Holding Club Correctly First Requisite for Golf


For more reason than that it is the preliminary to the making of every stroke, a beginner must learn to hold the club correctly before there is the slightest need for him to worry about any of the other details of the golf stroke.

With a bad grip he is condemned always to be a “hacker”, because the succeeding movements of the correct swing are impossible for the man whose grip varies greatly from the orthodox. But given a good start, with his hands placed correctly on the club, he will find the rest easier than he might expect.

Hands Connecting Links

A good grip must hold the club securely without producing tension. There must be no squeezing, yet no slippage endwise nor turning in the hands can be permitted. The hands form the connecting links by which the forces brought to life in the player’s body are transmitted to the club. This connection must be positive and unchanging throughout the swing, and it must be made in the beginning in such a way that all proper movements of the swing can be executed freely with respect to it. The hands must work smoothly with each other and with every other part of the body.

Because of the nature of the golf stroke, the arms and the club never being in the same plane, the grip must accommodate the angle between them. The two figures designated as “wrong” (Figure 1), illustrate first, an all-finger grip, and second, an all-palm grip of the left hand. The second is the more natural, especially for men who have played baseball, but the first is attempted by many who have heard of the finger-grip without knowing what it was. Apart from the insecure hold upon the club provided by either, each is forthwith to be condemned because of the strain produced by the arching outward of the left wrist.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Neither accommodates the angle between the left arm and the shaft of the club.

Controlled by Fingers

Figure 1-A shows the diagonal relation of the shaft of the club to the left hand. When the hand is closed the club will be completely controlled by the grip of the fingers, but the angle between the arm and the shaft will be taken up in the hand without weakening or straining the wrist to any degree. Notice that, considering we are moving up from the club-head, the shaft enters the hand over the middle joint of the index finger and emerges over what might be termed the heel of the hand.

The view of the completed grip, Figure 1-B, shows that the club also lies diagonally across the right hand, entering this also over the crook of the index finger. The only difference here is made by the thumb of the left hand nestling snugly in the palm of the right. Such a grip is compact, firm and reliable, and yet comfort-able. The great length of club-shaft covered, without sacrificing compactness, increases the ease with which the weight at the end of the shaft can be manipulated.

Gripping the Club Correctly

After we have placed the club diagonally across the hands, so that the top of each wrist is slightly depressed, the angle between club and arms has been properly turned. The next step is to make certain that the hands are in position with respect to other parts of the body that will make a correct swing possible.

The grip shown in Figure 2-C, labeled “wrong” might better have been called by a stronger name. For actually no player alive could execute a proper golf stroke with such a grip. The hands being so placed that they cannot possibly work together, no amount of skill can blend what movements they can make into a correct swing. Yet many, who have been playing long enough to know better, continue to use a similar grip.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 2-A & B presents a front view of a correct grip. I do not say it is the correct grip, for some latitude is allowable to meet peculiar requirements of the individual.

In a broad sense, the two chief requirements are:

  1. The left hand should be to some extent on top of the shaft, and
  2. The right hand should be placed approximately against the side of the shaft.

Two Knuckles of Left Hand Visible

It happens that the V between the thumb and forefinger of my left hand points very nearly to my right shoulder, and the similar V of my right hand points approximately up the shaft. It hap-pens also that looking down upon my left hand, as it holds the club in the position of address, I can see two knuckles quite plainly and the outline of the third. But no precise rules can be made, although no radical deviation may be allowed.

Since the left arm must dominate the stroke, it must be placed in a position of power; and since the right hand must be restrained from its natural inclination to take charge it must be made relatively weak. With the left hand over the shaft, the left arm is free so that it can swing through without hindrance. With the hand to any degree under the shaft, the swing is likely to be stopped by jamming the left elbow against the ribs.

Palm Presented to Hole

Actually, a good placement of the right hand may be obtained by moving it fully opened, against the side of the shaft, with its palm presented to the hole or other objective. While the left arm remains straight and transmits a pull from the left side, the action of the right is mainly that of the forearm driving the hand through, straight on the line of the intended flight. From this position the right hand may simply move over to grasp the club in the manner described in the first of this series.

Although, as I have said, some latitude may be allowed each individual, the grip illustrated is not extreme and ought to fit almost anyone. But the person who grips with both hands, or with either hand, in the manner shown in Figure 2-C is a hopeless case until he makes a change. A correct grip is the first need of a golfer.

Figure 3

Figure 3

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