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For a Better Round, Go and Get a Grip

It’s early in the season and it’s time to get our grips right once and for all. If you improve your grip now while it’s early in the season, you can grip it and rip it this summer.

How we grip the golf club effects how we control the club face, and club face has the greatest effect on the line of flight of our golf ball. Without a square club face at impact, we’ll always be compensating elsewhere in our swings and never consistently hit the same shot twice in a row. Have you ever said you want more consistency? Then get a grip.

The key to a good grip is having the heel of your lead hand on top of the grip (left hand for right-handed golfers) and your thumb resting slightly right of center. This will give you strength in the last three fingers of left hand and wrist mobility to control the club and face.

The right-hand grip should feel like it’s mostly in your fingers. To establish this feel, hold the club in front of you and grab the actual shaft below the grip in your fingers. Then slide your hand down the grip until you cover your left thumb entirely with the heel of your right thumb. The feel of the shaft in your fingers is what you want when you’re finished.

Most golfers grip the club and then set the club behind the ball and realize the face is not square. So they fidget around with the grip and face, and everything becomes messed up.

A way to always grip the club with a square face at address is to hold your lead hand by your side, grip the left hand as suggested and make sure your left arm, the shaft and leading edge of the club face line up in straight line. Bring the club in front of you and grip the right hand. This will ensure a square face at address every time!

When setting up to a ball, you’ll want to see two knuckles on your left hand and your right hand hiding your left thumb when you look down. Finally, keep your grip pressure light.

Improving your grip will feel awful at first, and it takes a few hundred balls of practice to even start to feel good. Practice your grip at home while watching the news or a soap or at the office thinking about your next deal. You need reps, so get them when you can!

Peter Harris is director of golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon. His column will appear regularly on the VALLEY NEWS recreation page during the playing season.