The Secret Of Golf, By Henry Cotton

"Many British golfers who have never had the chance to play in America are inclined to forget that, while America is the land of great champions, it is also the land of 'dubs', as the high-handicap players are called.

We would call them 'rabbits', and there are millions of them. 'Dubs' eagerly follow all the latest tips, and I even noticed many of them trying out the flat swing recommended by Ben Hogan.

However, some of those I have talked to said they were disillusioned because the 'medicine' did not suit them.

When golf stars write about their style of play, they invariably assume that the readers who will be attempting to follow their advice possess strong, educated golf hands.

It is not always appreciated that the 'dub's' biggest problem is how to hold on to the club and swing it.

This holding on - the control of tension of the fingers - is, as I have repeatedly stated, the secret of golf.

You can have all your tips on stance and swing, but finally it is all in the hands, the tension in the fingers, in fact, which makes or mars the shots.

The secret is to have the correct tension as impact approaches, so as not to slow up the club-head by gripping too tightly, nor to grip too loosely and so permit the club-shaft to turn round.

Some famous players, possessing strong hands and flexible wrists, consider they can ignore possible variation in grip tension. They merely swing the arms and club as one unit. But such cases are rare, and I am sure that even with this fortunate few there arises the need to study grip tension.

Of course, it is not easy to achieve this, but many top-class players have used and still do use the loose-grip-at-address, tight-at-impact and loose-after technique.

In other words, 'loose-tight-loose' is their slogan.

Harold Hilton demonstrated years ago that a moderately strong player, who would perhaps be called short by to-day's standard, could more than hold his own if his finger control was good - i.e. the tension of his grip was under perfect control.

Players who specialize in trick shots only succeed in doing the big variety of shots they demonstrate because they use the opening and closing of their fingers to help them.

They have live hands.

Not for them is the iron, vice-like grip of some of the champions of to-day, but a superb light touch of the club with their fingers.

Do not get the idea that I am advocating a sloppy grip; far from it.

As I see it, the stronger the hands the bigger the range of variations in tension and so the firmer the grip of the club can be without freezing.

The left hand does less guiding in most swings than it should. It is the first link between the shaft and the body, and its main function is to form the swing, and yet at the right moment it resists the hit of the powerful right hand."

Reference : 'HENRY COTTON My Golfing Album' A Section On Hands And Fingers, page 165-185. Country Life Limited London. Published in 1959 by Country Life Limited. © Henry Cotton 1959. Belgian Open 1934, Italian Open 1936, French Open 1946, 1947, German Open 1937, 1939 Winner. British Open Champion 1934, 1937, 1948.

Henry Cotton My Golfing Album

Available on Amazon

The Golf Grip

"I am quite at a loss to see any gain even in accuracy with the Vardon grip. There are many eminent golfers who do not affect it - Abe Mitchell, credited with being the longest hitter in the world. Ted Blackwell, who in his day had no rival in length: John Ball; H. H. Hilton; Jerome D. Travers; Jesse Guilford; Gardiner White and Oswald Kirkby, all three noted as long drivers; It by no means follows that that which suits one man will necessarily suit the next. In my own case I have repeatedly tried overlapping, but it does not suit me." Walter J Travis


The Golf Grip To Square Up The Club by Byron Nelson

VHS Available on Amazon : Byron Nelson's Timeless Golf Lessons [VHS] Helped Tom Watson and Ken Venturi become Champions. 'Dai Rees, who beat Byron Nelson by three and one. Ryder Cup of 1937.'

Hands 'Over' Or 'Above' (1887) By Sir W. G. Simpson

"'How is the grip to be tested for adherence during the swing?' is the real question, which the address ought to solve thus:- Having placed himself opposite the ball, let the player take hold of the club loosely, but so that if held short, the end of the shaft would pass under the wrist bones (somewhat as in Figs. 6 and 7).

Let him swing it backwards and forwards freely over the ball, describing an elongated eight, whose length is limited by the locking-point of the wrists joints. After two or three such continuous figures have been described, the hands, still holding loosely, will settle themselves into a proper relation to each other, and to the shot. The club will then be placed behind the ball, the grasp tightened just as it is, and the blow delivered.

Proper Grip hands 'over' or 'above' Page 63

Whether this plan of preliminary flourish is or is not the best, there is no doubt the grip should be found by some sort of trial swing, not by placing the club behind the ball, and settling down as comfortably as possible.

The true grip is that which accommodates itself to a free swing, not to a commanding stance.

The Art Of Golf By Sir W. G. Simpson, Bart May 1887Indeed players may be divided into two classes, according as they act or ignore this principle. The one arrives at the position of the hands typified in 6 and 7, and perhaps Fig. 10; the other is prone to the fault shown in Figs. 8 and 9.

Nearly all bad players belong to the class which does not arrive at its grip by experiment but dogmatically; not that all in it are bad, however. Their grip may by chance be good, or they may have the tact to accommodate their swing to the conditions they have imposed upon it. But assuredly this common error of taking hold of the club in the most comfortable way for aiming at the ball, rather than for the blow, has to answer for many monstrous styles, efficient and otherwise."

Reference : 'The Art Of Golf' By Sir W. G. Simpson, Bart. Sacred To Hope And Promise Is The Spot. Edinburgh David Douglas Edinburgh May 1887 MDCCC LXXXVII [All rights reserved] To The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers This Book Is Dedicated Humbly As A Golfer Proudly As Their Captain Gratefully For Merry Meetings And Cordially Without Permission By The Author. Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2008 with funding from Microsoft Corporation. Of Style In Driving 'How ought I to grip my club?' Page 60.

Download : 'How ought I to grip the club? By Sir W. G. Simpson, Bart. Including, page 71, "it is not until it is brought back to within a foot of the ball that it joins with the other in the work of driving—not till after impact that it becomes master, the other slave."


"There are muscles in the forearms known as the "Supinators"; which turn the hands palm upward, and the "Pronators" which turn the hands palm downward. These muscles control the angle at which the club faces. This is why no hard and fast rule can be laid down as the correct set of the hands that will hold good for all players. The "Set" of the hands means the extent to which they are set over or under the club handle. Balanced effort on the part of the pronators and supinators of both arms is the thing to be sought." Seymour Dunn


The Proper Grip (1899) By William Park Junr.

Willie Park Great Golfers In The Making 1907"It is of the first importance that a golfer should have a good style of play, these words being here used as including grip, stance, and swing.

The first detail is the grip of the club, and it is a matter of considerable importance, as upon it depends to some extent the swing. Very many players who study the swing entirely neglect to see that their hands are in the right position, and consequently their styles can never be good. With the view of showing the proper grip, I propose to describe it somewhat minutely.

The illustrations will show that it is really the grasp any one would naturally take. Let the club be placed horizontally, the handle being towards the player; then let him place his hands alongside of it, as shown in Fig 4. All he has then to do is to close his fingers round the handle without moving his arms, and he has the correct grip.

The handle should not lie across the palms of the hands, but across the roots of the fingers, and it is the fingers that should hold the club. Fig. 5 shows the second stage, viz. the club held in the fingers, and Fig. 6 shows the complete grip.

One Style of Grip by Willie Park Junr. - Champion Golfer, 1887-89

Willie Park Junr. Fig. 4 - The Grip - First Stage Willie Park Junr. Fig. 5 - The Grip - Second Stage Willie Park Junr. Fig. 6 - The Grip - Complete
Fig. 4 - The Grip - First Stage Fig. 5 - The Grip - Second Stage Fig. 6 - The Grip - Complete

Click on an image to view larger version

With regard to what I have just stated as to players using different grips for driving and for the short game, I hardly think it is advisable to follow that practice. Golfers must please themselves; but the opinion I hold, and which I follow out in practice, is to simplify the game as much as possible; and if one style of grip is sufficient and equally good for all parts of the game, why have two?

The Game of Golf First published 1896 Fourth impression 1899

I therefore unhesitatingly recommend the recognised grip (Fig. 6) as that most suitable for driving, approaching, and putting.

The Game of Golf By W. Park. Junr 1899The hands should be close together, touching each other. There should not be a space between them.

As a general rule it may be laid down that the fingers of both hands should grasp the club firmly, but those of the left should have the firmer hold: the theory is that the left hands holds the club while the right guides it.

This rule is, however, subject to certain exceptions, as will hereafter be pointed out. The club should not be held too tightly, as this wearies the hands and wrists without any benefit being derived therefrom.

If it be held sufficiently firmly to prevent its slipping or turning, this is all that is required; holding any tighter is a mistake, and a useless expenditure of force."

Reference : 'The Game of Golf' By W. Park. Junr. Champion Golfer, 1887-89 With Numerous Illustrations Fourth Impression. Chapter III Style of Play - Grip of Club Longmans, Green, And Co. 39 Paternoster Row, London New York And Bombay 1899 All Rights Reserved. Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to Her Majesty at the Edinburgh University Press

Download : 'The Game of Golf' Chapter I. By W. Park Junr., 1899.

Download : 'The Game of Golf' Chapter III. Style of Play and Chapter IV. The Long Game, including "And now to describe the swing", page 74, By W. Park Junr.

Download : 'The Game of Golf' Chapter VI. Putting By W. Park Junr., 1899, including "There is, however, the very important difference that the right hand should hold more firmly than the left, thus reversing the rule for the grip in other parts of the game."

Download : "Now I am asked to say something about the principles of golf as I view them, and in particular about the value of putting. I believe that putting should be done always with one hand - with one hand actively at work, that is." Page 98 'Great Golfers In The Making' Being Autobiographical Accounts Of The Early Progress Of The Most Celebrated Players, With Reflections Of The Morals Of Their Experience, By John L. Low, Harold H. Hilton, Horace G. Hutchinson, J. E. Laidlay, Walter J Travis, James Robb, Edward Blackwell, Harry Vardon, James Braid, J. H. Taylor, Alexander Herd, Willie Park, Tom Morris, Jack White, Etc. Etc. Edited, With An Introduction, By Henry Leach With Twenty Four Illustrations Second Edition Methuen & Co. 36 Essex Street W.C. London First Published January 1907 Second Edition 1907. X. Walter J. Travis 91 Walter J. Travis (British Amateur Champion, 1904; American Amateur Champion, 1900, 1901, 1903)

Download : 'Bobby Locke on Golf' Part Two: How I Play Golf 17. Putting "I learned the method largely from Walter Hagen in 1937; a firm left wrist" 1949, 1950, 1952 British Open Champion.

Download : 'The Game of Golf' 'Competitions and Handicapping' Chapter IX. By W. Park Junr.


"For putting, there is, however, the very important difference that the right hand should hold more firmly than the left, thus reversing the rule for the grip in other parts of the game. Putting should be almost all done with one hand, because when both hands are used, the one acts against the other; the right hand is the hand which guides the club, and guiding the club is everything in putting, especially in short putts." W. Park Junr.


Thumb Of The Left Hand (1903) By Horace Hutchinson

"The manner of gripping the club is the next subject for consideration ; for it is important, though we are disposed to think that many teachers overrate its importance.

Winner of Amateur Championship Mr. Horace G. HutchinsonOne maxim may be laid down as a truism - that the beginner should grip more tightly with the left hand than with the right.

Some finished players say that they grip equally tightly with both hands; but then it is not to finished players that these remarks are addressed.

Some players, again, hold the thumb of both hands down along - not round - the club shaft ; others hold one thumb along and the other round ; others, again, hold both thumbs down.

As before, the mean is perhaps the most advisable aim for the beginner.

Let him hold the thumb of the right hand round and that of the left hand down along the leather.

Golfing Horace Hutchinson 1903It will be seen that in this manner a stronger grip is obtained with the left hand than with the right, which is in itself a good thing, and, further, that the thumb of the left hand helps to control the direction of the swing - that is to say, the movements of the head of the club.

Maybe it is possible to hit a little harder with both thumbs round the club, but it is of more importance to be accurate than to be powerful ; and, again, it is possible, at first, to be a little more accurate with both thumbs along the grip, but it does not do to get cramped in seeking to be accurate.

The mean is best."

Reference : 'GOLFING By Horace Hutchinson' Educational Page 26. The "Oval" Series Of Games Edited By C. W. Alcock. With Plates Seventh Edition Revised By The Author London : George Routledge And Sons New York : E. P. Dutton & Co. 1903. Winner of Amateur Championship 1886, 1887.

Download : 'GOLFING' Educational and History of Championship By Horace Hutchinson, 1903.

Download : 'GOLFING' Glossary of Technical Terms and Golfers And Styles By Horace Hutchinson.


"In playing for a pulled ball the right wrist turns over at the moment of impact ; but for a sliced ball I cut a little across the ball, the wrist action being the reverse of that for a pull, viz., the right hand is rather under than over." James Braid


Theory And Essentials Grip (1904) By H. H. Hilton

Great Golfers Their Methods at a Glance By George W. Beldam J H Taylor At Impact with Driver 1904"As regards the grip of the club I am in somewhat of a quandary. I am a firm believer in the principle of holding the club as much as possible in the fingers.

On the other hand, the late Lieut. Tait gripped the club very much in the palm of the right hand, as do also Mr. Ball and Sandy Herd, and this trio form three awkward obstacles to overcome in the argument in furtherance of my belief. But I have a little in my favour in that Vardon, Taylor, Braid, Mr. Maxwell, and many others trust mainly to the manipulation of the fingers.

Personally, I think that the player, by gripping with the fingers, not only obtains a much finer touch, but has a better command of the club. Of necessity the grip has to be loosened on the upward swing, and it is easier to loosen the grip when the club is held in the fingers of the right hand than when it is held in the palm ; at least, that is how it strikes me.

If you are sufficiently powerful in the hands, try the overlapping grip ; it is a great aid to accuracy, as it enables the wrists to work together : but I have found that to work this grip successfully, the player must of necessity have long and powerful fingers, as, if he has not, there is far too much strain placed upon the left hand and wrist, and the right hand does not obtain a sufficiently firm grip of the club to apply the requisite power."

Reference: 'GREAT GOLFERS Their Methods At A Glance' By George W. Beldam Theory And Essentials Grip By H. H. Hilton, Page 473. With Contributions By Harold H. Hilton J. H. Taylor James Braid Alex. Herd Harry Vardon Illustrated BY 268 Action Photographs London MACMILLAN AND CO., Limited 1904 All rights reserved Dedicated By Kind Permission To The Right Hon. A. J. Balfour Prime Minister Who Has Done So Much For The Royal And Ancient Game. Richard Clay and Sons, Limited Bread Street Hill, E.C., And Bungay, Suffolk. First Edition, March 1904 Reprinted, May 1904

Download : 'Theory And Essentials Grip' By H. H. Hilton Instruction By Illustration By G. W. Beldam, Great Golfers Their Methods at a Glance, 1904.

