Having a strong grip as a golf player can prove to be very advantageous to your game. You do not need to rely as much on the timing and your swing will feel more spontaneous and natural. The release of your hit will be much smoother, draws become easier, and a stronger ball rotation.
Grip strength does not necessarily equate to how hard you hold the golf club. A real strong grip means that the non-dominant hand of the player is able to apply just as much strength to the hold by rotating it to the same direction by which the dominant hand holds it and going for a re-grip.
You can try out different grip strengths in your swings to get an idea about what you are capable of and comfortable with. You have to remember though that changing your grip strength takes a lot of adjustment on your part and you have to be patient and disciplined throughout the process.
How does grip strength affect your game?
There is a direct relationship between grip strength and control of the club. When you have a strong grip on the club, that means you can turn it over easier.
A weak grip will not give you enough control over the golf club and you’ll have a hard time controlling and releasing your swing. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to grip strengths – it all boils down to the player’s physical capability. But there are also distinct variations between one and the other.
Knowing the implications of grip strength to your game can help you figure out how to improve.
What is a strong grip in golf?
When a golfer holds a club, their arms, hands, and thumbs form a V shape. A strong grip simply means that the position of your thumbs and hands point towards the right.
Both your hands should rotate towards the direction of the dominant hand. For example, if you are right-handed, then your left hand should rotate clockwise or to the right to favor your dominant hand. This makes your grip stronger.
The indication of this is if the crease between the thumb and forefinger points toward the direction of the dominant hand.
Strengthening the grip helps a lot especially if a golfer is having trouble with over-the-top swings and slices. It also ensures maximum closing of the club face upon impact and a more outward swing. If you want your shot to spin, strong grips can help with that.
Advantages of a strong golf grip
1. Less reliant on release timing
You do not have to perfect the timing on the release of the club if you already have a strong grip because the momentum of your swing will naturally give enough impact from the club face to the ball. This is the most important advantage of having a strong grip.
You can apply optimal force to your swing and hit straight without perfecting the timing because the strength from your grip will naturally release through the ball. The club head will rotate slower without decreasing the swing speed with spontaneous momentum applied. There is less probability of swing errors upon contact with the ball.
Small adjustments to your grip can enable you to achieve fades and draws much easier if you do not rely mainly on the timing of your release.
2. A more natural feel at setup and takeaway
Your initial setup and having a good takeaway are factors that contribute a lot to the quality of your swing. All the action usually goes to the downswing but with the right stance and position, then the unwinding feels much more natural and does not give you too much strain.
Good grip strength helps you establish power and comfort upon initial setup. You can also place the club at an optimal position on the takeaway.
However, you still have to refine your swing to ensure that the club face is at the right placement. Overall, grip strength does wonders to improve wrist action and backswing.
3. Promotes smooth release of the ball
You can trust that the ball will be released smoothly and strongly if you have a good grip on your club. This is because the force of your arm and hand muscles are passive.
There is centrifugal force involved in the smoothness of the release but the good thing is that you do not have to depend on timing.
4. Easier to hit draws
Draws and downswings in closing the clubface will be much easier when you have a stronger hold on your club. But remember not to exaggerate otherwise you will hook the ball off the course.
5. Promotes a stable body rotation
Strong grip equates to a stable rotation of the body through the golf ball. You have to align your body and match the turn with your swing so you do not make the mistake of making a hook and closing in too fast with the club face.
Rotation of the body is a vital part of a good swing.
6. Bringing the club inward is easier
Golf players with a firm wrist action can easily take the club from the inside. If the club goes over the plane, there is a high chance of fades and slices. This happens commonly if your arms and hands do not coincide with your body.
By dropping the club from the inside, there is an easier rotation of the body towards the target and you will be able to naturally release momentum. This move closely resembles that of a draw.
Dropping the club from the inside towards the ball produces more power to inflict onto the ball. If your gameplay needs improvement in terms of distance, you can take this tip into consideration.
