Did you know that the grip is the most important part of the golf swing?
Think about it. The only thing that connects your hands to the golf club is your grip!
How do different grip pressure points affect your golf swing? Find out the main pressure points on the grip and how these pressure points can help your swing.
How Grip Pressure Affects Your Golf Swing
How you hold the golf club affects your swing in a variety of ways. When it comes to grip pressure, gripping the club too tight or too loose can negatively affect your swing. We’ll examine the consequences of each below.
Results of a Grip That’s Too Tight
A whole host of problems are caused by gripping the golf club too tight. Here are a few of the most common ones.
Your Swing Tempo Becomes Jerky
The first telltale sign that you’re holding the golf club too tight is a swing tempo that is too fast and jerky. Instead of a smooth, controlled swing, a grip pressure that is too tight will lead to a rushed, restrictive swing.
Reduced Clubhead Speed
This one is counterintuitive. So many golfers assume that gripping the golf club harder will lead to more clubhead speed and more distance. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Using too much grip pressure causes unnecessary tension in the hands, wrists, and forearms. All that tension makes you swing slower because everything is so knotted up.
Again, it seems counterintuitive but several studies that involve grip pressure, clubhead speed, and ball speed prove that too much grip pressure decreases distance.
Constant Slices or Pushes
Gripping the golf club too tight can also cause you to slice and push the ball quite a bit. This is because when you grip the club too tight, the hands cannot close the clubface in time. This means that your clubface will usually be open at impact, which is the main cause of a slice.
If you’re constantly missing your targets and losing your ball out to the right (for a right-handed golfer), you may need to lighten your grip pressure.
Results of a Grip That’s Too Loose
While lots of golfers struggle with a grip that is too tight, there aren’t many out there that hold the club too loose.
For those rare folks that do hold the club too loosely, the main negative consequence is not having enough control of the clubface. These folks will also struggle with the direction of their shots and end up hitting lots of hooks and slices.
On rare occasions, the club may even fly out of their hands.
Where Pressure Should Be Applied in Your Golf Grip
Okay, now that we know there are dangers of holding the golf club too tight and too loose, once we find that “sweet spot” of grip pressure, where do we apply it?
Top Hand (Left Hand for Right-Handed Golfer)
Finding the proper grip pressure point on the top hand can be difficult for golfers because it is usually their non-dominant hand.
Ideally, you want the grip pressure on this hand to be in the heel pad of your palm near the pinkie and ring fingers.
Again, getting used to the feel of this may take quite a while.
Bottom Hand (Right Hand for Right-Handed Golfer)
Now let’s talk about the correct pressure points in the bottom hand. In this case, we are often dealing with the golfer’s dominant hand. You want the majority of the grip pressure in this hand to be on your index finger (ie pointer finger).
Surprisingly, you shouldn’t feel much grip pressure on your right thumb at all. When gripped correctly, the index finger will be able to easily guide the golf club. Now you’re ready to hit a great shot!
How Tight Your Golf Grip Should Be
On a scale of 1 to 10, you should aim to have a grip pressure of around 4 or 5. The ideal golf grip is not too tight but not too light. Here are a few analogies to remind you of this.
When thinking of grip pressure, remind yourself of Goldilocks and the porridge. She didn’t want the porridge to be too hot or too cold. You don’t want grip pressure that is too tight or too loose.
The great Sam Snead (winner of 82 PGA Tour tournaments) had a famous theory on grip pressure. Snead said to imagine that you’re holding a baby bird. You want to hold the bird tight enough so that it can’t fly away but not so tight that you harm it.
Another popular grip pressure analogy is the tube of toothpaste. You want to hold the tube of toothpaste with both hands but imagine that the cap is off. You don’t want to grip the tube too hard and splatter toothpaste all over your bathroom mirror.
What Happens When Your Golf Grip is Too Strong
There’s a saying in golf that goes something like this: To hit it long, grip it strong!
That saying isn’t referring to grip pressure, it’s referring to the position of your hands on the golf club. Here’s a quick exercise to determine what type of golf grip you have:
- Hold the golf club like you’re about to hit a full shot
- Count how many knuckles you can see on your left hand
- If you see 1 knuckle, you have a weak grip
- If you see 2 knuckles, you have a neutral grip
- If you see 3 knuckles, you have a strong grip
What are some unwanted side effects of a grip that is too strong?
Most of the time, a grip that is too strong can cause the golfer to hit lots of hooks and pulls because the clubface is shut at impact. This can lead to lots of frustration, not to mention lots of lost golf balls.
Other nasty consequences of having a grip that’s too strong include lower ball flight and inaccurate chipping around the greens. Both are hazardous to shooting low scores on the course.
If any of these problems are plaguing you, consider weakening your grip a bit.