J H Taylor By Himself 1903

Download : 'J. H. TAYLOR By Himself' Open Champion, 1894, 1895, 1900. Born : Northam, North Devon, 1871. Weight, 111/2 stone. Height, 5 feet 81/2 inches. Great Golfers, Dec. 10th, 1903, GRIP

Download : 'Golf Faults Illustrated' By G.W. Beldam & J.H. Taylor New & Enlarged Edition Fourth Impression, 1911. First Chapter Essential Principles Illustrated For Beginners The Drive the fault "of the masterful right," The Palm Grip, The Orthodox Grip, The Overlapping Grip

Download : 'JAMES BRAID By Himself' Open Champion, 1901. Born : Earlsferry, Fife, February, 1870. Weight, 12 stone 6lbs. Height, 6 feet 11/2 inches. Great Golfers, 14/12/03, GRIP

Download : 'ALEXANDER HERD By Himself' Open Champion, 1902. Born : St. Andrews, N.B., 1868. Weight, 12 stone. Height, 5 feet 9 inches. 8/12/1903. GRIP "also gripping tight with the three fingers of the right hand, leaving my forefinger and thumb loose, so that the club can work. In my approach shots I stand a little more behind the ball with the right thumb down the shaft."

Download : 'HARRY VARDON By Himself' Open Champion, 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903. Champion Of America, 1900 Born : 1870, Jersey, Channel Islands. Weight, 11 stone. Height, 5 feet 91/4 inches. Great Golfers, 12/12/03, VARDON OVERLAPPING GRIP

Download : 'Present-Day Golf' By George Duncan "I have been having a look at Mr. George Beldam's book, Great Golfers" And Bernard Darwin, Illustrated By Photographs By G. W. Beldam, London Hodder And Stoughton Limited PART I By George Duncan, Chapter IV. Wrist Action and Pivoting, page 25, 'The Grip of the Club, How I Cure Faults'



"My grip, as I have said, is the natural one ; sometimes called the "2-V," or the St. Andrews grip, though it must be admitted that many of the younger school in the Grey Old City use the overlapping grip. It is a fashion, and a good fashion, but not one to be slavishly followed." Sandy Herd


The Quartette Alexander Herd J.H. Taylor James Braid Harry Vardon St Andrews 1905


"The whole grip must not be so tight as to stiffen the muscles of the forearm. The reason for the overlapping of the little finger is to make the grip as one-handed as possible, and it ensures both wrists working better together." James Braid


Unsuitable For Women (1905) By MRS. Hurd

"The science of golf can be divided into three essential parts, the grip, the swing and stance, all of which used to be considered of equal importance.

This being the case we shall consider the grip and the swing before we go into the position of the feet.

Dorothy Campbell Hurd Ordinary Grip 1905

Mrs. J. V. Hurd

The club ought to be grasped firmly, with the hands as close together as possible and the left above the right. The shaft should be more in the fingers than the actual palms and the right hand must on no account be allowed to do more than its share of the work; the pressure has to be perfectly evenly distributed if any success is hoped for at all. The overlapping grip, with the fourth finger of the right hand placed above the first finger of the left has made many converts among male golfers during the last decade but it is distinctly unsuitable for women as their wrists are not strong enough to put sufficient driving power behind the ball if the hands are held in this position. Even Miss Cecil Leitch, the present British Champion, says that she is unable to get satisfactory results with this grip, and if she cannot do so it is not likely that other women will succeed, as Miss Leitch is gifted with exceptionally strong wrists and makes a very great deal of use of them. On the putting green it is a different matter and there the overlapping grip will be found very helpful towards making the hands act in unison.

But in driving and playing approach shots the ordinary grip is less productive of disappointment. The position of the knuckles of the right hand is supposed to be an important one in a correct grip, according to most authorities they ought to point decidedly upward, that is to say the knuckles of the first joints. There seems to be no hard and fast rule about the position of the thumbs. In Mr. Bernard Darwin's book he advocates putting the right thumb around the shaft and not straight along it, and leaves it to the player to choose the manner in which the left thumb shall be held.

In the same volume Miss May Hezlet (Mrs. Ross) advises putting both thumbs along the shaft and I must sadly confess that for my own part I follow neither of these valuable authorities, but put my right thumb along and my left thumb around the shaft for every shot. There can be no doubt that to put one thumb at least along the shaft adds greatly to the straightness of direction, and although it may take slightly from the distance there are few golfers of any experience at all who do not concede that straightness is infinitely more desirable than a few yards of extra length. Too much stress cannot be laid on the importance of holding the club with an even grip."

Reference : 'WOMEN'S GOLF' By Dorothy Campbell Hurd, including 'The Grip, Swing and Stance. Mid-Iron, Mashie, Getting Out of Hazards''. Golf Illustrated. Scottish Ladies Champion, 1905. 1909, 1911 British Ladies Champion, 1909, 1910, 1924 United States Women's Champion, 1910 - 1912 Canadian Ladies' Amateur Champion. Born: 1883, Troon, Scotland.


"Grip firmest with the thumbs and forefingers - they are not so well adapted as the other fingers to the purposes of taking a strong hold, and they are the most important of all for the purpose of the golf grip. Don't be afraid to hit hard; if you are swinging correctly, hard hitting is not 'pressing.'" Harry Vardon


Grippers And Feelers Unification of The Hands by Bob Toski

World-Famous Teacher Bob Toski with Andy Nusbaum Director of The Golf Digest Instruction Schools
Bob Toski Winner of 5 PGA Tour Wins. Available on Amazon : Bob Toski Teaches You Golf [DVD]

"When I first began to play golf I grasped my club in what is generally regarded as the orthodox manner, that is to say, across the palms of both hands separately, with both thumbs right round the shaft (on the left one, at all events), and with the joins between the thumbs and first fingers showing like two V's over the top of the shaft. This is usually described as the two-V grip, and it is the one which is taught by the majority of professionals to whom the beginner appeals for first instruction in the game." Harry Vardon


The Overlapping Grip (1905) By Harry Vardon

"Now comes the all-important consideration of the grip. This is another matter in which the practice of golfers differs greatly, and upon which there has been much controversy.

My Own Invention

My grip is one of my own invention. It differs materially from most others, and if I am asked to offer any excuse for it, I shall say that I adopted it only after a careful trial of all the other grips of which I had ever heard, that in theory and practice I find it admirable—more so than any other—and that in my opinion it has contributed materially to the attainment of such skill as I possess.

My grip is an overlapping, but not an interlocking one. Modifications of it are used by many fine players, and it is coming into more general practice as its merits are understood and appreciated. I use it for all my strokes, and it is only when putting that I vary it in the least, and then the change is so slight as to be scarcely noticeable. It will be seen at once that I do not grasp the club across the palm of either hand.

Left Hand

The club being taken in the left hand first, the shaft passes from the knuckle joint of the first finger across the ball of the second. The left thumb lies straight down the shaft - that is to say, it is just to the left of the centre of the shaft.

But the following are the significant features of the grip.

The photographs (Plates II., III., IV., and V.) should now be closely examined

Harry Vardon Plate II. The Grip with The Left Hand Harry Vardon Plate III. The Overlapping Grip Harry Vardon Plate IV. The Overlapping Grip Harry Vardon Plate V. The Overlapping Grip
Plate II. The Grip with The Left Hand Plate III. The Overlapping Grip Plate IV. The Overlapping Grip Plate V. The Overlapping Grip

Click on an image to view a larger version or view as PDF and magnify

Right Hand

The right hand is brought up so high that the palm of it covers over the left thumb, leaving very little of the latter to be seen.

The first and second fingers of the right hand just reach round to the thumb of the left, and the third finger completes the overlapping process, so that the club is held in the grip as if it were in a vice. The little finger of the right hand rides on the first finger of the left.

Hands Feel and Act Like One

The great advantage of this grip is that both hands feel and act like one, and if, even while sitting in his chair, a player who has never tried it before will take a stick in his hands in the manner I have described, he must at once be convinced that there is a great deal in what I say for it, although, of course, if he has been accustomed to the two V's, the success of my grip cannot be guaranteed at the first trial. It needs some time to become thoroughly happy with it.

Tightness of the Grip

We must now consider the degree of tightness of the grip by either hand, for this is an important matter. Some teachers of golf and various books of instruction inform us that we should grasp the club firmly with the left hand and only lightly with the right, leaving the former to do the bulk of the work and the other merely to guide the operations. It is astonishing with what persistency this error has been repeated, for error I truly believe it is. Personally I grip quite as firmly with the right hand as with the other one. When the other way is adopted, the left hand being tight and the right hand simply watching it, as it were, there is an irresistible tendency for the latter to tighten up suddenly at some part of the upward or downward swing, and, as surely as there is a ball on the tee, when it does so there will be mischief.

The Complete Golfer by Harry Vardon, Courtesy of Professor Michael S. Hart, the father of Project GutenbergDepend upon it the instinct of activity will prevent the right hand from going through with the swing in that indefinite state of looseness. Perhaps a yard from the ball in the upward swing, or a yard from it when coming down, there will be a convulsive grip of the right hand which, with an immediate acknowledgment of guilt, will relax again. Such a happening is usually fatal; it certainly deserves to be. Slicing, pulling, sclaffing, and the foundering of the innocent globe - all these tragedies may at times be traced to this determination of the right hand not to be ignored but to have its part to play in the making of the drive. Therefore in all respects my right hand is a joint partner with the left.

Reference : 'The Complete Golfer' by Harry Vardon. Open Champion, 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903. American Champion, 1900. With Sixty-Six Illustrations, Second Edition, Methuen & Co. London. First published June 1905 Second Edition June 1905. Source : Used under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included online at www.gutenberg.org

read more


"I ought to add that I put my right thumb on the left-hand side of the centre of the shaft when driving, and straight down the centre of the shaft for all kinds of iron shots." Harry Vardon


The Unequal Grip or Cricket Grip (1907) By Alex Smith

"We are now ready for the two-handed swing with the driver.

The grip is taken as follows : Grasp the club in the left hand, letting the thumb lie on top of the shaft directly in the middle. Now shift the thumb so that it coils around the handle but rests on the nail of the forefinger.

This is a somewhat unusual position for the thumb, but I favor it for the reason that it permits the two hands to be brought closer together. If the thumb simply curls itself around the shaft, its knuckle prevents the right hand from snugging close up to its fellow. It is important to get the hands to work, as nearly as possible, as one, and this can only be done by getting them together. So much for the grip with the left hand.

Now place the right hand on the shaft directly below the upper or left hand, and gently pressed against it. The right hand should be turned somewhat under the shaft, so that you can see the finger nails.

This is called the unequal grip, the left hand being well over the shaft and the right hand a trifle under.

Alex Smith's grip for driving Open Champion of the United States and Western Open Champion

It is the grip generally used by reformed cricketers in England and by old baseball players in this country, and at one time it was considered quite unorthodox.

Means Driving Power

My argument is that the underneath position of the right hand permits of a more effective wrist action, and also brings into play the muscles of the right forearm, which means driving power.

Alex Smith - Open Champion United States and Western Open Champion

The Drive Finish Of Swing (Side View) Alex Smith The Drive Finish Of Swing (Front View) Alex Smith The Drive Finish Of Swing (Back View) Alex Smith
The Drive. Finish Of Swing (Side View) The Drive. Finish Of Swing (Front View) The Drive. Finish Of Swing (Back View)

"Both elbows have been kept low, meaning the swing has been a powerfully concentrated one."

Of course, it has its disadvantages as well. If the right hand is allowed to entirely overpower the left, a pull, or worse yet, a hook, may send your ball to the left of the true line of play.

Be careful, then not to exaggerate the position.

read more


"We are now ready for the two-handed swing with the driver. This is what is called the unequal grip. It is the grip generally used by reformed cricketers in England and by old baseball players and at one time was considered quite unorthodox. My argument is that the underneath position of the right hand permits of a more effective wrist action, and also brings into play the muscles of the right forearm, which means driving power." Alex Smith


Permit A Proper Snap (1908) By Jerome D. Travers

Modern Golf By Jerome D. Travers National Amateur Champion, 1907, 1908"In regard to gripping the club, I grasp it in the palm of my left hand and in the fingers of right, with the fingers and thumbs around the shaft.

I have no special reason to offer why I grip the club in this way, but do so naturally and get very satisfactory results.

Various forms of grips have been employed by prominent players, but so far as distance is concerned, I do not believe one grip has much advantage over another, provided both hands work in unison and permit a proper snap.

Some grip the club entirely with their fingers, while others overlap the little finger of the right hand and the first finger of the left, and otherwise produce a close relationship between the two hands.

In my own case, I am satisfied that holding the shaft in the palm of my left hand and the fingers of the right that I get a longer ball.

The overlapping of the fingers make both hands work automatically as one and undoubtedly yields better direction, but at the sacrifice of power and distance.

Many players who cannot apparently learn to make both hands work in unison and have no confidence in keeping their ball on the course, could probably improve their game by resorting to the overlapping grip.

Modern Golf By Jerome D. Travers National Amateur Champion, 1907, 1908The lesson taught by the control of the grip is that if you are inclined to slice, turn the right hand a shade further under until you are able to get away a straight ball.

If you are given to pulling your shots badly, a slight turning of the left hand further under may correct the trouble.

In my own play, I always seek a straight ball, and never play for a slice or a pull, except possibly when in difficulties.

[Question by Mr. Travis: "What methods do you employ to get (1) a slice, and (2) a pull?"

Answer by Mr. Travers: "For a slice I bring the right foot about three inches forward of the left and swing the club back more out from the body instead of around it.

For a pull I do exactly the reverse; I bring the right foot back of the left about three inches and swing the club back nearer the body."]"

Download : Modern Golf The Drive By Jerome D Travers 1908 By Jerome D. Travers National Amateur Champion 1907, 1908. Including 'Play off the right foot - of the more modern practice - , 'How and when to use his wrists', 'Timing the swing', 'Peculiarity of my grip'. With An Analysis of Mr. Travers's November And December Articles By Walter J. Travis National Amateur Champion, 1900, 1902, 1903 British Amateur Champion, 1904.


"Many marvel at the great distance obtained by some players who appear to use very little force on the drive. The reason is simple, the player getting such results has learned the art of knowing how and when to use his wrists." Jerome D. Travers


One Of His Chief Difficulties (1912) By James Braid

"The first thing the beginner will have to learn is how to grip his club properly preparatory to making a stroke, and this is not quite the simple matter that it may appear at the first glance. There are many golfers of considerable experience who do not grip their clubs in the right manner, and they are suffering accordingly.

During the last few years a new kind of grip has been making itself exceedingly popular, and it is now used by most of the players who have attained championship honours. It is what they call the overlapping grip.

