By Jim McLean
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
NOW THAT THE PROPER TECHNIQUE has been established, I will talk about grip pressure. The importance of grip pressure is often underrated.
Many amateurs grip the club too tightly creating tension. Tension is a killer in the golf swing. It is important to understand when the hands grip the club too tightly muscle movement is restricted and the swing is no longer free-flowing. This leads to less clubhead speed and greater impact inconsistency.
There are three key places you should feel grip pressure:
1. The last three fingers of the left hand.
2. The pressure of the left thumb compressed by the right palm.
3. The ring finger and middle finger of the right hand.
Note: Pressure should not be felt in either of the index fingers or the right thumb.
At the golf school, we discuss grip pressure on a scale of 1-10. To understand the scale, first grip the club at a level 1 – at this point the club should be so loose in the hands it is barely kept from falling.
Next, increase the pressure to about a 5, a firm grip with much more control on the club. Then gradually work to a 10. Ten is the tightest grip possible: the knuckles may begin to whiten, the forearms are tight, and there is little movement available in the wrists.
Slowly scale down the grip pressure to a level 4. The average shot should be played from a 4-5 range on the scale. It is important that grip pressure feels the same throughout the swing.
There are several situations where different grip pressures are needed:
• in bunkers use a 2 to promote extra wrist movement
• in putting use a grip pressure of 2-4 to promote feel
• in deep rough use a 7-8 to prevent the club from twisting or turning as it goes through
• shots around the green typically require a firmer grip pressure than the average shot
Practice these ideas throughout the winter to ensure a great grip for the beginning of the season.
Grip is important! It is the only thing that connects you to the club, so plenty of practice is always great.
Next week: Indoor drills
Jim McLean is the instruction editor for Golf Digest and the Golf Channel, and an author of numerous, top-selling golf instruction books. For a free intro DVD to his new Building Block Approach, visit Jim McLean Golf School.
Copyright © Jim McLean. All rights reserved. Used with permission.