How Is Your Grip?
By Michael Hinton
Repetition: “A training exercise that is repeated, or in music, the repeating of a passage or note”. I have an interesting side career as a PGA Teaching Professional; I’m also the drummer for Tim Mahoney, a major local recording artist who has competed on the TV show The Voice. I know a thing or two about repetition as a professional drummer. Can repetition be done wrong? Sure, but what is worse, to try and fail or to never try at all? We all want to be perfect in our repetition, but as an instructor most of the time I’m begging to get students to improve the sheer number of their repetitions. Today we will focus on grip and how changing it can drastically help you to perform better and have more consistent (and better!) repetitions.
The first thing about playing great golf is having a perfect grip. And I mean perfect. I’m going to demonstrate on a drum stick the same principles and physics that come into play when you hit a golf ball, or a snare drum in front of 20,000 people! Here are a few key points on gripping the club for a full swing:
1. The thumbs must never go straight down the club.
2. Grip pressure must be stronger at the top, and gradually decreasing on the way down the shaft.
3. The left hand hold could be the most important fundamental to master to have the club hinge properly and release maximum energy to the ball.
4. The palm of the left hand should be on top of the club, not to the side.
5. If done correctly, one can learn to hit with their left arm only, an important drill to develop strength in the left wrist and arm. This drill drastically improves chipping, pitching and putting.
• Picture one is a photo of a grip on a drumstick done incorrectly. Putting the left thumb straight down inhibits range of motion and “chokes” the stick or golf club. Drummers who play this way often sound choppy and end up playing “into” the drum and choke the natural sound. Done to a golf club it does the exact same thing, limits hinge, creates unwanted pressure down the club and decreases distance.
• Picture two is a photo of a correct left hand hold showing the palm on top of the stick (club) and thumb off to the side, allowing a natural hinging movement and loading of the stick (club) correctly. This correct hand hold is critically important to get done right and done right the first time. There are no excuses for a bad grip, other than it feels uncomfortable. This correct grip will allow you to draw the ball easier for more distance and better accuracy.
• Picture three is the photo of what happens when you grip the club incorrectly. The thumb stiffens and limits the amount of natural hinge that can happen to the stick or the golf club.
• Picture four is what can happen when you apply the right grip to your instrument of choice here. A full setting of the stick or club allowing for maximum power, rebound and natural energy into the ball or drum head!
When people talk about grip pressure, my response is always “what finger?” The grip should be held tighter towards the top of the grip and gradually decrease to almost zero in the right thumb and forefinger. If you get a thump print on your grip from use, this paragraph is for you! Gripping the club correctly is the absolute first thing you should master to improve your golf game this year. It is not uncommon for students to increase distance 15-30 yards if a faulty grip is corrected. So the question is, how’s your grip?