Strong to Neutral Grip - Worth It?

 IamMarkMac ·  
IamMarkMacIamMarkMac SF Bay Area 757WRX Points: 250Handicap: 10Members Posts: 757 Golden Tee
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So I see a lot of instructors dissuading players from a strong grip. Even single handicappers are made to weaken grips for consistency. For those who had a successful strong grip and then went to neutral, was it worth it? Or did you end up going back to strong, perhaps?
I’m also being told that a strong grip is better when you’re older. I’m almost 47 so this might be the best time to effect a “rest of my life” grip change.
For my part, I can hit good shots with a neutral grip. They are straighter and less wild for me but also at least a club in distance loss. They also don’t feel as good (solid) as a nice, full of lag, strong grip rip. But again, maybe this changes with commitment to a new grip? Thoughts anyone?

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Comments

  • juststevejuststeve  5033WRX Points: 453Members Posts: 5,033 Titanium Tees
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    Whether the change is "worth it" depends on how good you are now, what you want to accomplish with the change and whether you want to change enough to practice as much as it will to become accomplished with a new grip.
    I'm a neutral grip guy because that's what I was taught in the beginning but I think it gives me a few advantages over people with strong grips. Around the green it is easier to hit a variety with a neutral grip than a strong grip . Into the green a neutral grip allows me to hit target without as much body rotations as I would need to keep the club face from shutting down with a strong grip.

    All of that being the case I can think of a number of strong grip players who are better at every aspect of the game than I have ever been.

    Steve

    Posted:
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  • BiggErnBiggErn  2737WRX Points: 626Members Posts: 2,737 Titanium Tees
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    A fundamental neutral grip is a good starting point then it becomes individual from there. Do what works best for you.

    Posted:
  • IamMarkMacIamMarkMac SF Bay Area 757WRX Points: 250Handicap: 10Members Posts: 757 Golden Tee
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    I did start with a neutral grip but just generally found the strong grip to be more natural. It also gives me more power but I don't know if practice with a neutral grip would have resulted in equal length.
    I guess what I'm really trying to figure out is if what I've been hearing is true, that being:
    a) a neutral grip is more consistent
    b) a neutral grip is easier to maintain with age and
    c) a neutral grip means a loss of distance.

    Posted:
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  • BiggErnBiggErn  2737WRX Points: 626Members Posts: 2,737 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @IamMarkMac said:

    I did start with a neutral grip but just generally found the strong grip to be more natural. It also gives me more power but I don't know if practice with a neutral grip would have resulted in equal length.
    I guess what I'm really trying to figure out is if what I've been hearing is true, that being:
    a) a neutral grip is more consistent
    b) a neutral grip is easier to maintain with age and
    c) a neutral grip means a loss of distance.

    None of that is specifically true or false. It’s completely individual. Hit shots with different grips and it’ll answer itself.

    Posted:
  • oukeithoukeith Michigan 174WRX Points: 59Handicap: Mid-capperMembers Posts: 174 Fairways
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    I have a hard time believing that a neutral grip means loss of distance. Nothing to base that on, though.

    Posted:
  • glkglk send it in jerome Kodak, Tn/Chucktown, Sc via Chicago & Burgh 3848WRX Points: 509Members Posts: 3,848 Titanium Tees
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    Something to consider

    Posted:

    Enjoy every sandwich.

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  • IamMarkMacIamMarkMac SF Bay Area 757WRX Points: 250Handicap: 10Members Posts: 757 Golden Tee
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    On -, @oukeith said:

    I have a hard time believing that a neutral grip means loss of distance. Nothing to base that on, though.

    There's a lot of, "If you want to go long, grip it strong" articles/videos out there. That's part of why i was wondering about how true it is as a golf principle.
    Anecdotally, i definitely hit it longer with a strong grip.

