“There are two things you can learn by stopping your backswing at the top and checking the position of your hands; how many hands you have, and which one is wearing the glove.” – Thomas Mulligan
By Ian Hardie
In the post One of golf’s pro secrets I suggested that one of the most noticeable differences between golfers who are struggling to hit the ball consistently and accomplished golfers
Is something that a lot of golfers aren’t even aware of or even if they are – they don’t seem to pay any attention to it – which is a shame as once golfers get it right
It can go a long way toward unlocking their true potential as a golfer
For those who aren’t aware of it or don’t do it – it’s one of the most common causes of golfers ‘topping the ball’ as well as being a fairly good contributor to that most common of shots that you may have heard of – ‘the slice’
In that first post I used a small part of my book I could play golf when I first started to let you in on exactly what it was – so rather than go over grip pressure again – I’d suggest you either take a look back at that first post or if you don’t already have one and have realised that it’s probably a darn good idea to grab a copy of the book
Which brings me to the question I am answering in today’s post ‘How tight should you grip the golf club when driving?’
The answer is in actual fact – exactly the same as you do for every other shot that you hit and while some of you (the many golf teachers around the world that follow Golf Habits) reading will be nodding your head in agreement currently
I’m guessing that the rest of the readers will be looking for a little more information about now – as that’s not what most golfer’s exhibit on the golf course
To help illustrate my point I’m going to use a little bit of my other book that addresses everything to do with driving – called How to drive the golf ball as far as you possibly can
“The main problem I have encountered over the years in helping countless golfers
Learn how to drive the golf ball as far as they possibly can
Is that when most golfers want to hit the ball further they basically do three things
That instinctively seem like they would work
Firstly, they tense up by getting all ‘manly and aggressive’
They are going to hit the ball so hard that if the cover stays on it
It’s going to be hit into next week sometime”
Sound familiar to you?
In actual fact most golfers I see standing over the ball getting ready to hit their drive look a lot like the guy in the image at the start of this post – and have a similar grip tension as well
By the way, that guy is former champion bodybuilder and World’s Strongest Man competitor – Franco Columbu – if you were wondering
Anyway, let’s get back to that part of the book How to drive the golf ball as far as you possibly can to look at how tight you should grip the golf club while driving
“Now while a certain level of aggression is actually useful while driving the golf ball and hitting it hard is a good idea of course – as long as it is done at the right time
The rest of it is just a recipe for failure
An easy way to get the feeling of just how destructive tension is before you hit a golf shot
Is to take the hand that isn’t currently holding your mouse or whatever device you are reading this on
Hold your arm out straight and rotate your open hand around quickly from left to right then back again quickly for a few times like you were going to quickly open a door knob
As you look at it rotating and feel what’s going on you will notice that your hand will be easily rotating and your arm will be moving as well
If you feel like rotating it faster, it’s not too difficult is it?
Now try to do the same rotation with your fist clenched
Does that immediately restrict your ability to rotate your hand?
As well as restricting the movement your arm makes?
Now really tense your fist up as hard as you can
How much more restriction does that produce?
How much slower is the rotation now?
If you aren’t sure what the difference is have a few goes alternating the rotation between having your hand open and free of tension back to your fist being closed and tense
Any chance of rotating that clenched fist faster or is it easier when your hand is open and free of tension?
I’m sure you will be feeling a massive difference and just how much of an impact
That any tension of your muscles can have on your movement”
The example you have just been doing was using some of your smaller muscles
Now take a minute to imagine just how much restriction the big muscles of a golfer
Who is going to be standing on the tee with tension in both of their arms, their hands and their upper body – like Franco Columbu has in the image above
Ready to ‘whack the ball into next week’ as hard as they can – will have!
“This simple ‘act of aggression and tension’ while setting up to the ball
Actually costs them a similar amount of yardage
That they are actually trying to gain with that mind-set
Read that again to make sure you have that point
Their pre-tensed muscles and body will just not respond at anywhere near their maximum
To generate the rotation and speed needed to hit the ball further
Instead they will experience a restriction of rotation and a drop in speed from normal
Most probably graphically shown by a weak slice or block to the right”
I expect that you may be nodding in agreement at this point
As most golfers will have experienced hitting a shorter than expected slice
When trying to hit a really long drive
So how tight should you grip the golf club when driving?
I’m sure that by now you will clearly understand that to be able to drive the golf ball as far as you possibly can
Your grip needs to be as tension free as possible at address
Ready to provide maximum power as you get nearer to hitting the golf ball
By the way the small part of the book How to drive the golf ball as far as you possibly can that you have just been reading – really is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to improving that part of your golf game
Will be some of the best money you have ever spent on your golf