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Health & Fitness

Don't grip the club too lightly

By Ron Kaspriske

By Ron Kaspriske

Conventional wisdom in golf instruction is that your grip pressure should start light and stay light when you swing. But some instructors think gripping the club harder when you swing is not only OK, it's inevitable. Even if you try to maintain light grip pressure, you really can't as the club reaches the top of the backswing. As soon as you start to swing down with a light grip, you'll immediately squeeze harder, studies have shown.

loop-kaspriske-grip-2-518.jpgI recently spoke with Tiger Woods' swing coach, Sean Foley, about grip pressure and he agreed that light grip pressure sounds great in theory, but it's not achievable. Furthermore, the tour pros he teaches have what most would consider above-average grip pressure. So rather than focus on holding the club lightly, a better goal would be to focus on holding the club with consistent pressure. Granted, you don't want to squeeze the club to death. But you also don't want pressure to increase a great deal during the swing. When that happens, the position of the clubface can change resulting in an off-line shot.

The next time you're on the range, pay attention to how hard you're squeezing the club at the start of the downswing when you really hit your best shots. That's the tension you want to maintain throughout. If you find your swing is too "loose," you probably need to grip harder. And if you're struggling to finish the swing with the club wrapped around your neck, you probably need to relax the grip a little. But most importantly, keep the pressure constant. 

When you're back in the gym, perform exercises with dumbbells or kettlebells whenever you have the option. This will help strengthen your grip and let you really control the clubface through impact -- especially when you hit shots out of the rough.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.