shaft.
But the following are the significant features of the grip.
|Plate II. The Grip with the Left Hand||Plate III. The Overlapping Grip||Plate IV. The Overlapping Grip||Plate V. The Overlapping Grip|
Click on an image to view a larger version
The Right Hand
The right hand is brought up so high that the palm of it covers over the left thumb, leaving very little of the latter to be seen.
The first and second fingers of the right hand just reach round to the thumb of the left, and the third finger completes the overlapping process, so that the club is held in the grip as if it were in a vice.
The little finger of the right hand rides on the first finger of the left.
Both Hands Feel and Act Like One
The great advantage of this grip is that both hands feel and act like one, and if, even while sitting in his chair, a player who has never tried it before will take a stick in his hands in the manner I have described, he must at once be convinced that there is a great deal in what I say for it, although, of course, if he has been accustomed to the two V's, the success of my grip cannot be guaranteed at the first trial.
It needs some time to become thoroughly happy with it.
Degree of Tightness of the Grip
We must now consider the degree of tightness of the grip by either hand, for this is an important matter.
Some teachers of golf and various books of instruction inform us that we should grasp the club firmly with the left hand and only lightly with the right, leaving the former to do the bulk of the work and the other merely to guide the operations.
It is astonishing with what persistency this error has been repeated, for error I truly believe it is.
I Grip Quite As Firmly
Personally I grip quite as firmly with the right hand as with the other one.
When the other way is adopted, the left hand being tight and the right hand simply watching it, as it were, there is an irresistible tendency for the latter to tighten up suddenly at some part of the upward or downward swing, and, as surely as there is a ball on the tee, when it does so there will be mischief.
Depend upon it the instinct of activity will prevent the right hand from going through with the swing in that indefinite state of looseness. Perhaps a yard from the ball in the upward swing, or a yard from it when coming down, there will be a convulsive grip of the right hand which, with an immediate acknowledgment of guilt, will relax again. Such a happening is usually fatal; it certainly deserves to be.
Slicing, pulling, sclaffing, and the foundering of the innocent globe - all these tragedies may at times be traced to this determination of the right hand not to be ignored but to have its part to play in the making of the drive.
Therefore in all respects my right hand is a joint partner with the left.
The grip with the first finger and thumb of my right hand is exceedingly firm, and the pressure of the little finger on the knuckle of the left hand is very decided.
In the same way it is the thumb and first finger of the left hand that have most of the gripping work to do.
"We now have the left thumb firmly on the club, and the top joint of the left forefinger exercising a determined hold. It is with these two members that we want to grip tightest; that is why we are making use of the strongest part of the forefinger." Harry Vardon
Source : How To Play Golf (1913) By Harry Vardon
"This latter statement is an established fact, and it is the desirability of having the hands contiguous which constitutes the great recommendation of the overlapping grip.
For, with that method of holding the club, the two hands become practically one.
They are wedded, and if the ceremony of wedding them be properly performed and a little forbearance be shown at the outset, when minor discomforts may be experienced, I can promise that they will live very happily together ever after.
The illustrations will perhaps convey the idea of the grip better than I can explain it.
The simplest way to obtain it is to take the club in the left hand, the shaft pressing into the top (or little) joint of the forefinger.
As the wrist should be turned so as to show the knuckles, the thumb will be urged past the shaft. Bring it back, and place it down the shaft.
We now have the left thumb firmly on the club, and the top joint of the left forefinger exercising a determined hold.
It is with these two members that we want to grip tightest; that is why we are making use of the strongest part of the left forefinger.
In the ordinary way, it is the finger with which we find we apply the least pressure when we take hold of anything. It seems to be a law of Nature that the little fingers shall be able to grip the more securely. Try them, for instance, when seizing a stick. In golf we want them to act chiefly as guides; their superior strength must be suppressed.
Consequently, let the second, third and little fingers fall into natural position after a firm grip has been taken with the left thumb supported by the forefinger.
"I have heard people say that this grip is peculiarly suited to me because I am endowed with unusually long fingers. Personally, I think that fingers of more than the normal length are a handicap rather than a help. Anybody can adopt this style of holding the club." Harry Vardon
The Importance of Correct Grip (1926) By Percy Alliss
"Very few golfers appreciate fully the importance of correct grip.
The way in which the club is held by the hands may at first seem a small concern beside the more obvious essentials of stance and swing. Nevertheless, any shot can be made or marred by the grip, and I find some defect in this direction in ninety per cent. of the beginners and players who come to me for advice.
There are two very definite reasons why the club should be held in a particular way.
The first reason is that of ensuring exact impact with the ball on as many occasions as possible.
Experience has shown that there is one grip better than the rest, by which a player has most certainty of bringing the club-head back to the ball exactly as he addressed it. A man whose eye is good may hold the club as he pleases and still succeed in hitting the ball quite frequently, but to hit at the right spot with consistent accuracy and with the face at the right angle he must adopt a grip which in some measure conforms with that most generally accepted.