Positions of the Hands and Fingers for the Ordinary two "V" grip and Overlapping Grip By James Braid c1912

In taking hold of the club the two hands are brought so close together that the right one, which is the lower of the two, actually partly overlaps the left one, that is to say some of the fingers of the former ride on the top of the fingers of the other.

Apportion The Amount Of Work

For those who can use it properly this grip has many advantages, the chief of which is that there is never any doubt as to the proper amount of work to be done by each hand, since, to a very large extent, the two hands work together as one.

Spalding's GOLF GUIDE And How To Play Golf By James Braid c1910When he gets on in the game the player will find that one of his chief difficulties from time to time is properly to apportion the amount of work and responsibility to each hand, and when the business is not properly shared the stroke goes wrong. Sometimes it is necessary that the right hand should be the controlling factor, and sometimes the left, that is when the two hands are held apart as in the ordinary grip. Most of the difficulties arising from this state of affairs are obviated in the case of the overlapping grip, and when one has become accustomed to its use it is very easy and comfortable and never gives any trouble.

Taylor, Harry Vardon, and I all use this kind of grip.

A Warning

Those who have started golf with the other one, and now, perhaps later on in their careers, are desirous of making a change to the overlapping grip because they have heard so much about it and because the idea appeals to them, should bear one thing in mind, and that is that it will not suit every one - a warning which it seems to me has not been given often enough.

Reference : 'Vol. 1 No. 10 SPALDING S Athletic Library Golf Guide And How To Play Golf By James Braid' British Sports Publishing Company Ltd. 15, Deodar Road, Putney, London. S. W. 15. IV. How to Grip the Club Page 27. Copyright by The British Sports Publishing Co., Ltd., London. c1912, IV. HOW TO GRIP THE CLUB, Page 23.

Reference : James Braid & Elie The Golf House Club, Elie, Fife Historic golf links on the Fife coast.

read more


"The overlapping grip is quite of recent origin. As the right hand is minus the strength of the little finger, it stands to reason that the grip of that hand cannot be so tight. By so minimizing the power of the right hand, the left hand is free to do its work, with the result that the club swings through easier, further, and without any suspicion of a jerk." Joshua Taylor


Two Ways Of Holding The Club (1913) By Joshua Taylor

"Let us start at the beginning and take the grip. There are two ways of holding the club - one, which we call the independent grip, and the other, known to all golfers as the overlapping grip.

The Independent Grip

The independent grip consists of holding the club in the palm of the hands with both thumbs round the shaft, the V-shape formed by the thumb and forefinger of both hands pointing straight down the shaft. The hands are held close together, and although this method gives one the impression of more power - the whole strength of both hands being employed - the fact remains that the hands, at times, are inclined to work independently of one another.

Over-hitting With The Right Hand

With the majority of golfers the right hand is the stronger, and as with this grip the power of the right hand is entirely untrammelled, it frequently takes entire charge of the shot, with the result that the ball is hit anywhere but straight.

Over-hitting with the right hand is one of the commonest of faults, and its effect is not confined to one particular shot. Slicing, pulling and smothering the ball are traced to a too powerful right hand, while the number of approach shots that are missed through this cause are legion.

The Overlapping Grip

The overlapping grip is quite of recent origin.

It first made its appearance with the advent of Harry Vardon and my brother, and as golfers were quick to see its advantages. it has practically superseded the old method of holding the club.

The overlapping grip consists of gripping the club in the fingers of the left hand with the left thumb resting on top of the shaft ; the right hand is then placed round the shaft with the little finger overlapping the forefinger of the left hand. The club lies entirely in the fingers of both hands, but as the right hand is minus the strength of the little finger, it stands to reason that the grip of that hand cannot be so tight.

Minimizing The Power of The Right Hand

By so minimizing the power of the right hand, the left hand is free to do its work, with the result that the club swings through easier, further, and without any suspicion of a jerk. Another advantage of the overlapping grip is that the player is holding practically with one hand, and as the grip is confined to the fingers, the touch is much more sensitive, and there is less likelihood of the muscles of the forearm becoming cramped. The club should not be held too tightly even with the left hand.

The Art of Golf By Joshua Taylor With A Chapter On The Evolution Of The Bunker By J.H. Taylor Ex-ChampionHold it sufficiently to prevent the club turning in the hand, and tight enough in the left to stop the right from taking control, and you are doing quite enough.

There is as much danger in gripping the club remorselessly as there is in holding it slack ; therefore, choose the happy medium."

Reference : 'The Art of Golf' By Joshua Taylor With a Chapter on the Evolution of the Bunker, by J. H. Taylor, Ex-Champion Illustrated London T. Werner Laurie Clifford's Inn The Grip Page 13 Photos by A. S. Hardy, Esq., member of the Acton Club.

Download : 'The Art of Golf' By Joshua Taylor The Grip "By so minimising the power of the right hand."


"It is a matter of placing the little finger of the right hand over the forefinger of the left, with the thumbs and forefingers forming V's down the handle of the club. It produces a confederacy of the kind which is not easily secured in any other way." Harry Vardon


The Golf Grip by Seve Ballesteros

Seve Ballesteros The Short Game The Ultimate Instructional Video. Based on the book 'Natural Golf'
with John Andrisani © Spangolf Enterprises, Inc 1990. VHS Available on Amazon

"Just remember, the left arm and hand have to support the blow of the right arm and hand regardless of how fast it moves. A good grip opens the door to a real great golf swing." Bob Toski


The Grip Or Hold (1914) By Arnaud Massy

Golf Champion of the World 1907

Arnaud Massy Champion of the World 1907

Arnaud Massy

"There are few players to be found who know how to "grip" their club correctly, and this though the position of the hands is of capital importance and forms one of the chief factors in a successful stroke.

Some grip their club too high up or too low down, others separate the fingers overmuch, others again squeeze them far too close together, few succeed at the first go off in acquiring a correct and normally close grip.

This is the very first point to be studied in learning to play, and before attempting anything further, the beginner must get a correct grip and have its correctness carefully verified by someone competent to advise in the matter.

There are two several ways of holding the club. The first, which is the most commonly practised and the one I use myself, is generally known as the "two V grip," because of the two letter V's formed by the thumbs with the rest of the hands which characterise it.

It is the simplest and therefore the most practical.

The other, known as the "Over-lapping grip" is employed by some famous players, James Braid for one who swears by it. It is a little more complicated than the ordinary double V grip, and I fail quite to understand the advantage gained; nevertheless, proposing as I do to make a complete study of the game, I cannot pass it over in silence, and will describe it impartially side by side with its rival.

James Braid's Grip 1911

James Braid's Grip

For the "grip" to be effective, the player's hands must rest perfectly at their ease round the grip (or handle) of the club, and in this instance again their exact position will depend on their special conformation; it goes without saying that a player whose hands are short and somewhat massive will not hold his club in just the same way as a man whose hands are long and slender.

Muscular strength also has a great influence on the grip, according as it resides chiefly in the fingers, the wrist, or the shoulders.

In a word, the best way to grasp his club for each individual player will be the one he finds most comfortable for himself, and thanks to which he finds he can get the best results out of it, but without neglecting certain fixed rules which I now proceed to formulate.

THE "TWO V GRIP"

- In the ordinary "two V grip" the shaft of the club is grasped in the most normal way possible, the hands being placed in the most natural position, right in front of left, with this difference, however, that we may find an inclination to let the nails of the left hand to be uppermost, whereas they ought rigorously to be kept underneath.

Let Us First Look At The Left Hand

As I have just said, it is placed above the right, in complete contact with the shaft of the club, the wrist forming a prolongation of the latter, the palm resting on the shaft an inch and a half or a trifle less from the end.

The fingers press the shaft lightly between the second and third joints. The thumb is laid partly against the first finger, the right side of the second joint resting against the shaft. The line formed by the intersection of the thumb and the first finger is more or less a prolongation of the line of the shaft.

Now For The Right Hand

Whereas the left hand lies pretty nearly in the same direction as the shaft, the right forms with the latter a clearly defined angle, and the nails are uppermost; the fingers press the shaft with the first and second joints, the little finger pressed against the first finger of the left, the thumb lying in a natural position along the shaft.

The first finger takes no share in gripping the club, and may be held away from the shaft. The palm of the right hand is against the thumb of the left. Better than any lengthy explanations, a glance at the photographs on Plate II. will enable the learner to understand the exact position of the fingers and the parts they respectively play.

In the picture representing the "double V grip" I have purposely relaxed the grip a trifle to allow the position of the fingers to be better appreciated.

The Grip Or Hold by Arnaud Massy 1914

GRIPS: - THE "TWO V GRIP" (LEFT); THE "OVERLAPPING GRIP" (RIGHT)

Thus we see the position should be perfectly easy, free from all stiffness; every finger must be supple and almost independent of its neighbour; the wrists must preserve a perfect suppleness and complete liberty of action.

The "Overlapping Grip" No Serious Advantages

- Albeit a trifle more complicated, the "overlapping grip" shows a close analogy with the "two-V."

Golf By Arnaud Massy 1911The shaft of the club is grasped precisely at the same height, but the hold is more squeezed together, so to speak, and less extended.

The hands in fact are brought closer together, for the whole difference consists in the position of the little finger of the right hand, which instead of being held beside the forefinger of the left, is placed over it. In this way the grip is closer and the thumb of the left hand is almost entirely enclosed within the palm of the right. The thumb of the right rests on the shaft, but in front of the forefinger, which is closed upon the shaft.

In my humble opinion, the "overlapping grip" presents no serious advantages over the "two-V," and is bound to be rather more fatiguing. Besides which, the hands being in more intimate contact, it may well involve disagreeables for persons who perspire freely."

Reference : 'GOLF' by Arnaud Massy. Champion of The World, 1907. Chapter IV. The Grip Or Hold, Page 26. Translated By A. R. Allinson With Thirteen Diagrams And Twelve Plates. Methuen & Co. Ltd. 36 Essex Street W.C. London. First Published in 1911, by Pierre Lafitte et Cie of Paris. This translation First Published in 1914.

Download : 'The British Open Championship Harry Vardon's Fifth Success, after a tie with Arnaud Massy', Golf Illustrated, August, 1912. Courtesy of LA84 Foundation.

Download : 'THE AMERICAN GOLFER' VOL. XV No. 3 January 1916 PLAYERS OF THE PERIOD* An Intimate Study Of Their Experiences, Characteristics And Methods By Henry Leach (Author of "The Happy Golfer," " The Spirit Of The Links, Etc.) VII. - ARNAUD MASSY 1916 (*Copyright, 1916, in Great Britain and U S. A. By Henry Leach.) including "ARNAUD MASSY, at top of swing for full drive. Note how high the right elbow is and also the extent to which he has come around on his left toe...reminiscent of the golf of a generation ago." and "Vive l'entente cordiale!"


"In my humble opinion, the "overlapping grip" presents no serious advantages over the "two-V," and is bound to be rather more fatiguing." Arnaud Massy


Try A Slight Change Of Grip (1915) By George Duncan

"Let the reader put this point to the test. et him take a club and standing in the ordinary way for a right-handed shot, prepare to swing the implement with the left hand only. In four cases out of five where golfers of limited ability are concerned, it will be found that, during the address, the back of that hand is practically vertical to the plane of the ground.

That appears to be natural order. The swing is duly performed. Somehow, it seems impossible to invest the effort with power when the club is held in this manner with the left hand.

Now try a slight change of grip.

Instead of having the thumb pointing straight down the uppermost part of the shaft, which is the commonest and perhaps most natural disposition for it, bring the hand over so that the thumb may be planted on the side of the shaft which is farthest from the direction in which the ball is sent. This alteration will result in the top knuckles of the first three fingers being brought into view; the hand will be far more over the club than in the former experiments.

Try another swing in the new circumstances. In nearly every case it will be found that there is an altogether greater consciousness of power in the left hand. There is command over it; and you feel as you near the ball that you can hit it instead of merely poking falteringly at it, which is the sense that prevails when the hand is on the side of the shaft and the thumb on top."

Three Ways Of Gripping With The Left Hand

Three Ways of Gripping with the Left Hand George Duncan
Position of the Pullers, left Correct position of the left hand Position of the slicers, left
 

Three Distinct Overlapping Grips As Exemplified By George Duncan

Three Distinct Overlapping Grips As Exemplified by George Duncan
The Pullers Grip True Overlapping Grip The Slicers Grip
 

The Overlapping Grip As Exemplified By The Triumvirate

The Overlapping Grip As Exemplified By The Triumvirate
Harry Vardon J. H. Taylor James Braid
 

Reference : 'The Golf Grip How to make the left hand play its part' Golf Illustrated & Outdoor America, 1915 October Vol. 4, Issue 1, pgs. 27-29 by George Duncan. Courtesy LA84 Foundation.

Reference : 'Golf For Women By George Duncan' [Illustrated] London T. Werner Laurie, Ltd. 8, Essex Street, Strand Chapter II. Grip And Stance Page 13 List Of Illustrations A Perfect "Two-V Grip" Mrs. F. W. Brown facing page 14.

read more


"As the left hand is twisted more over - to show more knuckles, that is - then the right shoulder comes forward with the blow. This means that it is very difficult and can even be damaging to the left arm (resulting in tennis elbow) if an attempt is made to whip freely at the ball with, say, a three-knuckle grip." Henry Cotton



2-V Or The St Andrews Grip (1923) By Sandy Herd

"My grip, as I have said, is the natural one; sometimes called the 2-V, or the St Andrews grip, though it must be admitted that many of the younger school in the Grey Old City use the overlapping grip.

On this subject I should like, first of all, to say that it is not the grip that makes the champion.

Too Much Of The Overlapping Grip

But at the same time I strongly insist that there is too much of the overlapping grip amongst the bulk of golfers to-day. It is a fashion, and a good fashion, but not one to be slavishly followed.

I feel sure that the handicaps of many players would not remain so persistently stationary if the natural grip - the Herd grip, if you like - were given a thorough trial.

Stance For Cut Shot With Spoon Sandy Herd Success At Golf Sandy Herd 1913

Do not think that I am prejudiced against any grip. I have no time for anything so silly as that, but I have put many a pupil on the right road by converting him from the overlapping grip to mine. It is a good testimonial that Mr. John Ball, who has won a cartload of cups, an Open Championship, eight amateur championships and enough medals to decorate a regiment, has always used the same grip as I use. A pupil of mine, now a plus player, once took it into his head that he would like to experiment with the overlapping grip ; and, being thorough in all things, he gave the new grip a six months' trial. He played fairly well, but confessed to me at the end of his experiment that he had lost twenty yards of length.

For that good reason he decided, as he said, to go back to the "Sandy Herd grip," the overlapping grip did not suit him.

