There are a lot of little things that go into performing a great golf swing. While technique, swing speed, and contact are critical factors in hitting a great shot, they won’t happen without perfecting the little things before. The grip, address, and aim are pre-swing basics that need to be learned so that when you step up to crush your drive, the little things are done at a subconscious level.
Everything that goes into each and every shot you hit depends on how you go through your pre-swing process.
In this post, I want to share, how to grip the club, how hard, and where to place your hands, and prepare to make the best swing possible. I’ll cover the grip, address position, and finish off with aim and alignment. You’ll quickly learn that you can have the greatest swing in the world and still suffer if your grip and aim are off. With a little patience and practice, you’ll be able to master the little things that can have big impacts on your game and score.
The Golf Grip
To start this off let’s discuss the grip of the “grip it and rip it” process that you’ve probably heard before. Good swings can go bad before you even start your backswing if you’re gripping the club incorrectly. Let’s start with the left hand or your glove hand.
The Left Hand
Your left hand is your control hand. With your right hand, place the golf club handle into your left so that it runs from the bottom of your left index finger through the soft pad below your pinkie. Wrap your fingers around the club ensuring that the grip sits in your palm and fingers and not just your fingers.
Next, you may have heard of having a neutral or weak grip. This isn’t referring to how hard you’re squeezing the club but how rotated your left hand is on the club. A “neutral” grip will only have one knuckle visible, with the “V” formed by your left thumb and index finger pointing toward your right armpit.
If you want a stronger grip, you would rotate your left hand clockwise, so that two knuckles are visible and the “V” is pointing toward your shoulder.
If you need the ball to curve more to the left, you would go with a stronger grip. If you’re looking to curve the ball to the right, a weaker grip will help. You’ll need to play around with the different grip settings until you get the ball flight you desire.
Now let’s discuss the right hand.
Keep in mind, your hands should run close to parallel to each other once you’ve gripped the club. The “V” formed by both hands should be close to the same line. Also, be sure there are no gaps between your hands. You want to connect your hands so that they are working as if one unit.
With your right hand make sure your right thumb and right index finger are pinched together. Set these two fingers first before wrapping your fingers around the handle. After you’ve wrapped your fingers around you should feel the thumb of your left hand in your soft pad area of your right hand.
If you’ve done this correctly you’ll notice that the grip sits more in the fingers of your right hand and bit lower, compared to the left hand.
Connecting Your Hands
There are three main ways to connect your hands when gripping the golf club.
The most relatable way would be holding the golf club like a baseball bat. Some say this grip provides the greatest control since all your fingers are touching the handle.
Overlapping grip is similar except for bumping your pinkie up to your index finger like on a baseball grip, the pinkie sits in the crease between your index and middle finger.
If you have a slower swing speed, this connection can help with additional clubhead speed and swing power.
Finally, you can interlock your hands. Intertwine your right pinkie and left index fingers around the handle. If you have smaller hands this connection method might be best for you.
If you ask any PGA swing coach on how hard to grip the club you could get a variety of answers. That’s because grip pressure is relative to your hand strength. If you have forearms like Popeye, your grip strength doesn’t need to be more than a 2 or 3. If your hand strength is like a “wet fish” than you need to squeeze quite a bit harder.
The secret here is to squeeze the handle just hard enough to that the club doesn’t move around or spin in your hands during your swing. Keep your forearms and wrists relaxed so you can swing the club with maximum speed and control.
How to Address the Ball
The way you stand over your ball can make or break your swing. The goal here is to have an athletic, balanced stance you can use on every swing to hit the best shots possible.
To better describe this part I’m going to detail it out into little steps. Stick to these fundamentals:
- Shoulder Tilt – Your right shoulder should be slightly lower than your left. To check this, get into your forward lean stance and clap your hands together. Now slide your right hand down so that your upper knuckle on your left thumb is even with the lower knuckle of your right thumb. This will drop your shoulder giving you the shoulder tilt you need.
- Stance Width – The width of your stance will be dictated by which club you’re using. The longer the club, the wider the stance.
- Ball Position – Again this will be determined by which club you’re using. Play the ball forward in your stance with the longer clubs. With a driver, the ball should be just inside your left foot. Move the ball back toward the middle as you go down to the wedges.
- Weight Distribution – Weight should be balanced over both feet, and set over the balls of both feet.
- Shaft Lean – Point the butt end of the club at the inside of your left thigh.
- Arm Distance – The butt of the club should be about two fists width from your body.
- Forward Bend – Your upper body should bend forward about 25 degrees, tilting from the hips.
- Hip Bend – Tilted forward from the hips so that your belt buckle points toward the ground.
- Knee Flex – keep a slight bend in the knee so that you have an athletic stance.
- Distance From Ball – Dictated by club length, but the longer the club the greater distance between you and the ball.
The width of your stance can vary. Keep in mind the wider your stance the less you can rotate during your swing, and the narrower you make your stance, you risk losing your balance. For the longer clubs, the heels of your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
This is the widest you should ever stand. For shorter clubs, set your feet directly under your hips. This is the narrowest your stance should ever be.
Check Your Golf Address
To check your setup correctly, get into your address position, and dangle a club from your left shoulder. It should point to the toes on your left foot. Now hold a club straight up and down against your left knee. It should point to the ball of your left foot or the shoelaces on your shoe.
To check the arm distance, address without a club in your hand, and simply allow your arms to hang freely. Your hands should be just in front of your knees.
Golf Aim and Alignment
The end goal here is to point the clubface to the target and then set your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders. This is the easiest way to make sure you’re aiming and alignment are correct. When lining up, picture a wall behind you. The clubface, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet should be parallel to the wall.
Fades and Draws
Most golfers will notice they tend to have a slight fade or draw to their shots. Here’s a smart way to take advantage of your natural shot shape.
If you tend to fade the ball aim to the left based on how much left to right curve you put on your shots. For example, if you fade the ball 15 yards with your 3 wood, then aim 15 yards to the left of the target.
If you tend to draw the ball aim to the right based on how much your fade is.
Conclusion of Correct Way to Hold a Golf Club
Golf isn’t a reactionary sport so finding a pre-shot routine that’s repeatable and allows you to comfortably grab the club, address the ball, and swing is absolutely critical. If you watch the pros you’ll see they all have a routine before beginning their backswing. Find a process that works for you and let the little things work for you.