The second reason affects wristwork.
To get the maximum amount of power from the wrists the club must be wielded in such a way that the utmost co-operation is allowed. Only in this way will a player do full justice to his strength in playing the ball.
A bad grip means that one if not both of these desirable effects is lost, either the ball will be struck at the wrong angle or the blow will be feeble in proportion to the amount of energy expended.
Before describing the mechanism of the grip it may be well to say at once that some of the greatest exponents of the game differ in their methods of holding the club. The difference, however, lies only in comparatively insignificant detail. Alex Herd, Mitchell and Vardon all use different grips, but in each case the root principles are the same. It is merely in the position of their fingers that the distinction lies, for all three hold their wrists in the same position. Vardon prefers to grip in the fingers, Herd with the palm and fingers, while Mitchell's method lies between the two.
Always the club is so held that full benefit is derived from the wrists.
Described As The Trigger Fingers (1947) By E. M. Prain
"Many very good players have unorthodox grips, and I have even seen a scratch player who gripped the club with hands reversed.
Yet although they may vary in type they all obey one principle. They grip the club in the fingers.
The most important fingers in each hand are the forefinger and thumb. In an article the other day I saw these forefingers described as the "trigger" fingers.
That is to say, in order to grip correctly the forefingers are bent as if for pulling the triggers of two pistols, while the thumb rests lightly (Ed. As seen above, in fact, Vardon writes "firmly") in each case against the top joint of the forefinger.
In this manner the thumb and forefinger of each hand form a V on the shaft of the club. This combination of forefinger and thumb is really the feeler in each hand. As they PINCH against the sides of the shaft the presence of the clubhead should become more pronounced.
These two fingers in each hand are the manipulative fingers. It is mainly through them that the clubhead is felt.
They are the aids to better timing, the key to better golf.
No magic is wrought by the remaining fingers.
They function naturally, gripping the club easily and avoiding any tightness or tension.
Too tight a grip reduces the feeling in the fingers. Do not be afraid of gripping lightly. The club will not fly out of the hands at the moment of impact, for the natural reaction is to tighten the grip as the clubhead comes to the ball.
The overlapping grip has probably the most followers, and it is certainly the most common among the better players. Since the hands are joined by the overlap of the right little finger on the forefinger of the left, the overlapping grip has the advantage of helping to keep both hands moving in unison.
It has come to be regarded as the standard grip in golf."
Reference : 'Live hands A key to Better Golf' by Eric. M. Prain. Second Edition with an introduction by Bernard Darwin and sixteen photographs. Adam & Charles Black, 4, 5 & 6 Soho Square London W.1 1947.
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How To Build A Classic Swing With Ernie Els VHS Video © 1995 Master The Fundamentals of Grip, Alignment, Stance and Posture (GASP). Filmed on location at The Fancourt Hotel & Country Club South Africa
"Let me stress that the grip with both hands must be firm. The left hand grips a little firmer than the right, but any slackness of either hand is fatal to a consistently sound swing." Norman Von Nida
The Grip (1949) By Norman G. Von Nida
"GOLF is a two-handed game, though some schools of thought claim the left hand plays by far the greater part. I am convinced that the right hand does most of the hitting.
And because it is a two-handed game it is essential that the grip should allow both hands to work as one.
If I were asked to name the most important single point in golf, I would unhesitatingly say "an efficient grip". Firmness of grip is essential in any sound swing. A flabby grip means that the club gets out of control and in turn the swing is thrown right out of gear.
These pictures illustrate my orthodox overlapping grip. It is a grip that seems a little awkward to the beginner, but which quickly becomes quite natural.
Let me stress that the grip with both hands must be firm. The left hands grips a little firmer than the right, but any slackness of either hand is fatal to a consistently sound swing...
Work out this grip now, keeping one thing firmly in mind: YOU MUST GRIP FIRMLY THROUGHOUT ANY GOLF SWING."
Reference : 'Golf Isn't Hard' by Norman G. Von Nida, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd. 25 Gilbert Street, London, W.I. First published in Great Britain 1949. The Grip, Page 15.
Swing The Clubhead (1952) By Ernest Jones
"In holding the club it is necessary to grip firmly enough to assure control throughout the action.
Too loose a grip is just as disastrous as one which is too tight.
This is as true of holding a golf club as it is of holding a hammer or pencil. Try this experiment. Close the fingers of your hand as tightly as possible.
Notice how your wrist stiffens, as well as the forearm and upper arm. It is the same when you grip a club too tightly.
Now take a pencil in your hand. Write something. Notice that the pencil is held just firmly enough to guide it lightly over the surface of the paper. You do not clutch the pencil. That would destroy the flexibility and dexterity of the movement of your hand and writing would become a difficult chore.
A tight grip is for delivering a heavy blow. In golf, you aim to deliver a swift blow.
Notice also that you hold the pencil with thumb and forefinger, which also are the leading factors in guiding the movement of the club.
