A Hook Waiting to Happen

Had a couple of great email questions this past week and then spent today playing in a ‘marathon’ golf match in Wichita, KS that reminded me again of “A Hook Waiting to Happen”.

First will describe the match and what I saw, then will discuss a couple of emails from this past week; hopefully will give everyone a little insight to their grip, etc.

Yesterday, July 7th, I was playing in our annual South Central PGA Match Play Championship. This year it was held at Terradyne Country Club in Wichita, KS. Teradyne is a great golf course – a links style course (very few trees) with extremely large mounds on most of the holes, many bunkers and too “top it off” a second cut of the round that is over waist deep. In fact, rough is so deep, when I asked one of my fellow pros what he thought of the golf course (after our practice round) – he responded, “I’m not worried about my matches, I’m worried about running out of golf balls!”

In the quarter finals, I was paired against a new/young professional named Bobby J. Bobby is a very nice young man who recently graduated from the PGA school in Southern Mississippi.

As we prepared to tee off, I was introduced to Bobby (for the first time – he is a “rookie” in the section) and watched him tee up his first shot of the day. Something quickly came to my attention.

As Bobby set up for his first shot, his lead hand (Bobby’s left hand) had an extremely strong grip. In fact, the V formed between his thumb and forefinger of his lead hand pointed to his right shoulder and the V formed on his trail (right) hand pointed right of his right shoulder. In his backswing, this grip caused his club face to be shut and in order to not hit the ball to the left every time, he “held on” at impact (or in other words, greatly minimized his release).

As Bobby hit his first shot, I couldn’t help by telling myself “There’s a hook waiting to happen”.

The match went on, and to be honest, Bobby did a pretty good job keeping the ball in play and Bobby is a very good putter. I played the front nine 3 under par and was 3 up at the turn (Bobby won the first hole, I won 4 of the next 8). When we made the turn I was pretty confident the match was going my way today…

Then the match turned a little. On the 10th hole, I hit my drive in the first cut of rough, cut a little “flier” on the 2nd shot and didn’t get up and down – Bobby made par – now I was 2 up. We halved the next 3 holes with one birdie and 2 pars, and on number 14 and 16 Bobby made great putts to make birdie and even the match. He was doing a great job “holding on to the club” to keep from turning over, it was obvious he practiced a lot and I keep thinking to myself, it’s a good thing he has a “young” body, I can guarantee my 40+ body couldn’t take his twisting and turning he needed to compensate for his strong grip.

On number 17, I hit my best shot of the day – a downhill 550 yard par 5. Bobby hooked the ball off the tee into the 2nd cut of rough. He hit a long drive, but due to his lie, couldn’t go for the green (creek short front of green). He laid up to 100 yards. I was 220 yards out with a 20 mph cut wind, slightly into my face. I took out my Cobra 3 hybrid – told myself this was “all or nothing” and hit a high cut 3 hybrid which landed and stopped within 5 feet of it’s divot about 6 feet from the hole. I went on to make the putt and go one up.

As good as I played 17, this “pro” committed match play “sin” on number 18. We both hit good drives and Bobby was away. He hit his second shot in the left bunker – pin high. I was 170 yards out, and instead of playing safe (sure par would win) I hit a solid 6 iron (into the wind) and caught it “too good” – the ball skipped to the back of the green – 40 feet away with an incredibly difficult putt (looked like a “roller coaster”). Bobby hit is bunker shot 2 feet from the hole, I put to 8 feet (to be honest, was a good putt to get it that close). I slipped out – and gave Bobby his putt – we were even – needless to say, “I was STEAMING at myself!!”

Off to sudden death.

Holes number 19 – 21 – we halved with pars. (Number 19 and 20, Bobby had 15 footers to win match, missed both. Hole number 21 – I had a 18 footer to win, missed.)

