December 14, 2008

Left Wind: Grip Down

Try Snead's technique to keep your ball on line

Snead at the 1953 Ryder Cup, Wentworth, England.

Snead at the 1953 Ryder Cup, Wentworth, England.

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I used to spend a lot of time with the great Sam Snead. He often would make guest appearances at the Golf Digest Schools. He and Bob Toski would give playing lessons and nine-hole exhibitions to discuss golf-course strategy. Sam's genius for playing shots, especially in the wind, always amazed me.

I asked him once how he would handle the really difficult wind that hits your back at address and comes over your left shoulder as you swing through. That wind is so tough because it causes you to subconsiously come over the top, pulling the ball well to the left, or you hit a push-slice.

Sam said he would choke down on the grip an inch or so and make sure he completed his backswing (see above). He also stayed behind the ball more through impact. Gripping down allowed him to hold the club lightly, which caused his forearms and wrists to turn over more quickly. This makes it easier to square the face, countering the left-to-right wind. The club feels lighter and, because that part of the grip is thinner, you get more hand action.

So grip down on the club like Sam did in a left-to-right wind.

FLICK, a longtime Golf Digest Teaching Professional and PGA Golf Professional Hall of Famer, worked with hundreds of amateurs and tour players including Jack Nicklaus.