This is the second in a series of six articles describing the perfect golf grip, starting with Golf Swing 104a – Setup: The Perfect Golf Grip.
Once again, apologies to the lefties, for simplicity these instructions are given for a right-handed golfer.
The correct placement of your left hand on the golf club has a number of benefits which are crucial to making a great golf swing. It will enable you to:
- Square the club face through impact by default, without reliance on manipulation and perfect timing;
- Generate more club head lag in your golf swing;
- Stabilise the club face by adducting (unhinging) your left wrist fully through impact;
- Feel and control the position of the club face and shaft throughout the swing;
- Freely release the golf club, transferring the energy of the swing through to the golf club, as efficiently as possible, in the form of club head speed through impact;
- Adjust the club face angle easily and precisely when you want to shape your shots — hitting the ball high or low, a draw or a fade;
- Keep your hands, wrists and arms as natural (anatomically ideal) as possible, allowing your body to work efficiently and safely, and avoiding undue stress on your joints.
Placing the Golf Club in Your Left Hand
To place the golf club correctly in your left hand, carefully follow the following steps:
- Start by holding the club out in front of you, in your right hand at the bottom of the handle, with the club face exactly vertical (the grooves on the club face pointing straight up) — see Figure 1.
- Place the muscle bulge on the heel of your left hand (the hypothenar eminence) directly on top of the club, near the end of the handle — see Figures 2 and 4.
- The bony ridge on top of your wrist (the lower extremity of the radius bone) should be exactly over the centre of the handle — see Figure 3.
- Now place the handle diagonally across your lower palm so that it crosses the fleshy pad between the first and second knuckles (the proximal phalanx) of your index finger, and wrap the trigger of your index finger around the handle — see Figures 1 and 4. You should be able to support the weight of the club with just the heel pad and the trigger finger of your left hand.
- When you close your hand around the handle, your three smallest fingers are primarily responsible for gripping the club — it will feel like you are gripping the club mostly with your little finger. If your club grips are sized correctly, the tips of your middle and ring fingers should just lightly brush the ball of your thumb (the thenar eminence) — see Figure 5.
- The trigger of your index finger should rest lightly around the handle, it is responsible for providing feel and should be free of tension — see Figure 5.
- Place your thumb slightly along the right side of the centre of the handle. It should rest lightly and be free of tension. Your thumb should be touching the base of your index finger, but not pressed firmly against it — see Figure 6.
- Hold the club up in just your left hand and check again that the club face is exactly vertical, and that the bony ridge on top of your wrist is exactly over the centre of the handle.
Why This Works
As stated earlier, the perfect golf grip will provide the best combination of stability, control, energy transmission, and sensitivity.
Control is provided by having a direct relationship between the back of your left hand and the club face. You will be able to adjust the club face angle precisely through small adjustments of your hand position, and to feel the exact position of the club face, coming into impact. The position described achieves this by placing the back of your wrist, and the little finger side of your hand, parallel to the club face. You will feel the precise position of the club face through the position of your hand and wrist.
Control is also achieved by placing the club in line with the axis of rotation of your wrist, both in the plane of the hand and marginal movements (see Wrist Articulations), by placing the bony ridge on top of your wrist (the lower extremity of the radius bone) over the centre of the club handle. Again, this ensures a direct relationship between the position of your hand and the club face.
This also means that you can abduct (cock) and adduct (unhinge) your wrist without altering the club face angle, and by adducting the wrist fully through impact it is made highly stable.
Stability is further provided by placing the club handle under the muscle bulge on the heel of your left hand (the hypothenar eminence). This enables you to support the weight of the club easily without it moving in your palm.
This also enables you to generate more club head lag in your golf swing, because the hypothenar eminence provides leverage on the club with your left wrist, without any special muscular effort, so your wrist is still soft. This enables you to maintain the lag late in the downswing while bowing your wrist to close the club face correctly coming into impact.
By placing your thumb alongside your index finger, you will be better able to support the club and stop it moving around at the top of your backswing. This also places your thumb in the correct position to accept your right hand (see Golf Swing 104c – Setup: The Perfect Golf Grip – Your Right Hand is Your Speed Hand).
Energy transmission is primarily provided through your right hand, but, by holding the club in this anatomically ideal position with the left hand, that energy can be transferred as efficiently as possible. This position also enables you to hold the club securely without tension in the wrist and arms, thus enabling the free release of the club through impact.
Sensitivity is provided through the index finger, which is not needed for “holding on” to the golf club and so can maximise feel.
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Now let’s complete your perfect golf grip with Golf Swing 104c – Setup: The Perfect Golf Grip – Your Right Hand is Your Speed Hand.