Arnold Palmer’s passing this year was sad to all of us. Arnie was, and always will be, the King to all golfers. Through TV he literally colourized a game and brought it to the masses. Arnie was such a special person. He was a golf super talent. He oozed charisma. He excelled in everything he did. Most importantly though, he was great with people and had time for everyone. I don’t think there is or has been a person who signed more autographs and had more time for his fans. That just may be the best lesson Arnold Palmer taught us all.
When it comes to the golf swing, Arnie’s best lesson for all of us just might be the first ever lesson he got from his Dad. The story goes that Duke Palmer placed his 3-year-old son’s hands on a golf grip properly and said “Don’t ever change it, boy!”. Arnold never did change his grip and was very proud of his perfect hand placement for more than 80 years. Palmer had a terrific golf grip that never let him down. His hands looked so comfortable and strong. It looked like they there literally a molded extension of the club. A proper golf grip is essential for great ball striking. That was true in the 1950’s when Palmer broke onto golf’s world stage and it’s still true today. A great grip is one of the most important fundamentals in the game.
So, as the golf offseason approaches it’s a great time for every golfer to have a look at his/her grip and to make it better if necessary. Every day on my lesson tee I watch golfers hitting bad shots because of a bad grip. Many of those golfers are reluctant to change their grip because it can feel so uncomfortable. I understand that, especially during tournament season, but to play your best golf you’ll need a correct, neutral grip so work on it now. You can literally make the change just by holding a club the proper way so spend 10-20 minutes a day this winter doing just that.
Your hands are literally your only connection to the club and directly affect your club face angle. A Proper, neutral grip molds your hands into a single powerful unit. It prevents the club from slipping, discourages club face rotation and promotes proper wrist hinge which leads to club head speed. A poor grip, on the other hand, will lead to loft issues, encourages the opening and closing of the club and will force you to continually compensate for erratic loft and direction issues. Simply said, you cannot play consistently good golf with a bad grip. So have a look at these 4 photos and try to copy them. A better grip will lead to better golf!
/ Kevin Haime, PGA of Canada Class A Professional @KevinHaime
Photo 1 (just left hand on club): The golf grip is not particularly thick so you have to hold the club in the fingers to prevent it from slipping during the swing. Notice how the top hand is slightly on top of the club so that you can see two knuckles as you look down at your hand. That’s a nice neutral position. I also like how the index finger and thumb are pinched together here. That will help you have a nice compact, one piece grip.
Photo 2 (putting bottom hand on club): Your bottom hand is a little trickier than your top hand to place on the club. Again, you need to get the grip in your fingers. The biggest error I see on the lesson tee involves a golfer cradling the club in the palm with the bottom hand. This position feels stronger but it’s a death move.
Photo 3 (Both hands on club): If your top hand is placed on the club in a proper neutral position and the club is placed in the fingers of the bottom hand, the bottom hand should fit perfectly over the thumb of the top hand. I tell golfers to “dock” their bottom hand onto their top hand thumb.
Photo 4 (Grip from face on): This is what a neutral grip looks like. The hands look compact and strong on the club. They form a single powerful unit that prevents slipping and encourages wrist hinge, speed and a square club face at impact.