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Find a Perfect Golf Grip – in the Winter Months

October 23, 2014
Eric Chiles

Courtesy Minnesota Golf Academy

Make Golf Grip Changes in the Off Season

Eric Chiles is the 2013 Minnesota Section PGA Teacher of the Year. Eric is the Director of Instruction at Chaska Town Course in summer and Minnesota Golf Academy in the Winter months. Eric chipped in with this guest post and recommends that you find a perfect golf grip – in the winter months!

On a weekly basis in the summer, people ask me one question again and again on the lesson tee. They walk over and nicely ask, “Eric do you like my grip”?  I often give them an answer that confuses them.

I say, “I love your grip!  If it enables you to square the face perfectly at the ball in a repeatable manner your grip is –ABSOLUTElY  PERFECT.”

They then say, “my friend who is a scratch golfer says it is too weak, or too strong”.  I smile and tell them that after teaching golf for 18 years I have found no such thing as a perfect grip that fits everyone.  In fact, there are some teachers out there that do not believe that the grip is a fundamental of golf.  Interesting isn’t it?  Did you know there is a player on the Buy.com Tour that plays his full shots cross-handed? That’s right, he drives and hits his shots with his hands on the club backward! Most scratch golfers would be horrified to see this. Until the guy shoots a 66 and makes them wonder if their grip needs to be cross handed!

Here is my opinion on grip changes.  Never make grip changes in the summer unless you have to! If someone were to change my grip in the middle of summer it would set me back weeks or even months. Changes to hand position and grips will often end up hurting people more than helping them in summer when people are playing golf and getting close to hitting the ball the way they desire. To make people try and get used to a totally new “feel” can be hard to do and even cruel to ask someone to do during mid-season.

If you considered making your grip stronger, more neutral or even weaker in the summer – now, this fall, is the time to do the work and repair it.  The golf season is all but over and making a change like this indoors is easy to do.  Mainly because you can’t hit full shots and watch the ball go in a direction that you do not like.  You also won’t have to worry about how horrible the “perfect grip” feels like if you’re a player with an unconventional grip.  As I stated before, if I was asked to change how I hold the club in the middle of summer I may not be able to start my swing (due to the grip feeling so uncomfortable.)

Here are 3 steps to create a more standard grip:

Use a Training Grip

Nearly every golf store or pro shop that does re-gripping carries training grips.  Purchase one of these and have it installed on an old 7 or 5 iron for around $20.  Ask the person behind the counter to put the trainer on as your instructor asked.  In most cases people need a ‘stronger’ grip so letting the person putting the grip on for you will be helpful. They will turn the training grip a few degrees to the right for right-handers and a little left for the left-handers if necessary.  These grips also allow you to hit shots with them and I have even seen a new product that doesn’t even require you to remove your old grip! You just clip it on over the rubber grip that you currently have.

Practice your swing without hitting

Once you receive your finished golf club with the grip trainer on it, grip it and swing it in your basement, garage, or anywhere you won’t damage your drywall.  After a few weeks of swinging this club 5 minutes every other day, head out to a Dome or another indoor (or outdoor) practice facility to test it out.

Be patient

The first few times you swing your club with the proper grip or with a grip more suited to hitting the ball squarely at contact you can expect a different feel. The ball may come off much differently – which is hard to deal with during the golf season. In a game that asks you to hit a ball from point A to point B a grip change can actually hurt you midseason.  It will take some time for this new feel to become a welcome feeling.  This is why I rarely recommend a massive grip change during the golf season and have my students make this sometimes uncomfortable change, in the winter.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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