Left Grip Positions

by Richard Down
(Canberra, Australia)

I see you recommend placing the handle of the club along the base of the fingers of the left hand, where they meet the palm. Closing the pad of the left hand on top of the grip gives the wrist and arched position.

However Jack Nicklaus and Ben hogan apparently advocated placing the handle at an angle across the first joint of the index finger and just above where the little finger joins the palm, leaving a small fold of flesh between the little finger and the handle.

The pad of the hand closes over the top of the grip in the usual way. This allows the club to be held by crooking the index finger and supporting the end by the heel pad.

Both these grip techniques produce a different feel. One is more in the fingers, as you suggest, the other slightly more in the palm. The palm feels more secure but seems to allow less wrist cock.

Can you clarify please!?

Louis Reply

Great question Richard!

As you have quite rightly stated there are distinct differences in feel between a grip that is more in the palm of the left hand and one that is lower down towards the fingers.

Either way is acceptable, but from my experiences in teaching a palm grip is a weak grip. Firstly, the pressures are usually in the wrong fingers, (thumb and first finger) which creates tension inhibiting your wrist hinge to work properly.

Secondly, when the pressures are in the wrong fingers of the left hand and with the restriction of the wrist hinge there is a strong chance of letting go the club at the top of the swing or allowing the handle to move around and rub against the pad opposite the left thumb.

If you have wear on your glove in this area of your hand you are holding the club too much towards the palm of your hand, and the pressures are in the wrong fingers.(first finger and thumb)

Side Bar
What most golfers don't understand or realize is that maximum force is exerted on the hands, especially the left hand when you reach the top of your back swing and begin your down swing (the transition stage)

With a grip favoring the palm of the hand you need to hold tighter with the fingers and this is why you will usually let go at the top of the swing.

Therefore, it is imperative that the last three fingers on the left hand do the holding on the handle to counteract the swinging forces of the club while it changes direction.

Many teachers mention that the pressure (hold) should be in these last three fingers of the left hand but few tell you the reasons why this is important. Not even Ben Hogan gives the reason why.

If the last three fingers are not holding the club then control is bound to be lost during the change of direction of the swing from the top, and at impact. It also leads to the left hand collapsing at impact.

My preference for holding the club closer to the base of the fingers in the left hand is to allow for a free wrist hinge in the back swing, more control over the club head during the swing, more speed of the hands at impact, and with the pressure in the last three fingers only, no slippage of the grip is possible during the swinging motion.

Lastly, We all have different size hands and finger lengths, so taking up the left grip will be different for all of us!

Go with what helps you to get the best control and leverage you can.

You may also want to consider having your grip sizes checked and keeping in mind your shot shape preference.

When you are holding the grip correctly in the left hand your fingers should barely touch the inside of your palm. This would indicate your grip thickness is spot on.

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