7. Higher chance of making a good turn through impact
You can make a better turn through impact by having good grip strength. When hitting the ball, your entire body should flow with the swing. There is a huge difference as to where the ball can end up going.
The secret to an optimal turn is through the application of maximum body force to the swing. That skill takes practice and patience to master. There needs to be an established balance between the body and the arms. You also need to learn how to properly rotate your body and distribute your weight evenly.
It takes patience to determine the grip strength that works for you and maintain it in all your swings.
Disadvantages of a strong golf grip
The only downside of having a strong grip on your club is the tendency to turn the club over by having too much underhand club grip and doing a hook instead. If you also apply a lot of force, you can strain your hands and wrists in the process.
You may end up putting too much force into your hands only and neglecting the power coming from your arms and bigger muscles.
Who needs a stronger grip?
Slicers can do a lot with stronger golf grips. These kinds of players are the ones who will surely reap the benefits of having a strong grip.
What is the difference between a strong grip and a tight grip?
Tightness of a grip mainly refers to the pressure applied. Golfers do not have tight grips because their swings have less impact and it is harder to release shots. If you want to increase your distance and a smoother swing, you should lessen the tightness of your grip.
A strong grip on the other hand mainly refers to the positioning of your hands as you hold the golf club. The non-dominant hand should face the direction opposite of the target. The strength of a grip varies from player to player and can range from weak to neutral to strong. It all boils down to the individual capability of the golfer.
Famous golfers with strong grips
Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Paul Azinger, and Zach Johnson are few of the golf legends with strong grips. There are also players who have a dominant left hand and the right hand assists with the grip.
There is no standard for strong grips that everyone should follow. However, there are still advantages for players with remarkable grip strengths. The only downside is the tendency of hitting hooks.
Ben Hogan had to make some adjustments to his grip strength and his swing during his career to lessen the probability of making hook shots because this is something that golf players do not want to do.
It is recommended that beginners should start off with an already strong grip to avoid hook shots. As long as they do a good rotation and reduce the club head’s turn through the shot, then they do not have to adjust their grip anymore.
A powerful grip plus an easy backswing and rotation are the main ingredients of a decent shot. Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson are your inspirations for that.
How a strong grip affects your swing
Golfers who have played with strong grips usually have flat swing planes and do a lot of rotations. Golf instructor Denis Pugh suggests that golfers whose swings involve a lot of body motion in their swings should have strong grips.
For golfers who mainly use their arms and hands in their swing which is also referred as an upright swing, a neutral grip would suffice.
Strong grips do not get rid of slices, according to instructor Chuck Evans. This is a circulating myth in the golf community. The only way to do so is to have good control of the club face.
5 tips for a strong grip in your swing
1. Keep the grip in the fingers
The kind of grip you have won’t matter if you do not keep it in your fingers. This way, you will be able to maximize the strength in your hands and apply it to your swing to improve your speed.
Upon swinging, the main objective of a golfer is to get as much speed as possible. While that may be a skill that takes time to master, the starting point of a good swing is a good grip and that means keeping it within your fingers.
2. Build your speed
This is the key to reducing your scores. Speed matters a lot in the swing. Regardless of the grip, if you do not have a good swing speed, who knows where the ball will end up.
Whether you are a beginner, amateur, intermediate, or professional golf player, improving speed is a skill to be consistently developed. You can follow some tips found in the speed drill below to work on increasing your speed. If you are efficient with the swing mechanic improvement, your game will surely improve together with the additional distance that you put in.
This is an easy and convenient drill that you can do at the comfort of your own home. All you need is a space that is wide enough for you to be able to swing a golf club. You can keep track of your progress with a swing radar to see the results.
3. Rotate through the shot
Stock shots make for good golf. Regardless of whether it is a draw or a fade, your stock shot should be reliable enough and must be consistent with the starting line at least 7 out of 10 times.
