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Grip And Stance

There can be no doubt whatever that the first mistakes a golfer can make when preparing to make his golf swing, are to hold the club with a defective grip and to stand up to the ball the wrong way. Either puts a heavy impost on a player before he makes a move to swing the club. Together they make a good golf swing almost impossible.

Any golf swing , of course, is measured by two standards. One is direction, the other is distance. Direction is governed partly by the position of the club face at impact and partly by the path the club head is following.

Distance, on the other hand, is the product of club-head speed and the accuracy with which the head makes contact with the ball. These, in turn, are produced by body, arm, and hand action during the swing. But the position of the club face is largely determined by the grip, and the path of the club head is influenced considerably by the stance.

So to get these aspects wrong will result in a bad golf swing.

The grip, to a very large degree, determines whether the face will be square to the direction line, open, closed, or even hooded, therefore whether the ball flies straight, is sliced, hooked, smothered, or even skied. Any one of these golf swings brings trouble, and with trouble the strokes begin to mount up. That is why the pros will tell you that the grip is the most important single factor in the golf swing. Gene Sarazen has said the grip is 75 per cent of golf. To him and the other pros it is, because they have all the distance they need. They make the moves that bring distance—make them automatically, and have made them since they were kids.

A change of a couple of mm in the placing of one hand on the grip, however, producing better direction, could make, for them, the difference between a 69 and a 65.

People do all kinds of peculiar things with both the grip and the stance, even to the extent of changing both after they have been taken. You’ve often seen a player stand up to the ball with both a stance and grip that were good, and then start to fiddle around.

He changes his hands a little, then moves his feet a little. Then moves his hands another little bit, then shifts his feet again. By this time the grip no longer is a good one and neither is the stance. Is it any wonder that the resulting golf swing is terrible?

We once had a pupil who was a pretty good player and who learned easily; he had a peculiarly good faculty of doing just what he was told to do, without arguing about it. It was no trick for him to take a good grip and stand up to the ball perfectly. The trick was to make him hit the ball before he changed either of them. If he changed them then his golf swing was really bad.

Common Faults

The most common faults in the grip are holding the club entirely in the fingers of the left hand, placing the left hand too much on top of the shaft, and getting the right hand under the shaft. An all-finger grip and getting the left hand on top, so that four knuckles show, go together.

It’s almost impossible to hold the club entirely in the fingers of the left, without getting the left on top of the shaft. Try it yourself and see. The reason most people keep dropping the right hand lower and lower until it gets practically under the shaft, is that they feel they will get more power that way.

Well, they are all wrong and they go a long way toward ruining what might be a good golf swing. When the club is held entirely in the fingers of the left hand and that hand is on top of the shaft with three or four knuckles showing, there is an overpowering tendency to roll that hand over to the left as the club comes into the ball at impact. When this happens, of course, the face of the club is turned over and closed, or even hooded. The result is a bad golf swing, either a smother or hook.

That is what happens with some players. The all finger, left-hand-on-top position leads to another fault. It has a strong tendency to make the player bend the left hand back at the top of the swing and get the left wrist under the shaft. This opens the face at the top, and it must then be closed on the downswing.

With the body and shoulder action most players have, plus their fear of getting the face closed too much, this is seldom accomplished. Hence we have what is by far the most common and exasperating bad golf swing of them all—the slice. Another move is for the player to try to hold the face of the club from turning as it goes through the ball. Then you see the lifting, lofting action which is so common, with the player trying to hold the face square long after it has hit the ball. This is a good way to bring on a slice.

When the right hand is dropped low, the faults of the left are compounded, for a low right hand tends to roll over at impact. The poor player may switch from slicing to smothering and go for several holes without getting the ball more than a few feet off the ground. This, we need hardly remind you, is a horrible experience and really counts as a bad golf swing.

Things go from bad to worse until the only thing certain is that the player will not hit two shots in a row in the same direction. He is all over the course, hacking out of trouble first on one side and then on the other., making one bad golf swing after another.

On any course and in almost any foursome you will see many peculiar stances. Most of them are not fundamentally bad, except for one thing: standing with an “open” body. This means, simply, that although the feet are in a perfectly square position (an equal distance from the direction line), the hips and the shoulders are facing a little to the left.

These players are, in effect, aiming to the left of their target without realizing it. You need hardly be reminded of the damage this can do. The player develops a pull to his shots, the ball starting out a shade to the left and, if it doesn’t slice, staying to the left.

There are usually just as much rough and as many traps to the left of a fairway or green as there are to the right, and the chronic puller is sure to find most of them. There are other bad positions, such as bending over too much, standing too far from the ball, having the weight too far forward, and so on, but the “open” body is by all odds the most common fault the average player has in the stance department.

Let us turn now to the positive side and take the positions that will help so much to give us a square face at impact, a straight ball that goes where we aim it, and fewer shots.

Actually there is nothing mysterious about the grip. We merely want the club held in a certain way, a way that will help bring it to the top in the position we want and which will help bring it back to the ball at the correct angle to the line of flight. Then we’ll have a golf swing to be proud of.

4 Posts
Thanks friend for sharing such a great informatic post.This is very helpful for everyone who are the student of a gold club.I am also learn to play golf.My swing is also very weak.So I will must follow your tips.Thanks again..

6 Posts
Great insight! We constantly have to be conscious of what we're doing with our forms. Over Thanksgiving, I stumbled across a training aid that states just that. It's nearly impossible for me to know what's going on entirely with my form when I'm swinging. I'm sure my stance is my problem area. I've been shooting a score of 108 so far. I'm quite new to the sport, but feel like I've been learning so much in such short time. Would love any other tips!


I had a friend email me a link to that training aid I mentioned above. Thought it was pretty interesting. Just in case you guys were curious it's called DuoTrac Golf.
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