    Posted:
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  • Ri_RedneckRi_Redneck Leather for Life!!  5701WRX Points: 324Handicap: 8Members Posts: 5,701 Titanium Tees
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    Personally, I believe that hand position is inherent to the individual. Strong grips work well for some and not for others. I began playing the game 40+ yrs ago with a semi neutral grip and after playing inconsistently for many years, moved to a stronger grip and have played better ever since.
    BT

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  • TIM929TIM929 Los Angeles 1305WRX Points: 760Handicap: 11.1Members Posts: 1,305 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @IamMarkMac said:

    On -, @oukeith said:

    I have a hard time believing that a neutral grip means loss of distance. Nothing to base that on, though.

    There's a lot of, "If you want to go long, grip it strong" articles/videos out there. That's part of why i was wondering about how true it is as a golf principle.
    Anecdotally, i definitely hit it longer with a strong grip.

    me too.

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  • elthrillelthrill  201WRX Points: 90Members Posts: 201 Fairways
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    you really should play off a fairly neutral grip. it eliminates a variable in controlling the face. but, 2 things to keep in mind:
    1.) everyone's hands and wrists are build differently and at different angles. so your neutral isnt the same as mine.
    2.) release pattern is extremely important when evaluating your grip. if you are a guy who likes to feel you release the club early and you have a strong grip... good luck. strong grips are best matched with really hard body turners and players who dont feel much hand release at all. (ladies and young children excluded)

    but personally i have witnessed far more problems with overly strong grips than i have seen positives. i often wonder how they became such the "in" thing to teach for a period of about 15 years.

    Posted:
  • elthrillelthrill  201WRX Points: 90Members Posts: 201 Fairways
    Joined:  edited Mar 27, 2019 #12

    your neutral grip will feel more powerful and natural as you get used to it. it takes about 500 committed swings to get over that feeling that you are giving up power. swing 20 minutes day for a week and you will be past that. ive made the same change recently and i regret i didnt make it sooner. keep in mind that feeling of power and speed is coming from more face rotation and wrist flexion/extension through the impact zone, which causes more problems and why you hit it wild. it feels powerful, but for most folks its a false positive.

    Posted:
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  • IamMarkMacIamMarkMac SF Bay Area 757WRX Points: 250Handicap: 10Members Posts: 757 Golden Tee
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    On -, @elthrill said:

    your neutral grip will feel more powerful and natural as you get used to it. it takes about 500 committed swings to get over that feeling that you are giving up power. swing 20 minutes day for a week and you will be past that. ive made the same change recently and i regret i didnt make it sooner. keep in mind that feeling of power and speed is coming from more face rotation and wrist flexion/extension through the impact zone, which causes more problems and why you hit it wild. it feels powerful, but for most folks its a false positive.

    Cool, I've been waiting for a response from someone who actually made the grip change. So, in your case, after committing and practice, you have the same amount of power as when you had a strong grip? I am glad to hear though that you thought the switch was worth it.

    Posted:
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  • IamMarkMacIamMarkMac SF Bay Area 757WRX Points: 250Handicap: 10Members Posts: 757 Golden Tee
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    On -, @elthrill said:

    you really should play off a fairly neutral grip. it eliminates a variable in controlling the face. but, 2 things to keep in mind:
    1.) everyone's hands and wrists are build differently and at different angles. so your neutral isnt the same as mine.
    2.) release pattern is extremely important when evaluating your grip. if you are a guy who likes to feel you release the club early and you have a strong grip... good luck. strong grips are best matched with really hard body turners and players who dont feel much hand release at all. (ladies and young children excluded)

    but personally i have witnessed far more problems with overly strong grips than i have seen positives. i often wonder how they became such the "in" thing to teach for a period of about 15 years.

    That's an interesting thought about neutral being different between people. I was watching Russell Heritage on YT and he says neutral is three knuckles showing, which is strong by just about any other measure I've seen.
    And yes, strong can be problematic. In my case, I can see a point as I get older that rotation will become more difficult (whereas even five years ago, I thought my flexibility and hard turn would be forever) which is why I'm giving the change a serious look now.

