So, a “strong golf grip” is when you rotate your hands away from the target while holding the golf club.
On the other hand, a “weak golf grip” is when you rotate your hands toward the target while gripping the golf club.
Somewhere in the middle is a “neutral golf grip,” where your hand positioning strikes a balance.
Each type of golf grip has its advantages and disadvantages, making the already complex game of golf even more enjoyable.
To be clear, the strength of your grip has nothing to do with how firmly you hold the club or how firm your grip is. Now that we’ve broken down each golf grip technique, we can provide some helpful advice on how to raise your game.
You can see a photo of a right-handed golfer with a reasonably strong golf grip on the right.
Notice how the line formed between the golfer’s right-hand index finger and thumb points beyond his right shoulder.
In modern golf instruction, most golfers are taught that the “V’s” created by their thumbs and index fingers while gripping the golf club should always point toward their trailing shoulder, not beyond it, like shown here.
If you’re still unsure about your grip, here’s a simple way to figure it out:
- Take a club and hold it the way you usually do.
- Look at your top hand. Can you see more than just two knuckles?
- If your answer to the question above is “yes,” and you can see three to four knuckles, chances are you have a firm golf grip, and that’s perfectly alright.
ADVANTAGES OF A STRONG GRIP
It’s fantastic for novice golfers to acquire the skill of swinging with a grip that’s neutral and closely resembles the standard grip. However, it’s worth noting that numerous elite professional golfers employ a solid grip and employ it to their advantage!
You can see Freddie “Boom Boom” Couples, considered one of the greatest players of all time, and his notably firm grip, especially on his left hand, in the picture on the left.
Having a solid grip offers several remarkable advantages, which include:
- Assisting golfers in keeping the club face closed upon impact, thereby reducing the likelihood of hitting the ball to the right (for right-handed golfers).
- We are enabling golfers to naturally achieve a shot known as a draw, which involves a slight curve from right to left.
- We are assisting golfers who tend to slice or push the ball in rectifying these issues.
- We are enabling golfers with fast hips to strike the ball consistently.
- In fact, Golf Magazine’s “The Best Driving Instruction Book Ever” explicitly encourages amateur golfers with fast hips to adopt a strong grip.
- When the lower body moves swiftly, the club head often needs to catch up, leading to consistent strikes and shots that veer to the right or slice. However, a strong grip can help alleviate this problem.
Another advantage of a strong grip and executing a draw is that it facilitates increased roll-out on drives, resulting in greater distance.
Moreover, a strong grip naturally encourages an “in to out” swing path, which not only rectifies a slice but also encourages a shot trajectory that curves from right to left.
DISADVANTAGE OF A STRONG GRIP
Although many players, including amateurs and professionals, can handle a strong golf grip, it can still lead to problems if not used carefully.
Possible issues resulting from excessive grip strength include:
Having a tight grip on the club can result in hitting the ball lower.
Hitting the ball lower can create issues, especially when using shorter clubs like wedges. If the ball descends at too steep an angle onto the green, it becomes harder to keep it on the green.
Moreover, if your shots with longer clubs have a low trajectory, you might need to adjust your approach to avoid obstacles and hazards since hitting the ball low makes it more challenging to clear them.
If you naturally close the club face, a strong grip can cause the club face to be “too closed,” leading to hooks (as demonstrated by Justin Rose above).
A controlled fade shot is desirable and visually appealing. However, a hook is an unpleasant sight and can not only frustrate you during the game but also result in losing many balls along the way.
A hook is generally difficult to manage, even for the best players globally, and can put them in challenging situations.
Over time, a strong grip can become uncomfortable.
Maintaining a stable grip without excessive wrist movement will ensure a strong grip works effectively. Once a player starts flipping their wrists while using a strong grip, it adds stress to the golfer’s wrist, which can cause discomfort and potentially harm their game.
When should you use the strong grip?
Well, the strong grip is like a magic solution for fixing a slice in golf, but there are also other situations where you can benefit from using a stronger grip. These include:
- If you have smaller hands and need more control over the club.
- If you want to gain better control over the club head.
- If you prefer hitting a draw shot.
- If you’re looking to add some extra power to your swing.
Take a look at this picture of Corey Pavin, a really talented golfer who used to be ranked second in the world. He’s got a seriously weak grip on the golf club.
If you notice, Pavin’s left hand (the one in front) doesn’t show any or just one knuckle from his point of view.
His right hand (the one behind) is firmly placed on top of the grip and shaft, and the “V” shape formed by his thumb and index finger points more towards his chin than his back shoulder, just like we mentioned before.
To figure out if you have a weak grip, consider a few things:
- Does the club feel like it’s resting in the palm of your front hand?
- When you set up to hit the ball, do you see less than two knuckles on your front hand?
- Does the “V” formed by your backhand point toward your back shoulder, or is it more centered, like you can see in the photo above?
A weak golf grip actually works great for some players, whether they’re amateurs or pros. But it does have its own challenges, just like a strong grip does.