I do not want to be dogmatic, but I feel sure that the average golfer should think twice, and more than twice, before he gives up, or ignores, the natural method of gripping the club.

A Perfect "Two-V" Grip. Mrs. F. W. Brown Golf For Women George Duncan

I am a great believer in a natural way of doing everything. Science only comes back to nature and common sense after all.

I have seen my pupils hanging fire with their wrists when getting half-way up on the back swing, owing to the overlapping grip in some way causing a hitch. It has done the same for me when I have tried it ; as on getting just beyond the half-swing back I have felt that my left hand would be better without a thumb on it.

I could not get my left wrist to come into position, and the snap vanished from the shot."

Reference : 'My Golfing Life' Told To Clyde Foster By Sandy Herd With A Foreword By Field-Marshal Earl Haig With Numerous Illustrations London Chapman & Hall, Ltd 1923. Chapter XIV. The Way To The Flags The Grip Page 240. Made and printed in Great Britain at The Mayflower Press, Plymouth. William Brendon & Son, Ltd.

Download : 'Success At Golf' By Harry Vardon, Alexander Herd George Duncan, Wilfrid Reid Lawrence Ayton And Francis Ouimet U.S. Open Champion 1913 With an Introduction by John G. Anderson Runner-up National Championship, 1913 Illustrated Boston Little, Brown, And Company 1914 Copyright, 1914, By Little, Brown, And Company. All rights reserved Published, February, 1914 Reprinted, April, 1914 Printers S. J. Parkhill & Co., Boston U.S.A., including "Most first-class golfers play for a slight "heel" or slice with the spoon, which is a club admirably adapted to that purpose. It helps to make the ball drop dead," by Sandy Herd, page 28. 1902 Open Champion.


"I grip the club with both thumbs over the shaft, keeping a firm hold with the left hand, also gripping tight with the three fingers of the right hand, leaving my forefinger and thumb loose, so that the club can work. In my approach shots I stand a little more behind the ball with the right thumb down the shaft." Sandy Herd


The Palm Grip (1924) By Cecil Leitch

Miss Cecil Leitch 1919

Miss Cecil Leitch

"In order to make these chapters complete it is necessary to start with "the grip".

Roughly speaking, there are three ways in which the club can be held - by the palm grip, the finger grip and the overlapping grip.

The majority of writers refrain from referring to the first mentioned, as it is almost obsolete and not to be recommended; but as it is the method by which I hold the clubs used in the execution of all full shots, perhaps my readers will realize why I include it.

From my earliest golfing days I have remained faithful to this grip, which came to me naturally, in spite of many critics who have tried to persuade me to change to the finger grip.

Many years ago Sandy Herd took part in a match over my home links at Silloth.

Of the spectators in the crowd on that occasion I was probably the most interested, as I was able to say ever after, "Well, Sandy Herd has a palm grip and no one can deny that he is a good golfer."

Grips by Cecil Leitch - Ladies' Open Champion 1914, 1920, 1921

Grips by Cecil
GRIPS Top: Palm grip used for all full shots Center: Grip for short shots, in which fingers play a more important part Bottom: Grip for putting.

Although I use this unorthodox grip, I do not recommend it, because it requires a different wrist action, and I shall not even describe it, but shall turn to the more popular finger and overlapping grips.

read more


"It is unfortunately the fact that the majority of golfers who use an overlapping grip entirely miss one of the essential features of this form of grip. What they do not realize is that the very essence of the grip is the dominating part played by the forefinger and thumb of each hand." Daryn Hammond & Ernest Jones


The Two-V Grip (1925) By B. S. Weastell

"The proper grip is a two-handed finger grip. Be very careful not to use a palm grip. (Fig. I.)

Keep a good watch especially upon your right hand, which has a habit in beginners of getting away from its proper place and of working round under the club until its grip becomes a palm grip, and a bad type of it at that. It is impossible to get an easy and fully effective swing with the palm grip.

Anatomical Reason

There is an anatomical reason for the correct finger grip. Try the following experiment :

Grasp a stick laid across the roots of the fingers as tightly as you are able, holding the hand with its back uppermost and with the wrist bent down towards the front of the forearm. Then, still retaining your tight hold of the stick, gradually raise the hand until the wrist is bent backwards. You will find that the power of the fingers increases very greatly as this latter position is approached.

The strongest grip of which the hand is capable is this finger grip with the wrist slightly dorsiflexed, and it is exactly this grip which is used in golf. Another small experiment :

Place your Brassie in its natural lie, i.e. with its sole lying evenly on the ground. Grasp the top of the shaft lightly between thumb and forefinger of either hand, thumb to the front. Rotate the shaft so that the thumb moves to the left : notice how the face of the club turns into a "hooky" position. Then rotate the shaft in the reverse direction : notice how the face immediately "lies away." Notice especially that a rotation so small as to move your thumb only one eighth of an inch from its original line is quite sufficient to turn the face of the club from its natural lie as to render a straight shot almost an impossibility.

The lesson to be learnt from this is always to sole the club accurately behind the ball before fixing your grip.

Upon The Proximal Row of The Left Hand

Now for the applications of the hands :

Each finger contains three phalanges or bones - a proximal or basal, a middle, and a terminal or ungual.

Let the grip of the club rest upon the proximal row of the left hand. Then close the hand in such fashion that the V-shaped angle between the thumb and index finger looks downwards and is roughly bisected by the line of the shaft. (Fig. 2.)

The Two-V Grip by J.S.K. Smith And B. S. Weastell Welsh Open Champion, 1924

B. S. Weastell Fig. 1. Faulty Palm Grip B. S. Weastell Fig. 2. Correct Grip With The Left Hand B. S. Weastell Fig. 3. Both Hands In Correct Overlapping Grip
Fig. 1. Faulty Palm Grip Fig. 2. Correct Grip
With The Left Hand
Fig. 3. Both Hands In
Correct Overlapping Grip

View larger version

In similar manner apply the right hand below the left. (Fig. 3.)

Grip tightly1 with the left hand, for this is the hand that swings the club. Grip lightly2 with the right hand, for its function is to direct the course of the swing and not to provide force. Tightly with the left ; lightly with the right.

This manner of grip is known, from both the thumb and index clefts appearing in plain view, as the two-V grip, and was in general use until the overlapping grip took its place. This is simply a variant of the former, and is now used by the great majority of good players.

To produce this overlapping grip, arrange your hands in the ordinary two-V grip. Then open out the little finger of the right hand, and slide the right hand up over the left until the said little finger comes to rest in the groove between the left index and left middle fingers, and the left thumb is accommodated in the channel in front of the right wrist.

The Foundations of Golf Dedicated To The Late Beginner J. S. K. Smith And B. S. WeastellIndividual comfort may demand some little alteration in the above detailed arrangement of the hands, chiefly in two respects. Many players prefer to have the left thumb more down the front of the shaft, feeling that they gain thus a firmer grip. There is no reason why they should not indulge this fancy.

The second frequent alteration, however, requires careful watching lest it be overdone. It consists in bringing the right hand a little more under the club. This can be allowed only to a very limited extent, otherwise there is danger of its working into something like a palm grip and of upsetting the co-ordination of the hands which is the very merit of the overlapping."

Reference : 'The Foundations of Golf' Dedicated To The Late Beginner BY J. S. K. Smith F.R.C.S., D.M.R.E. And B. S. Weastell Welsh Open Champion, 1924 With Twenty-Nine Illustrations Methuen & Co. Ltd. 36 Essex Street W.C. London. First Published in 1925. Printed in Great Britain.


"There is another grip which I ought to describe, seeing that it is used by some of the foremost players in the world, including Taylor, Braid and Vardon, and indeed, I use it myself for all my approach work. It is known as the overlapping grip. After giving the overlapping grip a fair trial I have convinced myself that the other has more driving power in it. I ask you, therefore, to give the cricket grip a trial." Alex Smith


How Can I Stop Slicing The Ball Stop Hooking The Ball? By Tom Watson

Lessons of A Lifetime, Disc Two, filmed at The Greenbrier America's Resort (where Sammy Snead "was the pro" writes Norman Von Nida). Double DVD on Amazon : Tom Watson: Golf Lessons of a Lifetime (2010) [DVD]

"Since most golf professionals use the Vardon grip, they teach it to their students. The Vardon grip requires that all four fingers and the thumb of the left hand be on the club, which encourages the left-side dominance modern instructors strive to teach." Patty Berg


Importance of Correct Grip (1926) By Percy Alliss

"Very few golfers appreciate fully the importance of correct grip. The way in which the club is held by the hands may at first seem a small concern beside the more obvious essentials of stance and swing.

Nevertheless, any shot can be made or marred by the grip, and I find some defect in this direction in ninety per cent. of the beginners and players who come to me for advice.

There are two very definite reasons why the club should be held in a particular way.

Ensuring Exact Impact

The first reason is that of ensuring exact impact with the ball on as many occasions as possible. Experience has shown that there is one grip better than the rest, by which a player has most certainty of bringing the club-head back to the ball exactly as he addressed it.

A man whose eye is good may hold the club as he pleases and still succeed in hitting the ball quite frequently, but to hit at the right spot with consistent accuracy and with the face at the right angle he must adopt a grip which in some measure conforms with that most generally accepted.

Maximum Amount Of Power

The second reason affects wristwork.

To get the maximum amount of power from the wrists the club must be wielded in such a way that the utmost co-operation is allowed.

Only in this way will a player do full justice to his strength in playing the ball. A bad grip means that one if not both of these desirable effects is lost, either the ball will be struck at the wrong angle or the blow will be feeble in proportion to the amount of energy expended.

Before describing the mechanism of the grip it may be well to say at once that some of the greatest exponents of the game differ in their methods of holding the club.

The difference, however, lies only in comparatively insignificant detail. Alex Herd, Mitchell and Vardon all use different grips, but in each case the root principles are the same.

It is merely in the position of their fingers that the distinction lies, for all three hold their wrists in the same position. Vardon prefers to grip in the fingers, Herd with the palm and fingers, while Mitchell's method lies between the two.

Always the club is so held that full benefit is derived from the wrists.

read more


"Always the club is so held that full benefit is derived from the wrists." Percy Alliss


To Control And Guide The Club (1930) By Seymour Dunn

"The function of the left arm is perhaps best explained by the following simple example: recall to mind a large farm fence gate.

The Golf Club Is Like The Gate

We will say the golf club is like the gate; the player's left arm is like the post which holds the gate; the player's left wrist is like the iron hinge on which the gate swing; the fingers of the left hand are like the steel bolts which fasten the gate to the hinge; the player's right hand is like the farmer who comes along and swings the gate.

The farmer does not have to take a tight grip of the gate in order to push it open, but the steel bolts which hold the gate to the hinge must have a very firm grip of the gate.

The post which the gate is fastened to must be very firm and solid or when the farmer pushes the gate to open it the whole structure would fall down.

It Would Destroy Wrist Action

In the golfer the player's left arm is like the gate post, only it is a swinging gate post.

Golf Fundamentals 1930 By Seymour DunnIt nevertheless holds the gate or rather the club and therefore it must be very firm and rigid, also the left hand grip must be quite firm and secure.

It is not so with the right hand; it is not necessary to grip tight with the right hand, in fact, it would be quite fatal; it would destroy wrist action; it would be like putting a hinge at both ends of the gate - you could not swing it.

Of course, I do not mean that the right hand should be too loosely gripped, but there should be no more tightness of grip than is necessary to control and guide the club."

Reference : 'Golf Fundamentals' Seymour Dunn With Illustrations Published by Seymour Dunn Lake Placid, N. Y. U. S. A. Fundamental 8 Put Your Arms Into It, i.e. Drive the Peg Home Page 9, The Saratogian Printing Service Saratoga Springs, N. Y. Copyright 1930 by Seymour Dunn All rights reserved.


"There are many styles of gripping the club, any of which may be good, but grip must be suited to the individual. By overlapping we shorten the distance between the right hand power and the left wrist fulcrum, which quickens the wrist action. There are, however, many good players who still adhere to the old fashioned two V grip. Next to proper gripping of the club comes the proper set of the hands. The "Set" of the hands means the extent to which they are set over or under the club handle." Seymour Dunn


The Orthodox Grip (1934) By Seymour Dunn

"The club is held in the fingers rather than in the palm.

Straight Up To The Player's Nose

The thumb forks point about straight up to the player's nose.

Palm of the right hand almost completely covers the left thumb which fits perfectly into the groove of the palm of the right hand.

It is true that a few fine players set their left hand so that the thumb forks points to the right shoulder, and they do not seem to be aware of the fact that this is the cause of their inclination to hook, particularly when playing full length shots. If the thumb forks are set pointing up at the player's nose full use may be made of the rolling of the forearms which is the greatest speed producer of all.

The Orthodox Grip Seymour Dunn 1934

If, however, the thumb forks point towards the right shoulder and full use is made of the rolling of the forearm, the toe of the club will be turned in before the impact and a smothered hook will result.

With the left thumb on the handle you have a fulcrum for the left hand action (note, I did not say wrist action) By Seymour Dunn 1934

To avoid hooking players who set their hands in this way must necessarily use other sources of power than rolling the forearms, exerting themselves to such an extent that accuracy is endangered."

Reference : 'Standardized Golf Instruction' Third Edition, Published by Seymour Dunn Queens Plaza Outdoor Golf School 21st Street and 41st Avenue Long Island City, New York, U. S. A. Seymour Dunn Author of Golf Fundamentals Golf Professional Teterboro Golf School Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, U. S. A. Copyright 1934 - Seymour Dunn All Rights Reserved. Book V Golf Swing Illustrated Mechanical Principles Used In The Seymour Dunn Theory Of The Golf Swing Illustration 10 The Orthodox Grip Page 154.


"A good starting point is to set the hands so that the two inverted V's formed by the forks of the thumbs and the forefingers point straight toward the player's nose. But if the results obtained are high flying slices this would indicate that both V's should point more in the direction of the right shoulder. " Seymour Dunn


The Trigger Fingers (1947) By E. M. Prain

"Many very good players have unorthodox grips, and I have even seen a scratch player who gripped the club with hands reversed. Yet although they may vary in type they all obey one principle. They grip the club in the fingers. The most important fingers in each hand are the forefinger and thumb.

In an article the other day I saw these forefingers described as the "trigger fingers".

That is to say, in order to grip correctly the forefingers are bent as if for pulling the triggers of two pistols, while the thumb rests lightly in each case against the top joint of the forefinger. In this manner the thumb and forefinger of each hand form a V on the shaft of the club.

This combination of forefinger and thumb is really the feeler in each hand. As they pinch against the sides of the shaft the presence of the clubhead should become more pronounced.

These two fingers in each hand are the manipulative fingers. It is mainly through them that the clubhead is felt. They are the aids to better timing, the key to better golf. No magic is wrought by the remaining fingers. They function naturally, gripping the club easily and avoiding any tightness or tension.

