A Weak Thumb Could Mean More Power

Kim Anders
Director of Instruction
John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach Resort
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, AZ

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Last week I was working with one of my regulars who according to him, had “lost it completely”! “I think I’m doing everything right but I don’t have a clue where the ball is going. I think you just need to start over with me!”  

Mike is about a 10-12 handicap, plays regularly, and practices a couple of times a week. I have worked with him 6 or 7 times the last couple of years and he has become a consistent player, rarely having a bad day that is more than 2 or 3 strokes over his handicap.  

I watched him hit a few balls and couldn’t believe how inconsistent he was. Swing looked pretty good but he couldn’t play to a 20 handicap if his life depended on it. So what would cause such a consistent player to completely fall apart?  

Turns out he had bad thumb. Not a bad thumb, not arthritis, not a sprain, just bad thumb position. I asked him what he was doing with his right thumb. He tells me one of his buddies that hits the ball a long way has his thumb on top of the club so he thought he’d try it.  

I reminded him his buddy also has to buy him a margarita about 9 rounds out of 10, and plays to an 18 handicap.  

It’s important to understand feeling powerful does not translate to being powerful. In fact, feeling powerful usually translates to ‘I’m going to need a lot of balls today’!! If you start feeling powerful you may want to adjust whatever is making you feel that way to something that feels weak.  

I move Mike’s right thumb over to the side of the club so it touched the tip of his index finger. I also told him this was not going to feel good. He made a practice swing and fully agreed – it felt terrible.  

“Now, hit a ball, but when it feels really terrible and weak don’t do anything to make up for the weak feeling. Just hit a weak shot.” He hit it great along with the next 5 balls. He was amazed such a small adjustment could have such a big change.

This little adjustment of his thumb position wasn’t a big change. But, sometimes a small adjustment can cause other parts of your swing to come back into the proper sequence.  

When you’re having problems with your game don’t assume you need a major overhaul. Sometimes it’s as simple as moving your thumb half an inch.  

Kim Anders is Director of Instruction at the John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies at the Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach Resort in Mazatlan Mexico. You can contact Kim at jkanders4@gmail.com.