What Is a Strong Golf Grip & How It Can Impact Your Swing
Your grip plays a massive role in your total golf swing.
So many swing issues arise from how you hold the golf club. Yet, a lot of times players try to change everything else from tempo, transition, and takeaway.
Strong Golf Grip 101
Most golfers have a weak grip and it’s killing their distance and accuracy off the tee.
But let me clarify that when you hear that a grip is strong or weak, that is not related to grip pressure.
Instead, it’s referring to the hand position on the grip that determines if it’s strong, weak, or neutral. While grip pressure is important, the style of grip you use is arguably the most important part.
Let’s define the three common types of grips as your grip is a basic fundamental that will help you find consistency on the course.
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Three Types of Grips
The first type of grip is known as a weak grip.
This is probably the most common grip among the average, everyday amateur golfer. If you’re a right-handed golfer, that means your left hand is more under the club and your right hand is more over the club.
The V’s of your left hand will be more to the left of your head.
A weak grip isn’t necessarily bad, but the hand positions do lead to a cut (or slice) swing, instead of a neutral or draw swing. It also usually doesn’t allow as much distance as a strong grip.
The second type of grip is a neutral grip. This grip position makes it easier to change your swing plane and other adjustments to flight the golf ball both ways.
The V of your left hand is pointed directly at your nose. This is a preferred grip that a lot of instructors teach as you have more control over ball flight.
Finally, the last type of grip position is known as a strong grip. Again, this isn’t referring to pressure on the club but hand position.
The V of your left hand will be more to the right side of your head at address position. You can usually spot three knuckles on your lead hand in this position.
If you’re a right-handed golfer, your left hand will be more over the golf club and your right hand will also be more under the club. With a strong grip, it’s easier to draw the ball and tends to yield a more powerful swing as well.
Why You Should Strengthen Your Grip
You should consider a stronger grip for two reasons: a straighter ball flight and/or more distance.
Reduce Your Slice
If you’re like most amateur golfers, you probably struggle with a left to right shot more often you want. A cut is one thing, but a slice can lead to some big misses and the ball goes a fraction of the distance as normal.
One of the biggest culprits of the left to right miss is a weak grip. A weak grip leads to more out to in swing and makes it easier to get steep on the downswing.
So if you struggle with a slice, then it might be time to strengthen your grip. Even if you don’t have a “strong” grip, strengthening to a neutral position can help big time. Then, once that feels comfortable, you can strengthen it even more to a true strong golf grip.
Read More: How To Fix Your Slice
Add More Distance
Another massive benefit from strengthening your grip is extra distance with each club in the bag. A stronger grip makes it easier to reduce the loft of the club which instantly adds distance to your game. Plus, a stronger grip can also help you improve ball striking as it’s easier to create more lag as well.
This is why most of the guys on the PGA and European Tour use a stronger grip. It makes it easier for them to flush irons and max out their distances as well.
For example, one of the longest pound for pound hitters is Rory McIlroy. Even though he’s far from the biggest guy on tour, he hits bombs thanks to solid fundamentals, including his grip.
Rory has a stronger grip that allows him to turn his shoulders on the backswing and clear his left side on the downswing. This leads to some of the biggest drives and one of the most gorgeous swings you’ll ever see.
Related: How to Hit Longer Drives
Controlled Ball Flight
Another benefit to a stronger lead hand grip is a better trajectory.
With a stronger grip, it’s easier to get your hands ahead of the ball at impact. This effectively helps you compress the shot and create a perfect divot that is ahead of the ball (not behind it).
Players with stronger grips hit it longer as they compress the ball and slightly deloft the club. This effectively turns a 6 iron into a 5 iron and also creates a piercing ball flight.
If you hit a lot of balloon balls (which make playing in the wind nearly impossible), a stronger grip can help tremendously.
Changing Your Grip
Before you go changing your grip tomorrow at the range, I want to point out that it’s a big change. If you do embark on the journey of changing your grip, just be prepared for some hiccups along the way. Changing your grip will change other parts of your swing and it will likely take time to adjust.
Whenever you make grip changes, make sure to:
- Hit a lot of balls on the range. Repetition is the key to mastering any swing change.
- Don’t judge early results. It will take some time to get your mind and body on board with the changes, trust the process.
- Grip a club at home. The good news is that when you change your grip, you can do it without hitting golf balls. As you’re watching TV or listening to music at home, grip a club with your new, stronger grip to get more comfortable.
Regardless of which method you choose, always remember two things:
- Make sure the grip is your fingers and not your palms.
- Maintain the same grip pressure throughout the swing.
Top Questions About Strong Golf Grips
Is a strong golf grip good?
Yes, a strong golf grip is better than a weak grip for the majority of the golfing population. Most golf instructors teach students to have their hands in a strong position for better ball striking.
Do pro golfers use a strong grip?
Yes, most professional golfers use a strong grip. This helps them turn the ball from right to left, control trajectory, and increase distance.
What are the downsides to a strong grip?
The biggest issue is that a strong grip can lead to hook shots. While a draw is great, a hook is very challenging to deal with, especially if it’s off the tee.
If you switch to a strong grip and notice the ball going hard right to left (assuming you’re a right-handed golfer), try a more neutral position. This should help you hit it straighter and not miss the fairway left as often.
Does Tiger Woods use a strong grip?
Tiger’s grip has changed over the years from strong, to weak, and now more of a neutral grip position. When he was younger, he chose a stronger grip as it helped him add distance. Then he switched to a weaker grip for more control.
Now, he has a neutral grip to help with both distance and accuracy. Since he loves to work the ball in different directions and adjust ball flight, this grip allows him the most shot making capabilities. He’s also one of the few professional golfers to use an interlock grip compared to an overlap grip.
Does Rory McIlroy have a strong grip?
Yes, Rory uses a strong grip – at least with his lead hand. While his trail hand is more on the weak side.
This Golf Digest article summed up Rory’s unique grip perfectly, “It’s as if he’s twisting his hands toward each other. That makes his lead hand strong and his trail hand weak. His strong left hand matches up to his really fast hips. His right hand is slightly weaker, which suits him.”
Each hand helps a certain part of his swing; the strong left hand helps add more power while the weak right hand helps him hit it straight. Whatever he’s doing is working as Rory has been one of the best drivers on the PGA Tour.
What grip do most pros use?
The overwhelming majority of professional golfers use an overlapping grip. While some players use an interlocking grip (like Jordan Speith and Tiger Woods), most prefer their pinky over their lead hand. Some golfers have a baseball grip (known as a 10-finger grip) but this isn’t very common at the pro level.
A strong golf grip can help your game in more ways than one.
But just remember, changing your grip will take some time getting used too. Don’t read this, then go out and try it during a round tomorrow.
Instead, make the necessary adjustments on the driving range, get comfortable with your swing there, then take it to the golf course.
Finally, go easy on yourself as you make these changes.
There’s always a weird, awkward transition period before you start to see results. But I can promise that it’s one of the best changes you can make to your game.
Trust the process so you can groove a more consistent, powerful golf swing for the rest of your life.
Do you play with a strong, neutral, or weak grip? Are you trying to change it?
Let us know in the comments below!