Strong vs. Weak Grip: How it Impacts Your Golf Swing

June 15, 2022
6 min

Strong vs. Weak Grip: How it Impacts Your Golf Swing

The only connection a golfer has to the golf club is the grip. So, the grip is one of the most important parts of building a successful and repeatable golf swing, which is the goal of every serious golfer.

If you don’t have a good grip, you will not be a good golfer. It’s as simple as that. Successful golfers can employ one of three main grips: a neutral grip, a strong grip, or a weak grip.

Before we get into the specific grips and how they impact your swing, it is important to remember that no grip will work if you have a death grip on the club with your hands. Place your hands on the club with a soft grip to allow the club to move freely in the backswing and downswing.

Your grip determines many factors such as the clubface angle, launch angle and trajectory of your golf shot. Here we will discuss the factors specific to each grip and how they will impact your swing.

What is a Neutral Grip?

If you are new to the game of golf, the first step you should take is to check your grip. Most beginning golfers should be working to develop a neutral grip position.

A neutral grip position for a right-handed golfer, if you looked down at the golf club, you would see two knuckles on your left hand, and one knuckle on your right hand.

This is a grip position that will allow the golfer to swing and move freely which promotes a high straight ball flight when the club is delivered properly.

The two greatest golfers of all-time, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus use a neutral grip. They used a neutral grip because they both use an interlocking grip with their hands and a neutral grip is best for that grip style.

What is a Strong Grip?

Unlike the neutral grip, a strong golf grip is used to produce a lower ball flight trajectory, a closed clubface, and a right-to-left ball flight.

A strong grip position for a right-handed golfer, if you looked down at the golf club, you would see 3-4 knuckles on your left and none on your right hand as your right hand is more under the golf club. Your left hand is more on top of the club.

A strong grip position will affect the swing in several ways. First, a strong grip position promotes a closed clubface at impact. In order to hit the ball at the target, you will need to have an in-to-out swing path to hit a draw back to the target in most cases. To hit a fade with a strong grip, you will have to hold off the clubface at impact to keep it square to the target.

Second, a strong grip will produce a lower launch angle in most golf swings because the strong grip promotes a closed clubface, thus lowering the launch angle. Most golfers from Scotland and Texas have a strong grip due to the windy nature of those locations. To keep the ball flight's trajectory below the wind, many golfers such as Lee Trevino used a very strong grip. Zach Johnson is another famous golfer who uses a strong grip.

Third, a strong grip will produce a right-to-left spin of the golf ball through the air and when it hits the ground. So, if you want to attack a pin that is tucked on the left side of a green, a strong grip that produces a draw and right-to-left sidespin would be the best option to attack that pin position.

Finally, if your grip is too strong it can produce a hook ball flight, which is a shot that starts towards the target and swings hard to the left. Ben Hogan struggled with a hook, and he was able to change his grip to a more neutral grip and he became one of the greatest golfers ever to play. 

A strong grip can affect your swing in multiple ways, and if you’re someone who slices the golf ball, changing to a stronger grip could be beneficial.

What is a Weak Grip?

Many amateur golfers who struggle with a slice most likely have a grip that is too weak. A weak grip when used correctly can be the best option for you if you struggle with a hook.

A weak grip for a right-handed golfer, when you look down at the club, you will see 1 knuckle on your left hand, and 2-3 on your right hand. Your right hand is more on top of the golf club.

So, how does a weak golf grip affect your golf swing? First, a weak golf grip promotes a ball flight that is high and usually a fade ball flight that works left to right. The clubface angle will be open to the target and the launch angle will be higher due to the open clubface.

The trajectory of the ball flight will be high, and the high open clubface will produce a left-to-right spin of the golf ball.

Two golfers who successfully use a weaker grip on the PGA Tour are Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa. Morikawa uses a weak grip, and he is one of the best ball strikers on tour who consistently produces a 1–2-yard fade with most of his golf shots.

The fault of the weak grip is that it can produce the dreaded slice golf shot. If you struggle with a slice, there is a strong chance that your weak golf grip is not allowing you to turn the clubface over and release the club.

A weak grip can affect the golf swing in several ways but it can be a great grip for someone to use if you are struggling with a hook.

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