Hole number 22 – Needless to say, I was wearing down. This is a par 4 uphill (carry about 250 over water for short cut) or can hit to right and add about 20 yards to the hole. Bobby had the honors and hit his drive in the first cut of rough to the right. I thought, let’s do it here; I took the shot cut – hit a thin drive into the wind and saw a splash, match was over – at least I thought it was. I went to the other side of the lake, looked for a couple of minutes and Bobby found my ball literally floating between a patch of moss and the mud bank. I stepped into the mud and hit backwards toward the fairway (all I had). Now I was 150 yards out – still further than Bobby. I hit a 8 iron uphill to about 20 feet. Bobby played conservatively and hit to about 30 feet below the hole (thinking match was over..). Bobby put to a few inches, guess what – I made my putt; match continues.

Hole number 23 – into the wind – tight par 4 – only about 380 yards. Bobby has the tee and is pretty shook up after the last hole. Pulls out driver – HOOK – not a small hook, but out of play to the left hook. Ball is gone. I put away my driver (little “mind game” pulling out driver – wasn’t going to hit anyway) and hit a 2 hybrid down the middle. Bobby hits a 2nd ball (provisional for the first) – now with a 3 wood – HOOK – again out of play. Before he leaves the tee box, he removes his hat and shakes my hand – match is over….. I win one up.

Couple lessons to learn here- 1. Never say die and never say never (I reminded myself of this one today.)

Grip – you may think you can get away with a mediocre or “bad” grip with a lot of practice, but I can guarantee when the pressure is on, when it is on the line, (maybe when you are about to shoot your best score, or whenever you feel some pressure) – your poor grip fundamental is going to haunt you. I have seen it too many times. And here is the kicker – the worse the grip, the more practice you will need to even be able to keep in play or play consistently at all!!!

Bobby will learn in time, and with his short game, I guarantee he will be a player to watch in our section. Email # 1

From: “Rudy” <rudy@***.com> To: timg@swinglikemoe.com Subject: Thank you for your website Date: Sun, 6 Jul 2008 14:01:34 -0500

Dear Sir: I wanted to thank you for posting the many informative instructions you have on your site. I am an avid Moe Norman student and have been playing [ ] golf for the past few years. Recently I developed some habits that caused me to hook the ball something awful and produce very low ball flight.

I stumbled upon your site while trying to find some Moe Norman information to try and analyze my problem. I found that my grip had lost it’s correct position and I had too strong a grip with too low a swing plane. I just got back from the range and was able to correct all my issues based largely on the correct grip mechanics and swing plane adjustment.

Thank you for your efforts to help the amateur golfer.

Rudy C… Dallas, Texas

Email # 2

From: “RICHARD J.” <dicj**@****.com> To: “Tim Graves” <timkgraves@sbcglobal.net> Subject: Re: Question Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 08:51:46 -0600


I have the [ ] grips purchased for $49.00. I assumed they would be better for the [ ] Swing since they were recommended by (that company). I wear a medium-large golf glove. I assumed a larger grip would promote a fade. I usually have a hook no matter what grip size I use. I had a wrist problem for a while and the doctor advised using a larger grip. Should I take off (those) grips? I would have no problem doing this.

Thanks, Dick J. Answer:

Here is a question for everyone out there – If you were going to run a race or walk and wore a size 10 tennis shoe, would you walk into a store and buy a size 13 shoe to wear? If you were wanting a new golf glove and wear a medium, would you go into a pro shop and buy an XL glove?

You need a grip that fits your hand size. One size grip DOES NOT fit all hand sizes. If a grip is too big, it will inhibit leverage which will, in turn, decrease your distance, solidness of hit, etc.. Your recommended grip size (at the biggest) would be a mid size grip with 4 additional wraps under the lower hand, 2 under the upper (for a ML hand size). This will allow you to hold the club properly and create the maximum leverage and thus distance with your club. You can see more about recommended grip sizes on our free club fitting page of our website.