    Posted:
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    Ping G400 3W 14.5                                          TM R9 3W 14
    Ping G400 3H 19                                              Miura 3H 19
    Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal Pro 5-P               Epon 503 4-P Nippon Super Peening Orange
    Mizuno s18 50, 54, 58                                     Miura 51, 56 k-grind
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  • BottleCapBottleCap  1494WRX Points: 249Members Posts: 1,494 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @IamMarkMac said:

    On -, @elthrill said:

    you really should play off a fairly neutral grip. it eliminates a variable in controlling the face. but, 2 things to keep in mind:
    1.) everyone's hands and wrists are build differently and at different angles. so your neutral isnt the same as mine.
    2.) release pattern is extremely important when evaluating your grip. if you are a guy who likes to feel you release the club early and you have a strong grip... good luck. strong grips are best matched with really hard body turners and players who dont feel much hand release at all. (ladies and young children excluded)

    but personally i have witnessed far more problems with overly strong grips than i have seen positives. i often wonder how they became such the "in" thing to teach for a period of about 15 years.

    That's an interesting thought about neutral being different between people. I was watching Russell Heritage on YT and he says neutral is three knuckles showing, which is strong by just about any other measure I've seen.
    And yes, strong can be problematic. In my case, I can see a point as I get older that rotation will become more difficult (whereas even five years ago, I thought my flexibility and hard turn would be forever) which is why I'm giving the change a serious look now.

    You're right, there are people that define neutral as square at address, and other people that define it as square in impact position.

    Posted:
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  • SNIPERBBBSNIPERBBB Hit Ball Hard SE Ohio 3120WRX Points: 764Handicap: 2.9Members Posts: 3,120 Titanium Tees
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    Im moving to square from strong this year to tame the draw a bit and make hitting fades easier. Working in practice...so far. Havent been out to the course yet but I hope to get out next week.

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  • Krt22Krt22 East Bay 8836WRX Points: 2,513Members Posts: 8,836 Titanium Tees
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    My instructor had be go to a very strong grip. I hit it further and ball less likely to go left, strange how it works

    Posted:
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  • Frasier CraneFrasier Crane  384WRX Points: 127Members Posts: 384 Greens
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    Just in my experience, I went from a stronger to a weaker grip... I think some might say that I have an extremely weak grip. But what I've found is that it encourages me to fully release the club. When I don't release the club, I end up with a short, push fade. When I do release the club, I get a nice penetrating straight shot. Having a weak grip gives me some predictability with my misses and allows me to manage my misses better on the golf course.

    Posted:
  • Mike7676Mike7676  4WRX Points: 12Members Posts: 4 Starters
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    I made the change 4 months ago. All my misses were left and I had to really lean the shaft forward to counter a hook. Handicap has recovered to where it was now. Felt really awkward for first few weeks. Also felt weaker but distance is now about the same. Glad I did it as I can now fade the ball and can still draw/hook on demand.

    It has also allowed me to stand closer to the ball at address and be more consistent with impact between toe and hosel. Hasn’t helped with hitting fat or thin though.

    Posted:
  • haroleaseharolease  620WRX Points: 74Members Posts: 620 Golden Tee
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    I find that if I turn my upper arm clockwise then I can go either neutral or strong depending on how soft my elbow feels

    Posted:
  • JAMH03JAMH03  979WRX Points: 435Members Posts: 979 Golden Tee
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    On -, @IamMarkMac said:

    I did start with a neutral grip but just generally found the strong grip to be more natural. It also gives me more power but I don't know if practice with a neutral grip would have resulted in equal length.
    I guess what I'm really trying to figure out is if what I've been hearing is true, that being:
    a) a neutral grip is more consistent
    b) a neutral grip is easier to maintain with age and
    c) a neutral grip means a loss of distance.

    Play18 w/both and see? As it is hard for me to see giving up that much distance w/o appreciably better scoring.

    Posted:

     



  • dpb5031dpb5031 Jupiter, FL 5790WRX Points: 1,327Members Posts: 5,790 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Apr 10, 2019 #22

    There are so many variables it's impossible to generalize, and im pretty sure there are also some reasonable misconceptions. First of all, a stronger grip orientation will not necessarily result in longer (stronger) shots.

