Benefits of a Weak Grip in Golf
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In a normal grip for a right-handed player, the left thumb points straight down the shaft of the golf club. The webbing between the thumb and index finger of both hands make small V’s that point to the right shoulder. A weak grip is one where both hands are rotated toward the target, the hands are on top of the club and the V’s point toward the middle of the forehead. In addition, if two or three knuckles are visible, the grip is normal. If no knuckles are visible, the grip is weak.
Cure a Hook
Several famous players, including Ben Hogan, Johnny Miller and Jose Maria Olazabal, had weak grips later in their careers. According to "Ben Hogan's Five Lessons," early in his career, Ben had a tendency to snap hook. He called this tendency "the terror of the fieldmice." To overcome the problem, he altered his grip by weakening it. This involved moving his left hand over so that the left thumb pointed down the middle of the shaft instead of on top of the shaft. According to professional golf instructor Butch Harmon, Ben Hogan's left-hand grip was unusually weak, the V pointing at his right ear instead of at his right shoulder. Ben's weak grip and cupped left wrist would cause most amateurs to develop a slice, according to "Golf Magazine."
At Golf Today, Trevor Immelman said fellow touring pro Ernie Els taught him the value of using a weak left-hand grip when chipping. This type of grip keeps hand action quiet, according to Immelman. It puts the emphasis on a simple shoulder-controlled motion.
Pitching, Wedges and Sand Play
To take Immelman's point further, according to Golf.com, short game guru Dave Pelz recommends a weak grip for all finesse shots -- chips, pitches, wedges and sand play. This is also the position the hands should be in at impact, with only a smooth release by the natural swing action as the ball is struck. If the hands are quiet, the clubface will reach impact in the same position every time, which breeds consistency.
- "Ben Hogan's Five Lessons"; Ben Hogan; 1957
- "Golf Magazine"; Game Changers: A History of the Swing; Michael Chwasky
Based in New Jersey, John Riefler has been writing since 1987. His articles have appeared in "MD Magazine," "Emergency Medicine" and "Hospital Practice." Riefler holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Bucknell University, a Master of Science in microbiology from the Medical University of South Carolina and a medical doctorate from St. George's University School of Medicine.