Trying To Get A Grip On My Swing


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Sunday, January 2, 2011

I have been fidgety with my grip lately. As I am standing over a shot, I feel very uncomfortable. Sometimes I have to step off a shot because I grip my club, re-grip again, and then re-grip again. I fear that I have come down with a case of Sergio Garcia syndrome. Garcia went through a period in his a career in which he would re-grip it so much, the fans took notice, and even heckled him at one U.S. Open.

I began searching Youtube for grip lessons, but that proved useless, because it seems as if every teacher has their own philosophy as to why their grip is the best. As it turned out, a day after I set out to find the perfect grip, Golf Magazine did a special on proper grip technique for their January issue. An answer to prayer.

On the same day that I received my latest issue, I went out to my laboratory and started working on my grip. One of the guys that I see out there all the time was walking by and he said, "Nice swing. The only thing that bothers me about it, is your grip. Hi, my name is Larry." Hmmm...Here we go again. Someone trying to fix my swing.

Normally, I tune people out who try to give me advice about my swing. In my last post you met
Coach Terry Crick, and you might remember that his favorite saying is, "Amateurs teach amateurs to play golf like amateurs." I am very hesitant to listen to anyone who claims to have the "magic fix", but since my grip is exactly what I am struggling with, and the fact that he recognized that just by looking at my swing, I allowed him to go on.

Larry pointed out that my left hand was rotated to far to the right. I thought my grip was okay because I heard that I should be able to see the two knuckles of my index and middle finger. He said, "Exactly, but your perspective is all messed up." He took his club and gripped it like I did and asked me what I saw. I was surprised. What I saw was four knuckles.

From my perspective it looked like two knuckles, but when I looked at it from Larry's perspective, I could see what he saw. A poor grip. He rotated my left hand to the left and put my right hand in more of a neutral position. I had a very weak grip.

It took some time to get used to this hand position, which I can understand. I had never held the club like this before, so of course it would feel a little foreign at first. I told him that it felt like my right hand was too far underneath the club on my downswing. He said, "Exactly. This grip promotes more of an inside to out swing path. It will help get rid of going over that top."

Larry had me hit some shots trying purposely to hook the ball to the left. He said that with my old grip I was probably forced to "hold off" my swing so that the club would not be closed at impact. Now that I am swinging from the inside, I don't have to hold the club off. After a while, I started hitting some draw shots. Something that I never experienced before.

I think this little lesson, coupled with what Mike has been teaching me, will help take me to the next level. The one-piece takeaway that Mike introduced me to feels a little smoother now. I used to hit good shots, but I was still lacking consistency. Mike, being a "virtual instructor", never had a chance to get a close look at my grip. I am sure that he would have pointed it out right away. I plan on getting some new footage for Mike to look at in the near future so that he can evaluate my progress thus far.

The following pictures are from the Golf Magazine article. The last two pictures are a great teaching tool that anyone can use. Check out the article so that you can read the description that coincides with each step for yourself. Hopefully it will help you get a grip on this game as well. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Read the Golf Magazine article here.

Step 1: Placing the handle
Step 1, New Way to Take Your Grip
Step 2: Securing your left hand
Step 3: Setting your left thumb
Step 2, New Way to Take Your Grip
Step 4: Positioning your right hand
Step 4, New Way to Take Your Grip
Step 5: Securing your right hand
Step 5, New Way to Take Your Grip
Step 6: Setting your right thumb
Step 6, New Way to Take Your Grip
What your grip should look like
Slide 1, How to Make a Good Hold Second Nature
Try this!
Slide 2, How to Make a Good Hold Second Nature
Same position every time
Slide 3, How to Make a Good Hold Second Nature

Comments (7)

  1. January 3, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    I'll be interested to see how this grip change makes you look at setup, Dex. Just from what you described, your grip was definitely too strong. (As he said, that's a common problem for over-the-toppers.)

    But if you're setting up like those Golf Magazine photos, I think you've gone too weak. Here's the problem: See how the butt of the club is pointing directly toward the bottom of the photo? See how the left wrist is bent? To return your wrists to that position at impact, you're going to have to flip the clubhead instead of leading it with your hands, which can cause you to hit thin or fat shots.

