I know, I know, it seems like the list of things to work on in your golf game is never-ending. Between the takeaway, downswing, follow-through, posture, ball position, etc., who has time to work on golf grip pressure?
This aspect can be easy to overlook, but I assure you that optimizing your grip pressure will help all the other elements of your swing.
The golf swing happens so fast that we must rely on instincts more than our conscience. It should be an automatic (in a perfect) world, and in order to tap into your inner golfer, you must be relaxed from the start.
In this article, we will cover:
- How Tight Should You Hold Your Golf Club?
- 2 Types Of Grip Pressure Mistakes
- 5 Benefits Of Optimized Grip Pressure
- How To Distribute Pressure
- How Grip Affects Grip Pressure
- 3 These Grips For Optimal Traction
- Waggle To Relieve Pressure
- Summary – Golf Grip Pressure
Let’s jump into it!
How Tight Should You Hold Your Golf Club?
Your golf grip should be tight enough to secure the club but loose enough that your hands, forearms, and shoulders are relaxed and ready for action. The famous Harvey Penick said it best; “Hold your club like you’re holding a bird, tight enough that it doesn’t fly away, but loose enough that it can still breathe comfortably.”
2 Types Of Grip Pressure Mistakes
The good part about improving your grip pressure is that only one of two things could be happening. We all fall into one of these categories, so identify which one you are guilty of and spend an afternoon on the range working it out.
#1: Golf grip pressure points: Grip Too Tight
This is the most common mistake amateurs make, and it’s very easy to let this happen to you. With so much else to think about, it can be stressful, which leads to the body tensing up, including your hands.
Being too tense leads to many problems, but the main one is that it throws off your tempo. You will have a tough time producing consistent shots because your body is not loose enough to react.
Even with all the practice in the world, the golf swing should still be an athletic move. It all happens so fast that you must rely on your instincts, regardless of your skill level. To promote this, your last thought before pulling the trigger should be to relax your hands.
#2: Golf grip pressure points: Grip Too Loose
On the other end of the spectrum are those who are too loosey-goosey. While I would never ask a student to tighten up, I would ask them to be more ‘athletic.’ This means you want an authoritative grip so the club stays on track.
Being too loose also causes inconsistency but for different reasons. Your body won’t be able to return the club to the point of impact as accurately because there is no sense of urgency.
A grip that is too loose can be dangerous as well. You run the risk of losing your grip altogether and having the club come out of your hands. This is especially problematic at the driving range when other people are nearby.
5 Benefits Of Optimized Grip Pressure
- Smooth tempo
- Less tiring throughout the round
- Able to play and practice for longer
- Better feel around the greens
- Encourages natural instinct to take over
How To Distribute Pressure
To optimize your golf grip pressure, it makes it easier to focus on one hand more than the other. Despite what you may think, one hand does more work than the other. Let me explain.
Top Hand vs. Bottom Hand
Each hand has its own responsibility. Your top hand is the anchor. This is where your security comes from, so it needs to be comfortable and in full contact with the grip. If I had to swing a club with only one hand, I would choose the top hand 10 out of 10 times.
That doesn’t mean strangling the club with your top hand, though. You should still apply the wise words of Mr. Penick to avoid tension in your arms and shoulders.
The bottom hand has a little less structure and should be used to guide and support the actions of the top hand. The pressure here can favor the loose side, making it easy for your hands to turn over at impact.
You can create draws and fades by adjusting your bottom hand, so it’s imperative that you keep this one loose and allow it to just go along for the ride.
How Grip Affects Grip Pressure
Which grip style you choose could have an effect on how tight your grip pressure is. Which one of these do you use?
The most popular grip used on tour balances strength with flexibility. By overlapping your bottom hand with your top hand, you ensure that your bottom hand will move in unison with your top hand.
This also encourages a light grip pressure on the bottom and a firm pressure on top.
The second most popular grip is meant for those who feel comfortable with a slightly tighter grip. Not everyone’s grip pressure will be the same, so for those personalities that prefer a bit more stability, choose the interlocking grip.
Having your bottom and top hand interlocked naturally produces a firmer grip, which some golfers find helpful.
While I don’t recommend this grip, many golfers choose to use it, and as long as they’re having fun, then I suggest keep using it. However, if this is your grip of choice, be sure to monitor your grip pressure regularly.
It’s very easy to grip too hard with this style because all your fingers are in contact with the club. It’s also easy to have too strong of a grip with your bottom hand, which could cause it to be overactive.
3 Grips For Optimal Traction
If you want to relax your grip pressure but are worried about the security of your club, choose one of these grips below for maximum tackiness without having to squeeze hard.
The design of this grip incorporates a rigid string type of material woven into the rubber. It’s easy to see this with the naked eye and is great if you find yourself playing in inclement weather.
These grips will actually become more tacky after a few rounds as you wear down some of the new rubber. This brings out the cord even more, and you may not even need a glove with these grips.
If the cord sounds a little too rigid for you, then you can strike a balance with a multi-compound grip. The top half of this grip is made with a cord, but the bottom half is a softer and smoother rubber.
This allows your anchor hand to stay securely in place while your bottom hand enjoys the comfort and feel that will give you a great touch on any shot.
For a completely different feel, try out DriTac grips made by Winn. This is a unique material that is somehow both tacky and soft.
It feels like your hands are stuck to this grip but in a good way. The only downside to these is that they are not good at all if they get wet, so avoid any rain, and you’ll enjoy optimal grip pressure on all your shots.
Waggle To Relieve Pressure
If you watch golf often, you’ve probably noticed that all golfers waggle their clubs in some manner when addressing the ball. No one is standing still just before they hit the ball. This is to relieve stress and pressure that is naturally caused by golf itself.
Performing this odd tradition is almost the most important part of your pre-shot routine. It gets your body to relax and focus on making an athletic move through the ball.
This is not the time to think about mechanics; you should only be thinking about making a smooth swing to your chosen target.
Use the waggle on all shots to remind yourself to rely on your instincts and to relax your hands and thus your arms and shoulders as well.
Summary—Golf Grip Pressure
While having good golf grip pressure won’t directly result in more birdies, it will help you avoid big numbers right away. You’ll find that with good grip pressure, your bad shots won’t be as bad.
Avoiding double bogeys or worse will help you gain confidence quickly and allow you to swing more freely, eventually leading to more birdies. Golf is a game of patience, and raw emotion is never rewarded.
Keep track of how hard you’re squeezing the club on the range, and take note if there is any difference when you’re on the course. Many golfers may even have different grip pressures between their long and short clubs.
Let your natural swing shine by monitoring your grip pressure and keeping it the same as much as possible; your scorecard will thank you.