The speed which is necessary for wielding the club is generated in those fingers.
Thumb and Forefinger of The Two Hands
The club is placed diagonally across the palm of your left hand, with the thumb and forefinger leading the way in gripping the shaft.
Gripping with the palm entirely provides the power which is perfect for tugging a rope. It is not for golf.
Consider further. The thumb is your principal finger. You use it to undo a button. You lift a cup of coffee or tea with the index finger and the thumb. You hold a spoon with thumb and forefinger. You throw a ball or stone, or anything else, with thumb and forefinger.
Q. E. D. You hold the club with the thumb and forefinger of the two hands, using the remaining fingers as helpers."
Reference : 'Swing The Clubhead And Cut Your Golf Score' by Ernest Jones America's Foremost Golf Teacher. As Told To David Eisenberg. Illustrated with photographs and drawings. How Thousands Have Learned The Sure Way To Better Golf, Pages 37-38. Dodd, Mead and Company. New York. Copyright © 1952 By Ernest Jones and David Eisenberg. Designed by Stefan Salter.
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"It is unfortunately the fact that the majority of golfers who use an overlapping grip entirely miss one of the essential features of this form of grip. What they do not realize is that the very essence of the grip is the dominating part played by the forefinger and thumb of each hand." Daryn Hammond & Ernest Jones
The Two-Handed Grip (1959) By Dai Rees
"I am one of the very few tournament golfers who use the two-handed grip.
The reason is that my two-handed grip suits me, just as I dare to say the interlocking grip suited the brothers Whitcombe, who used it all their tournament days.
For the two-handed grip you hold the club exactly as you would for the overlapping or interlocking except that the right hand is that much down the shaft to make it independent of the left hand.
I think the two-handed grip is best.
It is the one I have used all my life and it has served me well.
If you are quite comfortable with another kind of grip stick to it.
If it goes wrong give my one a trial. You might be very surprised at the results."
Reference : Dai Rees' book 'Dai Rees on Golf', Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd, London. Copyright © DAI REES 1959. Photographs by H. W. Neale.
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Inventor of the So Called Modern Swing Byron Nelson
Winner of 11 consecutive victories posted between March and August 1945. Helped Tom Watson and Ken Venturi become Champions. VHS Available on Amazon : Byron Nelson's Timeless Golf Lessons [VHS]
"LEFT: There is a sort of arching of the wrists to be seen in the address position of many top golfers - here it is in my case.
CENTRE: A good point about this grip is that it tends to keep the elbows together. Note convenient ball-marker on glove.
RIGHT: My usual left hand (and arm) position on the shaft.
Depending on the flexibility and length of the right index finger, so will this 'trigger' finger envelop the shaft.
My finger is exceptionally long and so is able to form a crook around the shaft. If it were less flexible it would be quite normal to expect the line between the knuckle and the first joint to point straight down to the ground. If this finger does not envelop the shaft like mine, the V could point more to the right shoulder and yet the palm would still face the hole, as it does in my case, and as is generally recommended.
This is not the only way to grip the golf club.
This is my type of grip (size 81/2 gloves; long thin fingers) which is called the two-knuckle grip.
I hold the club across the palm of the left hand and more in the fingers of the right, as my right hand fits well over the shaft. The two V's are pointing up the shaft.
I have used this same grip since I began to play golf, even when the four-knuckle grip was in fashion. Today this is considered the latest and best!
IT IS NOW ACCEPTED as one of the most constant fundamentals in the game that the club should be gripped in the fingers of the right hand and across the palm of the left hand. This is mentioned regularly in golf books and articles throughout the world.
There is an accepted margin of difference as to where the V's, formed by the index fingers and thumbs, should point, but it is agreed that the hands should be parallel in general. The V's may point directly up the shaft or in varying angles between the right shoulder and the nose.
The Vardon grip - little finger of the right hand overlapping the index of the left - is accepted as standard, but many golfers, usually those with short fingers, find they can get a more consistent grip of the club if they interlock the index finger of the left hand with the little finger of the right. This keeps the left thumb on the shaft and the little finger does not slip about."
Reference : 'Study the GOLF GAME with HENRY COTTON' Published in 1964 by Country Life Limited Tavistock St. London WC2 © HENRY COTTON 1964 Take A Look At My Grip, Another Slant On Gripping page 15 - 17. British Open Champion.
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"Good golf can be played with eithr two, three or four knuckles showing, and although I favour two knuckles myself I think that the muscle-and-joint-construction of the left arm has much to do with the actual position adopted." Henry Cotton
The Grip: Not A Knotty Problem (1974) By Jack Nicklaus
"I have never tied myself in knots concerning the way I hold the club.
As I said earlier, the function of my hands and wrists during the swing is simply that of a hinge.
I do not hit the ball with my hands, but through them, using them - unconsciously - to translate body leverage into clubhead speed.
Thus I am concerned with only four factors in gripping the club:
- That my hands are placed on the club so that more often than not they will naturally - unconsciously - deliver its face square to the target at impact.
