A good golfer is recognized by his grip. Rightly so, for a proper grip is the basis for at least 60% of a man's swing. Beginners, and players who are uncertain of their game, tend to grab the club and hang on like grim death, or else they hold the shaft gingerly as if they were afraid of the damage they might inflict on the ball. Both excesses can throw you off your game. Whenever I see a pupil's fingernails whitening as he holds the club, I ask him to let go for a minute and shake hands with me. Usually he gives me a nice firm "friendly" grip, and that's just what I want—not a bone-crusher or a limp paw. Once we've shaken hands, I ask him to grip his golf club the same way, firmly but in a friendly way. His execution of shots usually improves.
I always check to see that my pupils' hands are set properly on the shaft—that goes without saying—but what I am trying to bring out here is the importance of gripping with the right amount of pressure. To the beginner, the golf grip feels at first like the most unnatural thing in the world, but he will soon find out that only through practicing the correct grip can he control with any degree of steadiness the arc of the club and the flight of the ball. Repetition of the right grip will result, in due course, in confidence and a well-founded swing that will bring good results regularly. Give the friendly grip a try.
from BILL GORDON, pro at Tam O'Shanter Golf Club of Chicago
Bill Gordon demonstrates (above, left) how the left hand grips the club firmly, but not rigidly. The right hand is about to "shake hands" with the shaft in a similarly friendly grip. The proper grip will give you (right) the correct, controlled hand action
NEXT WEEK'S GUEST PRO: JACKSON BRADLEY ON PRACTICING