    Definitions are important. Grip strength is your hand's orientation on the handle when the clubface is sitting perfectly square...which is perpendicular to the intended target line. Neutral typically means hands uniformly opposing one another (like praying) in an anatomically neutral orientation. Strong means both hands rotated more toward the aft side of the grip, or for a righty, hands rotated more clockwise on the handle (while clubface is still square). It's notable that you can have one hand strong, and the other weak or neutral, and any number of combinations.

    If your arm swing is well connected to your pivot, (pivot defined as your rotating core from pelvis to shoulder girdle), your grip needs to be appropriate for your pivot speed to minimize unnecessary compensations. The faster the pivot speed, generally the stronger the grip required or your gonna have trouble squaring up the face. If your grip is strong and your pivot is slow, arms & hands may overtake and the club will return to the ball closed and will produce hooks.

    But all of that is again dependent on your arm swing and pivot being in sync plus a bunch of other variables. If your hands and arms are doing their own deal, then all of these assumptions can go right out the window.

    Point is, it's practically impossible to provide any useful advice on this issue without seeing your grip, set-up, swing, and ball flight.

    Posted:
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  • oiler45oiler45  344WRX Points: 187Members Posts: 344 Greens
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    One thing to note is are both hands set "strong", "weak" or "neutral"?
    I think this is an oft overlooked fundamental. I played for decades with a neutral left hand and a strong right hand - it just felt normal to me.
    This winter I decided to weaken my right hand significantly to match my left hand. You would not believe how weird it felt and how hard it was to do.
    It's becoming more normal now after about 10 large buckets at the range - my release on video is way less "flippy" and it feels like I can finally take some semblance of a divot. I haven't lost any iron distance - not sure yet about driver distance. One thing to note is I have less left wrist pain which was the primary reason for the switch.

    Posted:
  • IamMarkMacIamMarkMac SF Bay Area 757WRX Points: 250Handicap: 10Members Posts: 757 Golden Tee
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    I experimented with a more neutral grip (2.5 knuckles) for the past 11 days and I feel it's confirming my earlier thoughts. It definitely feels less powerful as I can sometimes match my strong grip distance but I'm generally short by 5 yards or so in the short irons and still a club off, longer than that.
    The plus side though is that I can play straight shots all day and it's easier for me to hit a cut (yes, i've heard plenty of strong grip players hit awesome cut shots but i've never been able to pull that off easily).
    It also feels a lot easier on the body because, with a strong grip, I basically locked my arms and turned like ****. If the rotation stopped at all, it would just in a hook (usually) or a push if my hips slid. With the neutral grip, I've been able to engage my arms more and generate speed with hinging. My miss with neutral is short, which I've found gets me into less trouble than the wild directions my strong grip has sent me.
    I'll stick with it a little more and see where it gets me. Maybe the distance will come consistently with more practice.

    Posted:
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  • Petunia SprinklePetunia Sprinkle Future King of France  5362WRX Points: 149Unregistered Posts: 5,362 Titanium Tees
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    I used to play with what a teaching pro friend of mine called "a three knuckle grip with the wrong three knuckles." It was so strong, part of my left palm was just beginning to face the target at address. Oddly, my right hand was only slightly strong. It worked, though. I hit the ball dead straight. After about a nine year layoff, I returned to golf with the resolve to approach the game in a more orthodox fashion (only slightly strong grip, full bag of sticks, use lob wedge only when needed rather than the way my nephew uses ketchup, etc.). It hasn't gone well. So, recently, I was experimenting with my old insane grip. I'm going back to it. Never should've changed.

    Posted:
  • trileriantrilerian  420WRX Points: 83Handicap: 13.1Members Posts: 420 Greens
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    On -, @Petunia Sprinkle said:

    I used to play with what a teaching pro friend of mine called "a three knuckle grip with the wrong three knuckles." It was so strong, part of my left palm was just beginning to face the target at address. Oddly, my right hand was only slightly strong. It worked, though. I hit the ball dead straight. After about a nine year layoff, I returned to golf with the resolve to approach the game in a more orthodox fashion (only slightly strong grip, full bag of sticks, use lob wedge only when needed rather than the way my nephew uses ketchup, etc.). It hasn't gone well. So, recently, I was experimenting with my old insane grip. I'm going back to it. Never should've changed.