- That my hands will accept the shock of impact without slipping on the club.
- That my hands are linked to the club in a way that allows the wrists to hinge efficiently at certain points in the swing.
- That the pressure of my hands on the club makes possible factors 1, 2 and 3.
I can deal with the first point - clubface alignment - very simply...
Another factor that's always encouraged me to hold the club with my palms parallel to the clubface - a better way of saying "square to the target" is the solid resistance to the forces of impact that this type of grip provides.
When a club meets a ball at 100 mph or more, some powerful forces are exerted on the hands - especially the leading hand - that can easily cause slippage. Probably the strongest part of the hand is its butt.
In fact, I think it was to enable this powerful part of the leading hand to take the blow that olden-day golfers first developed the so-called four-knuckle grip, and is why youngsters and frailer golfers today still favor a grip in which the hands are turned well to the right on the club.
But to swing the club freely and squarely into the ball with the butt of the left hand leading is, for me, a very difficult maneuver - especially in light of the instinctive tendencies of the hands to return square to the target.
Yet the golfer still has to call upon strength in some part of his leading hand to absorb the shock of impact if the club is not to slip as he hits the ball.
What's the strongest part of the hand after the butt? To me, it's the back of the hand.
Thus, by having the club very firmly wedged into the palm of my left hand, and by swinging so that the back of my left hand leads into the ball, I minimize the chance of club slippage at impact."
Reference : Jack Nicklaus' book 'Golf My Way The Instructional Classic, Revised and Updated', Jack Nicklaus with Ken Bowden. Illustrations by Jim McQueen. Part Two Down The Fairway 1. The Grip: Not a Knotty Problem Page 67. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks Copyright © 1974, 2005 Jack Nicklaus Copyright renewed © 2002 by Jack Nicklaus.
Download: Extract The Grip: Not a Knotty Problem by Jack Nicklaus. Including 'These drawings represent my actual hand size' (left-hand only). Winner of two U.S. Amateurs, six Masters, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens.
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"Try to learn not only the basics of the grip but also the importance of the minor adjustments one can make to it. Then, at the first sign of trouble in the game, return to this as the most fundamental principle in the golf swing." Vivien Saunders
Key Learning Point
"So much for the selection of clubs. After this difficulty has been surmounted, and the club is there ready for use, the art of gripping it has to be learnt.
This is one of the most important matters to be considered in the pursuit of the game.
A good grip spells success, a bad grip naught but disaster.
The good grip does not come naturally; possibly there may be a hazy idea of it, but the real thing cannot be secured save at the expense of repeated trials, which are not however so necessary when the services of a tutor have been retained. He will study your style, and at once put you into the proper and correct way of making the most of your capabilities.
I am perfectly well aware that players grip their clubs in different ways, but I take it that the basis, the fundamental idea, of the art of the grip is the same; indeed it must be the same, although little peculiarities may make themselves noticeable later on.
The club must be gripped, not by the palm of the hand, as is common with the majority of unassisted learners, but by the middle of the fingers upon either hand. This is what I may describe as the orthodox way, and the method that must be pursued.
The average beginner handles a golf-club just in the same way as he would a cricket-bat or a tennis racquet, gripping it with the palm of his hand, into which it slips as it were naturally, and he pleads that the muscles of his hand become contracted and painful if he grips his club by means of his fingers alone.
He will adduce arguments to suggest that a greater amount of power can be developed by gripping with the palm of the hand, and he cannot understand how the necessary muscular force can be applied by means of the fingers; but, difficult as the task undoubtedly is, everyone who wishes to be able to play even a respectable game must learn to grip in the manner I have described.
Constant and careful practice is what is required. Once the method of this grip is thoroughly learnt, the remainder is easy.
That this is beyond all question or doubt the correct method is proved by the fact that when the club is gripped by the palms, no matter how strong or pliable the wrists of the player may be, a "locking" sensation - I can describe it in no other way - is felt, and the sequel is that the swing is interfered with to a considerable degree. That in itself is a very serious matter, and it must be guarded against at all costs.
Harry Vardon's style is very similar to mine, with this exception - my thumb is placed over the club.
My grip, briefly described, is as follows:
When I have the club in my hands the thumb of my left hand is kept down the shaft, and it is entirely covered by the palm of my right hand; then the little finger of this last-mentioned hand is over the forefinger of the left hand, with the thumb of the other hand curled around the shaft, and not upon it.
Quite a delightfully difficult performance this, as I have described it; but by a reference to the illustration of my grip and by gripping the club as I have pointed out, anyone can readily see exactly what I mean.
TAYLOR's GRIP. A Vardon Overlapping grip with right thumb curled around shaft. Same frontispiece (Horizontal / Vertical View)
I always place my right hand about an inch above the spot where the leather covering of the club terminates, my idea in doing this being that it is the best means of discovering the right balance as far as the club is concerned.
