Mastering the Basics: How to Grip a Golf Club for Optimal Performance

By Anthony Mahone
Updated on
neutral golf grip

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer looking to refine your skills or a beginner taking your first swing, understanding how to grip a golf club is a fundamental aspect that can significantly impact your game. How you grip the golf club lays the foundation for control, accuracy, and power in your shots.

In this article, we’ll break down the essential steps to achieve the proper golf grip, helping you unlock your potential on the course.

There is no magic science to holding a golf club. We will discuss in detail why having a proper golf grip is crucial before hitting the golf ball. We will also go step-by-step on how to have a consistently excellent grip. Having the proper grip is one of our favorite golf tips for beginners.

Ultimately, learning how to grip a golf club depends on your chosen grip style. Before we get started, let’s go over the importance of a proper golf grip.

The Importance of a Proper Golf Grip

Before we delve into how to grip a golf club, let’s underline why this skill is crucial. The grip is the only point of contact between your body and the golf club, making it the primary connection that influences the direction and distance of your shots.

A correct golf grip provides stability, allowing you to square the clubface at impact, leading to more accurate shots, better ball striking, and greater control over the ball’s trajectory. We all strive to have consistent ball striking, a straight ball flight, and ensure the club face square at impact.

Having a consistent, neutral grip ensures that the building blocks for a consistent golf swing have been established. And remember, good golf always begins with a great grip.

How to Grip a Golf Club: A Step-by-Step Approach

Proper Golf Grip for You

There are three main golf grips: the Vardon or overlapping grip, the interlocking grip, and the baseball grip. All three permit a neutral golf grip position.

The overlap grip involves placing the pinky finger of your trailing hand (right hand for right-handed golfers) in the gap between the index and middle finger of your lead hand (left hand for right-handed golfers).

The interlocking grip sees the trailing hand’s pinky interlocked with the lead hand’s index finger.

The baseball grip involves gripping the club like you would a baseball bat. Experiment with these grips to find the most comfortable and secure for you.

Overlapping Grip

As stated earlier, the overlap grip (Vardon grip) allows you to place the pinky of your trailing hand in the gap between your lead hand’s index and middle finger. (for the right-handed golfer) The main advantage of the overlap grip is that you maintain complete control of the golf club while avoiding the dreaded death grip.

Most golfers need help with maintaining proper grip strength. The overlap grip allows you to hold the golf club that is not overly clenching yet retains complete control. The overlap grip is the most common type in the golfing world today. According to many studies, approximately 90% of the PGA tour uses the overlap golf grip.

overalapping golf grip

Interlocking Grip

The interlocking grip is also a proper golf grip that is used regularly. It is pretty similar to the overlapping golf grip, with the only change being that the index finger and the right pinky interlock, whereas before, the fingers were overlapping.

The interlock grip is how I held the club growing up. It served me well and allowed me to control the golf club more. Tiger Woods, Jack, Nicklaus, and Rory Mcilroy use the interlocking grip.

interlocking golf grip

Ten Finger Grip (Baseball)

The ten-finger golf grip, or baseball grip, is precisely as described. All ten fingers are on the grip simultaneously, as if you were holding a baseball bat. The ten-finger grip is the lesser used of the three golf grips among amateurs and professionals.

The ten-finger grip is easy to learn and great for junior golfers that start playing golf or players with small hands. One disadvantage of the ten-finger grip is that you can over-grip the golf club and become too wristy throughout your swing.

Golfer holding golf club with baseball grip

Align the Clubface

Before a proper golf grip can be established, we must ensure that the clubface properly aligns with the intended target. This step is often overlooked but can significantly impact your shot accuracy. Position the clubface perpendicular to the target line, and then take your proper golf grip, starting with your left hand (lead hand) while maintaining this alignment.

Golf Grip Lead Hand Placement

For the Vardon grip and interlocking grips, start by placing the lead hand (left hand for the right-handed player) on the club. The grip should rest diagonally across the fingers from the base of the pinky to the middle joints of the index and middle fingers of the left hand. The handle should run along the bottom of the fingers of the left hand, not too close to the palm or too far down the fingers.

The left thumb should be facing straight down the grip line. Meanwhile, the left index finger should wrap around the backside of the golf grip. We are ensuring a light but secure grip pressure.

Golf Grip Trailing Hand Placement

With the lead hand in position, place the trailing hand (right hand for right-handed golfers) on the club. The grip should run diagonally across the fingers, similar to the lead hand. The middle joints of the index and middle fingers should wrap around the handle, and the right pinky finger should rest snugly against the index and middle fingers of the lead hand. Again, maintain a consistent grip pressure.

Proper Finger Alignment for the Grip

When both hands are on the club, the fingers are aligned to form a “V” shape pointing towards your trailing shoulder (right shoulder). This “V” position ensures the grip correctly promotes a square clubface at impact. This alignment will put your grip in a firm, but neutral hand position.

