There are a number of ways to grip the golf club, and a number of ways that have proved successful for the best players throughout the history of the game. After all, there are numerous ways to play golf and swing the club.
Simply put, a proper golf grip is our only connection to the club. Therefore, it plays a pivotal role in how our swing functions and the matchups we create.
Whether you are a beginner golfer or a seasoned vet, this blog post will provide you with a clear roadmap for gripping your wedges, irons, fairway woods, and driver. The following method is the one I use with my students to help them learn how to hold a golf club and grip it like an athlete!
Step-by-Step Guide to Gripping the Golf Club Like an Athlete
(Note: this guide was written in terms of a right-handed golfer)
To help understand how I like to see the hands align on the golf club, specifically the left hand, first get into your golf posture without initially gripping the club (as pictured above). Allow your arms to hang limp and notice where your hands and wrists align.
Everyone’s arms will hang and align slightly differently based on one’s anatomy and range of motion, but you will see that the back of the left glove hand tends to point more away from you (in this case towards the camera) versus pointed at the target.
Now that you have an understanding of how your left arm, wrist, and hand align when freely hanging, simply grip the club in your left hand in the fingers (as pictured above).
You will notice that the back of the left hand is pointing somewhere between the target and straight out away from you (or back towards the camera in this case). This is how your lead hand should be positioned as an athlete, just as if you were to grip a baseball bat, grip a car’s steering wheel, or grip the handle of a suitcase.
When looking down at your left hand, you should see 2 to 3 knuckles, and your left thumb should fall slightly diagonally off to the right. Notice the glove logo above is pointed at what appears to be a roughly 45-degree angle from the target and also slightly skyward.
The left wrist should have a slight angle to it, otherwise known as a cup or extension. This positions the left hand in a slightly stronger manner, one that I prefer.
Step #3 – Aligning Left Hand and Left Thumb
Continuing on with the left hand, ensure the golf grip crosses through the fingers on a diagonal and exits between your pinky finger and the pad of your left palm (as pictured above). You’ll notice I drew lines on my golf glove as a reference for this alignment.
By gripping the club in this manner and not exclusively in the palms, you are giving full freedom of movement to your wrists, a key ingredient for power in the swing. You now have successfully gripped the club with your left hand, like an athlete!
Now that we have the left hand oriented the way we want, let’s go over how the right hand should grip the club. Firstly, set up with your new athletic left-hand grip and align the club face to your intended target. With an open right hand, align the palm to the shaft parallel with the club face (as pictured above).
As most golfers have their dominant hand trailing their non-dominant hand at setup, this positions the dominant hand in direct alignment with the club face; a powerful and stable way for the right hand to hold the club and help control the club face through impact.
As was the case with the left hand, it is once again important to grip the golf club in the fingers of the right hand (as pictured above). From here, wrap the fingers around the grip with the left-hand thumb falling under the pad of the right hand and the right thumb pointing down or slightly diagonal left on the shaft.
Note that some people prefer a short right thumb while others a long right thumb. With the right pointer finger, leave a little space between it and the middle finger (as also pictured above) for that signature trigger finger.
You now have established an athletic grip and starting point. It’s worth noting that the hands should run together, softly pressing up against each other.
This is important in forming a semi-bond between your two hands, encouraging them to work together in the swing. Having the hands separated on the shaft, like a split-grip in hockey, can lead to a multitude of issues. As mentioned before, there are a number of ways to grip the golf club, but this is my preferred method.
Types of Golf Grips (The Many Different Grips)
As I mentioned before, there are several different types of grips in addition to the method I’ve walked you through above. There are also several ways in which we can mesh our hands and fingers together. Let’s look at these various styles.
Once we have our hands on the golf club, there are a few ways in which we can connect our hands and mesh our fingers. Firstly, you can employ an interlocking grip (pictured above). This was used by both Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
With this golf grip, the pinky finger of the right-hand crosses between the pointer finger and middle finger of the left hand, thus creating an interlock or fitting together of the fingers. It’s important to note with this golf grip that although the fingers are sort of locked in, they should be resting softly with the webbing between your fingers, not forcibly pressed into each other.
Please note that too much force and locking out of the fingers can also cause blisters, not to mention diminishing swing speed because of higher tension levels.
Overlapping Golf Grip (Vardon Grip)
The overlapping grip (otherwise known as the Vardon grip) is another excellent option for how to hold a golf club. In this case, rather than the right-hand pinky finger interlocking with the left hand, it simply rests on top of the notch between the left pointer finger and middle finger.
Once again, the pinky should not be forcibly wedged into this position, but rather resting softly. This was the grip style employed by the great Harry Vardon, a six-time Open Champion.
Ten Finger Grip
Although far less used by elite amateur and professional golfers, the 10-finger grip can still be a great method for holding the golf club (especially for beginner golfers). For this, the hands simply meet at the right pinky finger and the left pointer finger, with the thumb of the left hand still running underneath the palm of the right hand. Some call this a baseball grip.
The key difference from a baseball grip is the left thumb, which creates a better connection between the two hands. It’s worth repeating that the hands should be resting softly together and not firmly pressing into each other.
In addition to how our fingers mesh together, there are a few ways in which we can orient our hands. For a neutral golf grip, the creases between the thumbs and pointer fingers (otherwise coined the V’s) should point roughly towards your right eye (pictured above).
The glove logo is also pointed slightly more towards the target than the camera here. This is a classic positioning for the hands. Players you may know who have employed this golf grip include Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.