Rotating the ball in your shots contributes to having maximum speed. Personally, draws feel more natural and there is minimal effort required to produce a solid push draw and rotate counterclockwise. It works for me if I want the club to remain inside and strike the ball towards the right direction.
4. Squat and turn
A lot of golfers are comfortable with sliding their hips forward when they swing. With a strong grip, this also helps in stabilizing the position of the club face. But if you do not involve your hips in the motion, you can end up hitting a hook.
You do not want to keep making hooks so to remedy this, you can try turning and rotating your torso through the shot. This improves your gameplay and enables you to produce better shots.
5. Keep the hands back
The key to generate speed and power is to pull down from the top. Hold it at the top so you are able to whip a shot along with the squat and rotation of your body. Like the other tips, this also maximizes the stability of the club and keeps your arms inward.
Consistency is definitely a major ingredient for great gameplay. Strong grip, proper body rotation, and correct positioning of the hand will contribute a lot to remaining consistent with your hitting dynamic. Your swings will have different variations if your hands do not have a stable position and you’re just flinging it everywhere. Find a good rotation and keep your swing stable.
Next steps in grip strengthening
- Keep track of your swing. Observe how your swing looks and figure out from there whether you have a weak or strong grip.
- Work on the three vital elements of golf. Consistent striking of the same spot on the ground, controlling the start line and curve, and building sufficient speed.
- Measure your swing. Adjusting your grip will make significant changes in the path of your swing and the direction of the club face upon impact. Because of the development of modern technology, this can now be measured even by beginners.
You should really consider using a launch monitor in your practice sessions. This gives you accurate numbers about your ball and club and gives you feedback to guide you in the improvement of your gameplay.
Professional players use this technology for their training because they need accurate and quantitative data to measure their numbers. Even beginners can now also use this type of technology to develop their skills.
You don’t have to invest in a lot initially. A launch monitor is already a good setup to get started and you can purchase it at a reasonable price. You can use it wherever you go to train.
Knowing your spin rate, ball speed, spin axis, and other skill statistics will help you figure out what aspect of your gameplay you need to work on more. You can share this information with your trainor and they can assess you on how to build your efficiency in that area or change the equipment you are using.
We recommend the SkyTrak launch monitor.
Should you strengthen your golf grip?
Most probably, yes. If it’s something that you haven’t done before and you find yourself having a hard time with your swings, you can consider it. It might be the key to improving your playing skills.
There is no standard when it comes to swinging because players have unique physical capabilities and vary in the areas in which they excel and may need to work on.
You should take lessons from PGA-certified instructors if you really want to improve your game.
Do pros use a strong grip?
A lot of professional players like Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson, and Bubba Watson are famous for having strong grips. A far cry from the era of Jack Nicklaus when most players only had neutral grips.
What is the best grip for women and junior players?
Stronger grip works for all players, women and juniors alike. It allows for better control of the club.
For juniors, starting off with strong grips will already help them establish good control in their first shots. However, it’s still good practice to start with neutral grips and work your way up.
Can grip strength fix a slice or hook?
It does have a lot of impact on the quality of your shots. Making a slice or hook is often caused by poor grip strength.
When you ask a lot of experienced players, the first thing that they adjust when they notice some variances in their swing is their grip strength and stance. If either one of those are not right, you will definitely see issues with your swing and the tendency to make slices and hooks will be greater.
You have to fix your setup to resolve your swing errors.
Does swing speed affect how strong your grip should be?
Since grip strength equates to having better control of the club, you can definitely hit the ball faster and farther with a stronger grip. If you want to increase the speed of your clubhead, consider strengthening your grip.
Is it easy to switch from strong to weak grip and vice versa?
When the difference between strong and weak grips is clear to you and you are able to recognize which is which, switching from one to the other will just be natural for you. Although a lot of players also say that it is uncomfortable to transition from one grip strength to another.
However, when you already establish a stable and consistent grip strength, you won’t have to worry about this anymore.