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Tinkering with your grip - good or bad idea?


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I am currently a ~5 handicap and have honestly have not ever considered altering my grip. In recent years I've started to struggle more with inconsistency off the tee (push fades or pull hooks) and I feel like my grip is the problem. It's extremely strong - I can see all 4 knuckles clearly on my top hand, and my lower hand is rotated under the club. 


As a result of my current grip, I feel like I get great power and I feel like I don't have to worry as much about rolling my wrists on the downswing. However, it does seem to have a narrower range for presenting issues as it's easy for my club face to come through too open or too closed.

 

I am thinking about changing my grip to something more neutral, but honestly I feel like to do that, I'll have to change my entire swing. Where would I even begin? Is a major grip overhaul even possible at this point, or should I just keep working with what I've got?

Edited by danthegolfer
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If you haven't experimented with your grip, for all types of shots from all types of lies and distances, than the possibility exists you will never understand the relationship between you and the club

I definitely have some strong opinions on this subject and it always seems to be at odds with many of my golfing buddies.  I believe that trying to modify your natural swing is a recipe for inconsiste

Depends on your swing.  Get whatever grip you choose to match up with your swing and vice versa.

 

That's where I think golfers, even Tour pros, go wrong.  Jordan Spieth is a great example.  His swing with his rotation was meant for a strong grip.  He wanted to get rid of the block rights off the tee, even though he was overall a very good driver of the ball.  So he switched to a weaker grip to help with that, but it didn't match up with his swing and now it's a total mess.

 

The bad news about a grip change is that it will feel awful at first.  Probably the worst feeling change you can make.  The good news is that you can work on gripping things, even household items, in your new grip and it will feel natural in 2-weeks.  

 

Personally, I would try to figure out what you want to do with your ballstriking and worry about making whatever motion changes you can make, first.  Then add the grip change, if necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

RH

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I definitely have some strong opinions on this subject and it always seems to be at odds with many of my golfing buddies.  I believe that trying to modify your natural swing is a recipe for inconsistency unless you're really willing to put into the work to groove any change to make it "your own".  Your swing is dynamic and it's harder to change the dynamic parts of swinging a club, whereas your grip is "static"; just like your stance and setup to the ball.  I would much rather, and more easily, modify the static things in my golf swing to resolve ball flight issues like the starting line, trajectory, spin axis, etc.  It just seems too easy to me to modify my grip or stance to get the desired result than to change my swing.  I have friends who change their swing path to shape their shots and I know that there are many pros who do so also, I've just never personally found much consistency in that approach.

 

So, by all means, adjust your grip...  and maybe your stance, ball position... whatever is necessary to achieve the ball flight you're looking for.  Those static changes are very easy to replicate over and over consistently. 

Edited by Noodler
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If you haven't experimented with your grip, for all types of shots from all types of lies and distances, than the possibility exists you will never understand the relationship between you and the club.  It's your tool.  Be a craftsman/craftswoman.

 

 

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On 9/11/2020 at 7:52 PM, Noodler said:

I definitely have some strong opinions on this subject and it always seems to be at odds with many of my golfing buddies.  I believe that trying to modify your natural swing is a recipe for inconsistency unless you're really willing to put into the work to groove any change to make it "your own".  Your swing is dynamic and it's harder to change the dynamic parts of swinging a club, whereas your grip is "static"; just like your stance and setup to the ball.  I would much rather, and more easily, modify the static things in my golf swing to resolve ball flight issues like the starting line, trajectory, spin axis, etc.  It just seems too easy to me to modify my grip or stance to get the desired result than to change my swing.  I have friends who change their swing path to shape their shots and I know that there are many pros who do so also, I've just never personally found much consistency in that approach.

 

So, by all means, adjust your grip...  and maybe your stance, ball position... whatever is necessary to achieve the ball flight you're looking for.  Those static changes are very easy to replicate over and over consistently. 

 

Thanks dude! That's probably some of the best advice I've read on this site! 