Check Thumb Placement on Golf Grip

Your lead hand’s thumb rests on the grip, pointing down the club’s shaft. The right thumb of the trailing hand fits snugly into the lifeline of the lead hand. This slight overlapping of the right thumb onto the left thumb adds stability to your grip and encourages proper hand coordination during your swing.

Maintain a Proper Wrist Angle

A common mistake is to overly cup or bow the wrists during the grip. Aim for a neutral wrist angle, keeping your wrists relatively straight. This neutral position allows for more natural wrist hinge during the swing, enhancing your shot control and power.

Assess Your Grip Pressure

Grip pressure is another critical element. A grip that’s too tight can lead to tension in your arms and shoulders, resulting in an erratic swing. On the other hand, a grip that’s too loose can lead to an inconsistent clubface angle at impact. Ensure the right thumb rests gently on top of the left.

Find that sweet spot of grip pressure – firm enough to maintain control but relaxed to promote a fluid swing.

golf posture at setup

Double-Check Alignment

Before you take your swing, give a final glance to ensure the clubface is still aligned correctly with your target. This quick check can prevent last-minute adjustments that might throw off your shot. With the neutral grip ready to go, its time to make the swing.

Proper Golf Grip Mistakes To Avoid

When gripping the golf club, there are a few common faults that most amateur golfers experience. When hitting the golf ball, golfers tend to have a shot shape commonly from left to right or from right to left. In many cases, this could be from having a weak or strong grip—another common fault. We will discuss it as having an increased grip pressure.

What is a Weak Golf Grip?

A weak grip, often called an “open” grip, involves positioning your hands to promote a leftward tilt of the clubface. This positioning of the hands is a weak position.

With a weak grip, the V formed by your left thumb and index finger of your lead hand (left hand for right-handed golfers) points more towards your chin or trail shoulder. The rear hand (right hand for right-handed golfers) sits more underneath the club, with its V pointing towards your chin.

This weak position can lead to an open clubface at impact, causing slices or fades. While it can offer more control and reduced hooking, it might sacrifice power and distance due to a lack of wrist hinging.

What is a Strong Golf Grip?

On the other hand, a strong golf grip, often called a “closed” grip, entails positioning your hands to encourage a rightward tilt of the clubface (for a right-handed golfer). The V formed by your left-hand points more towards your trail shoulder or beyond. Meanwhile, the rear hand’s V points to the trail shoulder or slightly to the right.

A strong grip can promote a draw or hook, as the clubface is likelier to be closed at impact. The average golfer likes to have a strong golf grip; it is a common fault since it feels most natural when holding your golf clubs in your hands. 

While this grip can increase power and distance, controlling the ball’s direction is challenging, potentially leading to hooks or pulls.

Gripping Too Tightly

Lastly, we will discuss the final common fault that the average golfer has, which is gripping the golf club too tightly. Gripping the golf club too tightly creates unwanted and unneeded tension throughout your upper body.

The hands, the forearms, and your shoulders will create and sustain the tension coming from the over-gripping of the golf club with the hands. This tension keeps the swing from being fluid and will not permit a swing with a good tempo. The right shoulder will jerk back uncontrolled, and the swing sequence will be significantly affected.

We want to ensure a relaxed, neutral grip that promotes a consistent, repetitive golf swing.

Practice the Proper Golf Grip

As with any golf skill, mastering the correct grip takes practice and patience. By having a consistent golf grip, you allow for more consistent ball striking. Spend time on the driving range focusing solely on your grip and swing mechanics. There is no replacement for hard work and dedication.

All great things take time, and adequately holding the golf club is the first step in a successful golf game. Over time, muscle memory will develop, and the grip will become second nature. How you grip the golf club is entirely a personal choice, but by choosing one of the three golf grip styles we discussed and the proper golf grip, you are heading for success.


Holding the club properly is the first major building block of a successful swing in golf. By mastering the proper golf grip, you set the stage for improved accuracy, distance, and overall performance on the course. The correct grip is one that works best for you and makes you feel comfortable while holding the golf club.

Having the correct grip on the golf club is the first step to improving your golf game. So will our most common golf terms found in the golfing world. Head to the driving range, apply these steps, and watch your game leap forward, one perfect golf grip at a time.

Golf Grip FAQ

Why is the proper golf grip important?

Having a proper golf grip is essential because it is the only place in which the body has a direct point of contact with the golf club. Once we have established a consistent, neutral golf grip, we have built the first foundational block of a good golf swing.

What is the correct golf grip?

The correct grip is one that works best for you and makes you feel comfortable while holding the golf club. Remember, a proper golf grip isn’t just for professionals – it’s a skill that most golfers, regardless of experience, should continually refine.

Photo of author


Anthony is the founder of Swingcrafters and a lover of all things golf. Anthony was the individual champion of the 2005 West Virginia State Golf Tournament and worked as the Assistant Golf Professional at Heatherwoode Golf Club in Ohio. He is a career Firefighter/Paramedic and loves the outdoors.