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Golf: Get A Grip

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Contributor:
Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“Big hitters like Dustin Johnson use a strong grip, and if you went to a Tour practice range, eight out of 10 holds would be strong ones. It's a sea change. Those Vs that used to point at the right side of the chest? Some now point outside of the right shoulder!” That’s from Johnny Miller’s November 18th, 2013 post on golf.com.

Say that again Johnny

Several times while watching the final hours of the Tour Championship I heard Johnny Miller comment on Xander Schauffele’s weak left hand grip and of how Xander’s left hand thumb sat on the very top of his grip; something like Ben Hogan’s allegedly “weak left-hand” grip which he used in an attempt, so they say to reduce the possibility of duck-hooking.

So how come it’s called weak?

Researching the matter and having mentioned Ben Hogan I observed several photographs of Ben’s hands at impact and in no way could it be said his left hand indicated a weakness and given my admiration for Ben it could be said that’s why I adopted a “weak left-hand grip”.

As to why the left is called “weak” for a right-handed golfer I believe it’s because right-handed people don’t naturally feel the same level of strength in their left hand and very much so in the case of young children gripping a golf club for the very first time and who invariably use a three or four-knuckle grip on their left hand because there’s a need to feel more power.

Following in the Xander’s footsteps

Given golfers’ propensity for trying out new things when they first observe the success of other people I’m inclined to think there will be lots of right-handed golfers who will now experiment with a “weak left hand” however in doing so they will have to come close to replicating Xander’s fantastically fast hip rotation.

So what’s a good grip?
Johnny Miller concludes, “A strong grip is one reason today's Tour pros hit wedges as far as I used to hit my 8-iron. As long as you turn your body all the way through in the downswing, you'll square the face in time for impact and not only hit it farther but straighter, too. And if you slice, the new Tour grip is just what the (swing) doctor ordered.”

Link to Johnny Miller

Quote of the Day
“My grip was neutral by pro standards -- I basically clapped my hands together and took my hold from there, with the Vs pointing toward my right ear.” – Johnny Miller

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