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There’s a thing I like to use, as a type of “baseline” for golfers: the PGA Method.
It’s an acronym, where:
- P stands for “posture”,
- G stands for “grip”, and
- A stands for “address”
While the “P” and the “A” are just as important, in this post we’re going to focus on the “G” part. To that end, we’ll use Ben Hogan as the model.
Personally, I think Ben Hogan was a genius. I love his book, Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf (I have the Kindle version), and would recommend it to anyone. The only other two books I think are easier, or as easy, to digest are listed along with this one in another post, “7 Golf Books That Can Fix Your Golf Game“.
Seriously… I don’t shill for much, but I will for these. Yes, the Hogan link above, as well as the links in the “7 Books” post are affiliate links… but as I’ve said before, I only do this for the things I truly believe in.
So, how did Hogan grip his clubs?
It was a process. Honestly, it takes longer to describe than it does to do, but here goes…
This is literally how he started the grip with his “top” (right hand for us lefties, left hand for you righties). The club runs almost along the “life line”; it goes over the first knuckle of the index finger, and under the heel pad. If you’re doing it right, you should be able to hold the club just fine with just the finger and heel pad.
From there, all you need to do is clamp the thumb pad and remaining fingers down on the grip.
NOTE: the thumb should be considered here.
Some prefer a “long” thumb, where it’s fully extended down the grip. Others, like Hogan, preferred a “short” thumb, where it was held tighter to the rest of the hand. Don’t be afraid to experiment here.
This is what a “short” thumb looks like:
The back of the hand and the face of the club should be facing the same direction. Like this:
The middle and ring fingers are all that are needed for the “off” hand:
Both hands should fit together. Hogan described it as a “unit”, two hands working in unison.
See that? One “unit”.
Now comes the tricky part… what to do with the pinky finger of the “off” hand.
This is what Hogan, myself, and many others do:
The pinky rests between the index and middle fingers of the dominant hand, in what’s called an “overlapping” or “Vardon” grip. If you’re more comfortable interlocking the pinky and index finger, or setting them next to each other (the so-called “10-finger” or “baseball” grip) do that; it has no bearing on anything, generally speaking, other than comfort and allowing the hands to work together.
One word of advice: don’t pinch the index finger and thumb of the “off” hand. Hogan was against it. It makes sense, as it adds tension to the hands, which will only slow down the swing.
See how the hands face each other? I don’t get into that whole “strong”, “weak” stuff; I want my hands to be comfortably working together.
As Hogan says, it’s all in the swing motion. When it’s done correctly, the hips start the downswing, then the chest rotates, the arms come down, then the hands release the clubhead. Do it in that order and it takes care of itself.