Two quick grip tests that will increase your control on iron shots
If your club is slipping or turning in your hands mid-swing, your chances of swinging with any speed and making solid contact are greatly reduced. Golf Digest Teaching Professional Erika Larkin says you can boost your control by focusing on hand position and pressure.
Grab a short iron and follow along with Larkin’s simple assessments to check your grip.
Evaluate your hand placement with Larkin’s first test. Start by gripping the club normally, then remove your bottom hand. Using only the pointer finger from your lead hand, try to hinge the club straight up.
If you can perform the move easily, your hand positioning is good, and you can move onto Larkin’s next test. However, if you struggle to raise the club or feel it slipping in your hand, your placement is off.
Because the grip is so personal, you might need to try out a couple of different top-hand positions until you find the right one for you. Focusing on the heel of your hand is a good place to start. As Larkin demonstrates in this test, you’ll notice that her heel pad is positioned on top of the club. With this key, you’ll be able to keep the heel of your hand connected with the club as you raise and lower it, increasing your leverage and range of motion.
Check your grip pressure with Larkin’s second test. With a short iron or wedge, grip the club with your lead hand and remove your thumb and pointer finger. Using your remaining three fingers, make a couple of practice swings with some speed and see if you can maintain a sense of control without the club slipping.
“If you can do that, you’re in position and you’ve got the right pressure,” Larkin says, “Once you’ve got that feeling, put it to the test with both hands on the club.”
With your improved hand positioning and pressure, you’ll be able to keep your clubface consistent through impact, creating solid contact and a better ball flight. Use Larkin’s grip tests as needed to maintain an effective hold on the club.
Check out “Game Changers,” Erika Larkin’s series in Golf Digest Schools. Her game-improvement guide will help you understand what’s going wrong and give you the tools you need to fix your faults and get out of your scoring rut.