This is a busy time of year for us and great things are happening. Our Orlando Academy is booming, and with construction of our building underway, I can only imagine the great things to come in the following months and year.
After teaching in Orlando for the past three months, once again we see the majority of the problems starting with how you, our students, hold and hinge the club. In other words, the way you hold the club is inhibiting the way your hands move. This grip problem causes arm movement problems and the entire swing is affected by poor hand placement. Since your hands and arms produce a majority of the speed in the golf swing (up to 90%), you can only imagine how much the grip is affecting your ability to produce speed. I have said this before, you can not spend too much effort understanding the grip. And you can’t spend too much time learning how to hold the club and move your hands and arms. With our expanding 2005 schedule and our new academy, I can’t imagine a more important addition to the Graves Golf Academy product line than the upcoming Training Grip / Club product. It has been a long time coming and FINALLY, we will have a product that will teach the foundation of Moe Norman’s golf swing….the grip/hold on the club.
So, with great enthusiasm for our newest product and as I continue to emphasize the importance of the grip, arm position and arm movement, I want to discuss some common grip issues, problems and the things that the Graves Golf Academy, Transitional Training Grip will address, help and solve.
The Grip: Most Common Problems and their effects
Moe Norman overlapped his trail pinkie over his lead hand index finger for the majority of his career until 1994. If you take a deep look at Moe’s hands, you find that the club did not sit directly across the lifeline of his trail hand. It couldn’t. If it did, there would be nowhere to place the lead thumb. The fact is that Moe’s grip was perfect in the sense that the way he held the club aligned the club correctly with the arms. His lead arm aligned with the club shaft forming the “Rod” and the trail arm aligned forming the single axis. This arm and club shaft alignment is significant. It indicates that the hands and arms are together in this piece of the golf swing puzzle. This means that if you hold the club incorrectly, your arms will also be incorrect.
One of the beauties of Moe’s golf swing was the way he moved the club shaft. The way he hinged his hands and the club moved on plane with tremendous hand speed.
Cause: Holding the club too far in the Palm of the Trail Hand
Effect: Loss of Speed and Correct Angles
By holding the cub too far into the trail hand palm, you inhibit hand action. You limit the RANGE OF MOTION of the hand and it’s ability to move the club fully. In effect, you minimize your ability to move the club shaft. This means that you have reduced the ability to produce speed. The reason each club has a long shaft is to help your project the club head with hand movement. By holding the club in a limiting position, you aren’t using the tool (golf club) in a full capacity. And, I’m not talking about a little speed
here, I’m talking about major speed issues. Just think about it, If the trail hand produces 75% of the speed in the golf swing, and you inhibit the movement of the hand and arms which move the shaft, the snowballing effect is significant.
Cause: Grip On The Club is Too Big
Effect #1: Holding the club in the Palm of the Lead Hand
Effect #2: Hands (set up) too high at address (above ideal single axis set up)
Effect #3: Inability to feel proper pressure points
Often we see students holding the club in the palm of the Lead hand especially when the grips on our students clubs are too big. When the grips are too big, it becomes difficult to hold the club far enough down in the lead hand in the fingers. Subsequently, a grip that is too big will also make it difficult to hold the club into the correct position of the trail hand. The club should be held in the fingers of the lead hand where the fingers hold the club under the heel pad of the hand not the THUMB pad. Holding the club under the thumb pad creates a weak and un-hingable (new GGA word) position where the lead hand can not hinge correctly and produce the necessary leverage angle. This position also places large amounts of stress on the lead wrist. Many students complain about pain and stress on the lead wrist joint. **************
Cause: Grip on Club Too Small
Effect #1: Poor Grip and Arm Position Below Single Axis
Effect #2: Inability to feel pressure points
Effect #3: Poor Clubface position and hand rotations
Grip size is an important issue since each of us had different hand sizes. Let’s review what is important about the grip to see why a grip that is too small can cause problems. First, it is important that the club aligns with the lead arm (Rod) and trail arm (Claw) where you hold the club in the fingers of the lead hand and in the proper rotation and position of the trail hand. With the arm and hand positions correct, it is important to address correctly and hinge the hands correctly. A grip that is too small can keep you form pure single axis. Second, it is important that you can feel the pressure points in both the lead hand last three fingers and the trail hand trigger point. These pressure points are important and if your grip is too small, you will have a hard time feeling these places. Without the correct pressure points, it can become difficult to hinge the hands and “feel” the club. If you can’t feel the club, you can not move the arms correctly. The correct hinging of the hands combined with the movement of the arms is what produces speed and keeps the club in the correct plane. Last – a grip that is too small will have a tendency to slip/twist in the hands, causing club head to twist into incorrect positions at impact.
Cause: Grip too Weak
Effect #1: Club face is open leaving shots weak and right of target (right handed player)
Effect #2: Loss of Leverage and speed
Effect #3: Many swing problems to compensate
Another common problem is a grip that is too weak which means that the lead arm is not aligned with the club correctly in the Rod position. This causes huge problems when it comes to correct club movement. Usually the hands are unable to hinge which causes an enormous loss of speed. And because of the incorrect hinge and leverage, you lose the correct angles of the club into the impact position causing fat shots or shots that are swept because the club is coming in too shallow. But most of all, a weak lead hand leads to many swing compensations such as head movement, poor arm movement and unnecessary lateral motion. There are many others but my point is that a weak lead hand means trouble.
Cause: Grip too Strong
Effect #1: Hooks
Effect #2: Rotation of body to compensate for hand position
Effect #3: Stress on back
Effect #4: Other Swing problems to compensate
Having a Strong lead hand means that the hands are rotated too far away from the target. Although you can produce speed from this position because you can leverage the club, it is difficult to release the club when your hands are too strong. This causes many swing problems such as hooking the ball, shoulder problems, rotation of the torso to make up for the inability to release the club and the weight staying back on the trail foot because of too much body rotation. You can also find stress being put on your back because of your inability to release the club. The Worst of All the Grip Problems: Lead Hand Weak, Trail Hand Strong On a final note about the grip, what I find might be the most troublesome is to have a lead hand that is too weak and a trail hand that is too strong. This combination of faults is rapidly becoming more popular as
we see students exaggerate unfortunate PALM idea. The fact is that Moe had his hands in the correct placement to move the club in an ideal single plane movement. This single plane / single axis included correct hand hinging which produced correct angles into impact and club speed. The lead hand and trail hand must work together as the lead hand hinges and trail hand cocks they are UNIFIED. This unification moves the club and club had correctly where you can move the club with minimal effort and maximum speed. This ideal mechanical advantage of the hands allows the body to stabilize and the arms to move correctly creating a simple golf swing that Moe called, “The Feeling of Greatness”. Good luck working on your grip – remember – you must START with your connection to the club – your grip… get it right – swing is made easy.. grip not right – continuous struggle with compensations making up for improper grip.
Please feel free to contact us anytime with any questions or comments. Remember – Always practice with a purpose.