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Proper Grip Pressure (It's Firmer than You Might Think)


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Makes perfect sense. If you take a person who's never lifted weights, ask them to say what's heavy weight for them, lets say the bench press. Lets say they say 60 lbs. Now if you take a guy who's worked out 4 x a week for two years. Ask them what they say a heavy bench press is. They would probably say 150lb+. Now lets look at this by holding a club. What holds a club, Muscles. Your fingers have muscles, your forearms have muscles. So ask an amateur who rarely practices, who just goes out and plays what they think they hold the grip as. They might say 8. Ask a pro the same question, who's hit thousands upon thousands of golf balls. They would say 5 or less, hold it like a bird i think Tom Watson said. So, its the same thing. Pros have more strength in their hands. So, when they say, out of 1-10. That means much much more for an amateur.

Also, most amateurs probably don't grip the hell out of the ball. I can tell you i see no one do that in the leagues i play in. Most of them hold the club enough to hold the club. Maybe if they have worn grips, the might grip harder, but they don't death grip it. I rarely see people at the range death grip a club. Most people know that holding a grip tight doesn't feel right. Most amateurs actually grip to soft. Then what they do is, try to regrip during the swing.

I'd just like to add something to this. I work as a mechanic and a maintenance man, so I use hand tools everyday. I'm pretty sure I have a stronger grip than the average office worker. I'm also pretty sure that weightlifters could probably crush my hands like soda cans.

Might want to check your facts.......most amateurs grip the clubs as if they are holding on for dear life.

On a scale of 1-10; a 5 would represent  a 50% tighter grip  than 0 and a 50% looser grip than a 10.

I have no clue what you are trying to say with this statement;

"Well if you hit a lot of golf balls and might work out, that could be some other amateur's 9"

Sometimes math is hard......

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Sam Snead famously quipped that to grip the club with the proper amount of pressure, one should feel as if they're holding onto a baby bird: grip the club firmly enough that it can't fly away, but not

Honestly, the mere statement of weightlessness  with centripetal force is enough to lose credibility here. FYI, the light grip is traditional methods... I will try to explain this as well. What y

Where did @onthehunt526 do that? The word "must" does not even appear in the post you quoted. Great. The topic isn't one that you need to worry about, then. Some number of golfers, however

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"Also, most amateurs probably don't grip the hell out of the ball."

?????..............

What, i'm serious here. Unless you have a chronic case of gripping the club to tight, and think everyone is like you, I hardly see amateurs grip the club to tight. Lets see, in the two leagues i play golf in, not one person death grips the club. That is about 40 people. So were not even 1 out of 40 there. So tell me how many amateurs you think death grip the club. Right now my sample has it under 3%.

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What, i'm serious here. Unless you have a chronic case of gripping the club to tight, and think everyone is like you, I hardly see amateurs grip the club to tight. Lets see, in the two leagues i play golf in, not one person death grips the club. That is about 40 people. So were not even 1 out of 40 there. So tell me how many amateurs you think death grip the club. Right now my sample has it under 3%.

You seem to have missed that you typed "BALL" when you likely meant "grip."

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Yep, Erik. Saevel25 often has a difficult time expressing his 'idears'. He may be gud at golf but sure needs some spelling lessons.

Oops, sorry about that, I need to remember to proofread before i click "submit".

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  • 3 weeks later...
Would it also have to do with which parts of the hand we need to grip firmly?  I've found I can grip firmly with the middle through pinky of my left  hand and the ring and middle of my right hand and keep my wrists relaxed.  If the index and thumb start gripping too hard, the wrist tighten up.

Here is what Jack Nicklaus said about pressure points...

"Pressure points for me are in the last two fingers and the heel pad of the left hand and in the thumb and index finger of the right. As the clubs get shorter, they get heavier, so you need to use a firmer, but constant, grip pressure."


http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/2010-03/jack-nicklaus-lifetime-principles#ixzz2gKNl2RiP
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Especially considering jack used an interlocking grip. He basically took grip pressure out of those fingers, the index of the left and the pinkie of the right. So the last three int he left will hold the heft of the club, and so will the index finger because its further down on the hand and feels the heft of the club more.

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Those are fine if you have a very firm grip.