ADVANTAGES OF A WEAK GRIP
Check out this picture of Jim Furyk, one of the greatest and most unique golfers ever.
You might have noticed that his trailing hand points more towards his leading shoulder than his trailing shoulder, resulting in a really unconventional golf grip.
Having a weak golf grip actually comes with some great advantages:
- It naturally creates a fade, which means the ball lands softly on greens, spins less, and allows skilled players to attack pins or targets confidently.
- It helps players who tend to swing from outside to inside (which is true for 99% of beginners and many other golfers) gain better control over the dreaded “Big Right Miss.”
- Golfers with slower hips or those who tend to hook the ball can benefit greatly from a weaker grip. When hips are slow, the club tends to flip or rotate at impact, causing inconsistent strikes and flight patterns. A weaker grip is the perfect solution to this problem!”
DISADVANTAGE OF A WEAK GRIP
One major downside of having a weak grip is the increased chance of hitting a shot that goes too far right (push), veers off to the side (slice), or completely misses the target (the dreaded “Big Right Miss”).
When the grip on the club is weak, there’s a higher risk of the club face being open at the moment of impact. This makes it many samples to experience the aforementioned misses.
Having a weak grip also makes it extremely challenging to hit a shot that curves from right to left (for right-handed players and the opposite for left-handed players). This can be advantageous if you never need to make such shots on the golf course you usually play, but it can be a significant disadvantage when you do need to execute a draw.
When should you use a weak grip?
When should you use a weak grip?
Well, you don’t have to use it all the time. I only use a weak grip when I want to hit a fade, and I don’t need to do it frequently.
Here are some specific situations where a weak grip comes in handy:
- When you’re approaching a green, and you want to attack a pin on the right side.
- Whenever you need to hit a higher and softer shot.
- When you’re hitting a drive on a right dog leg.
- Around the greens, using a weak grip gives you a better feel and control.
- Use a weak grip when you want to lighten your grip pressure.
- Players who like to shape their shots often prefer using a weaker grip.
Neutral grip means
The neutral grip is like your starting point. It’s where all golfers should try to be for most of their swings.
With the neutral golf grip, your left hand is positioned more in the middle without turning to the left or right.
Then, your right hand can be placed on the club in a more natural position.
A neutral grip combines the best aspects of a weak and strong grip.
For example, you can still square up the clubface effectively, but you may have a slightly lighter grip pressure.
I aim to use a neutral grip for most of my shots. Many amateur players tend to develop a stronger grip over time, but returning to a neutral grip improves your game.
Advantages of a Neutral Grip
One major advantage of using a neutral grip is that it allows you to swing in a way that feels most natural for your golf game.
- Enhanced Shot-making Ability: A strong grip can increase the likelihood of a hook, while a weak grip leads to a slice. By using a neutral grip, you can trust that your clubface will be square and make more accurate shots.
- Control: While a strong grip offers maximum control over the clubface, a neutral grip provides just the right amount of control, preventing overdoing shots and avoiding hooks.
- Consistent Positioning: A neutral grip should feel like your starting point, allowing you to return to it for straight shots. It helps you maintain the swing path and plane that you have worked hard to develop.
- Flat Wrist at the Apex: Golfers with a neutral grip tend to have a flat wrist at the top of their backswing, facilitating early alignment of the clubface, a skill at which professional golfers excel.
The disadvantage of a Neutral Grip
Just like anything in golf, the neutral grip has its drawbacks.
But if your swing is on point, there aren’t many downsides to using a neutral grip.
- You’ll need to make adjustments for different ball flights: if your grip is neutral, you’ll have to tweak your swing to hit a fade or a draw.
- Shot inconsistency: if you sometimes struggle with hitting a slice or a hook, the neutral grip might not provide a solid solution.
Use a Neutral Grip
The neutral grip works best for beginners in golf and for those who want to start fresh.
When your hands are in the neutral position, you can make any necessary adjustments to your swing plane or path and observe how they affect the trajectory of your shots.
I like to aim for a neutral grip with a slightly stronger left hand.
My grip isn’t strong, but adding a little bit of extra strength in that direction helps generate some power and achieve a beneficial draw ball flight on certain occasions.
Who Wins – Strong or Weak Grip
In the end, you need to find a way to return the clubface to a square position consistently.
This means using the right wrist movement and body motions, but having a strong or weak grip helps you achieve that more quickly.
I prefer a slightly stronger grip because it affects the trajectory of the ball. A stronger grip tends to produce a slight draw, which is the ball flight I prefer.
Additionally, it helps me achieve an inside-to-out swing path, which I also like.
Interestingly, when I want to hit a fade, I often make a small adjustment to my grip.
I recommend experimenting with both a strong and weak grip when you’re practicing at the driving range. You might be surprised by how even a slight shift in hand position can completely change the ball’s flight.
Always make subtle adjustments and hand movements to avoid unknowingly developing a swing flaw.