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Tee-off: Hold club lightly to clear a greater distance

india Updated: Jul 23, 2009 18:37 IST

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The fundamentals in golf are the grip, posture and everything we do before we start the swing. If we analyse the top 100 golfers in the world, each one would have different swings but the fundamentals will be similar. Even when a Tiger Woods goes back to his coach, it is the fundamentals which the coach would check first.

What are the different kinds of grips and which is the right one?

There are basically three kinds of grips — the overlap, the interlock and the 10-finger grip. The interlock (Pic 1) is for those with shorter fingers and most of the long hitters have used this grip like Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Ladies and juniors are also taught this grip.

The overlap grip (Pic 2) is used by players with large hands. It is also recommended for golfers with very long fingers. Some of the greats who used this grip are Nick Faldo and Severiano Ballesteros.

The third grip is the 10-finger (Pic 3) or the baseball grip. This is used by children under 10 and sometimes by ladies who are extremely weak. Even though there have been a few extremely good golfers who have used this grip, it is not recommended as it has a lot of drawbacks.

What is grip pressure and is it important?

This is a neglected aspect but is probably the most important aspect in a grip. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the club flying out of the hand and 10 being the tightest one), the correct grip would be around 4-5. A very tight grip would reduce the clubhead speed considerably.

If one were to compare it to cricket, one would know that a fast bowler always holds the ball very lightly to get the pace or a tennis player would hold the racquet very lightly to serve. A light grip promotes a whipping action or a slapping action, which gives the golfer clubhead speed hence distance.

What are the pressure points in a grip?

The grip is mainly held with the last three fingers of the left hand and the thumb and the first finger of the left hand just like a trigger in a gun.

What is a weak and strong grip? How does it affect the ball flight?

A weak or strong grip is not how lightly or tightly we hold the club. When the hands are turned too much to the right it is called a strong grip. This grip promotes a hook whereas when the hands are turned too far to the left it’s called a weak grip promoting a slice.

What is a correct grip?

A correct grip or a copybook grip is when the golfer looks down at his hands and sees the first two knuckles of his left hand and the V formed by the thumb and first finger of his right hand pointing to his right shoulder. The grip pressure is maintained at 4-5 as mentioned above.

(Beginning today, former India No 3 and national coach Indrajit Bhalotia will explain the nuances of the game once every month. He will also write on technicalities, how to play and on other golf-related subjects. If you have questions, please write in to sportsdesk@hindustantimes.com and we will try and have them answered).