Most amateurs grip the club too loosely. They may have (too) firm wrists and forearms, but their grips are too loose. Generally speaking.

A pro's "3" is often an amateur's "7."

How do you know if you have a very firm grip? I feel like I do, I grew up wrestling, playing baseball and hockey, then jiu jitsu through college. I feel like I have a pretty damn strong grip. But how do I know for sure? In "My Swing" thread that I posted, JetFan mentioned to loosen the grip up a bit. But after reading this thread, now I'm not too sure.

http://thesandtrap.com/t/70158/my-swing-crim

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  • 2 weeks later...
I got a lesson recently and was told I had too much tension in my swing with my arms. Even though I don't give the club the death grip, I was told my arms were too stiff. The Pro had me just completely relax my arms but still grip the club with control. It worked, but kind of feels like I lose control/power (and thus distance) by not really engaging my arm muscles and the club gets feels like it gets flippy/rolling over near impact. I was making great contact though and hitting straight shots and draws again on most shots, so I'm thinking he knows his stuff, especially since he demonstrated it. I'll just keep at this silly game and practice this new way.
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  • 3 months later...

NewbiGolfer77,

To answer the question about a tacky grip, absolutely yes. The design of the club is with a tapered end which is designed to actually keep the club from slipping from our hands. However, we don't always instinctively trust that and especially with aggressive players, we tend to really grip down on the club affording us the feeling of control. With a tacky grip, our senses are more keen and we feel the connection through touch. This builds confidense in our grip and allows us to hold the club lighter without fear of it coming loose. A real important key was mentioned earlier in this post and was spot on. (THE WAGGLE) Most golfers have no idea about the true benefits of doing this prior to striking the ball. First, it removes tension in the hands, the arms, and even the body. It's a reassurance to the hands that the grip is properly in the fingers and not way up in the palms. It reveals any pinch points as well. It also promotes the feeling of fluidity in the body, It is important though to perform the waggle properly though. I see people going back and forth with the shoulders, arms, and hands as one solid and extended unit. The idea of the waggle is th loosen the wrists and reassure the hands so basically the waggle is really done with the arms remaining down in front of the body and the club brought back in the direction of the back swing, performed with the wrist only. That will have the largest impact on the forearms as far as removing tension. If the grip is correct, the club should be held with the middle, next to pinkey, and pinkey fingers of the dominant or forward hand, and the middle and next to pinkey fingers of the rear hand. When performing the waggle, you can open the area up into a large (C) using the index finger and the thumb of the rear hand. Greg Norman, Jonny Miller, and quite a few big hitters do this. The idea is to insure that you aren't choking the club with the rear hand.

Got a little wordy here but I hope this makes it all come together for you. I do highly recommend tacky grips. They're great and I have been using them since they came out. There's quite a few to choose from these days.

Chris Warner

Master Teaching Professional

Golf Teachers Academy of America

PGA, USGTF, NRPGI, WGTF, WGCA

International PGA, USGA-R&A;, HGA, AGA.

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Sam Snead famously quipped that to grip the club with the proper amount of pressure, one should feel as if they're holding onto a baby bird: grip the club firmly enough that it can't fly away, but not so firmly that you crush the thing.

Less famously, Ben Hogan said "what Sam Snead didn't tell you is that the baby bird is a hawk."

If you had to guess whether grip pressures among amateur golfers were too tight or too loose, I imagine most people would guess they're too tight. It's common advice to "grip the club loosely" or "lightly" or "decrease grip pressure."

If you guessed that most amateurs grip the club too tight, you couldn't be more wrong. Most amateurs grip the club far too loosely.

Studies have been conducted on PGA Tour players and average amateurs. What they found was that the average PGA Tour player has the capacity to grip a club more than two times as firmly as the average amateur. So let's say a PGA Tour player says he grips the club at a "3 or a 4" on a scale of 1-10. The average amateur is only capable of gripping the club to a 4 or a 5, so that makes his grip pressure anywhere from a 6 to a 10 if you extrapolate the scale! Everyone's "3 to 4" is not the same. (There's another study I remember vividly, but I'll add that in a second comment.)