    I'm trying to image this, but it hurts my arm to think about it...
    Anyway, I play a pretty strong grip, and so long as my swing path is good, I hit push draws all day long. Sometimes I overcook em, and sometimes I block em right, but for the most part it is playable. Now, when my path gets messed up, I start hitting pull hooks and those are no fun. If I try to weaken my grip, I get flippy and hit massive hooks.

    But in all honesty, going to a stronger grip was the best decision I ever made in golf. When I first started I played a neutral grip, and for the next few years I couldn't keep the ball out of the right side. People kept telling me to strengthen my grip, but I figured it was a band aid and I wanted to be able to hit it right. Basically to play golf, I had to time a flip to close the face, but still had a bad path, so most shots still went right. Last season I finally went to a strong grip, and started closing the face, and what do you know, my path had to get "right" or my shots were way left.
    Now, I still have many swing faults, and no doubt my swing looks horrendous, but I am not scared of going right anymore.

    Posted:
  • Petunia SprinklePetunia Sprinkle Future King of France  5362WRX Points: 149Unregistered Posts: 5,362 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @trilerian said:

    On -, @Petunia Sprinkle said:

    I used to play with what a teaching pro friend of mine called "a three knuckle grip with the wrong three knuckles." It was so strong, part of my left palm was just beginning to face the target at address. Oddly, my right hand was only slightly strong. It worked, though. I hit the ball dead straight. After about a nine year layoff, I returned to golf with the resolve to approach the game in a more orthodox fashion (only slightly strong grip, full bag of sticks, use lob wedge only when needed rather than the way my nephew uses ketchup, etc.). It hasn't gone well. So, recently, I was experimenting with my old insane grip. I'm going back to it. Never should've changed.

    I'm trying to image this, but it hurts my arm to think about it...
    Anyway, I play a pretty strong grip, and so long as my swing path is good, I hit push draws all day long. Sometimes I overcook em, and sometimes I block em right, but for the most part it is playable. Now, when my path gets messed up, I start hitting pull hooks and those are no fun. If I try to weaken my grip, I get flippy and hit massive hooks.

    But in all honesty, going to a stronger grip was the best decision I ever made in golf. When I first started I played a neutral grip, and for the next few years I couldn't keep the ball out of the right side. People kept telling me to strengthen my grip, but I figured it was a band aid and I wanted to be able to hit it right. Basically to play golf, I had to time a flip to close the face, but still had a bad path, so most shots still went right. Last season I finally went to a strong grip, and started closing the face, and what do you know, my path had to get "right" or my shots were way left.
    Now, I still have many swing faults, and no doubt my swing looks horrendous, but I am not scared of going right anymore.

    The problems I encountered going to a ‘normal’ grip were fat shots and horrendous hooks. I’ve also felt I’ve had to do a lot more in the swing just to hit it decently. My old, weird strong grip feels automatic. I just aim at the back inside corner of the ball and it goes straight. My weirdo grip makes it easy to hit the ball low, or high, but cutting or hooking it is pretty hard. I think the reason why the latter is hard is because my left hand is closer to perpendicular to right hand than parallel, so there’s almost zero rotation until well after impact. At least, that’s my theory. I really have no idea why my grip works the way it does.

    Posted:
  • GolfWRXGolfWRX Warning Points: 0  11 Members Posts: 11 #ad
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  • BarfolomewBarfolomew #worstWRXer  1816WRX Points: 365Members Posts: 1,816 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited May 6, 2019 #28

    Love strong grip.....par golfer here. When I started I naturally had a real strong grip then learned to play and switched to neutral like the pros and good players but as I kept getting better strong was much more controllable then neutral. I think its better for every type of shot from driving to flops but not putting. **** might be good for that too lol...

