Understanding the Grip

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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The grip is the only physical connection we as golfers have with the golf club and the manner we hold the club influences so many things. During “Mastering the Basics” at the TOUR Academy, we discuss the grip and its importance to the clubface and the club shaft. We really try to break it down so that you the golfer can understand how the grip influences ball flight. 

We feel strongly, at the TOUR Academy, that the left hand controls the clubface. The clubface dictates where the ball starts in relation to the target. The face and how it is aligned to path also dictates how the ball curves. 

We feel the right hand controls the shaft. It is imperative that the shaft is leaning forward at impact so that the club head can be moving down at impact  (this should be the case with every club except the driver). So why is the grip so important?

There are three industry terms for the different classifications of grips –weak, neutral and strong. In general, a weak grip makes it more difficult to square the face through impact. The result can be shots that start right and curve right. A strong grip conversely allows for too much face rotation through impact making it very easy to over rotate the face for pulls and hooks.   

So, what is the best grip for you? Well most of the tour pros have a neutral grip. There are always exceptions to the rule, but if you can make your grip more neutral you will be in good shape. In addition, make sure your bottom hand is positioned like the neutral picture below. The handle is in the fingers, not the palm, making it much easier to achieve forward shaft lean. The result will be more consistency with your ball striking!

John Stahlschmidt is the Head Instructor at the TOUR Academy TPC Scottsdale.  John is also one of the “top 25” instructors nationally as ranked by Golf Tips Magazine. To comment or schedule a lesson, email John at johnst@touracademy.com.