Strong Golf Grip vs. Weak Golf Grip
A “strong golf grip” is when player’s hands are being rotated away from the intended target while gripping the golf club.
A “weak golf grip” is when the player’s hands are being rotated toward the intended target while gripping the golf club.
A middle ground between these two grips and hand positioning is called a “neutral golf grip.”
Each type of golf grip has its own benefits and pitfalls, adding to the endlessly complicated golf game we all love.
And no, a “strong” or “weak” grip has nothing to do with grip pressure or grip strength!
Below we break down each type of golf grip technique, and we can hopefully help you play your most consistent golf ever.
Strong Golf Grip
To the right is an image of a right handed golfer with a relatively strong grip.
If you’ll notice, the line made between this golfer’s right hand index finger and thumb points to an area past his right (also referred to as “trailing”) shoulder.
Modern golf instruction has convinced most golfers that the “V’s” created with their thumbs and index fingers while gripping the golf club should always point to their rear shoulder. Not past it like shown here.
If you still don’t know what your grip categorizes as, here’s a simple guide:
Take a club and grip it how you normally would.
Look at your lead hand. Do you see more than just two knuckles?
If the answer to the above question is “yes,” and more like three to four knuckles, you likely have a strong golf grip, but that’s just fine.
Pros of a Strong Golf Grip
While it is fantastic for a new golfer to learn swing mechanics with a neutral adjacent golf grip, an immense number of high level professional golfers have an incredibly strong golf grip and use it to their advantage!
The photo to the left is of one of the best players of all time, Freddie “Boom Boom” Couples, and his exceedingly strong grip (mainly his left hands’ grip).
A strong grip has some incredible benefits, including but not limited to the following:
It helps players keep a closed club face at impact (likely eliminating the right side of the golf course for right handed golfers)
It helps players naturally draw the golf ball
It helps players who slice or push the golf ball correct this issue
It helps players with fast hips make consistent contact
Golf Magazine’s “The Best Driving Instruction Book Ever” actually encourages amateur players with fast hips to incorporate a strong golf grip.
If your lower body is fast, the club head will tend to lag behind your body, causing inconsistent strikes and a push/block/or slice.
Another benefit to a strong golf grip and drawing the ball is increased roll out on drives, resulting in more distance.
Additionally, a strong grip will naturally force a player to have an “in to out swing path,” which not only remedies a slice but encourages a draw flight pattern.
Con's of a Strong Golf Grip
While a strong grip is manageable for plenty of players, both amateur and professional, it can still cause some issues if the player isn’t cautious.
Some problems that can occur from too strong of a golf grip are:
1. Strong grips can cause a lower ball flight
A lower ball flight can cause problems, particularly as your clubs and distances get shorter (think wedges). If your ball’s angle of descent into a green is too low, you’re going to be a lot less likely to hold the green.
Additionally, if your ball flight gets too low with your longer clubs, you can be forced to take different angles of attack (since a low ball flight is more difficult to get over obstacles and hazards).
2. If you close the club face naturally on your own, a strong grip can create “too closed” of a club face, resulting in hooks (as shown above by Justin Rose)
A draw is very playable and beautiful to look at. A hook, on the other hand, is horrible to look at and can cause not only frustration while playing but a ton of lost balls along the way.
A hook is generally so difficult to control that even the best players in the world have a hard time getting out of the situations a hook puts them in.
3. A strong grip can become uncomfortable over time
Keeping “quiet hands” (not flipping through impact) will keep a strong grip working perfectly. Once a player begins to flip their wrists along with a strong grip, this added stress to a golfer’s wrist can lead to uncomfortable and even harmful feelings while playing.
Weak Golf Grip
Below is an image of Corey Pavin, a previous World Number 2 caliber player and incredibly talented golfer in every way, with an immensely weak golf grip.
As you’ll notice, Pavin’s lead hand (left hand) shows one or no knuckles from his eye’s perspective.
His right hand (trailing hand) sits firmly on top of the grip and shaft, and the “V” we referenced earlier, created by Pavin’s thumb and index finger, would point more towards his chin than his trailing shoulder.
To determine if you have a weak grip, you should look at a few factors:
Does the club feel more in the palm of your leading hand?
When addressing the golf ball, do you see less than two knuckles on your leading hand?
Does the “V” created with your trailing hand point to your trailing shoulder, or is it more centered, as the photo shows above?
A weak golf grip works tremendously for some players, both in the amateur world and professional world alike, but it comes with its own hurdles, just like a strong grip would.
Pros of a Weak Golf Grip
Below is an image of Jim Furyk, one of the best and most unorthodox golfers to ever play the game.
As you likely noticed, the line created by his trailing hand points more toward his leading shoulder than his trailing shoulder, resulting in an incredibly weak golf grip.
The benefits of a weak golf grip include the following:
1. It produces a natural fade (fades land more softly on greens and spin less, leading to a good player being able to attack more pins or targets aggressively)
2. It helps players with an “out to in swing” (99% of beginner golfers/most golfers for that matter) have more control of the dreaded “Big Right Miss”
3. Players who have slower hips or tend to hook the ball see immense benefits from weakening their golf grip. Slow hips lead to the club being thrown or flipped at impact, leading to inconsistent strikes and flight patterns. A perfect remedy is a weaker grip!
Con's of a Weak Golf Grip
The main disadvantage to a weak grip is the increased likelihood of a push, slice, or the awful “Big Right Miss.”
A weak grip causes the club face to be open at impact if a player isn’t careful, which makes those misses mentioned above easier and easier to come by.
A weak grip makes it VERY difficult to draw the golf ball. This can be fantastic if the golf course you frequent never calls for a golf ball to move right to the left (if you’re right handed, obviously, reversed for left handed people), but it can come as a massive disadvantage if the shot does call for a draw.
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