Eric M. Prain Live Hands The Trigger Fingers & The Standard GripToo tight a grip reduces the feeling in the fingers. Do not be afraid of gripping lightly. The club will not fly out of the hands at the moment of impact, for the natural reaction is to tighten the grip as the clubhead comes to the ball.

The overlapping grip has probably the most followers, and it is certainly the most common among the better players. Since the hands are joined by the overlap of the right little finger on the forefinger of the left, the overlapping grip has the advantage of helping to keep both hands moving in unison.

It has come to be regarded as the standard grip in golf."

Reference : 'Live hands A key to Better Golf' by Eric. M. Prain. 1947. Second Edition with an introduction by Bernard Darwin and sixteen photographs. Adam & Charles Black, 4, 5 & 6 Soho Square London W.1


"The index finger is in fact 'triggered' against the side of the shaft. This enables me to impart more power at impact without additional effort, without upsetting the rhythm of the swing. It also helps to prevent the wrists being rolled over as the ball is being struck." Bobby Locke


An Efficient Grip (1949) By Norman G. Von Nida

"GOLF is a two-handed game, though some schools of thought claim the left hand plays by far the greater part. I am convinced that the right hand does most of the hitting.

And because it is a two-handed game it is essential that the grip should allow both hands to work as one. If I were asked to name the most important single point in golf, I would unhesitatingly say "an efficient grip."

Firmness of grip is essential in any sound swing. A flabby grip means that the club gets out of control and in turn the swing is thrown right out of gear.

These pictures illustrate my orthodox overlapping grip. It is a grip that seems a little awkward to the beginner, but which quickly becomes quite natural.

Henry Cotton and von Nida Lytham St Annes 1947

Let me stress that the grip with both hands must be firm. The left hands grips a little firmer than the right, but any slackness of either hand is fatal to a consistently sound swing...

Work out this grip now, keeping one thing firmly in mind: YOU MUST GRIP FIRMLY THROUGHOUT ANY GOLF SWING."

Reference : 'Golf Isn't Hard' by Norman G. Von Nida, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd. 25 Gilbert Street, London, W.I. First published in Great Britain 1949. The Grip, Page 15.

Download : 'The Grip' By Norman G. Von Nida, 1949


"I believe that bad golf is played with the shoulders and body, and good golf with the hands. The golfers who want to play consistently, and who do not, should always remember that the hands govern the timing, speed, and power of the swing. The hands are all-important in the golf swing. Above all, the ball must be hit. This may sound an obvious thing to say, but amid all the welter of words and the complexity of the theorists many teachers fail to give this essential advice to their pupils." Norman Von Nida


How To Hold The Club (1952) By Ernest Jones

"There are three general types of holds, or grips: the overlap, in widest use; the interlock and the so-called natural. In the natural grip, the two hands are free from interlocking or overlapping. The fingers of the one hand are in the same relative position on one side of the club shaft as are the fingers of the other hand on the reverse side of the shaft.

This grip is more commonly known as the baseball grip. It is rarely used because, though it has power, it lacks flexibility or "touch."

Ernest Jones

Ernest Jones

In holding the club it is necessary to grip firmly enough to assure control throughout the action. Too loose a grip is just as disastrous as one which is too tight. This is as true of holding a golf club as it is of holding a hammer or pencil.

Try this experiment. Close the fingers of your hand as tightly as possible. Notice how your wrist stiffens, as well as the forearm and upper arm. It is the same when you grip a club too tightly. Now take a pencil in your hand. Write something. Notice that the pencil is held just firmly enough to guide it lightly over the surface of the paper. You do not clutch the pencil. That would destroy the flexibility and dexterity of the movement of your hand and writing would become a difficult chore. A tight grip is for delivering a heavy blow. In golf, you aim to deliver a swift blow. Notice also that you hold the pencil with thumb and forefinger, which also are the leading factors in guiding the movement of the club. The speed which is necessary for wielding the club is generated in those fingers.

Q. E. D.

The club is placed diagonally across the palm of your left hand, with the thumb and forefinger leading the way in gripping the shaft.

Swing The Clubhead And Cut Your Golf Score by Ernest Jones As Told To David EisenbergGripping with the palm entirely provides the power which is perfect for tugging a rope. It is not for golf.

Consider further.

The thumb is your principal finger. You use it to undo a button. You lift a cup of coffee or tea with the index finger and the thumb. You hold a spoon with thumb and forefinger. You throw a ball or stone, or anything else, with thumb and forefinger. Q. E. D. You hold the club with the thumb and forefinger of the two hands, using the remaining fingers as helpers."

Reference : 'Swing The Clubhead And Cut Your Golf Score' by Ernest Jones America's Foremost Golf Teacher. As Told To David Eisenberg. Illustrated with photographs and drawings. How Thousands Have Learned The Sure Way To Better Golf. Dodd, Mead and Company. New York. Copyright © 1952 By Ernest Jones and David Eisenberg. Designed by Stefan Salter. 3. How To Hold the Club 35.

Reference : 'For The Love of Physics' A Pendulum Learn more about Books Bill Gates

Available on Amazon : Swing the Clubhead

read more


"It is an inexorable rule that, to make the ball fly straight, you must have the back of the left hand facing the way that you are going, so that it shall control the club to the extent of giving it a straight face at the impact, and that the two hands must be touching, if they are not overlapping, in order that they shall not work against one another." Harry Vardon


The Two-Handed Grip (1959) By Dai Rees

"I am one of the very few tournament golfers who use the two-handed grip.

Dai Rees - The slicer's grip

The Slicer's Grip

The reason is that my two-handed grip suits me, just as I dare to say the interlocking grip suited the brothers Whitcombe, who used it all their tournament days.

For the two-handed grip you hold the club exactly as you would for the overlapping or interlocking except that the right hand is that much down the shaft to make it independent of the left hand.

I think the two-handed grip is best. It is the one I have used all my life and it has served me well.

If you are quite comfortable with another kind of grip stick to it.

If it goes wrong give my one a trial. You might be very surprised at the results."

Reference : 'Dai Rees on Golf', Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd, London. Copyright © DAI REES 1959. Photographs by H. W. Neale.

Reference : Southerts Golf Club in North London Dai Rees CBE

Buy on Amazon : The Key to Golf


"STRIKE WITH SQUARE IMPACT: Accomplishing this is a matter of hand control of the club. Now, just because you have correctly set the club and your hands, do not take it for granted that the club will be facing true to the desired direction of play at the moment of impact. The pronating muscles of the forearms must brace themselves against each other so as to control the hands and thereby bring the club face in contact with the ball so that it will be facing the desired direction of play. They must go further and so control the club that the force of impact does not upset its setting." Seymour Dunn


Short Thumb Position (1962) By Paul Runyan

"To begin with, when you take hold of the club with the left hand the shaft should lie obliquely across the palm, with the bell-shaped end tucked firmly under the heel of the hand. (Fig.1).

The shaft is then running through the bottom joint of the middle finger to the middle joint of the first finger. (Fig.2). The back of the left hand should then be turned over the shaft so that when you look down you see three knuckles. The inverted "V" formed by closing your thumb and index finger should point to your right shoulder. (Fig. 3).

The "V" must always be kept closed or squeezed down to the joint of the thumb. This sort of closed "V" is referred to as the short thumb position. If the "V" is entirely open so that the club slides down into it, your swing will be too loose.

One of the major beneficial changes in Ben Hogan's grip, between his also-ran and his championships days, was from this long thumb to the short thumb position. The left hand, now, turned to where you see three knuckles, has got the club into a position of purchase. Under the stress of pivoting it can do its share of getting the clubhead through correctly.

Pressure is mainly in the last three fingers, although the thumb itself acts as a kind of set-screw against which the fingers can hold the shaft in place.

Paul Runyan - Book for Senior GolfersNow with the face of the club directionally at right angles to the line of flight the right hand is put on as though it were shaking hands, with the palm exactly parallel to the directional position of the club face - or exactly at right angles to the line of flight. (Fig. 4).

The shaft is held entirely in the fingers of the right hand, and runs from the bottom of the third finger to the middle joint of the index finger, more square and less oblique than it does in the left hand.

The right little finger - with certain exceptions that we'll go into later - normally laps over the left index finger. (Fig.5).

The left thumb is now contained in the right palm, in the natural cleft cause by bringing the right hand up to what I call a natural position. I'm aware of contributing my bit of prejudice here, for many teachers say this "V" should also point to the right shoulder. But in my opinion the right hand can "trigger" the clubhead action in the hitting area (as Tommy Armour says) far more powerfully from this position. It is tremendously important to grip the club in this consistent manner. Only when you've done it consistently well can you ever hope to combine power and control and set your timing up properly."

Reference : 'Paul Runyan's Book For Senior Golfers' by Paul Runyan, 1961-1962 Senior P.G.A. Champion And World's Senior Champion, Illustrated Dodd, Mead & Company, Copyright © 1962.

Download : 'Paul Runyan's Book For Senior Golfers' Chapter 3. The Grip' By Paul Runyan, 1962.


"As the left hand has to turn down towards the ball in the last section of the down swing, it is obvious that the club-face can be squared up more easily if the grip between the index finger and thumb is strong. Harry Vardon recommended this over 60 years ago, by the way, and he was a most accurate striker of the ball all his life." Henry Cotton


Correct Position of The Index Finger and Thumb By Vivien Saunders

British Ladies Open Champion 1977. The Golf Swing And The Long Game VHS Available on Amazon
How Bobby Jones Grips

The Two-Knuckle Grip (1964) By Henry Cotton

"CENTRE: A good point about this grip is that it tends to keep the elbows together. Note convenient ball-marker on glove.

RIGHT: My usual left hand (and arm) position on the shaft.

Henry Cotton Grip 1964

Depending on the flexibility and length of the right index finger, so will this 'trigger' finger envelop the shaft.

My finger is exceptionally long and so is able to form a crook around the shaft. If it were less flexible it would be quite normal to expect the line between the knuckle and the first joint to point straight down to the ground. If this finger does not envelop the shaft like mine, the V could point more to the right shoulder and yet the palm would still face the hole, as it does in my case, and as is generally recommended. This is not the only way to grip the golf club.

This is my type of grip (size 81/2 gloves; long thin fingers) which is called the two-knuckle grip.

I hold the club across the palm of the left hand and more in the fingers of the right, as my right hand fits well over the shaft. The two V's are pointing up the shaft.

Where I have the golfing callouses by Henry Cotton

I have used this same grip since I began to play golf, even when the four-knuckle grip was in fashion. Today this is considered the latest and best!

IT IS NOW ACCEPTED as one of the most constant fundamentals in the game that the club should be gripped in the fingers of the right hand and across the palm of the left hand. This is mentioned regularly in golf books and articles throughout the world."

Reference : 'Study the GOLF GAME with HENRY COTTON' Published in 1964 by Country Life Limited Tavistock St. London WC2 © HENRY COTTON 1964 Take A Look At My Grip, Another Slant On Gripping page 15 - 17. Three Times British Open Champion.

Download: Take A Look At My Grip including Risking Damage To His Left Elbow, By Henry Cotton.

Quote : "I strike the ball hard with my right hand, using my right index finger, which is very much bent back at the main knuckle joint, to guide the club face to the ball. I can make a real crook with this index finger."


"With the two V's up the shaft, the wrists have, in my opinion, the maximum scope, and the right hand can be employed to the full; with the four-knuckle grip, the effect of the right hand is to push the hands and the club-shaft through at the same time, and usually at the same speed." Henry Cotton


How The Grip Affects Your Swing (1967) By Gary Player

"To hit accurate shots your clubface must be pointing directly at the target during impact. This is called a "square" clubface position.

To combine accuracy with maximum power, you need not only a square clubface at impact but also a similar hand alignment. The back of your left hand and palm of your right should be facing more or less toward the target. The ideal impact position is one in which the clubface looks at the target and the palms of each hand face one another in alignment with the clubface.

Gary Player Positive Golf 1967Obviously, the best way to reach this impact position is to duplicate it at address - grip with palms facing each other and in alignment with a square clubface.

If you grip with your hands turned to the right on the shaft in what is called a "strong" grip, you cannot return to your ideal hand position at impact without turning your hands to the left during the downswing.

This, of course, also turns the clubhead to the left, and the result is hooked shots.

If, at address, your hands are too far to the left in a "weak" grip, you must turn them to the right in your swing to reach an ideal impact position. This turns the clubface to the right and causes slices.

I repeat: For maximum accuracy and distance your hands at address should duplicate their ideal position at impact - palms facing each other and aligned with a square clubface."

Reference : 'Gary Player Positive Golf' Understanding and Applying the Fundamentals of the Game, Cassel London, 5. Proper Grip for Consistent Shots, How the grip affects your swing page 32. Cassel & Company Ltd 35 Red Lion Square, London WC1 Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto, Johannesburg, Auckland © 1967 by Golf Marks N.V. First published in Great Britain 1967 Printed in Great Britain by Photolithography Unwin Brothers Limited, Woking and London.


"Two things you must always remember. Grip firmly with the first finger and thumb of your right hand. Grip firmly with the last three fingers of the left hand, the little finger being nearly as important as the first finger on the right hand." R. A. Whitcombe


The Grip: Not A Knotty Problem (1974) By Jack Nicklaus

"I have never tied myself in knots concerning the way I hold the club.

As I said earlier, the function of my hands and wrists during the swing is simply that of a hinge.

I do not hit the ball with my hands, but through them, using them - unconsciously - to translate body leverage into clubhead speed.

Thus I am concerned with only four factors in gripping the club:

  1. That my hands are placed on the club so that more often than not they will naturally - unconsciously - deliver its face square to the target at impact.
  2. That my hands will accept the shock of impact without slipping on the club.
  3. That my hands are linked to the club in a way that allows the wrists to hinge efficiently at certain points in the swing.
  4. That the pressure of my hands on the club makes possible factors 1, 2 and 3.

I can deal with the first point - clubface alignment - very simply...

Another factor that's always encouraged me to hold the club with my palms parallel to the clubface - a better way of saying "square to the target" is the solid resistance to the forces of impact that this type of grip provides.

When a club meets a ball at 100 mph or more, some powerful forces are exerted on the hands - especially the leading hand - that can easily cause slippage. Probably the strongest part of the hand is its butt.

In fact, I think it was to enable this powerful part of the leading hand to take the blow that olden-day golfers first developed the so-called four-knuckle grip, and is why youngsters and frailer golfers today still favor a grip in which the hands are turned well to the right on the club.

But to swing the club freely and squarely into the ball with the butt of the left hand leading is, for me, a very difficult maneuver - especially in light of the instinctive tendencies of the hands to return square to the target.

