Last season I ventured out to the golf course to see what kind of shape my rusty old 16 handicap game was in. Well, after over a year since I golfed the swing was basically in the same shape — doing the same unpredictable things as usual.
There seemed to be some sort of wall holding my game back from the green pastures of Par on the other side. Although, many just give up and say, “I’m just not that good of a golfer,” as I was tempted to do after over a decade of not improving- well, I kept believing and broke through finally!
Usually, I play alone at sunrise or sometime when it’s too cold for the fair weathered golfers to be out, but this last season I made a golfing friend and it was through him I learned about my grip. To clarify, it wasn’t directly through his teaching me as he was only a beginner (albeit a good one), but rather it was through me trying to understand what he was doing with his swing. I remember during the 24 years of playing golf I’ve tried many different crazy swings, and the one he was trying naturally was interesting to me.
This thought bore fruition when I stumbled upon some Ben Hogan videos on YouTube and heard about Ben’s strong grip. Sometimes, we just have to be open to something before we can hear it, because for years I had his book: Five Lessons (and even perused it a few times), but it never sunk in.
Well, I realized this golfing friend had a strong grip, and I started to learn from videos like the ones in this post what this meant and how to try it out.
The swing my friend had wasn’t sound to copy, but with the years of perfecting my weak grip swing it was very fluid for me to simply turn my wrist and see what happened. Only a couple months later I played the best round of my life, and now can have realistic dreams of threatening Par on difficult 18 hole courses this next season.
How to Have a Strong Grip
When you turn your left wrist (right-hand players) to the right so you can see 3 or even 4 knuckles instead of two, then sort of cup your right hand underneath — this is the strong grip.
There’s more to it you can learn from the videos I will present in this post and from Ben Hogan’s book Five Lessons, but this is the basic concept.
The swing that’ll follow takes some understanding and practice of course, but in the end (for the right person) you’ll be able to hit the ball farther and straighter more consistently!
This is the grip Ben Hogan used, especially, in his early career, but after he got into a near-fatal car crash in 1949 (because of his hurting legs and a desire to stop hooking the ball), he weakened his grip some.
Still, his swing plane and grip are on the strong side and if you study them you’ll be able to see the difference between his swing and someone like Nicklaus or Miller.
At first, this strong grip doesn’t feel comfortable with the stiffer left arm and strain on the left wrist it brings, but for the right person, this is a small price to pay for the results.
The results are basically a ball flight that draws rather than fades. My whole golf life if I missed a shot it was a sweeping slice or push, but after I tightened my grip I cut out the slice almost all-together. And the best part for me I’m hitting the ball so much more squarely, which results in hitting it the distance I should.
All these golfing systems out there trying to do this and that to make you swing faster or whatever are mostly junk. Just learn from the great players like Ben Hogan, Paul Azinger, Hubert Green, Zach Johnson, Gary Player, Bernhard Langer and more who all had strong grips.
Check out the videos below and buy Ben Hogan’s books to learn more about the strong grip. Never give up on shooting par, although it seems impossible at times, because when striking the ball better — it (Par) can happen.
Originally published at Better Golfing Days Nov. 27, 2015