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i play little stronger grip with my higher lofted irons and get weaker as my clubs get longer.  in my opinion when my grip get too strong i tend to naturally hold off on my release which causes exactly what you are talking about...by weakening my grip with my longer clubs i think i can feel the clubhead more open which helps me release rather than hold off with a stronger grip.

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Just had a lesson and had a long discussion about this subject - I’m now gripping stronger with 3 knuckles showing and it feels ok actually.

 

My thought is that where you say the right hand is wrapped under the club - that maybe more the consistency issue than the exact number of left knuckles showing. Loads of videos out there, but a recent Rick Shields one was decent, emphasising the natural hanging angle of both hands. 
 

I’d suggest at least moving towards a prayer type grip so that both hands are somewhat synced up. Otherwise I think you’ll always be guessing which hand took over and caused a bad shot. 

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I can't think of any reason that would REQUIRE a swing change to allow one to make his grip somewhat stronger or weaker.  In fact, it seems to me that it would likely be the other way around; making a swing change might require an adjustment to the grip.

 

In general, the stronger or weaker a grip is, the smaller the margin of error; I agree with you 100% about that.  And all of us have probably had our grips gradually creep toward too strong over a period of time; the increments are small, and we can compensate until we can't.  So if you make an adjustment, make small and go from there.

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By the way, I play with a guy in his late twenties who has played the game all his life.  He was a scratch player a handful of times, 7 times club champion.  His grip 

is like 4 knuckles strong.  The usual golfer who played a lot as a kid and teen and now with job and family plays on Saturdays and perhaps once more during the week.  The fact is that in the past three years his long game has deteriorated dramatically since he can't find a fairway or green. Misses both sides.  He still has a magical short game but his long game is so poor it's no longer enough.  His problem is the grip, indeed.  The predicament is the same as the OP's: changing grip or not.  Especially someone who gripped the club like that all his life, a really accomplished player.  Talking with a common friend we agreed that in the case I'm pointing out a less strong grip is almost a must to start hitting straighter without too much manouvering.  But I don't know how long this could take to the player and if he's willing to invest time into such a change.

 

I'm too at a loss on this one.  So different opinions and experiences may help clarify this.

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It doesn't hurt to tinker with your grip and understand what subtle alterations do to your ball flight. Just remember where you started. And as Harvey Penick used to say, take an aspirin, not the whole bottle.

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1 hour ago, hammersia said:

Just had a lesson and had a long discussion about this subject - I’m now gripping stronger with 3 knuckles showing and it feels ok actually.

 

My thought is that where you say the right hand is wrapped under the club - that maybe more the consistency issue than the exact number of left knuckles showing. Loads of videos out there, but a recent Rick Shields one was decent, emphasising the natural hanging angle of both hands. 
 

I’d suggest at least moving towards a prayer type grip so that both hands are somewhat synced up. Otherwise I think you’ll always be guessing which hand took over and caused a bad shot. 

 

Malaska also promotes the "natural hanging angle" of your arms/wrists/hands to determine the most likely best grip for you.  I attended a Malaska clinic and he also has you hold your club with one hand while he pulls the club away from you.  What he is showing is what happens when the forces of the swing pull the club away, what is the natural tendency for the alignment of your arm/wrist/hand when under this tension.  He then adjusts the club so that it is square when your arm is under tension.  This seems to be a sound bio-mechanical way to determine a good grip position (it's at least a good starting point).

 

Also, Shawn Clement uses the "snuff box" at the base of your thumb joint (the depression seen on top of your hand at the base of the thumb when the wrist is in extension) as the reference point for determining grip strength.  The method is where you position your gripped club directly in front of you (hands aligned with your mid-line) and then flex and extend your wrists, keeping the snuff box oriented vertically while noting whether the club face is square as it moves between the ground and the sky.  If your club face is opened or closed when doing this it should be adjusted until it's square in your grip.  Personally this is the method I have adopted in my pre-swing routine to ensure that my grip is correct.  I used to sole the club before taking my grip, but found that method to be inconsistent depending on the lie and there was always the risk of accidentally moving the ball.

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