Jack Nicklaus Golf My WayYet the golfer still has to call upon strength in some part of his leading hand to absorb the shock of impact if the club is not to slip as he hits the ball.

What's the strongest part of the hand after the butt?

To me, it's the back of the hand.

Thus, by having the club very firmly wedged into the palm of my left hand, and by swinging so that the back of my left hand leads into the ball, I minimize the chance of club slippage at impact."

Reference : 'Golf My Way The Instructional Classic, Revised and Updated', Jack Nicklaus with Ken Bowden. Illustrations by Jim McQueen. Part Two Down The Fairway 1. The Grip: Not a Knotty Problem Page 67. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks Copyright © 1974, 2005 Jack Nicklaus Copyright renewed © 2002 by Jack Nicklaus.

Download: The Grip: Not a Knotty Problem by Jack Nicklaus. Including 'These drawings represent my actual hand size' (left-hand only). Winner of two U.S. Amateurs, six Masters, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens.

Buy on Amazon : Golf My Way: The Instructional Classic, Revised and Updated


"With the two-knuckle grip and the orthodox crook of the right-index-finger-control of the right hand, the hit, though accompanied by the maximum wrist-roll, can be used without danger of a smothered ball, because it takes place against the left hand." Henry Cotton


The Butterfly Grip (2007) By Pete Cowen

To Build Control From Bunkers By Pete Cowen Basic Sand Shot. Europe's Most Successful Golf Coach
The Ripple Effect™ DVD Available on Amazon. curedmygolfslice on YouTube

Refresher Lesson On The Grip (1987) By Tommy Armour

"There are very few players who don't need to check up on their grips now and then.

When the club is at that point where the fingers and the palm meet, the fingers can curl around the grip so the sensitive fingertips can communicate the feeling of a good swing to the rest of the player's nervous system.

Some day, I suppose, some intense student of golf will write a thesis on this subject of fingertip control of the golf swing.

The grip should be light but firm at address. If the grip is squeezed when you address the ball, by the time you get to the top of the swing your grip will be lifeless and you won't be able to swing the club with zip coming down into the ball.

The fellows with whom I was playing might made good use of the reminder that turning the hands slightly to the right on the circumference of the grip tends to produce a hook. When the hands of the average golfer are a bit to the left on the shaft so the Vs are vertical or slightly to the left the shot probably will be a slice. There are other causes of a slice but the hands being even slightly on the left of the shaft as you look down at them at address is the slicing grip.

A Round of Golf With Tommy Armour 1980I don't think that anyone wants to slice except as an emergency measure in trouble. However, when you know why you may be slicing (or hooking) you can correct your grip if misplaced grip is the cause of the curving shot. The right forefinger and thumb are a key combination in the grip.

They account for giving the clubhead a great deal of the lash that comes in the critical sector at the bottom of the swing when the hands are almost up to the ball and the wrists have just begun to uncock. The inner part of the ball of the right thumb is securely pressing on the grip material but not pressing so heavily that the tip of the thumbnail touches.

Reference : 'A Round of Golf with TOMMY ARMOUR 6 A Refresher Lesson On The Grip' page 39. Lyons & Burford, Publishers This book is dedicated to a million hopefuls like my pal Bill Copyright © 1959 by Thomas D. Armour Copyright © renewed 1987 by John Armour and Benjamin Andrews. Originally published in hard cover by Simon & Schuster, New York, New York. Winner of the US Open, the British Open, and many other professional tournaments.

read more


"Too tight a grip with the right hand holds the club head up, thus preventing it from following the correct groove of the swing. Keep a close check on the position of the club at the top and finish of the swing and check the right hand grip. It should be so loose as to allow the club head to drop down to the bottom of the arc of the swing." Seymour Dunn


Key Learning Point

by Henry Cotton - There must be many hundreds of golfers in a similar situation

"It does not do any golfer, whatever his class, any harm to analyse his game from time to time, as the secret of being consistent at golf is to keep the proportions right.

Extremes are easy to obtain, but they need only be used to strike means.

I wonder if many players are as keen as the golfer I am going to tell you about, but even not, there is quite a lesson in this story...

I played a round some time ago with one who is generally known as a "crazy golfer". He devours all the golf books he can find, studies all the articles and analyses all the slow-motion photographs.

He follows this up with about two hours' practice daily, and a round every afternoon, often with the professional, so you can see he has the "golf bug".

What did I find, you will be wondering...

I questioned him gently, but surely, while we were on our way round, and found that, although he had played for only three years, he had arrived at his handicap of six and was now stuck.

But what he did explain to me was that he had been reared (shall I call it?) on the "left-arm theory".

Now and again the newspapers run a small questionnaire, in which leading players are asked a few questions of interest, including this one: "Is golf a left or right-handed game?" and then we get various opinions..."

Reference : 'This Game Of Golf' With A Foreword By Bernard Darwin London Country Life New York: Charles Scribner's Sons First Published in 1948 by Country Life Limited Fourth Impression 1949. PART III 25 Give Your Strong Right Hand a Chance Page 137.

Download : 'Give Your Strong Right Hand a Chance' including 'Swing the Club-Head' by Ernest Jones, 'On Motoring and Golfing Tombstones' by Henry Cotton, 1949.

Download : 'Left Or Right Side Control?' by HENRY COTTON, My Golfing Album Country Life Limited London Published in 1959 by Country Life Limited Second impression 1960 © HENRY COTTON 1959 including "hitting against the back of the left hand."

Insights

by Arnold Palmer - The same as the Vardon

"There are variations on the overlapping grip that are sound, too.

Art Wall, who was the golfer of the year and Masters Champion in 1959, uses one. Wall's grip, misnamed the "baseball grip," is the same as the Vardon except Art does not overlap the little finger of the right hand.

Placement of the left thumb and everything else about his grip are fundamental and sound. Bob Rosburg, the 1959 PGA champion, uses this grip, too. For the most part, people with small hands and short fingers find the "baseball grip," a good one.

With the club held firmly by the three fingers of the left hand and the middle two fingers of the right hand, the index fingers then guide the movements rather than direct them.

The hit can be felt on the tip of the left index finger and the joint of the right."

Reference : 'Arnold Palmer's Golf Book "Hit It Hard"' Arnold Palmer Hodder And Stoughton Copyright © 1961 by The Ronald Press Company First Printed In Great Britain 1961 This book has been printed by offset litho in Great Britain for Holder & Stoughton Ltd, by Taylor Garnett Evans & Co. Ltd, Watford, Herts. 2 The Hands, Not the Eyes, Have It Page 11.

by Henry Cotton - To a conservative frame of mind golfer

"I have come across a photograph of one of our greatest old-timers, John Ball, who had a terrific championship record: he was a lightweight too, and yet he played the testing Hoylake course, his home ground, better than his contemporaries, using a double-handed grip, with a perfect left hand position and the palm grip with the right hand.

I have an idea that the main value of a palm grip with the right hand is that it allows a non-cramped top-of-the-swing position and permits the clubhead to be thrown freely at the ball on impact.

We have had many champions since John Ball, using the palm grip with the right hand, and I created a very surprised and contented pupil only a short time ago by 'selling' him such a grip, when he had been persevering, not too satisfactorily, with an orthodox overlapping grip for a long time.

It comes as a real shock to a conservative frame of mind golfer to find such an experienced teacher asking him to forget all he has learned in the way of hand action, and to begin again to swing the club with this most unusual and ungainly form of grip - for it does not look elegant.

Henry Cotton The Palm Grip My Golfing Album 1959There is one definitely encouraging aspect to such an experiment: it feels so different that any open-minded golfer must say to himself: 'At least, this I have not tried. It must open a new world of experiment for me.'

The throwing about of the club-shaft in the hands during the swing is a very frightening thing to players educated to hang on all the time; they feel at first that it cannot be right, and only the results begin to persuade them that perhaps it will work after all."

Reference : 'Henry Cotton - My Golfing Album' Country Life Limited London Published in 1959 by Country Life Limited Tavistock Street London W C 2 Printed in Great Britain by Balding & Mansell Ltd London and Wisbech Second Impression 1960 © HENRY COTTON 1959 Still The Same - Or Different? Page 77.

by D. Seaton - Vardon has never claimed to be the first to discover the grip

"John E. Laidlay had an amazing record which included winning ten gold medals at Musselburgh, ten at Muirfield and a further nine silver medals.

In 1878, at the age of eighteen he joined Luffness Golf Club playing over the old course near Aberlady. In 1883 he became a member of the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Leigh, and two years later he joined the Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews.

In 1884, he was playing so badly he made a number of fundamental changes to his set up including playing the ball off his left leg and using an overlapping grip.

In an interview published in the American Golfer, Laidlay said, "At the time I believed it was a good thing to do, and I think it helped me in my putting especially. The reason which started the view in my mind was that my hands being more opposite each other, were more likely to work together and swing the club like a pendulum, and not likely to operate against one another."

These alterations changed Laidlay's game immeasurably and in a two-week period in 1885 he won a tournament at North Berwick, another at Carnoustie, and the King William IV Medal at St Andrews. The overlapping grip used by Laidlay was erroneously credited to Harry Vardon but historians now agree that Laidlay was the first to use the overlapper.

In Willy Park Jnr's book 'The Game of Golf' published in 1896 he remarked that there were only two players he knew who adopted the overlapping grip and they were J. E. Laidlay and J. H. Taylor. It was in the year the book was published when Harry Vardon leapt from obscurity into fame by becoming Open Champion, eight years after Laidlay was using the overlapping grip.

Vardon has never claimed to be the first to discover the grip, all that he knows is that he worked it out for himself in the period when he was at Bury and Ripon. It was Vardon's use of it, however that brought it into general acceptance, with minor variations it is the grip used by the vast majority of golfers today."

Reference : 'Famous North Berwick Golfers' web site. John Ernest Laidlay J. P Amateur Golf Champion 1889, 1891, runner-up 1888, 1890 and 1893. Laidlay invented the grip used by the vast majority of golfers. Many of his medals are now on display in the British Golf Museum. Copyright © Douglas C. Seaton 2011. www.northberwick.org.uk/laidlay.html

by Edward Blackwell - That is to say, long driving

"I am asked to say something about that department of the game which has always been my speciality, that is to say, long driving.

I am frequently questioned as to how I get such long balls, and I am afraid that my answer is rather unsatisfactory, as I do not quite know how I get them. A friend who knows my play well has often said that the secret of my long ball was a combination of the best possible swing with the maximum strength.

My swing is the St. Andrews swing pure and simple, and I hit very hard; but it is very seldom in ordinary play that I could not hit harder if the occasion demanded; that is to say, I have usually a little reserve which is brought out for my second shots if I have lost some ground off the tee. It is very hard to say how it is that anyone drives a good length. It must be largely knack, for though, as I have said, I do hit hard, and I am physically strong, yet there are lots of men who are much stronger, and have bigger muscles, and who, though playing a good game of golf, yet fail to get very long balls. My grip is an ordinary one, and I do not believe, unless it suits a particular individual exactly, that there is any special advantage to be gained from using the interlocked grip in the way that Vardon and others do. Such things certainly do not suit everybody, and they do not suit me for one. I have experimented many times with the Vardon grip, but can get no good out of it whatever. Possibly it may be because my fingers are too short. Again, I cannot play with my right thumb down the shaft, as so often recommended.

I must certainly admit that I have hit some long balls in my time. The best performance of this kind with which I am credited took place when I was home for my holidays in 1892, and, of course, I was then playing with the gutta ball. I was going to the fifth hole at St. Andrews, which is about 520 yards, and I reached the green in two. Major Robert Bethune, who was near the green and saw what had happened, fluttered his handkerchief and called out, "The wind is a little against you, too.""

Reference : 'Great Golfers In The Making By Thirty-Four Famous Players Edited By Henry Leach' Being Autobiographical Accounts Of The Early Progress Of The Most Celebrated Players, With Reflections On The Morals Of Their Experience, By John L. Low, Harold H. Hilton, Horace G. Hutchinson, J. E. Laidlay, Walter J. Travis, James Robb, Edward Blackwell, Harry Vardon, James Braid, J. H. Taylor, Alexander Herd, Willie Park, Tom Morris, Jack White, Etc. Etc. Edited, With An Introduction, By Henry Leach With Twenty-Four Illustrations Second Edition Methuen & Co. 36 Essex Street W.C. London First Published January 1907 Second Edition 1907. XIV. Edward Blackwell The Days Of A Long Driver Page 132.

by Ernest Jones - The true finger grip

"The true finger grip is to be achieved, not by laying the club along the fingers of the hand, but by the following method :

How The Club is Gripped - Figs. 12., 13., 14., and 16.

Ernest Jones Daryn Hammond How the club is gripped Ernest Jones Daryn Hammond How the club is gripped Another view Ernest Jones Daryn Hammond How the club is gripped Note position of forefinger and thumb Ernest Jones Daryn Hammond A proper hold of the shaft
Fig. 12. - How the club is gripped Fig. 13 - Another view Fig. 14 - Note position of forefinger and thumb Fig. 16 - A proper hold of the shaft

Source : 'The Golf Swing The Ernest Jones Method by Daryn Hammond'. Click on an image to view a larger version

  1. Lay the face of the club-head against the ball, allowing the club to take its natural lie.
  2. Take hold of the shaft with the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, pressing them together (Figs. 12 and 13). Note that the V made by them on top of the shaft is a short one, the crook of the forefinger being pronounced and slightly lower than the tip of the thumb.
  3. Wrap the other fingers round the shaft (Figs. 14 and 16).

NOTE. -

(a) The back of the hand is not on the top of the shaft, but at the side of it - that is, facing toward the hole.

As the player looks down, he should see the knuckles of the first and second fingers, but not more than a suggestion of the third finger.

If the back of the hand is further on top of the shaft, the wrist and forearm will be stiffened, and the swing will consequently be cramped.

If the back of the hand is further to the side (that is, more toward the hole), then the left wrist will tend at the beginning of the up-swing to bend outward (a movement known to anatomy as the "extension of the wrist-joint," and utterly out of place in the golf swing : Fig. 20).

If, however, the club is gripped as shown in Figs. 17 and 18, and the proper mental picture of the processes involved in the up-swing have been conceived, the fingers initiating the movement of the club-head will automatically bring the wrist and forearm into the ideal position.

The Ideal Grip or True Finger Grip - Figs. 17., 18., 19., 20., and 21.