    Remember the Walter Hagen post I did on December 30? Go to the 2nd video (the iron shot) and start the video, then immediately stop it. See how Hagen's shaft and his left forearm form a fairly straight line? Hagen set up that way because he intends to contact the ball in the same position.

    This means his grip has to be a little stronger than the Golf Magazine photos -- otherwise, he'll leave the face open at impact unless he twists his forearms to square the club face. That's going to affect your accuracy in a bad way because it's hard to turn them the same amount each time.

    Here's what I'd suggest -- and granted, this is without seeing your new setup -- take the grip as shown in the Golf Magazine photos, then straighten your left wrist so your shaft is in line with your left forearm. The face will probably be open now. Without changing your hand positions, turn the club in your hands so the club face is square to your target again. You should get more solid contact without affecting your accuracy as much.

  2. January 3, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    I was probably finishing up my last post as you were leaving your comment. I looked at the pictures again on Golf Magazine and then picked up my club to see how I place the club in my hand.

    I don't have that bend in my wrist that the instructor has in the picture. I guess I just focused on the the finger placement and didn't even notice his wrist. Guess that's a good thing because I think my wrist is more in the position that you are describing.

    I see what you're saying about Hagen. Makes sense that he would set up to where he wanted to impact the ball. Let me try...

    ...I just set up with the club the way Hagen did. Seems like a lot of shaft lean. Doesn't feel too uncomfortable though. I'll have to try it out the next time I get out to practice.

    I think we're on the right track though. I just took my old grip and my left wrist is facing out in front of me instead of at my target. I must have done a lot of twisting and turning to be able to get the club face square again at impact.

    Hagen would have probably vomited if saw my old grip:-)

  3. January 3, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    I read your newer post, but I'm adding to this one since it's where we started "talking."

    You said it seems like a lot of shaft lean. It is... if you're only thinking one-dimensionally. ;-)

    Yeah, that sounds funny. Here's what I mean: You're thinking about your ball position on the straight line running back from the target:

    o--------------------- a -------- b -------

    where "a" is your original ball position and "b" is where it would be after you straighten your left wrist ala Hagen.

    What you're forgetting is that you can stand farther away from the target line and the ball.

    1) Put the ball in your original setup position, and take your original setup.

    2) Set your left wrist so the shaft and your left forearm form a straight line. The club head is farther behind the ball, correct?

    3) Now, don't move toward or away from the target (that is, parallel to the target line). Instead, back away from the ball (perpendicular to the target line) and lift your arms just enough to keep the shaft / forearm line. You probably won't have to move back more than two or three inches, but you can leave the ball in the same position on the target line that it was before.

    This may make your one-piece takeaway easier as well. Your swing will feel like it's more around you. And you keep the "straight line," so you hit the ball more solidly. Try that and see how it feels.

  4. January 3, 2011 at 7:27 PM
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  5. January 3, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Very, very interesting. I am practicing your instruction in my living room while watching T.V. Looking at my takeaway in the mirror, it looks like I'm on a better plane at the top of my swing.

    The only thing that feels a little funny is that I feel a bit off balance. Like I'm going to fall forward. Is the fix moving a little closer to the ball because I backed up too much, or should I bend at the knees a little more, or maybe widen my stance???

    I usually take Tuesdays off because of work, but I may have to get up to do a "crack of dawn" session.

  6. January 3, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    The exact fix may be a little different for you than for me, especially since I haven't seen how your setup's evolved as your swing has improved. I made this change a long time ago, so I automatically set up with my forearm and shaft in line. I had to try setting up with my hands in the position that the Golf Magazine photos showed, then correct it. Using the photo position, my hands are in front of the zipper on my jeans.

    When I change from the magazine position to my position, I don't even have to step back from the target line; I just feel like I'm carrying my hands a bit higher and a bit more to my left, toward the target. (I'd call it maybe 2 or 3 inches to the left of my jeans zipper.) I'm guessing you'll feel as if you're standing a little taller... but again, I feel the change mainly in my hands and arms, not so much in my body.

    Hope that helps.

  7. January 4, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    I didn't get to practice today, but I am playing a round tomorrow. They have a nice range so I'll get to work on it before hand.

    I can't believe it, but this will be my first round since I was in Arizona for Halloween. My off-season started around the same time with the pros. Looks like tomorrow is my Kapalua:-D