Greg Norman said that it came in 1986 just before he won the first of his 2 Open Championships.
The night before the final round, Norman was eating in the same restaurant as Jack Nicklaus, whom he asked if he had any advice that might help him lift the Claret Jug the following day.
Jack said, “be conscious of your grip pressure”. Greg went on to win the ’86 Open by 5 shots and he now says this was the best golf tip he has ever received, helping him win many more tournaments.
This is very a valuable golf tip for us amateurs too. When we are under pressure or feel nerves on the golf course, the natural instinct is to tense up the hands which has a very negative effect on the golf swing. It affects the fluidity, rhythm, club head speed and how the club moves through impact. Rhythm comes from grip pressure. The tighter you grip it, the faster you’ll swing. By tensing the fingers you also tense the arms and shoulders, which reduces power and feel.
Ernie Els backs it up further:
“I find that grip pressure and tension hurt my swing more than any other technical problem…If you squeeze the grip too tightly, you engage all the muscles up and down your forearms and into your shoulders. Tight muscles move slower than loose ones — even if you feel very strong and aggressive when you’re holding the club that way…Make a conscious effort to loosen your hands and let your arms feel soft when you’re at address.”
The next time you are on the driving range, practice with different grip pressures and see how it affects your shots. Try it with your short game and putting also. Think about Ernie, Fred Couples and John Daly and how effortless they make the short game look and how “softly” their hands grip the club.
Sam Sneed perhaps gives us the best analogy: “Grip the club as if you were holding a baby bird. Not so tight that you squeeze the life out of it, but supple enough that bird does not fly away.”
Fred Couples says:
“When I reach impact, my right hand feels like it’s almost off the club, which gives me a more powerful hit through the ball than if I was “choking” the grip. I wouldn’t necessarily teach anyone to do that, but it’s the right kind of feel.”
The bottom line about grip pressure is to grip it as lightly as you can, while maintaining control of the swing.
Becoming more conscious of your grip pressure is one of my favorite golf tips and especially effective when you’re under pressure.
Nick Faldo says “Never swing with more than 80 percent effort.”
Nick says that he used to practice by hitting 7-irons as hard as he could and then dial them back so they only flew 100 yards and then increased the distance hit by 10 yard increments up to his normal distance. Before he knew it, he was hitting it the same distance as before but with only 80% of the effort, which is a lot more controllable.
So what’s the best piece of Golf Tip you’ve received? Please leave your comments!
Photo by Richard Carter