A weak grip (pictured above) is one where the left hand is aligned more to the left, where the glove logo is pointed basically at the target. You can see this aims the crease between the left thumb and pointer finger up towards my shirt logo.
Although this grip style has been employed by many of the great golfers throughout history (Ben Hogan, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, and Jordan Spieth), this is typically not the positioning I prefer my students employ as I believe it can put the left wrist in a more compromised state.
At impact, players that have a weak left-hand grip will need to bow (or flex) their lead wrist to create a proper strike. But depending on one’s anatomy and self-discovery, this can still be a proven method to grip the club.
Finally, there is the strong grip. You will notice this positioning (pictured above) runs slightly more in line with the step-by-step guide I laid out in the beginning.
Essentially, I encourage my students to grip the club somewhere between neutral and strong as I believe it aligns the hands and wrists in their most powerful position. You can see here the crease in the left hand (V) now aims more toward my right ear and shoulder.
Players you may know who have employed this golf grip include Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Paul Azinger, David Duval, Fred Couples, and Daniel Berger.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the proper golf grip pressure?
Depending on the shot, there can be varying levels of golf grip pressure. For example, with the driver being the longest club and swinging at the highest speeds, naturally, one’s grip pressure would increase compared to hitting a chip shot with a wedge around the green.
Primarily, I like to see a somewhat firm golf grip pressure where most of the tension falls in the fingers; the main connection points to the golf club. You should grip the club at a level of pressure where you feel well-connected to the club, but where the wrists, forearms, upper arms, and shoulders have low tension and a full range of motion.
If I were to put it in terms of a scale from 1 to 10, I would say your golf grip pressure should vary between 4 and 8 based on the shot and club at hand.
Why do I hit a slice, and how do I fix it?
A slice can be caused by numerous factors in the golf swing. That being said, in terms of the golf grip, take a look at how your hands are positioned on the golf club.
Typically I see slicers have a rather weak golf grip, especially in the left hand. I also tend to see slicers grip the club with a lot of tension in their arms and wrists, with the club often residing in the palms rather than in the fingers.
To fix your slice, try employing a slightly stronger golf grip and ensure the grip falls more in your fingers to give a greater range of motion to your hands and wrists to help square the club face.
Why do I hit a hook, and how do I fix it?
As with a slice, a hook can be caused by a number of factors in the golf swing. In terms of grip, however, I often see those struggling with hooks tend to grip the golf club in an overly strong alignment. The right hand will tend to fall too far underneath the club in an almost baseball-style grip, and the hands can become separated.
To fix your hook, align the right hand in a more neutral position with the grip more in the fingers. This can oftentimes help with getting the club face in a less shut (closed) position throughout the swing.
Should I use the same golf grip for all my clubs (wedges, irons, driver, and putter)?
Ideally, a proper golf grip will not vary much in your full swing. That being said, many of the game’s greats have employed multiple golf grips for short-game shots.
Notably, many golfers use a slightly weaker golf grip with chips and pitch shots with their wedges. This can help with creating a slightly more open club face in the shorter swing, which can be good for soft high shots close to the green.
When it comes to putting, there are a number of golf grips, including conventional, pencil, cross-handed, left arm-lock, the claw, the saw, etc. The putting golf grip is the one grip style that tends to differ most from the full swing based on one’s preferred method.
How far should I choke down on the golf grip of the golf club?
Depending on the shot, you can choke down on the club to take carry distance off or help with various lies. I’ve seen players grip down even as far as the shaft when the ball is above their feet.
When hitting a standard full shot, however, I like to see that the butt-end of the club falls just outside your left hand versus part of the left hand falling off the club. Like when gripping a baseball bat, your left hand would be above the knob at the end, not on it or hanging off the end of it.
What is a good drill I could do for grip when hitting a golf ball?
A simple, yet helpful drill is to hit short shots with just your trail hand. For right-handed golfers, simply grip down on the club to where your right hand would normally fall. Grip the club in the fingers and find what feels natural.
I find it is very difficult to hit shots solidly with an overly strong or weak right-hand grip with this drill.
When it comes to gripping the golf club, there are numerous ways to align your hands and wrists, and configure your fingers on the shaft.
The step-by-step guide I laid out above aligns the hands in a slightly stronger position. This also positions the wrists in what I believe to be their most dynamic state, and less prone to injury.
Once again, my concern with a weaker hand grip, especially in the left hand is that this requires more bow (or flexion) of the lead wrist to achieve a dynamic impact position. In our normal daily lives, we typically don’t put our wrists in that position.
I believe this also aligns the hands in a way that stabilizes the club face and can reduce the amount of face roll one might see in their golf swing, if performed correctly. I like to see a club head that is square for a long time, don’t you?
Another reason I prefer this method to grip a golf club is it allows for a greater range of motion in the wrists. With a greater range of motion in the wrists, we can achieve more wrist hinge.
This can result in better impact, shaft lean, swing path, penetrating ball flight…not to mention, more speed!
If you are looking for further guidance and coaching for your game, in addition to coaching both in-person and virtually, to help reach more people outside of my base here in Arizona I created an online academy. As a member of my site, you receive hundreds of training videos, monthly swing analysis through a coaching app, monthly member-only webinars, Q&A, access to our community feed, and first invitations to our Milo Lines Golf Schools. Learn more about my coaching, method, and my online academy here: milolinesgolf.com.
Hopefully, this helps you in learning to grip the club, improve your golf game, and swing like an athlete!