Ernest Jones Daryn Hammond How the club is gripped Ernest Jones Daryn Hammond How the club is gripped Another view Ernest Jones Daryn Hammond The Grip - Wrong Position Fig 19 left wrist bent outward & Wrong Position Fig 20 left hand turned over Ernest Jones Daryn Hammond The Grip Correct Position Fig 21
Fig. 17. - The ideal grip Fig. 18. - The ideal grip Fig. 19. Wrong Position - Left wrist bent outward Fig. 20. - Wrong position Left hand turned over Fig. 21. - Correct position

Source : 'The Golf Swing The Ernest Jones Method by Daryn Hammond'
Click on an image to view a larger version

There will be no "extension of the wrist-joint", and the hand and forearm will turn as shown in Fig. 21.

(b) Though the back of the hand is not on the top of the shaft, or facing the sky, the V between the thumb and forefinger is on the top of the shaft. It will probably require some little practice in order to get the V into this position without bringing the back of the hand too far over the shaft.

If the fingers and thumb are opened out The Ernest Jones Method by Daryn Hammond(c) The grip is dominated by the pressure of the forefinger and thumb, the second, third, and fourth fingers contributing in decreasing order to the control of the club so obtained.

(d) If the fingers and thumb are opened out, the shaft will be found to lie, not along a line from the finger joints (Fig. 7), but along a line from the tip of the forefinger across the lower part of the second finger, the root of the third finger, and the cushion of the palm (known in palmistry as the Mount of the Moon). See Fig. 15.

4. Having mastered the grip of the left hand, place the right hand about the shaft so that the little finger rides easily over the forefinger of the left hand, and the thumb and forefinger grip the shaft in similar formation to that of the thumb and forefinger of the left hand.

The knuckles of the first and second fingers are visible to the player, the V between the thumb and forefinger is on the top, or almost on the top of the shaft, and the grip is secured mainly between the crook of the forefinger and the thumb, though the second, third and fourth fingers, in descending order, play their part.

The Golf Swing The Ernest Jones Method by Daryn Hammond 1920To sum up, the grip (Figs. 17 and 18) is dominated by the forefingers and thumbs of both hands, the other fingers fulfilling a necessary but ancillary function. The reader will be able to satisfy himself by experiment, without a club, that if he closes all the fingers of his hand as tightly as possible, he will stiffen the wrist and forearm and even the upper arm, whereas if he grips as firmly as possible with the forefinger and thumb he can retain a completely free wrist, forearm, and upper arm. Such freedom of action, coupled with control of the club, means the playing of good golf, whereas a conscious tension at any point in the mechanism other than the grip of forefinger and thumb is an obstacle to good golf.

It is on these grounds that so much is attached to the question of gripping the club."

Reference : 'The Golf Swing The Ernest Jones Method by Daryn Hammond', London, Chatto & Windus 1920, First Published, April, 29, 1920 Second Impression, July, 30, 1920, CHAPTER II The Grip.

Sources : available as an eBook online at the 'Internet Archive'. Or download the PDF version of this eBook here now.

"Ernest Jones, 1887 - 1965, was an English professional golfer. He is renowned for his accomplishments in teaching many famous professional golfers as well as amateurs. He tutored Virginia Van Wie for many years, including during her stretch of three consecutive U.S. Women's Amateur Championships from 1932 - 1934. He also worked with Glenna Collett Vare, Lawson Little, Betty Hicks, Phil Farley, George Schniter, Horton Smith and other top players of the era. Along with Harvey Penick, Tommy Armour and Percy Boomer, he was inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, in 1977."

Source: Ernest Jones - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

About Ernest Jones & Daryn Hammond on the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation site.

by Edward Ray - To work together

"In Britain, in America, in Australia, in India, and in South Africa the problem of the grip has excited controversy almost beyond measure, and when the most prominent players, amateurs and professionals, arrived in England in the beginning of the golfing season of 1921, the query raised by more than five people out of ten was as to whether Mr. "Bobby" Jones kept his thumb down the shaft, as to whether Mr. ("Siege Gun") Jesse Guildford used the overlapping grip at all, etc.

At this time of day it is apparent that the majority of golfers are in favour of the overlapping grip, even though such experts as Mr. Harold H. Hilton and Mr. Sidney H. Fry recommend a separation of the hands on the grip of the shaft.

Naturally when Mr. Hilton, the former Amateur and Open Champion, and Mr. Fry, the one time runner-up in the Amateur Championship, have expressed sentiments which go against the use of the overlapping grip, less important people in golf may be pardoned if they oppose each other in their views on this question, but, as I say, it really would appear as if within the next few years practically every golfer of note will be using the overlapping grip.

At the same time it must be kept in mind that even in the overlapping grip there are little points of difference amongst first-class golfers, and my own method is to point my right thumb directly down the shaft instead of slightly curling it round the leather grip.

A good hold of the club by the fingers of the left hand is advisable with, of course, the left thumb uppermost. The right-hand fingers should encircle the shaft so that the little finger holds the left forefinger, the left thumb being completely covered by the ball of the right thumb.

Some players do have the right thumb round the shaft, but the essential point is to have the two hands working in concert as far as can be.

One point which to my mind is in favour of the pointing of the right thumb down the shaft is that should the player unconsciously allow the club to drift to an unhealthy extent across the right shoulder at the top of the swing, the placing of the right thumb as I advocate has a tendency towards preventing the evil being accentuated in such a manner as to prove a deterrent factor.

Of course it would be idle to aver that it is an utter impossibility for the club to wander in the way described whilst keeping the thumb down the shaft, but what I will say is this, That if you keep the thumb down the shaft you will very soon know if you are allowing the club to drop.

With the right thumb round the grip of the shaft it is always possible for the shaft to slip between the forefinger and the thumb, and once that contingency arises, well, there is no grip at all.

If your grip is not correct your swing will be very short of perfection, and if your swing is imperfect, then your golfing effort will be nothing to be proud of.

Golf Clubs And How To Use Them By Edward Ray 1922I have known instances of players who have held the club in a finger grip at the commencement of the swing, but before the swing has gone very far the grip of the club has been in the palm, and one thing is certain, that if at the top of the swing the palms of the hands leave the shaft, the swing and the grip ought to be fairly good.

Never could I see the truth of the assertion made in days gone by with reference to a strong grip with the left hand and a loose grip with the right ; if the intention is for both hands to work together, logically an equal grip should be taken in order to get this effect."

Reference : 'Golf Clubs And How To Use Them' By Edward Ray. Chapter IX The Grip Question. Methuen & Co. Ltd. 36 Essex Street W.C. London. First Published in 1922.

Download : Golf Clubs And How To Use Them by Edward Ray. Including 'Mistaken Impressions Of Beginners, The Drive The Important Stroke and The Grip Question British Open Champion 1912, U.S. Open Champion, 1920 (aged 43 years).

by Seve Ballesteros - If you don't see any knuckles or perhaps only one

"The grip is the single most important factor for any golfer in producing a good consistent swing. Let me show you how to do it."

...And also you have to make sure that this 'V' (of the left hand') goes into the middle of your chest and also you should be able to see two knuckles.

You should also be able to see (for the right hand) that V between the right shoulder and the middle of the chest. Also, you have to be able to look at only one knuckle. What is happening if you see more than two knuckles on the left hand, that means that the grip is too strong on the left side and the result of that is that you hook the ball. You cross the club too quick.

Seve Ballesteros The Golf GripIf you don't see any knuckles or perhaps only one, the result of that the hand will come naturally at the impact and what happening is the clubface will come open and then there will be a slice.

So make sure that the 'V' of the right hand aims between the (right) shoulder and the chest, and also you must see one knuckle; and the left hand the 'V' it should be to the middle of the chest and also make sure that you see two knuckles.

If you can do that, you will have the right grip. Let me give you one tip: you have to hold the club with enough pressure to hold it but don't strangle the club because the result of that is that you will create too much tension in the forearms and what happening you will loose club speed and you will swing too fast."

Reference : Seve Ballesteros 'The Short Game', The Ultimate Instruction Video, Copyright © Spangolf Enterprises, Inc. 1990, by 4FrontVideo. VHS Video. Based on the book, 'Natural Golf' by Seve Ballesteros with John Andrisani. Producers: David Moon, Kris Dillinger. Director: Rick Thomas. Running Time: 65 Minutes Approx. The Seve Ballesteros Foundation

by J. H. Taylor - Harry Vardon is the most dangerous match player you could wish to meet

"Of the professionals I should say that Harry Vardon is the most dangerous match player you could wish to meet anywhere or at any time.

One of the most remarkable features of his play is the manner in which he is prepared to accept big risks. He, too, has a penchant for bringing things off, so that he is possessed of plenty of confidence in his ability to score where another player would be almost certain to fail.

This, I think, is the real secret of his success.

J H Taylor High Lofting Stroke, Just After Striking BallA few years back, too, Vardon could get much farther than any of the other professionals in the playing of two strokes, and that alone is a great advantage in a long hole.

For two years - in 1898 and 1899 - he also developed a truly remarkable facility in holing long putts.

I speak feelingly of this, for during the time I have just mentioned Vardon inflicted two almost unique defeats upon me.

We met in a 36-hole match, and on the first occasion he defeated me by 11 up, and on the second by 12.

Little wonder, then, that I possess very distinct recollections of these encounters!

I might say, however, that in these matches Vardon played the very finest games a man could possibly play. He accomplished something marvellous in the way of scores, and when you catch a man in a mood like that it is a matter of sheer impossibility for you to keep steady and play your usual game.

I am not attempting to excuse or explain away my defeat; all I say is that in these instances I found the task of keeping up to my ordinary form very difficult of accomplishment."

Reference : 'TAYLOR ON GOLF' Impressions, Comments and Hints by J. H. Taylor Open Champion 1894, 1895, 1900 and 1909 With Forty-Eight Illustrations Almost Entirely From Photographs Specially Taken For The Work. London Hutchinson & Co Paternoster Row 1911. Chapter XXII. The Acceptance Of Risks Page 136 - 137.

by The Encyclopedia of Sports Games - As it were, one big hand instead of two

"J. H. Taylor and Harry Vardon and many other leading players now employ a grip which they claim as superior to any other.

The left hand holds the club in the usual manner, except that the thumb points down the shaft instead of lying across it, but the right hand, instead of resting completely below the left, is raised so that the left thumb is completely covered by the ball of the right thumb, and the left forefinger is covered by the little and two next fingers of the right hand.

J. H. Taylor's Grip 1911

J. H. Taylor's Grip

This overlapping grip differs in small details with different players, but the principle is to make, as it were, one big hand, instead of two, and thus ensure their united action.

There is no doubt that the grip is a most effective one for those who can use it, but, unfortunately, it requires a much greater strength in the hands and fingers than the average player possesses.

For full strokes with all clubs the club should be gripped with equal firmness with both hands, but in the shorter strokes and putting, where the left arm does not have so large a proportionate share in the work of hitting, the right hand should have the firmer grip.

The practice of the best modern players is undoubtedly to use a much firmer grip, and to grip more equally with both hands than was formerly correct, and no doubt with the Vardon or Taylor grip a much securer hold can be maintained than with the older method.

But even with the overlapping grip the club is bound to have a certain amount of play in the hands, and at the top of the swing the left hand must open to some extent, leaving the club handle to be grasped chiefly by the fingers.

The Encyclopedia of Sport Golf 1911The question of the proper thickness for the part of the handle to be gripped by the player is an important one.

It depends primarily, of course, on the size of the player's hands and the length of his fingers.

A golden mean is the thing, but whatever the thickness of grip, it should be the same on all the player's clubs."

Reference : 'The Encyclopedia of Sports & Games' Edited By The Earl of Suffolk And Berkshire Volume II Crocodile Shooting - Hound Breeding. With About Five Hundred Illustrations London : William Heinemann 1911. Golf, page 333-334.

by J. H. Taylor - It must not be allowed on any account to overpower the left

"So much for the selection of clubs.

After this difficulty has been surmounted, and the club is there ready for use, the art of gripping it has to be learnt.

This is one of the most important matters to be considered in the pursuit of the game.

A good grip spells success, a bad grip naught but disaster.

The good grip does not come naturally; possibly there may be a hazy idea of it, but the real thing cannot be secured save at the expense of repeated trials, which are not however so necessary when the services of a tutor have been retained. He will study your style, and at once put you into the proper and correct way of making the most of your capabilities.

I am perfectly well aware that players grip their clubs in different ways, but I take it that the basis, the fundamental idea, of the art of the grip is the same; indeed it must be the same, although little peculiarities may make themselves noticeable later on.

The club must be gripped, not by the palm of the hand, as is common with the majority of unassisted learners, but by the middle of the fingers upon either hand. This is what I may describe as the orthodox way, and the method that must be pursued.

The average beginner handles a golf-club just in the same way as he would a cricket-bat or a tennis racquet, gripping it with the palm of his hand, into which it slips as it were naturally, and he pleads that the muscles of his hand become contracted and painful if he grips his club by means of his fingers alone.

He will adduce arguments to suggest that a greater amount of power can be developed by gripping with the palm of the hand, and he cannot understand how the necessary muscular force can be applied by means of the fingers; but, difficult as the task undoubtedly is, everyone who wishes to be able to play even a respectable game must learn to grip in the manner I have described.

Constant and careful practice is what is required.

Once the method of this grip is thoroughly learnt, the remainder is easy.

That this is beyond all question or doubt the correct method is proved by the fact that when the club is gripped by the palms, no matter how strong or pliable the wrists of the player may be, a "locking" sensation - I can describe it in no other way - is felt, and the sequel is that the swing is interfered with to a considerable degree. That in itself is a very serious matter, and it must be guarded against at all costs.

Harry Vardon's style is very similar to mine, with this exception - my thumb is placed over the club.

My grip, briefly described, is as follows:

When I have the club in my hands the thumb of my left hand is kept down the shaft, and it is entirely covered by the palm of my right hand; then the little finger of this last-mentioned hand is over the forefinger of the left hand, with the thumb of the other hand curled around the shaft, and not upon it.

Quite a delightfully difficult performance this, as I have described it; but by a reference to the illustration of my grip and by gripping the club as I have pointed out, anyone can readily see exactly what I mean.

J H Taylor's overlapping grip right thumb curled around the shaft not over it

J H Taylor's overlapping grip right thumb curled around the shaft not over it

TAYLOR's GRIP. A Vardon Overlapping grip with right thumb curled around shaft. Same frontispiece (Horizontal / Vertical View)

I always place my right hand about an inch above the spot where the leather covering of the club terminates, my idea in doing this being that it is the best means of discovering the right balance as far as the club is concerned.

Still, this grip of mine is not orthodox, as generally understood, so I repeat I do not recommend its adoption, although a trial may not be amiss when the regulation grip has been practised and learnt...

Taylor On Golf 1911 5th EditionMy contention is simply this: that the grasp of the right hand upon the club must be sufficiently firm in itself to hold it steady and true, but it must not be allowed on any account to overpower the left.

The idea is that the latter arm must exercise the predominating influence in every stroke that may be played.

