Updated: Aug 18, 2021
When I started playing golf as a kid, I hel the club like a I would a baseball bat… and basically that’s how I swung at the ball also, but s I got older and wanted desperately to get rid of my slice, I realized that holding a golf club is actually one of the most important parts of your entire golf game. I will share with you my thoughts on the proper grip, which when you start using it you will feel a bit uncomfortable because you are going to need to retrain your muscles. Stick with it though and you will see results.
Holding a Golf Club for Beginners
As mentioned above, you need to fight the temptation to snatch a golf club like a Louisville Slugger and have at your golf ball. However, the thought of Happy Gilmoring the ball sounds kinda fun, but you certainly won’t get the desired distance or control you need to shave strokes off your game.
How you hold your golf club is ostensibly the main component of your whole swing. It’s the foundation, and it's the solitary association you have with your club… so without the strong foundation, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the woods looking for your ball, like I did! There is no 100% right way to hold it, just suggestions, so it;’s really up to you to take little pieces and incorporate them into your swing. You need to find what works best for you.
The One, Two, Three’s to Holding a Golf Club
Before you begin exploring different variations on how to hold a golf club, you'll need to acclimate yourself with your club. Regardless of what grasp you go with, these easy-to-follow directions will assist you with making a strong base for your hold.
(Note: I’m a righty, so these suggestions are for right-gave golf players; but lefties can take the same approach with the opposite hands.)
Hold your club abdomen high before you, even to the ground, and square the club face.
1. Take the club with your left hand first. Loosen up the fingers of your left hand; adjust the club handle with your left palm so it makes a straight line askew across your fingers, and close your hand around the club. As you grasp the club with your left hand, the impact point of your palm should rest along the top edge of the handle (you should still see the tip of the handle).
2. When you look down you should see two knuckles on your left hand, if you don’t, then turn your hand to the side until you do. This is what we call a neutral grip, which gives you a great starting point.
3. Position the heel of your right hand on top of your left thumb, so it’s covering. Close your hand so your thumb and pointer make a 'V' that points to the center of your sternum.
Kinds of Golf Grips
There are three fundamental kinds of golf grasps: the overlapping, interlocking and 10-finger grips. As I mentioned before, there is no one perfect way to hold a club, but it does help to know the different variations.
It's known as the "10-finger grip" because every one of your little fingers remain on the club. I’m not a fan of this grip. It usually limits my swing, but I do sometimes use this on iron shots so I don’t over swing. This grip works well for golfers with smaller hands because it causes an incredible hold.
The overlapping or "vardon" hold is quite possibly the most well-known in golf. This is the point at which you situating the pinkie finger of one hand and putting it in the ridge between your other hand's index and middle finger.
The interlocking hold begins with the 10-finger grip; you just interlock one hand's pinkie finger with the other hand's index finger to get your hands closer together.
I like this position because it 'locks' your fingers together so both of your hands cooperate together, which can give your golf swing some additional force.
Holding a Driver Vs, a Putter
Holding a Driver
When figuring out how to hold a golf club, start by holding the club at the base of the handle with your left hand and pivoting your hand so you can see the knuckles of your index and middle fingers, as mentioned above.
Grab that club with your left hand, then point place your right hand on the club so your right hand is overlapping the ring and middle fingers of your left hand. After you place your right hand on the club, ensure your right thumb and index finger makes a "V" so it lines up with the center of your torso.
Holding a Putter
Start by holding the putter up to your outstretched left hand. The handle should go through the center of your hand. Utilize a similar placement for your right hand, so it sets underneath your left hand.
There are numerous approaches to holding a putter, and I’ve probably tried every single one of them. That includes stand-up putters, shorter putters, reverse grips, etc… You need to find the grip that gives you the most consistent and accurately repeatable stroke. Putting is all about rhythm, alignment, and balance. You can hold the putter in your mouth if it works the best for you…That would actually be funny to see!
Investigating Your Golf Grip
Do your hands while gripping feel uncomfortable? Are you finding that either your stance, or swing is a bit off? This happens to everyone, including the pros. That’s why if you ever spent anytime at a Pro Tour event and watched these guys on the driving range, they are always working on something.
Check your grip and make sure to avoid common mistakes.
1. Avoid Gripping “Up”
It’s important to position your hands correctly on the club. If you can’t see the tip of the handle, your hand is positioned too high on the club. Move your left hand down the handle a bit so you can see the handle and reposition your right hand to match.
2. Check Your Trail (Right) Hand
If you’re right-handed, double-check your right-hand placement on the club. Are your thumb and forefinger making a ‘V’ shape? And is it pointing to the middle of your torso?
4. Check Your Lead (Left) Hand
Can you see the knuckles of your ring and middle fingers on your left hand? Is the club handle running diagonally down your fingers? If not, adjust.
5. Don’t Choke the Chicken! You Might Be Squeezing Too Hard
You don’t want to choke your club to death. While you don’t want your hands to move, you still want a little ‘give’ when it comes to your grip.
6. Get Back to Basics
If all else fails, sometimes it’s best to start over. Put the club down and step away. You will feel when your swing isn’t right. You’ll know when you are “Pulling” or “Pushing” the ball. Just take a deep breathe and reset. Start your set-up all over and swing away.
As with anything on the golf course…Get out of your head. Work on your swing on the range. Swing, Swing, and repeat. You need to build muscle memory, so when you get on the course you are obsessing about your swing. You will just swing like you taught your body how-to!