How a golfer grips their golf club is the most important part of their golf game. Grip is one of golf's "fundamentals" and should never be overlooked.
It might sound like a bold statement, but I think that most golf swing flaws are caused by a poor or inconsistent grip.
You grip on the golf club is your only connection to the golf ball, and has a direct impact on where and how the ball will fly. It's therefore really important that your grip is solid to allow you to play good golf.
There are three standard ways to grip a club;
- Neutral golf grip
- Strong golf grip
- Weak golf grip
But how do you know which one is the best for your golf game? Are all grips the same, or is one better than the others?
In this article, I will try to demystify the golf grip and give you the information you need to go out and improve your game.
This is what we're going to cover:
- The Golf Grip: An introduction
- Strong Golf Grip: Effects, Benefits and problems
- Weak Golf Grip: Effects, Benefits and problems
- Strong vs Weak Golf Grip: Which is the best?
Ok! Let's dive right in.
The Golf Grip: An Introduction
Most golfers will grip the golf club in one of three ways - neutral, strong or weak grip.
Many golfers think that the names for the grip in golf refer to how much pressure you hold onto the club with. This is not the case. Strong golf grips aren't held any tighter than weak grips!
When holding any golf club, you ideally want your grip pressure to be light. This allows the club face to release naturally without your hands "choking" it through the swing.
The terms neutral, strong and weak grip are actually based on the position of your hands on the shaft, not how much pressure you put on the grip.
Most professional golfers would teach amateur players to hold the club with neutral grips in order to make solid contact with the golf ball. However this doesn't feel comfortable for the vast majority of players, and often requires a lot of coaching to put in place.
What is clear however, is that the strength of your golf grip will have a direct impact on how you swing and your golf ball flight.
If you want play golf well consistently, you will have to understand how your grip can change how you hit the ball, and how it can change over time.
The Strong And Weak Golf Grip – What's The Difference?
Now we've got over what a golf grip is, let's look the differences between a strong grip and weak grip.
Before we get stuck into these differences, let's be clear that there is no "right" way to hold the golf club, and that even professional golfers will have variations of stronger and weaker grips.
A neutral grip is pretty uncomfortable for most players and you can have a lot of success with playing golf without a "perfect grip."
Pro golfers with strong grips
This list is a who's who in the game of golf. All of the players below are major winners and they all played with what are considered strong grips.
- Dustin Johnson
- Jon Rahm
- Bubba Watson
- Fred Couples
- David Duval
- Young Tiger Woods
Pro golfers with weak grips
There are fewer pros that adopt a weaker grip. Yet, they're still all Major winners.
- Ben Hogan
- Rory McIlroy
- Jordan Spieth
- Jim Furyk
- Matt Wolffe
What Is A Strong Grip In Golf?
A strong grip is when you can see nearly all of the knuckles on your top hand.
A strong grip will have the crease (or V) between the top hand's thumb and index finger pointing at the player's right shoulder. Let's look at the benefits of a strong golf grip.
Strong golf grip benefits
1: Can Stop a Slice
If the ball likes to go right and then more right, a strong grip could be for you. It is much more difficult to take the club back outside the line with this grip, which is one of the main reasons for slicing a golf shot.
2: Encourages A Draw
A strong grip naturally encourages you to swing in to out with a more closed club face. This will mean at impact your are imparting more draw spin on the ball, leading to a right to left ball flight for your shots.
When you ask a golfer to pick up a golf club, they will most likely adopt a strong grip. It just feels more natural for a golfer to hold the club this way. When a golfer feels at ease with their grip, they are less likely to be thinking about swing mechanics and will naturally get into a good position at impact.
4: Penetrating Ball Flight
A strong grip will lead to a closed club face at impact. If controlled properly, this can lead to more power and a much more piercing ball flight. I used to really struggle with high and weak shots to the right until I switched to a strong golf grip.
Strong golf grip problems
A strong golf grip can solve many of the common errors with the swings of beginners players but it can cause some problems.
A strong grip ideally needs to be paired with an in to out swing in order to promote a nice push draw, where the ball starts right and comes back to the target.
However, if you have a strong golf grip AND an over the top swing path, it can lead to the dreaded hooks. I have hit my fair share of duck hooks because of this, and it usually happens when I'm feeling fatigued or unfocused on the golf course. Beware the hooks!
2: Ball flight
Better golfers and those with higher swing speeds prefer to play with a slightly closed club face as it can give them more accuracy and distance. However, for the average player, this can actually make the game harder, as they will struggle to get the ball airborne.
A closed club face reduces the loft and lie of the club. This means you need to generate more ball speed to send your ball into the air. This will be hard for golfers with slower swings.
What Is A Weak Golf Grip?
You have a weak golf grip when you can't see the knuckles on your top hand.
A weak grip will have the crease (or V) between the top hand's thumb and index finger pointing at the player's left shoulder for a right handed golfer.
Weak Golf Grip Benefits
The biggest benefits of a weak grip come from the way it stops your hands over rotating in the swing. Ben Hogan used to be a serial hooker of the golf ball before he switched to a weak grip.
This only becomes a real benefit when you have the ability to turn the club over and release the ball.
1: Stops The Hook
A weak grip means that you can't really shut the club face and hook the ball.
2: Encourages release of the club at impact
A weak grip means that you are holding the club face off through out the swing. This means you have to "release" or rotate the club in the impact area to make clean contact with the ball. Many players struggle to do this with a strong grip so switching to a weaker grip can help with this.
3: Removes The Left Side Of The Golf Course
I'm a big believer that golf course strategy is the way to lower your scores. But in order to think your way around the course, you need to have a golf swing that you can trust, which doesn't have a two way miss.
A weak golf grip almost eliminates the left side of the course.
If you know that you can aim at the left side of the fairway and the ball will go straight or fade to the right, you have more of chance of keeping the ball in play.
Weak Golf Grip Problems
So why don't all players use a weak grip? The main issue for most golfers is that it can result in weak shots to the right, and at worst, slices.
If you have a slower swing speed or struggle to rotate through impact, a weak grip probably won't work for you.
This open club face will generally result in shots going to the right of the target. It will also add extra loft creating unwanted height on shots. You then join these two outcomes together and we have weak, floaty shots heading off-line.
Strong vs Weak Golf Grip – Which is best?
Now that you have read this article, do you have a better idea if a strong grip or weaker grip is right for you? When learning how to hit your 6 iron, 7 iron or sometimes how to hit your 8 iron, you can identify the best grip. These clubs are the easiest to hit for most people.
I think grip is so important to get right for YOU. Don't be fooled into thinking that there is "correct" way to hold the club or that you must have a neutral grip. You need a grip which allows you play the golf shots that keep the ball in play and most of all, make you enjoy the game.
I play with a strong grip because it suits my game and my swing tendencies. I want to feel like the back of my left hand is driving towards the target and a stronger grip makes it seem like I can generate more clubhead speed. BUT, all of this is related to my game.
Didi on my channel plays with a super weak grip as it matches up to his swing. He plays a lot of fairway woods from the deck, and the weak grip allows him to get the ball in the air more easily. It just suits his style.
If you are in doubt about your golf grip or golf swing, go and see a PGA professional for lessons. It really does work.