Symptom: You diligently try to improve your game, and are serious about wanting to swing like the guys on TV. But try as you might, you just can't seem to get it done, despite flashes of brilliance. Consistency eludes you and your handicap stays stubbornly high...
Overview: Fix your grip before you try anything else. Your left hand "V" should point at your right shoulder (a strong left hand grip). Your right hand "lifeline" must smother your left thumb throughout the swing.
Why it Works: First, a word of caution. Changing your grip will feel unnatural to you at first. This is to be expected -- after all, however you are currently gripping your club, you have adjusted your swing accordingly so that it feels natural to you. When you change your grip, your swing will need to change too. But, hopefully, for the better.
It is well worth your time and effort to fix your grip. If you have the proper grip, much of the swing happens naturally. If you don't have the proper grip, you will find it very hard to produce the swing you want with any consistency.
There's been much written about the grip. My own view is that it comes down to two very basic things:
1. The left hand "V" made by your thumb and forefinger points at your right shoulder, a "Strong" left hand grip. But please remember to grip the club lightly.
|The Life Line is shown in blue.|
There are important reasons for these guidelines. Let's have the sweet-swinging Adam Scott, 2013 Masters Champion, demonstrate the basics for us:
|Adam Scott at address with nearly perfect grip on the club.|
The role of the right hand is more subtle, and advice on the right hand is much harder to find.
The smothering pressure of the right hand lifeline promotes a wide arc on your backswing, because it tends to push the club away from your body. It also tends to prevent your left arm from bending too much at the top of your swing (although some bending is OK). It does this by simultaneously a) bracing your left elbow, and b) encouraging your left wrist to hinge rather than allowing your left elbow to bend once resistance develops at the top of your backswing. Think of your right arm almost like a splint for your left elbow during the backswing. Finally, the constant smothering pressure of your right lifeline tends to keep your two hands melded and joined together, almost "handcuffed", throughout the swing. This promotes a "one piece" takewaway and downswing that is driven from your big muscles of your lower body, not from your hands.
Let's have Mr. Scott show us how it's done:
If we stop the video at address, at the top, at impact, and at follow through, and focus on the right hand, you can see the role of the right hand in each of these swing positions:
|Adam Scott's golf swing positions, emphasizing the role of the right hand throughout the swing.|
The key point is, these swing thoughts will work much better and more repeatably if your setup is proper. And your setup includes your grip on the club.
So examine and adjust your grip the next time you are at the driving range. And please, don't be discouraged if it feels odd at first, because it should feel odd to you at first. It is different, after all. But stick with it and you can make true improvements in your swing!
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