Sunday Quick Tip: Good Grip is Critical

Sun, 05/18/2014 - 11:00 -- Don Trahan

Today's video is all about grip. It still amazes me to this day to see so many different ways in which amateur golfers hold a golf club. Especially when it's one of the easier things to control in your swing.

All you need to know is how your hands work and how they naturally hang when you're relaxed. Once you understand that, you can place the club perfectly in your hands so that you have a perfect connection to it.

Enjoy today's quick tip, then head out to the course and let me know how it worked out for you.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

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Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Found Surges coverage of setting the grip in the left hand. He has talked about this many times but there was a slight change or bit of a different nuance on how we set it in the left hand. Did you all notice too? The difference can be observed when we compare it to this daily from a while back.

Notice how he instructs us there to take the club with the right hand and after pointing the handle toward the left hip then put the club into the left hand in the natural position rather than with the club held in the middle which again encourages a cupping in the left wrist at set up. The style described and recommended in that video has been my method of taking my grip for several years now. So the slight change shown today is allowing to let the left arm hang naturally at ones side and take the grip at the side of the body then bring it up and add the right hand. Hmnnnnn...... interesting. Everything over all was still in line in today's take on the grip otherwise. Small change and may now just a matter of preference as long as we end up having a solid proper grip and then set up correctly.
The original way of bringing the club up with the right hand first as we aim the handle toward the left hip and then adding the right hand works best for me too because as I make the 'H' stepping into the ball I square the club face with my chosen line and spot in front of the ball. Then finish the 'two step', add the right hand, brief waggle and go. Like Surge demos in this set up routine he did on 1/03/13.

I am okay with either approach but will stick with the 2013 version.

Dave Everitt's picture

Submitted by Dave Everitt on

Being right side dominant the 2013 version feels better to me. I would never line up a putter with my left hand. Aiming the club face for a full shot with my left hand feels just as awkward. I have a lot of feel with my right thumb and forefinger when it comes to sensing how the club face is aimed at the intermediate and actual targets and very little sense of aim with the back of the left hand.

The danger for me while assuming the right hand grip is making it too strong. I try to keep it weaker and more on top of the club with the palm facing the target. The left hand is the last hand that goes on the grip and I want it stronger than the right with 2 1/2 to 3 knuckles showing.

I made this grip change about 3 months ago and have found it more compatible with my upright swing.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Dave, Again my approach is simular to yours except that I hold the club up and aim the button of the handle toward my left hip while holding the club with my right hand then place my left hand on first then my right.
The way your playing lately, just keep doing it however you currently are. It seems to be working well:)

Hal's picture

Submitted by Hal on

Robert, new picture, huh. Set up looks good. Keep up the good work

Leednc's picture

Submitted by Leednc on

I have seen Adam Scott put his left hand on the club with it beside his left leg and tried it a couple of times. I like the position of my left arm but never consistently got the clubface square, anyone else have that issue?

Do most of you have the back of your lead hand parallel to your clubface? I have found that too weak, especially with my longer clubs. So I roll my lead hand just a little stronger but keep my lower hand with my palm at the target. I know Surge excepts tinkering but am I crossing any lines?


Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

" It still amazes me to this day to see so many different ways in which amateur golfers hold a golf club."


I can't see why that would be surprising at all to anybody since there are an infinite number of variations in the way even the pros grip a club.

Nothing wrong with guidelines, especially for beginners, but to think everybody should have the same grip would be like telling Zack Johnson, Tommy Gainey, Jim Furyk, and countless others that they are doing it all wrong.
(And they are among the best players in the world).

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Steve, how right you are. There are many ways to grip as you said. I have found that I just needed to find what works best for me and become consistent in my set up. I have found Don's approach to be the best for me especially the way he describes in that 2013 video.

avguy's picture

Submitted by avguy on

Being a lefty who golfs righty, my left hand has always wanted to out squeeze the right on the club, so I have coped in golf better with a 10-finger. I did PPGS and swings prior at times with interlock, but it made the right hand and arm feel too unequal being less attached, and naturally for me - less in strength.

Today's tip and others in the past won't sway what I got going now with that 10-finger. I like a more neutral hands, but still with the handle at the front thigh in my irons.

But, with the driver, I find too much of the right rough and edges - unless I rotate both hands one knuckle right for a stronger grip on that club. That really eliminates anything right, and gives me more confidence to swing up on the ball with either my 43.5in Callaway RF or my 44in. Titleist 910 D2. Unlike most of you skipping a rock down and thru the ball, I am backhanding with a frisbee!
jim in mesa

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

The 910 (or similar from Titleist) is one driver head that I have often wondered about. May get a used one from e bay some day and fit on my favorite Aldila shaft to try out:) The grip is a very personal matter, both the type of grip we like on the stick and the way we place our hands and fingers. Although I love my Jumbo Max on all my clubs normally, I have grown fond of the yellow Enlow on my driver. I actually marked with a black magic marker on the handle where my V's need to be for my optimum position of the hands on the driver. Though I like a fairly neutral grip it is in a slightly stronger position with all clubs now with the exception of the very short wedges and chips where I guard from going left with a weak grip. Years ago, I learned to play from my Dad and Nicklaus's "Golf My Way" so started with an interlocking but have gone with the overlap for many years now. BTW I use the now 4 year old Nickent 4DX Revolver (most of the time). It was the driver I was PPGS fit with 4 years ago in Cali. Very cool because I have both the 10.5 and 9* heads and they are interchangeable with 7 (you read that right) seven different shafts ranging from senior to x stiff. Though my driver speed is around 98mph I prefer the Aldila xstiff DVS. As Doc says, it doesn't matter what it reads on the shaft (r/s) but how it works best for us. Always experimenting building my own clubs now and though I have another 5 drivers in my garage I'll likely buy one or two more over the next 6 months to tinker and toy with. The search goes on (and then we are ashes!).
Golf on!