Still, this grip of mine is not orthodox, as generally understood, so I repeat I do not recommend its adoption, although a trial may not be amiss when the regulation grip has been practised and learnt...
My contention is simply this: that the grasp of the right hand upon the club must be sufficiently firm in itself to hold it steady and true, but it must not be allowed on any account to overpower the left.
The idea is that the latter arm must exercise the predominating influence in every stroke that may be played.
As regards my own position in the matter, my grip with either hand is very firm, yet I should hesitate before I told every golfer to go and do likewise.
To sum up the matter, I should describe the orthodox manner of gripping with the right in the following words: The fingers must close around the club in such a way that provision is made for the thumb to cover and cross the shaft, the first joints of the fingers, providing this is done, being just in sight. Nothing more or nothing less."
Reference : 'Taylor on Golf' Impressions, Comments and Hints by J. H. Taylor Chapter XXXI. Driving: The Grip. Open Champion 1894, 1895, 1900 and 1909 With Forty-Eight Illustrations Fifth Edition London Hutchinson & Co. Paternoster Row 1911.
"John E. Laidlay had an amazing record which included winning ten gold medals at Musselburgh, ten at Muirfield and a further nine silver medals.
In 1878, at the age of eighteen he joined Luffness Golf Club playing over the old course near Aberlady. In 1883 he became a member of the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Leigh, and two years later he joined the Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews.
In 1884, he was playing so badly he made a number of fundamental changes to his set up including playing the ball off his left leg and using an overlapping grip.
In an interview published in the American Golfer, Laidlay said, "At the time I believed it was a good thing to do, and I think it helped me in my putting especially. The reason which started the view in my mind was that my hands being more opposite each other, were more likely to work together and swing the club like a pendulum, and not likely to operate against one another."
These alterations changed Laidlay's game immeasurably and in a two-week period in 1885 he won a tournament at North Berwick, another at Carnoustie, and the King William IV Medal at St Andrews.
The overlapping grip used by Laidlay was erroneously credited to Harry Vardon but historians now agree that Laidlay was the first to use the overlapper.
In Willy Park Jnr's book 'The Game of Golf' published in 1896 he remarked that there were only two players he knew who adopted the overlapping grip and they were J. E. Laidlay and J. H. Taylor.
It was in the year the book was published when Harry Vardon leapt from obscurity into fame by becoming Open Champion, eight years after Laidlay was using the overlapping grip.
Vardon has never claimed to be the first to discover the grip, all that he knows is that he worked it out for himself in the period when he was at Bury and Ripon. It was Vardon's use of it, however that brought it into general acceptance, with minor variations it is the grip used by the vast majority of golfers today."
Reference : 'Famous North Berwick Golfers' web site. John Ernest Laidlay J. P Amateur Golf Champion 1889, 1891, runner-up 1888, 1890 and 1893. Laidlay invented the grip used by the vast majority of golfers. Many of his medals are now on display in the British Golf Museum. Copyright © Douglas C. Seaton 2011. www.northberwick.org.uk/laidlay.html
"How the axe gave human their hands.
Discovery finds tool was key to our evolution.
Newly discovered bone helps to explain the evolution of human hands:
- The 1.4 million-year-old bone - a third metacarpal - shows how hands changed between 1.7 million years ago and 800,000 years ago,
- It runs across the palm joining the wrist and middle finger and keeps the wrist steady while a small object is held between the thumb and fingers."
Source : MailOnline Copyright © The Daily Mail and The New Scientist, 2013.
"Of the professionals I should say that Harry Vardon is the most dangerous match player you could wish to meet anywhere or at any time.
One of the most remarkable features of his play is the manner in which he is prepared to accept big risks. He, too, has a penchant for bringing things off, so that he is possessed of plenty of confidence in his ability to score where another player would be almost certain to fail.
This, I think, is the real secret of his success.
For two years - in 1898 and 1899 - he also developed a truly remarkable facility in holing long putts.
I speak feelingly of this, for during the time I have just mentioned Vardon inflicted two almost unique defeats upon me.
We met in a 36-hole match, and on the first occasion he defeated me by 11 up, and on the second by 12.
Little wonder, then, that I possess very distinct recollections of these encounters!
I might say, however, that in these matches Vardon played the very finest games a man could possibly play. He accomplished something marvellous in the way of scores, and when you catch a man in a mood like that it is a matter of sheer impossibility for you to keep steady and play your usual game.
I am not attempting to excuse or explain away my defeat; all I say is that in these instances I found the task of keeping up to my ordinary form very difficult of accomplishment."
Reference : 'TAYLOR ON GOLF' Impressions, Comments and Hints by J. H. Taylor Open Champion 1894, 1895, 1900 and 1909 With Forty-Eight Illustrations Almost Entirely From Photographs Specially Taken For The Work. London Hutchinson & Co Paternoster Row 1911. Chapter XXII. The Acceptance Of Risks Page 136 - 137.
