What is a Strong Grip in Golf?
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Every golf enthusiast knows several explanations for why today’s top golfers are hitting the ball further than before. For some, it’s the modern technologies that have been introduced to the game. Others believe that it’s the superior levels of fitness that today’s golfers are trained to have.
Whatever your school of thought, you know that more emphasis is being put into maximizing the width of each swing and the turn-speed of the body. One technique that the current generation of golfers uses to achieve peak performance is ‘strong grip.’
What is a strong grip in golf? A strong grip is a position on the golf club that allows the golfer to rotate both hands towards their trail slide. It is a club holding technique that points the line or V between the thumb and the index fingers towards the trail shoulder (right shoulder for right-handers).
This particular grip promotes a more in-to-out swing as well as a clubface that closes on impact. The grip makes it easier for golfers to hit shots that will spin from right to left. Therefore, the grip is often recommended for people struggling with slices and weak fades. The remaining parts of this article will explain what a strong grip signifies in detail and how to achieve it.
Benefits of a Strong Grip in Golf
If you wonder why many top golfers choose the strong grip, perhaps you should look at the benefits it brings to the game. Irrespective of your playing level, you can access these benefits if you opt for this gripping pattern. Here, let’s review some of the most significant benefits of a strong grip in golf.
Greater Club Stability Through Impact
This is perhaps the most popular benefit of switching to a strong grip in golf. In the past, golf instructors advised golfers to get their toes up in the backswing. This playing position means that they’ll drop their toe through the swing. However, more recent instructions from some of the best golf instructors typically encourage golfers to keep the club more closed and rotate through the shot.
In addition to providing greater club stability for the golfer, this technique also helps you not to over-rely on timing. It allows you the leverage to rotate hard through every shot. You can also produce more speed and control your clubface better. One of the most significant goals of golfers, when they take swings, is to have total control over the start line and the ball’s curve as it takes off. This cannot happen unless there is better club stability in your golf swing.
A strong grip gives the golfer confidence that they are in a great position to rotate back and through the ball. It also helps the golfer to stabilize their club through the swing.
Less Rotation To Hit a Draw
Another important benefit of getting a strong grip is the ability to take away rotation as you attempt to hit a draw. Amateur golfers and beginners would particularly be glad to get this benefit. As a golf enthusiast, you probably already know that one of the biggest wishes of amateur golfers who are struggling with a slice is hitting a draw. There’s something about hitting a draw shot that makes it look simple and beautiful. We know that draw shots are simple to control compared to slice shots, and that’s why beginners typically opt for it to make up for the distance that slice shots might take.
With a strong grip, golfers will not need so much effort to hit a draw, considering the chances that the clubface will be closed to the path. A stronger grip puts you in a position where your clubface would be close to the path.
This technique typically offers you a path just 3 to 4 degrees right on the target lint. It also offers you a face that’s about 1 to 2 degrees right of the target line. With this, golfers can be assured of a soft push draw that they can rely on when taking stock shots.
Provides More Power
It’s a no-brainer: a stronger grip would typically increase your shot power. If you want to improve your playing level, speed and power are two things you shouldn’t joke with. In the past, golfers believed in the principle of drive for show, putt for dough. However, in today’s world, analytics are pointing more to the importance of power.
Yes, golfers may hit power shots with their weak grips, but strong grips put them in advantageous positions. Therefore, it’s not surprising that most golfers, especially amateurs and those that struggle with strength, will opt for strong grips on the golf swing.
Turning your left hand to a more clockwise position would allow you to hit a greater speed through the ball while also releasing and utilizing your hands through the shot. Even if your clubface is stable, there’ll still be a release, and the stronger the grip, the more probability of getting additional speed from impact.
Strong vs. Weak vs. Neutral Grips
However you choose to look at it, the truth remains that golf grip is one of the most important decisions any amateur golfer would make. Even the most insignificant change to your hands’ position can greatly impact where the ball would finish. This is why experts would typically advise that you start your journey towards developing great golf swings by focusing on how to handle a golf club. Once you’ve chosen how to hold your hands on the club, the next step is to experiment with your hand position to decide whether you need a strong, neutral or weak grip.
To determine what grip would be best for you, you’ll need to look at the Vs formed by the thumb and index fingers of both hands when you golf the club. For strong grips, the Vs. are formed in the right part of the center of the shaft. As a visual cue, you’ll see the knuckles of your left hand. The Vs would drop to the shaft’s centerline for neutral grips, leaving their knuckles on each hand visible to you. On the other hand, a weak grip leaves the Vs at the left side of the center, making the knuckles of your right hand visible. (Bear in mind that the above description works for right-handed players. Left-handed players would work with the direct opposite).