All our recommended grip sizes are based on Moe’s grip size and correlated to different hand sizes. For example, Moe had a medium cadet hand size and his grip size (on his clubs we have and when Todd measured his grip size when he played golf with Moe) would equate to a mid-size grip with 2 additional wraps under the lower hand, 0 under the upper.

Please see our chat at: http://swinglikemoe.com/index.php?pr=Free_Club_Fitting&=SID (middle of the page).

Remember – grips that are too big will not allow for proper hold of the club which will in turn not allow for proper hinging of the club which will in turn not allow for proper leverage (angles) during the swing which will in turn dramatically DECREASE power at impact which will in turn DRAMATICALLY decrease distance and solidness of impact.

Easy solution – Put on grips that fit your hand size.

Tim Graves, PGA timg@swinglikemoe.com


The Graves Golf Academy will soon be releasing our new grip – a grip that is USGA confirmed, can be used on all clubs and has markings so you will be able to put your hands on your clubs exactly like Moe gripped his own clubs.

Todd (Graves) put a plan in motion about 4 years ago.

First part of the plan: Develop a grip training club so everyone (whether they are with us in person or 1,000 miles away can put their hands on the club correctly and feel “Moe’s Feeling of Greatness” everything he/she grips the club. He produced the grip, and it has been a “best seller” for the GGA – if you don’t have one yet – just ask the 1,000s that have it…. ask them what it has done for their game. Imagine – every time you go to the range, pulling out the grip training club, hitting shots with “perfect” hands on the club. You can see more on our Training Grip and Club page of our website (short video about the grip/club).

Second part of the plan: Produce a video teaching everyone how to hold the grip training club and how to grip the club “just like Moe” so everyone can then work on other fundamentals to swing like Moe rather then always “fighting” their grip. This was done and with every training grip club order – the training video/DVD is included.

Third part of the plan: Produce a grip that can be used on the student’s clubs, is USGA conformed and is a “good looking and good feeling” grip that has the same markings as the GGA grip training club (without the molding). So, now EVERY student can train with the GGA Training Grip Club and then match the same markings on their clubs (with the GGA grips) and grip their own clubs just like Moe – perfect EVERY time.

The third part of the plan was completed early this year, the grips are on their way and are expected to arrive in a couple of weeks. We have already received the first 100 – they are AWESOME. They are already on our clubs, many of our demo clubs, and hopefully all our student’s clubs soon.

Fourth part of plan: A video on our website (free) – how to install the grips and tips to using the grips. Due out later this week.

And now the first public images of the GGA Transitional Grip. By the way, in ONE grip, both right AND left handed golfers (yes lefty friends, you read that correctly) can now feel Moe Norman’s grip. Here’s the pics:

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Right Handed side Left Handed side

Finally – hopefully by now, everyone reading our e-tips knows the importance of a good hold/grip on the club. Without a good hold/grip on the club, you will be building continual compensations to make up for your grip – and I guarantee this will create poor/inconsistent golf.

We are hoping by creating these new grip “tools” they will aid everyone and help shortcut the process of developing their swing to Swing Like Moe!!!!

Please watch upcoming e-tips and emails about our new GGA grips – we GUARANTEE you’ll love the look and feel of the grip and who doesn’t want to hold the club like Moe???

Remember – Always Practice with a Purpose.

Good Luck!!

One thought to “A Hook Waiting to Happen”

  1. I retired from the Marine Corps after 22 years and recently from my civilian job of 20 years and moved to Alabama with my wife a year ago. Four months ago we took up golf and signed up for a week of lessons at the base. I play once a week and always hit a bucket of balls before playing. I ran across a video of your Moe Norman training on the internet and watched the segment on the proper grip. I watched the video many times and use that grip today. It was very helpful and timely as I was having issues with the interlocking grip the Pro recommended. My little finger was in pain for a week after a round of play using the interlocking grip. I just ordered your training CD’s and club and look forward to learning from them. My only regret is that I waited so long to take up this game. Thanks much…

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