"I assume there are thousands of what I call "piccolo players" struggling around the world's golf courses ignorant of the fact that it is necessary really to "hang on" to the grip all the time the swing is being made.
The "PICCOLO" Grip. "This picture shows one result of a faulty grip. The player, in an endeavour to make a very full swing, has lost control of the club. Note his fingers."
Reference : T. Henry Cotton's book 'Golf Being a short treatise for the use of young people who aspire to proficiency in the Royal and Ancient Game' by T. Henry Cotton. The Aldin Series, Eyre & Spottiswoode (Publishers) Ltd., 6 Great New Street, E.C.4. London. 1931. First published 1931.
"The best thing you can do with your hands as you swing is nothing.
Simply hold on and let them react naturally to the weight and movement of the club itself.
If this is true, then a good grip is one that lets you make square contact with your maximum clubhead speed while you are simply holding onto the club.
A bad grip is one that forces you to grab with, push with, or otherwise manipulate your hands as you swing.
It's my strongly held opinion that at least 90 percent of the world's golfers have bad grips that cost them both distance and accuracy.
There are three specific requirements of a good grip...
The third basic grip requirement is that your hold on the club allows you naturally and unconsciously to square its face at impact whenever you swing your arms and turn yourself back and through as freely as possible.
The direction in which your club will face at impact is largely determined by the direction in which your hands face after you have completed your grip.
Assuming that you put your hands on the club with palms facing, as suggested, you will find that, generally speaking, the more your right palm faces downwards at address, the more your clubface will be looking to the right of target at impact.
Conversely, the more your right palm faces upward at address, the greater your chances for a clubface that looks to the left of target on impact.
Thus, setting the hands to the left at address causes shots to curve to the right, and setting them to the right causes shots to curve to the left.
Bearing this in mind, experiment with various grip positionings until YOU find the one that most frequently gives you the "shape" of shot you desire when you swing freely."
Reference : 'Let Me teach You Golf As I Taught Jack Nicklaus' Six Fundamentals Jack Grout with Dick Aultman Illustrated by Jim McQueen Atheneum / SMI New York 1975 Copyright © 1975 by Jack Grout and Dick Aultman Designed by Kathleen Carey. Fundamental 2. A Proper Grip.
"If we were as strong with the left hand as we are with the right there would be no need to use anything but the plain finger grip, but as the majority of us have more power with the right hand, I certainly would recommend the use of the "overlapping" grip which allows the left arm and side to come well around and out in the up-swing and to do its proper share in the making of a good stroke."
Reference : 'Understandable Golf' By Jack Gordon. Chapter 4. How to Grip. Professional Country Club of Buffalo Williamsville, N. Y. Illustrations By Hare, Buffalo. Copyright, 1927 By Jack Gordon.
"It was Harry Vardon who introduced or, at least, did so much to popularize the overlapping grip in which the little finger of the right hand is placed in the hollow of the first and second fingers of the left (Ed. Not precisely the overlapping grip. What Vardon writes is : "The little finger of the right hand rides on the first finger of the left").
This is the most popular grip.
Then there is the ordinary palm grip, which many famous players favour, e.g. Tolley, Sandy Herd and Harrison Johnston (U.S.A.), all in the front rank.
The interlocking grip should perhaps be avoided.
Squeeze the club shaft between the thumb and the top joint of the forefinger of the right hand (Ed. What Vardon writes is : "Grip Firmly with First Finger and Thumb of Each Hand").
Then will be found not only a source of much power in the drive, but delicacy of control in the shorter shots. This is called the trigger grip.
Just visualize firing a pistol, and it will be clear what is meant. The first finger is quite good for delicate directional movement."
Reference : 'Modern (1933) Golfing Methods' by British and American Experts. Edited by Jas. Currie Macbeth. Copyright reserved.
"The grip is the first question to be considered and has a great deal to do with the stroke as far as the hitting is concerned.
It also has a greater influence on the swing itself than might at first be imagined since the choice of an ill-adjusted grip only has the result of making the game twice as difficult and this can never be a comforting thought for any one.
I can best describe my own grip by saying that, if I look straight down at the shaft, I can see clearly three knuckles of my left hand and perhaps a little of the fourth as well.
Of my right hand I can see at least one knuckle and possibly a shade more (It is difficult to describe the position more accurately than this, as the slightest alteration in the position of one's head changes it a little.)
The description, however, I think, is clear enough to show the strong position of the left hand; and as to the right hand this too is placed to the best advantage to avoid a slice or a pull owing to the position of the angle of the clubface.
If the right hand is held too far over on the top of the club (so that more knuckles are showing) then the danger of the slice will be increased, since the tendency will be for the clubface to turn too early. Or, again, if the right hand is held too far under the shaft, it is doubtful whether the face of the club will turn soon enough - with the result that a push or a pull or anything rather than a hit in the right direction will follow."
Reference: Joyce Wethered's book 'Golfing Memories and Methods', Chapter III, Wooden Club Play, The Grip. First published in 1934 by Hutchinson and Co., Ltd.
