You have gone to the driving range with friends and played in a few captain’s choice (scramble) events and now you are ready to give golf a try.
You know you need to find some clubs to use and practice to get your swing down, but first things first – what is the proper way to hold the golf club? Can you just grab it like a baseball bat or a hockey stick?
Does the way I grip the club even matter? The golf grip is the beginning of your swing – it is the foundation of your game. If you are fundamentally sound, the sky is the limit for you, but if you have a significant flaw in your grip, it can make it very challenging to consistently hit the ball.
Let’s Start with the Basics
During a round of golf, you are going to grip the club two different ways. You will leverage one grip when holding all clubs from driver through wedge. Your putting grip will be unique and different from the other clubs. We will talk about the putting grip in detail a little later, so let’s put that aside for now.
If you are a right-handed player, you will place your left hand on the top of the grip. First, place your hand so your thumb is directly down the shaft, on top of the grip. Now twist that hand slightly to the right.
Your right hand will go below your left. Again, place the thumb directly down the shaft. No twist that hand slightly to the left.
Note – if you are left-handed, simply reverse the above.
These are the basics of holding the golf club – if only the game was that simple.
Options for Gripping Your Driver through Wedge
If you visit your local public golf course, you may see some unusual ways to hold the club, but there are 3 options that we recommend you try:
- 10- finger grip
- Overlap grip
- Interlock grip
The “10-finger” grip is typically used by juniors or beginners. It is the least popular of these three, but can be the right solution, especially if you have small hands. Pretty self-explanatory, you are holding the club with all 10 fingers on the grip. Using the same the approach we discussed in the “basics” section, your two hands should be touching, but all 10 fingers are on the grip.
The next two, the Overlap and the Interlock, are what the vast majority of players leverage and almost all elite amateurs and professional golfers use one of these. Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus both use the Interlock grip.
Let’s start with the Overlap. Everything is the same as the 10-finger grip, but the pinky finger on your right hand goes on top of the index finger on your left hand. Thus, the name Overlap.
The Interlock is the same idea, but the pinky finger on your right-hand interlocks with the index finger on your left hand. The big advantage of the Overlap or Interlock grip is your hands are physically connected and must work in unison.
Trying different grips on the club will feel awkward at first. Go to the driving range and hit some balls using the different options and find the one that works the best for you.
Holding the Putter
The putter grip is unique and there are many options. Over the years, players have tried all sorts of crazy ways to hold the putter, so if you find something that works for you, go for it.
That being said, there are some fundamentals to keep in mind. When holding the putter, it is critical that your hands are working together, so you want them to be connected. This is typically achieved by using an Overlap grip. Unlike your driver, with the putter, you may want to overlap multiple fingers. 1, 2, or 3 fingers can work for the putting grip.
To keep it simple, if you are taking up golf, start with this grip. Left hand on top of the grip, with your thumb straight down the shaft. With your right hand, overlap two fingers (pinky, index fingers on you right hand on top of your middle, index fingers of your left hand) and point your thumb straight down the shaft. Try this grip and make small tweaks based on preference.
Over the last 10-15 years, “cross-handed” putting has become very popular and is something you can try as well. Basically, you flip your hands. You may hear this called “left-hand low” putting. For a right-handed golfer, your place your right hand on top of the grip and your left hand goes below it.
For many players, cross-handed putting helps stabilize the stroke and can remove poor wrist action. To be a consistent putter, you want your wrist to remain firm during the stroke.
Golf can be an intimidating and frustrating sport when you first start. Fundamentals are important, but don’t become so focused on them that you don’t enjoy playing. The best advice for beginners is to find your swing on the driving range, before you try to attack the course.
On the driving range, there are no real consequences or embarrassment from a terrible shot. It allows you to experiment with different things and find a combination that works for you. The goal is simple – hit the ball. The execution can be tricky.
Choose the grip that feels the best to you – that produces the best shots. Confidence is more important than being fundamentally perfect. Enjoy the process.
Approach golf with the correct mindset. There are no naturals. You will get better over time as you gain experience and learn what works for you.
The thing about golf is that you never perfect it. You can always get better and grow in the game. Your best shot or best round ever is always right around the corner. Stay positive and celebrate successes. The first time you complete all 18 holes. The first time you break 120 or break 100. Your first par, your first birdie. All great achievements.