One thing amateurs do tend to get a bit "firm" with is in their wrists and forearms. What skilled golfers have learned to do is have relatively soft wrists, forearms, elbows, and biceps/triceps, and shoulders with a firm grip. The grip is primarily in the fingers and part of the palm muscles. The "firmness" stops at your wrist.

It's tough to practice the sensation - frankly, a PGA Tour player develops grip strength largely by hitting a few thousand balls per week. But if you'd like, go ahead and grip a club. Grip it FIRMLY. Now move your arms, wrists, etc. about - waving the clubhead around in the air - and try to feel as loose in your arms, shoulders, and wrists as possible while still maintaining firm pressure on the grip.

Grip the club firmly, people. If you're white knuckling it you may be in the minority and you may need to back off, but odds are you aren't.

Late to the party but great thoughts.

Keep in mind that shoudler/scap instability will compromise the ability to grip consistently throughout the range of motion.  The firm grip also stimulates the rotator cuff and help keep things in place.  I have heard much about your second study reference (consistency of grip pressure) but we know for sure that as momentum/centrifugal force increases, the grip responds reflexively.

Could it be that endless practice sets the Tour player up for anticipating this in advance?  Maybe so, not sure.

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Late to the party but great thoughts.

Keep in mind that shoudler/scap instability will compromise the ability to grip consistently throughout the range of motion.  The firm grip also stimulates the rotator cuff and help keep things in place.  I have heard much about your second study reference (consistency of grip pressure) but we know for sure that as momentum/centrifugal force increases, the grip responds reflexively.

Could it be that endless practice sets the Tour player up for anticipating this in advance?  Maybe so, not sure.

I still think it is the fact that tour players have built up the grip strength to the point were they don't have to. Its like a person carrying a heavy weight, they might have to regrip to keep holding it. Yet you get someone who has worked out a ton, and they can carry around 50 lb dumbbells like they weight 20 lbs to someone who doesn't work out.

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Yeah could be.  I guess I'm thinking of it like Tour players will have a far more secure grip throughout the swing.  If the grip pries apart (due to weak hands, unstable shoulders or poor mechanics) then you're gonna inevitably alter grip pressure in response.

I guess to me the study result is just a symptom and not a cause of proper grip or mechanics.  I've seen some seriously strong guys lose their grips many times over.  I hope that makes sense.

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golf swing is complicated. It might just be an issue with that individual golfer. It could be a tendency from a faulty golf swing. It might not be something even worth looking into. Could resolve it self if the golfer gets a better swing.

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Festivus. You brought up a great point. The discription of TOO TIGHT is a matter of opinion. Advanced players do swing at higher swing speeds and tend to grip the club tighter as well. I am guilty of such. The difference is, I grip with the correct fingers, which still allows me great fluidity in the hands. I really like Ben Hogan's discription in so far as the mechanical aspect. The 3 - 2 fingers used. Quite honestly, I would almost cut the bird in half but again, it's with the middle, ring, and pinkey fingers of the dominant hand, and the middle and ring fingers of the rear hand. I am a very aggressive player. My irons are around 110 mph with irons, and 118 with the driver. It's hard to hold the club gently and really go after it. Plus, I take deep divots with my mid to short irons, thus compressing the ball hard. A sturdy grip is needed.

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One thing amateurs do tend to get a bit "firm" with is in their wrists and forearms. What skilled golfers have learned to do is have relatively soft wrists, forearms, elbows, and biceps/triceps, and shoulders with a firm grip. The grip is primarily in the fingers and part of the palm muscles. The "firmness" stops at your wrist.

It's tough to practice the sensation - frankly, a PGA Tour player develops grip strength largely by hitting a few thousand balls per week. But if you'd like, go ahead and grip a club. Grip it FIRMLY. Now move your arms, wrists, etc. about - waving the clubhead around in the air - and try to feel as loose in your arms, shoulders, and wrists as possible while still maintaining firm pressure on the grip.

Grip the club firmly, people. If you're white knuckling it you may be in the minority and you may need to back off, but odds are you aren't.

I wished someone had told me this 15 years ago.

It has taken me till the last year before I actually got this. I've always wonder how the hell one hold a club "like holding a bird" yet maintaining adequate control.

The concept of a soft wrist and forearms is exactly what I have been practicing for the last year and I also do the waving the clubhead around though not in the air ..... more like what Duffner does.

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