The Golf Grip: How to Properly Take Hold of the Club

Learn the Right Way to Grip Your Golf Clubs, Starting with Your Top Hand

Michael Campbell plays in the Target World Challenge golf tournament.
Steve Grayson/Getty Images

The grip is your only connection with the golf club.

Placing your hands properly on the golf club helps you better control the position of the clubface at impact. During the swing your body turns to create power. Since the body is rotating, the golf club must rotate at the same rate. In other words, the body and the club must turn together as a team.

In this article, I'll show you and tell you how to achieve the proper golf grip, starting with placing your top hand (called the "lead hand") on the golf club.

(Note that the proper golf grip is a two-part process: First the top (lead) hand goes on the golf club handle, then the bottom (trailing) hand goes on. At the end of this article, continue on to the finishing step — placing your bottom hand on the grip.)

Proper Golf Grip Equals Power and Feel

Panel of photos showing proper grip technique
In the proper golf grip, your lead hand (top hand) holds the golf club in the fingers, not the palm, with the 'V' (right image) of your thumb and forefinger pointing to your back shoulder at address.

A fundamentally sound grip helps you create power and feel at the same time. Wrist action is a power source and gripping the club too much in the palm of your hand reduces wrist action.

The fingers are the most sensitive parts of our hands. Placing the club more in the fingers rather than in the palm increases the amount of wrist hinge, which results in longer tee shots and more feel.

One of the most common errors among golfers is a weak lead-hand (left hand for the right-handed golfer — the lead hand is the hand you place highest on the club) grip that is too much in the palm. This produces a shot that slices and lacks power.

To grip the club properly for power and accuracy, use the simple procedure outlined and illustrated in the next several steps. We start with the lead-hand (top hand) grip.

Step 1: Know That the Club Should Be Held More in the Fingers Than the Palm

Dots on golf glove illustrate path that club is laid across the fingers
The dots show the path the grip-end of the golf club should follow in the golfer's top hand. About.com

The dots on the glove show the position the club should take in the grip. The club should be held more in the fingers than in the palm.

Step 2: Connect the Dots

Laying the golf club across the fingers of your top hand
Take hold of the golf grip in the fingers, not the palm, of your top hand. Photo by Kelly Lamanna

Hold the club about three feet in the air, in front of your body. With the clubface square, place the club at an angle through the fingers, following the line of the dots pictured in the previous image. The club should touch the base of the little finger and rest just above the first joint of the index finger (along the line of the dots).

Step 3: Check Thumb Position

Illustrating thumb position for the top hand in the golf grip
Your thumb goes toward the back side of the shaft in the top-hand golf grip. Kelly Lamanna

With the club at an angle and in the fingers, place your left thumb (for right-handed players) toward the back side of the shaft.

Step 4: Check Knuckles and 'V' Position

Illustration of proper top hand position in the golf grip
Final position of the lead hand (top hand) in the proper golf grip. Kelly Lamanna

In the address position, looking down at your grip, you should be able to see the knuckles of the index and middle finger of your lead (top) hand.

You should also see a "V" that is created by the thumb and forefinger of the lead hand, and that "V" should be pointing back toward your right (for right-handed players) shoulder (the one o'clock position).

Next Step: Complete the grip by placing your trailing (bottom) hand on the handle.

Editor's Note: The proper golf grip is one that is in what's called the "neutral position." That is the grip that is demonstrated in this feature. But sometimes golfers rotate our hands to the left or the right on the grip, usually without realizing it (and with negative effects), although sometimes intentionally. These are called the strong and weak positions.

About the Author
Michael Lamanna is a golf instructor who has worked at some of the top facilities in America, including stints as Director of Instruction at three Jim McLean Golf Academies and Director of Schools at the PGA Tour Golf Academy. He currently is Director of Instruction at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. As a player, Lamanna's low competitive round is a 63. Visit lamannagolf.com for more info.