Strong Vs. Neutral Vs. Weak Grip. Which Should You Choose?
As we’ve explained above, a strong grip has so many benefits. Players can enjoy a closed clubface on impact, hit an inside-out swing, among other benefits. It’s not surprising that many professionals would recommend the strong grip for amateurs with fast hips. One of the direct effects of fast hips is forcing the clubhead to lag on contact, resulting in an open face. A strong grip can reduce the tendency of slicing or pushing the ball. A strong grip would also close the clubface, allowing for a natural draw.
A neutral grip is usually the best for players that have mastered the different aspects of their swing. With this grip pattern, players can easily ‘shape the ball,’ although it may take consistent practice to master the technique that will make that happen. Some experts recommend a neutral grip for players with great swing ability.
A weak grip also has its benefits. It is popular for producing a neutral fade; therefore, often recommended for players that have an out to inside swing plane. Expectedly, it is recommended for players with slow hips and who want to center their clubface on impact.
Irrespective of your playing level or style, choosing a club holding technique that would suit your swing is always important. Choosing and applying a strong, neutral, or weak grip can push your father towards building a stronger swing foundation. However, you’ll need some level of effort in the practice range to determine which grip would be best for you.
Tips For Achieving a Stronger Grip in Golf
Now that we’ve talked so much about a strong grip in golf and its benefits, you can go about it. Fortunately, it’s not so hard if you know the right things to do. Here are some easy tips that you can follow to better your club gripping techniques.
1. Use your fingers to grip it
One bad habit we often see among golfing enthusiasts when they try to hold a golf club is the tendency to hold golf clubs in their palms. Gripping the golf club in your palm can cause you to lose your wrist’s flexibility; therefore, prohibiting you from putting the club in the best position when taking a backswing. A typical illustration of this is trying to grip a hammer with your palm or even trying to hit a bail in this position. You’ll discover that it’s almost impossible to achieve anything. On the other hand, try to grip the hammer with your fingers. Now, compare the accuracy and power of both grips.
If you want to improve your club grip, you should first use your left hand to grab the club’s grip if you are a right-handed golfer (and vice versa if you are left-handed) and slightly run your grip diagonally along the base part of your fingers. Now, wrap the grip with your finger, allowing your thumb to rest on top. An excellent exercise for checking whether your grip is good enough is standing straight with both arms beside you. While in this position, attempt lifting the club. If the club can move in a parallel position to the court surface or past it, you are good to go.
Next, with your right hand, ensure that the club’s grip runs along your finger’s base area. At this point, wrap your right hand over the grip until its thumb covers the thumb of your left hand.
2. Point parallel lines to your right shoulder
This is another important step you can use to determine whether you have a strong grip. Check whether the lines or creases that appear between your forefingers and thumb are properly lined up. You’ll need to get into a playing position and ensure your hands work together in unison to check this.
First, ensure that the creases are parallel to each other. This position would typically cause your hands to work in unison during your golf swings. Secondly, ensure that the lines point to your right shoulder (vise versa if you’re left-handed). Watch out for possibilities of the hand pointing to your chin because this position suggests that you’re too weak. For cases where the lines may go in different directions, you’ll need to recheck the positioning of your hand on the club because it means that something is wrong with your positioning.
3. Three knuckles
This one is pretty popular. It involves looking to see how many knuckles you can see on your lead hand when you set up the golf ball. The lead hand here means the hand that’s closest to the target. If, after following the steps in our first tip, you still see only one or two of your knuckles, it probably means that you’ve used your palm to grip the club and, as such, would result in a weaker grip. Ideally, it’s better to have three knuckles visible on your lead hand when you look straight down. Seeing up to four knuckles typically indicates that your grip is too strong.
Recap: What is a Golf “Strong Grip”?
That’s it, a detailed answer to the question “what is a strong grip in golf?”
As we’ve explained above, a strong grip allows the golfer to rotate both hands towards their trail slide. It’s a golf club holding technique that has recently gained prominence, especially among amateur golfers.
If you are looking to correct a slice, then this may be the right approach for you. It’s also not as hard as other gripping techniques and can give you results with minimal effort. The tips provided above will help you achieve a strong grip in golf if you’re just starting.