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

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Part 1: The Lead Hand (Top Hand) Grip

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.

(Editor's Note: The golf grip is a 2-part process - put your lead hand (top hand) on the grip-end of a golf club, and then put your trailing hand (bottom hand) on. This article describes and demonstrates the first part, placing your top hand on the handle. At the end of this article, continue on to the finishing step - placing your bottom hand on the grip.)

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.

Proper Golf Grip Equals Power and Feel

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.

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Follow the Dots

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

Video: You can also watch a video that puts it all together, demonstrating how to grip the golf club.

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. So to explore further, watch the following videos:

  • What is the neutral grip position?
  • What are the strong and weak grip positions?

Another video with good information is this one:

  • 5 common problems with golfers' grips