"Concerning the grip, you might refer to me as a two-grip golfer! That's because I teach one grip and play another.
Most of my golfing days had been spent using the routine overlapping grip. Then one day about two weeks before the National Open in Dallas in 1952, I got to experimenting with the interlocking grip. I hit a few shots in a practice round and they worked out beautifully.
I decided to finish the round interlocking and wound up with a surprising score. I kept right on using it into the Open, and I honestly believe that was one of the key reasons for my winning the championship.
Actually, I do not advise using the interlocking grip for all golfers. There must always be a specific reason for using it. One of these - and the one which led me into it - concerns a weak left hand.
Most golfers who have a weak left hand have a tendency to let loose at the top of the backswing. That's where the interlocking grip can help. It aids weak left hand players to hang on to the club better at the top because it gives a firmer left hand.
Much of this looseness, with most golfers, can be traced to small hands, or to be more specific, short fingers. In my own case, I have fairly large hands but my fingers are short. Thus, when I overlap, I find that I become a little more lax and surrender some of my control to the club.
Still, the overlapping grip is a more natural grip for most players, and the success of it certainly can be attested by the fact that most of the leading money-winners on the professional circuit swear by it.
From Julius Boros's book on 'How To Play Par Golf', Chapter 4 The Grip. First Impression 1957, The World's Work (1913) Ltd., Kingswood, Surrey. This is a Cedar Special No. 87. Winner of the 1952 American Open Championship, at Northwood Country Club in Dallas, by no less than four strokes, beating both Hogan and Snead.
"There is no question, the most important thing in the golf swing is the grip.
You can have all the correct movements of your body; you can put the club on the right plane; you can hit through the ball; you can do all those things that are correct, but if you have a bad grip you are never gonna play consistent golf.
The correct grip is this - this is the grip that suits every single player that plays the game of golf - the left thumb must be slightly on the right hand side of the shaft.
The right hand must run parallel with the left hand. You never want the hands fighting each other. The hands must work together as one unit. The left hand is gripped not in the fingers, not in the palm. It is a combination of both. There it is.
Another very good tip and easy way to remember is a line formed here between your index finger and your thumb, and with your right hand between your index finger and your thumb: those two lines must point at your right shoulder.
That is the correct grip."
Reference : Gary Player VHS Video, 'Golf Legend Gary Player On Golf, Volume 1, Video Instructions and Secrets, Gary Player Winner of over 120 Tournament Championships, by Quadrant Video.'
"The grip is the single most important factor for any golfer in producing a good consistent swing. Let me show you how to do it."
"And also you have to make sure that this 'V' (of the left hand') goes into the middle of your chest and also you should be able to see two knuckles.
You should also be able to see (for the right hand) that V between the right shoulder and the middle of the chest. Also, you have to be able to look at only one knuckle. What is happening if you see more than two knuckles on the left hand, that means that the grip is too strong on the left side and the result of that is that you hook the ball. You cross the club too quick. If you don't see any knuckles or perhaps only one, the result of that the hand will come naturally at the impact and what happening is the clubface will come open and then there will be a slice.
So make sure that the 'V' of the right hand aims between the (right) shoulder and the chest, and also you must see one knuckle; and the left hand the 'V' it should be to the middle of the chest and also make sure that you see two knuckles.
If you can do that, you will have the right grip. Let me give you one tip: you have to hold the club with enough pressure to hold it but don't strangle the club because the result of that is that you will create too much tension in the forearms and what happening you will loose club speed and you will swing too fast."
Reference : Seve Ballesteros VHS Video, 'The Short Game', The Ultimate Instruction Video, Copyright © Spangolf Enterprises, Inc. 1990, by 4FrontVideo.'
"As millions of golfers will attest, mastering a strong, consistent, and accurate golf swing is no easy feat.
Yet, as leading golf-swing analyst Maxine Van Evera Lupo shows in this revolutionary book, any golfer - by focusing on the fifteen fundamentals and following the step-by-step instructions for each - can master the proper moves and positions that ensure a correct and controlled swing.
Using this sequential method of instruction, the author clearly examines each swing element in detail.
The golfer can then compare his or her movements with those discussed in the book and depicted in more than two hundred line drawings, and then adjust those components that are not fundamentally correct.
This breakthrough book eliminates the endless tips and quick fixes that clutter most instructional golf books.
The result is a clear, concise blueprint for understanding the swing's makeup that enables the golfer to achieve a consistently smooth and natural swing.
Some of the highly effective swing components described include pushing the clubhead into a toe-up position, hitting with the right hand, and the all-important waggle.
