The Golf Grip Explained: What is a Good Golf Grip?

November 16, 2021

The Golf Grip Explained: What is a Good Golf Grip?

Which style should be selected? The bombardment of tips, hints, and “magic solutions” from books, newspapers, magazines, and TV often confuses students and raises fundamental questions about grip. What should the teacher encourage the student to do? Interlock or overlap? Grip tightly or lightly? Use a prolonged thumb or a short thumb down the shaft? Show three knuckles or two knuckles? Lay the grip in the roots of the fingers or diagonally across the hand? Try to keep the hands quiet or active? Apply constant or changing pressure? Are there many variations and optional choices beyond these examples? Back to the question: What is a good grip? It is the grip that lets the player hit the most significant number of good shots. More specifically, the grip maximizes the number of shots that achieve the desired distance and direction. Whatever combination of preferences a player utilizes to accomplish that objective becomes a good grip.

Areas of Consensus

There are more areas of agreement than disagreement concerning the grip among teachers and players. These areas of consensus are:

  1. Even though the hands should hang naturally in a natural position, the correct golf grip does not seem to come naturally to the novice player. When the club is first placed in the hands of a beginner, they invariably hold it in a position which either fails to return the face to square consistently or does not provide maximum clubhead speed. Therefore, the grip must be learned.
  2.  If a student misunderstands the grip from the beginning, they can always change it, but it takes longer to feel natural. The student can expect that they will instinctively want to return to their former grip in stressful situations. It may be necessary to experience some discomfort. The repetitive effort to practice a proper grip eventually pays off.
  3. For most players, the palms of the hands should almost face each other or turn slightly inward because that is the way most arms hang. In some cases, particularly with heavy, large-chested golfers, the hands can work effectively if each is rotated slightly outward, i.e., weak left, strong right, provided the rotation is equal. Opinions vary on where the “V’s” formed by the thumbs and index fingers should point and how many knuckles should be seen when looking down at the hands. The majority feels that when the palms are not aligned close to parallel, the hands work against each other.
  4. Grip pressure should be light enough to encourage clubhead speed without losing directional control. It should be firm enough to keep the club from turning in the hands-on contact, yet not so tight that it destroys feel or speed.
  5. The placement of the hands should facilitate working together as one unit, with no slippage or repositioning.
  6. Ultimately, the player should become comfortable with the grip and confident about the clubface position during the swing.
  7. The last three fingers of the left hand capture the club handle against the butt portion of the palm, while the right-hand cradles the club handle more in the fingers.

Grip Options

The consensus guidelines listed above could be used to develop a philosophy on the grip—however, many variations impact results for individual students. Preference choices can be made for each of the four basic principles of grip (placement, positioning, pressure, and precision).

Placement refers to the location of the player’s hands on the vertical axis of the club. How far up or down the shaft is each hand placed? Should a player choke down on the grip or go up slightly over the butt end? Are the hands spread apart? Are they flush with each other, overlapped, double overlapped, one on top of the other (as in some players’ putting grip), or cross-handed?

These are examples of placement choices. The choice of grip placement is affected by the size of the player’s hands and their strength and suppleness. For example, the Vardon overlapping grip was passed down from one of the game’s early great players, Harry Vardon, who had large fingers and strong hands. Even so, other options must be considered for players who do not have athletic hands, like those with short fingers, those weak in grip strength, junior players, and others who find the overlap position less suitable for their hand structure.

The ten-finger grip, sometimes called a baseball grip, is natural for most new players. They seek to cover more of the grip surface to use the right hand to exert pressure against the shaft to square the face and provide power. A ten-finger grip that does not overlap or interlock offers more right-hand leverage because more of the grip surface on the lower part of the shaft is covered. This grip is often recommended for young golfers, players with smaller hands that occupy less area on the hold, or players who cannot generate sufficient speed through centrifugal force using their more prominent muscles. Placing additional emphasis on the right hand by putting more of it on the grip could be a disadvantage if the player has not trained their left side to be an equal partner in the swing. The ten-finger grip is generally recommended for those previously mentioned because of the tendency to put early leverage pressure on the shaft with the right hand.

Golf Upgrades Grip Preferences

  1. The grip is what aims the club face and starts a ball in a particular direction.

  2. Left (lead) hand should attach to the club so that the hinge pin and heel pad sit on top of the grip.

  3. Right (trail) hand should match up symmetrically to left and form a trigger between the right index finger and thumb.

  4. Grip pressure should be in the last three fingers of your left hand and the middle two fingers of the right hand.

  5. Grip pressure needs to be firm enough to have full control of the golf club.


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