As regards my own position in the matter, my grip with either hand is very firm, yet I should hesitate before I told every golfer to go and do likewise.

To sum up the matter, I should describe the orthodox manner of gripping with the right in the following words: The fingers must close around the club in such a way that provision is made for the thumb to cover and cross the shaft, the first joints of the fingers, providing this is done, being just in sight. Nothing more or nothing less."

Reference : 'Taylor on Golf' Impressions, Comments and Hints by J. H. Taylor Chapter XXXI. Driving: The Grip. Open Champion 1894, 1895, 1900 and 1909 With Forty-Eight Illustrations Fifth Edition London Hutchinson & Co. Paternoster Row 1911.

by T. Henry Cotton - The "Piccolo" Grip

"I assume there are thousands of what I call "piccolo players" struggling around the world's golf courses ignorant of the fact that it is necessary really to "hang on" to the grip all the time the swing is being made."

T. Henry Cotton The "Piccolo" Grip

The "PICCOLO" Grip. "This picture shows one result of a faulty grip. The player, in an endeavour to make a very full swing, has lost control of the club. Note his fingers."

Reference : 'Golf Being a short treatise for the use of young people who aspire to proficiency in the Royal and Ancient Game' by T. Henry Cotton. The Aldin Series, Eyre & Spottiswoode (Publishers) Ltd., 6 Great New Street, E.C.4. London. 1931. First published 1931.

by Jack Grout - 90 percent of the world's golfers have bad grips

"The best thing you can do with your hands as you swing is nothing. Simply hold on and let them react naturally to the weight and movement of the club itself.

If this is true, then a good grip is one that lets you make square contact with your maximum clubhead speed while you are simply holding onto the club. A bad grip is one that forces you to grab with, push with, or otherwise manipulate your hands as you swing. It's my strongly held opinion that at least 90 percent of the world's golfers have bad grips that cost them both distance and accuracy.

There are three specific requirements of a good grip... The third basic grip requirement is that your hold on the club allows you naturally and unconsciously to square its face at impact whenever you swing your arms and turn yourself back and through as freely as possible.

The direction in which your club will face at impact is largely determined by the direction in which your hands face after you have completed your grip.

Let Me Teach You Golf As I Taught Jack Nicklaus by Jack GroutAssuming that you put your hands on the club with palms facing, as suggested, you will find that, generally speaking, the more your right palm faces downwards at address, the more your clubface will be looking to the right of target at impact.

Conversely, the more your right palm faces upward at address, the greater your chances for a clubface that looks to the left of target on impact. Thus, setting the hands to the left at address causes shots to curve to the right, and setting them to the right causes shots to curve to the left.

Bearing this in mind, experiment with various grip positionings until YOU find the one that most frequently gives you the "shape" of shot you desire when you swing freely."

Reference : 'Let Me teach You Golf As I Taught Jack Nicklaus' Six Fundamentals Jack Grout with Dick Aultman Illustrated by Jim McQueen Atheneum / SMI New York 1975 Copyright © 1975 by Jack Grout and Dick Aultman Designed by Kathleen Carey. Fundamental 2. A Proper Grip.

by Jack Gordon - How to Grip

Understandable Golf Jack Gordon"If we were as strong with the left hand as we are with the right there would be no need to use anything but the plain finger grip, but as the majority of us have more power with the right hand, I certainly would recommend the use of the "overlapping" grip which allows the left arm and side to come well around and out in the up-swing and to do its proper share in the making of a good stroke."

Reference : 'Understandable Golf' By Jack Gordon. Chapter 4. How to Grip. Professional Country Club of Buffalo Williamsville, N. Y. Illustrations By Hare, Buffalo. Copyright, 1927 By Jack Gordon.

by Jas. Currie Macbeth - This is called the trigger grip... visualize firing a pistol

"It was Harry Vardon who introduced or, at least, did so much to popularize the overlapping grip in which the little finger of the right hand is placed in the hollow of the first and second fingers of the left (Ed. Not precisely the overlapping grip. Actually, what Vardon writes, as can be read above, is : "The little finger of the right hand rides on the first finger of the left").

This is the most popular grip.

Then there is the ordinary palm grip, which many famous players favour, e.g. Tolley, Sandy Herd and Harrison Johnston (U.S.A.), all in the front rank.

The interlocking grip should perhaps be avoided.

Squeeze the club shaft between the thumb and the top joint of the forefinger of the right hand (Ed. Vardon writes : "Grip Firmly with First Finger and Thumb of Each Hand").

Then will be found not only a source of much power in the drive, but delicacy of control in the shorter shots. This is called the trigger grip.

Just visualize firing a pistol, and it will be clear what is meant. The first finger is quite good for delicate directional movement."

Reference : 'Modern (1933) Golfing Methods' by British and American Experts. Edited by Jas. Currie Macbeth. Copyright reserved.

by Joyce Wethered - The grip has a great deal to do with the stroke

"The grip is the first question to be considered and has a great deal to do with the stroke as far as the hitting is concerned.

It also has a greater influence on the swing itself than might at first be imagined since the choice of an ill-adjusted grip only has the result of making the game twice as difficult and this can never be a comforting thought for any one.

I can best describe my own grip by saying that, if I look straight down at the shaft, I can see clearly three knuckles of my left hand and perhaps a little of the fourth as well.

Of my right hand I can see at least one knuckle and possibly a shade more (It is difficult to describe the position more accurately than this, as the slightest alteration in the position of one's head changes it a little.)

The description, however, I think, is clear enough to show the strong position of the left hand; and as to the right hand this too is placed to the best advantage to avoid a slice or a pull owing to the position of the angle of the clubface.

If the right hand is held too far over on the top of the club (so that more knuckles are showing) then the danger of the slice will be increased, since the tendency will be for the clubface to turn too early. Or, again, if the right hand is held too far under the shaft, it is doubtful whether the face of the club will turn soon enough - with the result that a push or a pull or anything rather than a hit in the right direction will follow."

Reference: Joyce Wethered's book 'Golfing Memories and Methods', Chapter III, Wooden Club Play, The Grip. First published in 1934 by Hutchinson and Co., Ltd.

by Julius Boros - One day about two weeks before the National Open in Dallas

"Concerning the grip, you might refer to me as a two-grip golfer! That's because I teach one grip and play another.

Most of my golfing days had been spent using the routine overlapping grip. Then one day about two weeks before the National Open in Dallas in 1952, I got to experimenting with the interlocking grip. I hit a few shots in a practice round and they worked out beautifully.

I decided to finish the round interlocking and wound up with a surprising score. I kept right on using it into the Open, and I honestly believe that was one of the key reasons for my winning the championship.

Actually, I do not advise using the interlocking grip for all golfers. There must always be a specific reason for using it. One of these - and the one which led me into it - concerns a weak left hand.

Most golfers who have a weak left hand have a tendency to let loose at the top of the backswing. That's where the interlocking grip can help. It aids weak left hand players to hang on to the club better at the top because it gives a firmer left hand.

Much of this looseness, with most golfers, can be traced to small hands, or to be more specific, short fingers. In my own case, I have fairly large hands but my fingers are short. Thus, when I overlap, I find that I become a little more lax and surrender some of my control to the club.

Still, the overlapping grip is a more natural grip for most players, and the success of it certainly can be attested by the fact that most of the leading money-winners on the professional circuit swear by it."

From Julius Boros's book on 'How To Play Par Golf', Chapter 4 The Grip. First Impression 1957, The World's Work (1913) Ltd., Kingswood, Surrey. This is a Cedar Special No. 87. Winner of the 1952 American Open Championship, at Northwood Country Club in Dallas, by no less than four strokes, beating both Hogan and Snead.

by Gary Player - The most important thing in the golf swing is the grip

"There is no question, the most important thing in the golf swing is the grip.

You can have all the correct movements of your body; you can put the club on the right plane; you can hit through the ball; you can do all those things that are correct, but if you have a bad grip you are never gonna play consistent golf.

The correct grip is this - this is the grip that suits every single player that plays the game of golf - the left thumb must be slightly on the right hand side of the shaft.

The right hand must run parallel with the left hand. You never want the hands fighting each other. The hands must work together as one unit. The left hand is gripped not in the fingers, not in the palm. It is a combination of both. There it is.

Another very good tip and easy way to remember is a line formed here between your index finger and your thumb, and with your right hand between your index finger and your thumb: those two lines must point at your right shoulder.

That is the correct grip."

Reference : Gary Player VHS Video, 'Golf Legend Gary Player On Golf, Volume 1, Video Instructions and Secrets, Gary Player Winner of over 120 Tournament Championships, by Quadrant Video.'

by Maxine Van Evera Lupo - 130 of the most common problems

"As millions of golfers will attest, mastering a strong, consistent, and accurate golf swing is no easy feat.

Yet, as leading golf-swing analyst Maxine Van Evera Lupo shows in this revolutionary book, any golfer - by focusing on the fifteen fundamentals and following the step-by-step instructions for each - can master the proper moves and positions that ensure a correct and controlled swing.

Using this sequential method of instruction, the author clearly examines each swing element in detail.

How To Master A Great Swing Maxine Van Evera LupoThe golfer can then compare his or her movements with those discussed in the book and depicted in more than two hundred line drawings, and then adjust those components that are not fundamentally correct.

This breakthrough book eliminates the endless tips and quick fixes that clutter most instructional golf books. The result is a clear, concise blueprint for understanding the swing's makeup that enables the golfer to achieve a consistently smooth and natural swing.

Some of the highly effective swing components described include pushing the clubhead into a toe-up position, hitting with the right hand, and the all-important waggle.

A special chart lists 130 of the most common problems golfers have, explains their causes, and directs the reader to the appropriate fundamental (or fundamentals) for correcting each trouble area. Slicing - caused by

  • Open positions at address Page/Reference 33-35
  • Pushing positions open with waggle or forward press 115(A), 118(B)
  • Incorrect grip 7-9, 26(C), 228(E)
  • Ball positioned too far back or too far forward 72(F)
  • Exaggerated open angle of left foot 68-69
  • Positioning right arm higher than left 102(C)
  • Starting clubhead sharply inside on flat swing plane 125(A)
  • Pulling clubhead away from ball and looping it at the top 49(E)
  • Separation of arms while swinging 102(D), 245(B)
  • Collapsed left wrist with incorrect right-hand position at top of swing 180(7), 183(8)
  • Right shoulder starting forward from top of swing 185(10), 202(B), 227(D)
  • Open clubface at impact due to leaving out the hitting action 223(C)
  • Having no guidelines for swinging correctly due to insufficient short swing practice between the toe-up positions 193-195, 199(A), 208(D), 239-240
  • See also Hands, hitting from the top

Learning To Use Fundamentals

Anyone can play golf and, with practice, can play consistently well. Many golfers fall victim to self-imposed problems and frustration in golf, however, because they have not developed a sound golf swing based on fundamentals.

One dictionary defines a fundamental as "a principle, rule, law, etc., that forms a foundation or basis, essential part, indispensable, underlying."

A golf fundamental, then, may be defined as "a position or movement that is essential to building a strong foundation for a sound, repeating golf swing."

...All golfers use some fundamentals, whether they are aware of them or not. While they may use some, however, most golfers can improve their swing considerably by learning to use more fundamentals more effectively.

Since each golfer and each golf swing is unique and not everyone uses fundamentals in exactly the same way, not all golfers can improve or correct their swing by using the same fundamentals.

Therefore, in both teaching and learning, learning which fundamentals affect each individual swing is key to self-improvement.

The following chapter help you understand and achieve that goal for more enjoyment of golf."

Starting The Downswing

"Starting the downswing with lower body action delivers power at impact by shifting your weight from right to left, pulling your arms down from the top, turning your lower body, and releasing your hands and the clubhead through the hitting zone.

Returning the club with upper body action keeps your weight on the right, expending power before reaching the hitting zone by throwing your arms and clubhead upward and outward from the top of the swing and releasing your hands too soon."

Reference: 'How to Master A Great Golf Swing' by Maxine Van Evera Lupo Illustrations by Dom Lupo Foreword by DR. Jay Brunza. Chapter Two Learning To Use Fundamentals, Chapter Twenty-Seven Correcting Golf Swing Problems pages 261, 268. Taylor Trade Publishing Copyright © 1992 by Maxine Van Evera Lupo First Taylor Trade Publishing edition 2006.

Download this extract of 'PART I The Grip' including 'Chapter Four Fundamental No. 1: The Left-Hand Pistol Grip (except pages 15, 16, 17,18) and 'Fundamental No. 2: The Right-Hand Grip (except pages 25, 26, 27)'.

Maxine Van Evera Lupo, a retired Class A member of the LPGA Teaching Division in Southern California, is a leading golf-swing analyst. As an amateur, she has competed in the U.S. Women's Open and has twenty club championships.

Several of Maxine Van Evera Lupo's Fundamentals appear to be quite different from those of other Champions (not an unusual thing!). Like, say, by Harry Vardon on the grip, who writes I quote: "it is the thumb and first finger of the left hand that have most of the gripping work to do", as compared to Lupo's advice on the grip, page 19, in the 'Importance of the Procedure' of the 'The Left Hand Pistol Grip' under item 'E.', which, I quote, states: "Removes the left-hand pincer fingers as a control factor in the swing.", and, similarly, for 'The Right-Hand Grip' under item 'E.', page 28, which states "Removes the right-hand pincer fingers as a control factor in the swing.".

Or likewise different to, say Ernest Jones and Norman Von Nida on the grip also.

Interestingly on 'Starting the Downswing', page 236, Maxine Van Evera Lupo writes: "The initial movement from the top of the swing - whereby some part of your lower body shifts your weight back to the left to pull your arms, hands, and the clubhead down from the top - is so important at impact that there has been a continuing search down through the years for one key move or one key thought to make the downswing work.", and, to continue,

On page 237 "When positions are correct and the backswing is sound, almost any swing thought from the start of the swing may help or improve the downswing, but few work effectively from the top... Actually, all the actions listed should occur - and do occur - when the swing is sound, and almost any swing thought may be used to start the lower body first...When the backswing is sound, rhythm and timing become the primary factors in moving the lower body first in the downswing action."

by Morgan M. H. and Carrier D. R. - Of the thumb and the index finger

"And when the duo measured the amount of force that the athletes could deliver through the fist surface of the index and middle fingers, they found that the presence of the buttressing thumb doubled the delivered force by transmitting it to the wrist through the metacarpals (palm bones) of the thumb and the index finger."

Reference : 'Protective buttressing of the human fist and the evolution of hominin hands' by Prof. David Carrier and Michael H Morgan from the University of Utah's school of medicine. Details have been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology Inside JEB ( J. Exp. Biol. 216, 236-244) and as reported on the BBC News website, 20 December 2012.


Bookmark and Share

Back to top