A special chart lists 130 of the most common problems golfers have, explains their causes, and directs the reader to the appropriate fundamental (or fundamentals) for correcting each trouble area. Slicing - caused by
- Open positions at address Page/Reference 33-35
- Pushing positions open with waggle or forward press 115(A), 118(B)
- Incorrect grip 7-9, 26(C), 228(E)
- Ball positioned too far back or too far forward 72(F)
- Exaggerated open angle of left foot 68-69
- Positioning right arm higher than left 102(C)
- Starting clubhead sharply inside on flat swing plane 125(A)
- Pulling clubhead away from ball and looping it at the top 49(E)
- Separation of arms while swinging 102(D), 245(B)
- Collapsed left wrist with incorrect right-hand position at top of swing 180(7), 183(8)
- Right shoulder starting forward from top of swing 185(10), 202(B), 227(D)
- Open clubface at impact due to leaving out the hitting action 223(C)
- Having no guidelines for swinging correctly due to insufficient short swing practice between the toe-up positions 193-195, 199(A), 208(D), 239-240
- See also Hands, hitting from the top
Learning To Use Fundamentals
Anyone can play golf and, with practice, can play consistently well. Many golfers fall victim to self-imposed problems and frustration in golf, however, because they have not developed a sound golf swing based on fundamentals.
One dictionary defines a fundamental as "a principle, rule, law, etc., that forms a foundation or basis, essential part, indispensable, underlying."
A golf fundamental, then, may be defined as "a position or movement that is essential to building a strong foundation for a sound, repeating golf swing."
...All golfers use some fundamentals, whether they are aware of them or not. While they may use some, however, most golfers can improve their swing considerably by learning to use more fundamentals more effectively.
Since each golfer and each golf swing is unique and not everyone uses fundamentals in exactly the same way, not all golfers can improve or correct their swing by using the same fundamentals.
Therefore, in both teaching and learning, learning which fundamentals affect each individual swing is key to self-improvement.
The following chapter help you understand and achieve that goal for more enjoyment of golf."
Starting The Downswing
"Starting the downswing with lower body action delivers power at impact by shifting your weight from right to left, pulling your arms down from the top, turning your lower body, and releasing your hands and the clubhead through the hitting zone.
Returning the club with upper body action keeps your weight on the right, expending power before reaching the hitting zone by throwing your arms and clubhead upward and outward from the top of the swing and releasing your hands too soon."
Reference: 'How to Master A Great Golf Swing' by Maxine Van Evera Lupo Illustrations by Dom Lupo Foreword by DR. Jay Brunza. Chapter Two Learning To Use Fundamentals, Chapter Twenty-Seven Correcting Golf Swing Problems pages 261, 268. Taylor Trade Publishing Copyright © 1992 by Maxine Van Evera Lupo First Taylor Trade Publishing edition 2006.
Download this extract of 'PART I The Grip' including 'Chapter Four Fundamental No. 1: The Left-Hand Pistol Grip (except pages 15, 16, 17,18) and 'Fundamental No. 2: The Right-Hand Grip (except pages 25, 26, 27)'.
Maxine Van Evera Lupo, a retired Class A member of the LPGA Teaching Division in Southern California, is a leading golf-swing analyst. As an amateur, she has competed in the U.S. Women's Open and has twenty club championships.
Several of Maxine Van Evera Lupo's Fundamentals appear to be quite different from those of other Champions (not an unusual thing!). Like, say, by Harry Vardon on the grip, who writes I quote: "it is the thumb and first finger of the left hand that have most of the gripping work to do", as compared to Lupo's advice on the grip, page 19, in the 'Importance of the Procedure' of the 'The Left Hand Pistol Grip' under item 'E.', which, I quote, states: "Removes the left-hand pincer fingers as a control factor in the swing.", and, similarly, for 'The Right-Hand Grip' under item 'E.', page 28, which states "Removes the right-hand pincer fingers as a control factor in the swing.".
Or likewise different to, say Ernest Jones and Norman Von Nida on the grip also.
Interestingly on 'Starting the Downswing', page 236, Maxine Van Evera Lupo writes: "The initial movement from the top of the swing - whereby some part of your lower body shifts your weight back to the left to pull your arms, hands, and the clubhead down from the top - is so important at impact that there has been a continuing search down through the years for one key move or one key thought to make the downswing work.", and, to continue,
On page 237 "When positions are correct and the backswing is sound, almost any swing thought from the start of the swing may help or improve the downswing, but few work effectively from the top... Actually, all the actions listed should occur - and do occur - when the swing is sound, and almost any swing thought may be used to start the lower body first...When the backswing is sound, rhythm and timing become the primary factors in moving the lower body first in the downswing action."
"And when the duo measured the amount of force that the athletes could deliver through the fist surface of the index and middle fingers, they found that the presence of the buttressing thumb doubled the delivered force by transmitting it to the wrist through the metacarpals (palm bones) of the thumb and the index finger."
Reference : 'Protective buttressing of the human fist and the evolution of hominin hands' by Prof. David Carrier and Michael H Morgan from the University of Utah's school of medicine. Details have been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology Inside JEB ( J. Exp. Biol. 216, 236-244) and as reported on the BBC News website, 20 December 2012.
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