STRESS TEST: (1) Grip the club just firmly enough so it doesn't slip down when you hold it vertically. (2) Lower it to horizontal to set the final pressure.
If I could check your grip pressure, I'm pretty sure it would be too tight, and then you wouldn't be able to make a rhythmic swing -- or get your best accuracy and distance. Here's a quick way to test it.
Hold the club vertically in front of you. Let it slide down through your fingers. That grip pressure is too light. Firm it up just enough so that the club doesn't fall through. That's your starting point.
Now, with that same pressure, raise the club again, but this time lower it to horizontal (right). This will increase the pressure to the level you should use when you address the ball.
I want most of the gripping pressure in the last three fingers of my left hand, especially the little finger. Try to maintain this pressure during your swing. It will tighten naturally, but thinking about keeping the pressure constant is a good goal.
THOUGHTS FROM TOM
The short game is the hardest part of golf to recapture after the long winter layoff. I like to practice chipping off the carpet at home in Kansas during those cold, gray days to keep my fundamentals as sharp as possible. It saves a lot of time when the competitive season rolls around. Stay away from breakables, though. I had a bad experience with a glass piece one day practicing around the house.
Tom Watson is the golf professional emeritus at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. Click here for more tips from Tom.