Saturday, 1 August 2009
Left and Right combine to create one.
The initial stage of forming your hold is all about combining the two hands to create an equal strength among the pair. We are simply blending the hands together to form a unit that can then be easily adjusted to correct or neutralise the resulting flight of the golf ball.
The left hand has the greatest influence over the club face as it is placed above the right hand and so furthest from the club head. Combined with the fact it has the most coverage on the handle results in it having the greatest influence over the speed of the club face and its effective interaction with the golf ball through impact.
Before we apply your left hand please take the time to perfectly align the leading or bottom edge of the golf club to the ball target line, perfectly at 90 degrees is the minimum standard here.
Correctly applied, the left hand will generally feel more in the fingers, by no means should it be held across the palm or to a point so high in the palm that speed and rotation is restricted. Just take a second and imagine holding a hammer across the palm of your hand, now try to appreciate just how restricted the freedom of your wrist would become. The resulting effect would see the bigger muscles, most notably from the shoulders become more active in a natural response to creating the required force to strike the nail home.
With the handle now feeling more relaxed in the fingers and free to swing you may finalise the position of the left hand by positioning the thumb along the right hand side of the handles centre line. Assure the thumb is running as near to perfectly parallel while pointing straight down the right side of the handle. The thumb and fingers should be soft and relaxed without absolutely any tension spreading through the hand or wrist. Any tension felt in the forearm is a clear indication you are gripping that £5 note like it was worth no less than 50.
Now for the scary part, the correct placing of the right hand is always the frightening part for the vast majority of right handed golfers. A typically poor hold on the golf club sees the naturally right handed golfer gripping the handle with as much comfort in the fingers as they can grab onto. This is a natural reaction to that age old human instinct of control, we all feel the need to control the movements through the swing which essentially results in a snatch, pull and lift away from the ball in the takeaway. I'm afraid that can only mean one thing, an out of sequence, random swing that will only ever be good for absolutely know control what soever.
Over control = no control.
A correctly positioned right hand will allow you a sense of giving up control to gain control.
The right hand is not to be seen as a control hand but rather more a support hand. It's role is to simply respond to the correct motion of the left as it swings the golf club away from the ball all the way to the top of the back swing where it is then needed to help support the golf club before and during its transition into the downswing.
Now for this matter the right hand must not possess tension or a desire to control or dominate the left hand both in the back swing and downswing. Any sign of over tension in the right hand will ultimately result in the weaker slower muscles of the left hand becoming over dominated. A more active shoulder action will then further destroy any chance you may have of delivering the club head on the desired inside to square swing path into and through impact.
With the left hand still soft and relaxed the right hand should be placed on top of the left thumb so as to fit snugly into the life line of the right palm. This should always be your first goal when placing the right hand on the golf club, to totally cover the left thumb then allowing the fingers of the right hand to simply fold underneath the handle of the golf club with the last finger of the right hand resting soft and most comfortably over the index finger of the left hand on the underside of the handle. The fingers must not grab the underside of the handle or attempt to clench a grip of any significant tension, a soft right hand is essential to the blending process.
Common practice among poor grippers of the golf club is to grab the handle, firstly with the fingers to secure a nice tight feeling of control before then stretching the thumb and palm of the right hand over the top of the left thumb to complete a grip that basically has no place in a game that requires such a graceful movement as a golf swing.
With the hands now placed soft and relaxed on the golf club Id like you to attempt to lift the club head slightly off the ground by no more than 2 inches then proceed to make a soft and gradual movement back and through on a path just above the golf ball. Its a simple movement practiced by most accomplished golfers to gain a better feel for the weight of the golf club and release of any tension still in the hands. You will find this much more difficult practice the more tension you apply, but more importantly it will give you the feedback required to feel the most active pressure points in your grip.
The finished article will provide you with a feeling of security in the last three fingers of the left hand with total softness in the right. The position of the left hand is integral to the control of the club face position throughout the golf swing as much as the placement of the right hand is crucial to the speed of the club face throughout the golf swing.
The two hands combined form the single vital unit demanded of a consistent shot maker, a player demanding total control of his club face in an effort to control his ball.
Create to control don't control to create./