    Posted:
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  • dpb5031dpb5031 Jupiter, FL 5790WRX Points: 1,327Members Posts: 5,790 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #29

    On -, @Petunia Sprinkle said:

    On -, @trilerian said:

    On -, @Petunia Sprinkle said:

    I used to play with what a teaching pro friend of mine called "a three knuckle grip with the wrong three knuckles." It was so strong, part of my left palm was just beginning to face the target at address. Oddly, my right hand was only slightly strong. It worked, though. I hit the ball dead straight. After about a nine year layoff, I returned to golf with the resolve to approach the game in a more orthodox fashion (only slightly strong grip, full bag of sticks, use lob wedge only when needed rather than the way my nephew uses ketchup, etc.). It hasn't gone well. So, recently, I was experimenting with my old insane grip. I'm going back to it. Never should've changed.

    I'm trying to image this, but it hurts my arm to think about it...
    Anyway, I play a pretty strong grip, and so long as my swing path is good, I hit push draws all day long. Sometimes I overcook em, and sometimes I block em right, but for the most part it is playable. Now, when my path gets messed up, I start hitting pull hooks and those are no fun. If I try to weaken my grip, I get flippy and hit massive hooks.

    But in all honesty, going to a stronger grip was the best decision I ever made in golf. When I first started I played a neutral grip, and for the next few years I couldn't keep the ball out of the right side. People kept telling me to strengthen my grip, but I figured it was a band aid and I wanted to be able to hit it right. Basically to play golf, I had to time a flip to close the face, but still had a bad path, so most shots still went right. Last season I finally went to a strong grip, and started closing the face, and what do you know, my path had to get "right" or my shots were way left.
    Now, I still have many swing faults, and no doubt my swing looks horrendous, but I am not scared of going right anymore.

    The problems I encountered going to a ‘normal’ grip were fat shots and horrendous hooks. I’ve also felt I’ve had to do a lot more in the swing just to hit it decently. My old, weird strong grip feels automatic. I just aim at the back inside corner of the ball and it goes straight. My weirdo grip makes it easy to hit the ball low, or high, but cutting or hooking it is pretty hard. I think the reason why the latter is hard is because my left hand is closer to perpendicular to right hand than parallel, so there’s almost zero rotation until well after impact. At least, that’s my theory. I really have no idea why my grip works the way it does.

    It's highly likely that you release the club like Azinger. You hit the ball like hammering a nail sideways. Look it up

    If true, no surprise youd struggle with a dramatic grip change no matter how long the layoff. It's in your swing DNA

    Posted:
    USGA Index: ~1

    WITB:
    Ping G410 LST 9 degree - Tour AD IZ 6x
    Taylormade M2 Tour 15 Fujikura Pro TourSpec 73 
    Kasco K2K 33 - UST Axivcore 65 Tour Green 
    Callaway RazrX Tour 4h - Tour 95 shaft
    Ping i200 5-UW (2 flat) - Nippon Modus 105X
    Taylormade HiToe 54 (bent to 55 & 2 flat)
    Taylormade HiToe 64 (Bent to 62 & 2 flat)
    Palmer AP30R putter (circa 1960s)
    Taylormade TP5X Ball
  • IamMarkMacIamMarkMac SF Bay Area 757WRX Points: 250Handicap: 10Members Posts: 757 Golden Tee
    Joined:  #30

    My experiment is almost over. Haven’t been able to find any distance with a neutral grip. My sense is that I’m resisting the wrist cocking and rotation needed for a powerful neutral grip. Plus it doesn’t beat the feeling of nailing one with a strong grip with plenty of lag.
    I’m just going to concentrate on keeping my hands from turning over and rotating the body faster.

    Posted:
    Bag 1                                                                 Bag 2
    Ping G400 LST 10                                             Epon Technicity 9
    Ping G400 3W 14.5                                          TM R9 3W 14
    Ping G400 3H 19                                              Miura 3H 19
    Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal Pro 5-P               Epon 503 4-P Nippon Super Peening Orange
    Mizuno s18 50, 54, 58                                     Miura 51, 56 k-grind
    Bettinardi BB1                                                  Scotty Cameron Newport 2
  • GolfWRXGolfWRX Warning Points: 0  11 Members Posts: 11 #ad
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  • LefthookLefthook Golf nerd  3310WRX Points: 160Handicap: 6Members Posts: 3,310 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #31

    I bet there are almost as many definitions of neutral here as there are posters.

    Posted:
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