Left Hand Thumb

by Frank
(North Fort Myers ,FL)

What is the importance of placing the left thumb on shaft instead wrapped around shaft?

Louis Reply

The thumb gives support to the club when you swing, especially at the top of the back swing.

During the change of direction at the top, (also known as your transition stage) the load and pressures increase, and place a premium on the left hand.

Holding the handle securely in the last three fingers of the left hand helps to counteract the pressure of the club head when changing direction and gives you maximum control of the club in the swing.

If the thumb is not resting on the shaft and supporting it, you will experience a floppiness of your wrists at the change of direction and a loss of hand speed.

Wrapping the left thumb around the shaft will also cause holding the club too much in the palm of your hand and make it more difficult to release the club properly at impact.

Usually, an early release of the hands results with this left hand grip.

Thanks for a good question and let me know if you have any more!

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Left Hand Grip

by Bob
(Kent, England)

Bob's Left Hand

Bob's Left Hand

Almost all the Golf instructional information I've seen over the past 40 years starts with the left hand grip and then proceeds to specify in detail which part of the hand and finger joints the handle has to pass through.

All very good if you have elegant long fingered hands - even if you have short fingers the only concession made is to advise a change from the Overlapping grip to the Interlocking Grip.

The only Teacher I've ever read/seen to say otherwise was Harvey Penick. He said hold the club the way you would a Yard Broom.

I guess what he was saying is the shape of hand combined with finger lengths is so individual that there is no 'one and only left hand grip'. I would also guess what he was trying to say is take as many of the good basics as you can and by experiment eliminate those that can't possibly work for you.

Now, I've added a photo of my left hand and immediately you will see, a) its not at all pretty, b) it looks as it is, powerful and most important, c) I have unusually short bent index fingers and considerably bent last fingers.

For me no amount of orthodox handle placement is going to make sense or provide the desired clubhead control/ball flight.

I do hold the handle in the base of the the last three fingers with the pad on top as recommended as a fundamental and...... the result is with the hand closed the handle then rests in the index finger midway between the last joint and the tip of the finger.

The hold is firmly secure, but its something no textbook or instruction article would ever suggest.

For me any other attempted configuration to get the orthodox placement with the index finger then places the handle too far into the palm, inhibiting the correct wrist hinge, and a loss of power and accuracy through the hitting area.

I am ambidextrous - I collect the money at the end of the round with either hand.

Seriously, I'm no expert at all on these matters, but I wish more Teaching Pro's would look carefully at their students hand/finger shape before stating the one method - after all getting a correctly working grip is the first and most important fundamental.

Louis Reply

What a most informative article Bob! Thanks for the contribution.

I am sure this article will help many other golfers out there find their own individuality with such an important fundamental.

No matter what your hands size is there are two areas about the placement of the left hand that are critical to consistency and maximizing your distance and direction.

The pad of the left hand opposite the thumb has to be on top of the handle in order to maintain control of the club head and keep it square through impact, and the left thumb should point down to the neck of the club (where the head meets the heel of the hosel)

The reason I am saying this is when your arms and club are in motion, and the club reaches the impact area, your joints in the left arm and wrist are straightening out.(due to centrifugal force)

The placements of the hand and thumb help to keep the hand in the strongest position possible on the handle of the club, and keep the face square through the impact zone.

Should the left hand be more in the palm of the hand, it will be in a very weak position on the handle, (and lead to letting go the club usually at the top of the swing) rotate open too much on the back swing, and cause the club face to be open when the joints straighten out again at impact.

I always advocate to my students that they should rather feel the left grip more towards the fingers rather than the palm.

In my opinion whether you have short or long fingers it makes no difference on which finger joints you feel the hold on the handle as long as the hand and thumb are in there correct places. The pressure being on the last three fingers of the left hand.

No pressure should be felt on the left thumb and index finger, they should simply rest on the handle and not be pressing down on the handle.

If there is discomfort in finding the placement in the finger joints then you may want to consider changing your grip size according to your preference of shot shape.

Thicker grips will assist in fading the ball and thinner grips will encourage a quicker release of the hands for a right to left shot. (ex, a draw and more distance)

There is a huge advantage to this in that you take one side of the fairway out of play.

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