This is the first in a four part series looking at the three primary factors that pertain to a solid impact position. They are:
- A strong grip
- A balanced set-up
- Centered body motion (two parts)
In studying the top golfers of all time it has become increasingly apparent to me that the grip plays a big role in a golfer's ability to achieve a proper impact position. The vast majority of major winners has a grip that favors the strong end of the spectrum vs. the weaker end. In fact the only two golfers I can think of that have had a noticeably weak grip and managed to win a major are Ben Hogan and Jose-Maria Olazabal - all the rest have been neutral to strong! Patty Berg, the winner of more majors than any other woman, had a grip that would rival that of Paul Azinger, David Duval and Boo Weekley- all notoriously strong grippers. I don't think this is by accident.
The primary reason why a strong grip is apt to be more consistent, and thus more successful than a weaker grip is because it allows the golfer to lead with the handle into impact without concern for squaring the clubface. Try this: take an iron and set up. Now push your hands forward, paying attention to what happens to the clubface. Two things should have occured; firstly, the face should have been delofted. Check... we want that! Secondly, the face should have rotated slightly open... we don't want that! This is where a strong grip serves to keep the face square while the handle leads the clubhead into impact. A player who utilizes a weak grip is prone to active hands and that decreases the player's ability to lead with the handle and ultimately compress the golf ball.
A secondary reason why a strong grip proves to be more successful is due to the fact that now in order to hit a straight shot, the hands must remain quiet through the hit. We all know that quiet hands are ultimately more consistent than active hands. It is certainly easier to keep the hands passive than to attempt to time a flip through the impact zone.
Try a stronger grip - it should ultimately allow you to hit crisp and penetrating golf shots!
Notes from Heritage Week:
- Aaron Baddeley is no longer a Stack-n-Tilter! "Too low!" he said when asked why. The few tee balls I saw were definitely higher than I'd seen from him in the past.
- Trevor Immelman was kind enough to give my son his glove and I was amazed to see he wears a men's cadet small!
- Zach Johnson has only had two hole-in-ones!
- Boo Weekley is exactly what the PGA Tour needs.
- The players love Heritage week - the whole atmosphere is just so relaxed and enjoyable. Couple that with a great golf course and you've got a recipe for success.
- Brian Gay is an example of how the PGA Tour is an 'equal opportunity' employer. You don't have to be 6'5 and hit it 320 to win out there.
- The top five finishers at the Masters were a combined -55 and the top five finishers at Harbourtown were -58. Sure the field is not as strong as at Augusta, but Brian Gay did put up a record performance. The Pete Dye lowcountry gem is as good as any course in the world!
- Did anybody notice how steady Brian Gay was over the ball. No lateral move whatsoever!
- Ernie Els is a great supporter of the Heritage event. The tournament vibe just seems to fit with his own - he's not the "Big Easy" for nothing!
- Ian Baker-Finch is a class act and I am pleased to see his increased role with the CBS broadcast team.