Ollie.B's picture

Submitted by Ollie.B on

Hi Everyone in the surge nation, especially all in Europe it is with sadness that I read Surges email of the sudden passing of Malcom. I attended a three school with Malcom in Ireland in 2012 and I have to say I could not have met a nicer person or better teacher. We had some fun, meals and drinks together with him and his lovely wife, My sympathies go out to her on the passing of her husband. May he rest in peace.

etishome's picture

Submitted by etishome on

My sympathies go out to Malcoms family.

I met Malcom on a 5 day course in 2012 in Murcia Spain. He was a 'real character', and a very good coach. He worked extremely hard to make the whole experience a success. A great guy who was very humble when teaching, but funny too! A great miss for the surge nation, particularly in Europe. I still hear him when playing out of bunkers.

jon in lincolshire's picture

Submitted by jon in lincolshire on

Boy was this a timely reminder! Shot 78 gross in comp today (2 under H/cap). All day just concentrated on taking grip as shown and the ball went a lot straighter, shows how lazy we can get at the simple things.
F&G everyone and remember to try this out.

beaglegolf's picture

Submitted by beaglegolf on

Hi All,

I am new to PPGS. Just finished watching the Fundamental Series. As you all mentioned, the grip lesson seems a little different. I am new to the game and this site. Hoping you can help. At first I was perplexed because the video lessons tell you to hold the club with your right hand, point the butt to your left hip and get your grip by placing the left hand on the club. The grip being neutral. The Sunday tip has you starting with the club next to your body. After watching both a few times, I think the difference is minimal if anything at all. The only difference I see is holding the club out in front of with the right hand or hold it to your side with the left. But the most important thing is that once the club is raised to your belly button area, you are still placing the hands in the same place that Don instructs in his video. The starting point is a little different. Most important it that he still advocates a neutral grip, palms facing each other, back of left hand to the target (for a right, sorry lefties), left thumb - 1 o'clock, right thumb - 11 o'clock, and a firm, not tight grip. Am I missing something or is there a wider difference that I am not seeing.

Thanks all.

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on


You are not missing anything. I have learned both ways and often switch between them with no ill effect. It mostly depends on which wrist is weaker at any particular moment. If my left wrist cups as I lift the club after gripping it with my left hand at the side, I switch to holding the club with my right hand at waist level while I adjust the grip of my left hand. As you said, either way the hands get to the same place on the club at the same point. With some golfers, it is the optical illusion of determining when the club face is perpendicular to the target line. In my case, I don't finalize my grip on the club until I have lifted the shaft to horizontal with either hand.

beaglegolf's picture

Submitted by beaglegolf on

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the reply. being new to the Swing Surgeon site and new to the game, I have been devouring as much information as I can. Between the Fundamental Series that I purchased (hope to purchase more videos), Don's email tips, the Swing Surgeon blog, and of course everything on You Tube, I want to make sure I pick up on everything. Especially the most important fundamentals. One of them of course being the grip. Thank you for verifying what I thought I understood. At first I was a little concerned. Trying to absorb as much as I can from Don's videos, then along comes a daily tip that goes against it kind of made me nervous. But as I watched (multiple times), I came to the same conclusion as you. I will go on holding the club with my right, pointing the club to my left hip and taking my grip. As I become more comfortable, maybe I will be god with starting point being at my side. I do think, correct me if I am wrong, if you're not careful using the side starting point, you could develop a strong (stronger) grip. I guess the main and most important point is no matter where you start from, finish right, as in a neutral grip.

Thanks again Kevin.


Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

I agree the difference is subtle and for most minimal and would end up with similar results. I too will stick with the right hand first, step in with the right foot add the left foot and then then add the left hand while holding the club butt toward the left hip and then complete grip by sliding the right hand into it's snug home with the overlap position.
I main thing for me is to build a repetitive routine. Making H is all part of being consistent when setting up. Once it is a routine it becomes one less thing to think about. I am at the point now where my major thought process is no longer the mechanics of the set up and swing but what kind of shot I want to see and visualizing the results. It takes a while to get there but you will with time.
From time to time I will go over all the basics including grip to see if I'm still good. Fundamentals are key. Keep up the good work!

beaglegolf's picture

Submitted by beaglegolf on

Hey Robert,

Thanks for the comments. Yes, the fundamentals are the building blocks to consistency, confidence, and give you the ability to let the swing happen naturally.

I am actually watching the videos that I purchased. I am almost done but I am sure that I will watch them many more times. I also hope to purchase more of Don's videos (including your suggestion of Junior Blueprint). I just need to concentrate and absorb as much as I can. I have my club so that I can practice the grip and the swing. I will probably try to incorporate something I read that Hank Haney preaches. He says the best advice that he can give anybody is to take 100 swings a day. It just makes you feel comfortable with the club in your hands and the way you move your body. He says it can be as important, if not more important than just whacking balls at the range.

I know that eventually (I hope) things will just start to click. Right now, especially coming from trying to learn a conventional swing, and Don's swing being so different, it's a little slow sinking in. Things like, it looks like in the setup Don has the butt of the club pointing towards his left hip. When I see DJ setup, looks like he has the club pointing towards the belt buckle (belly button). Bringing the club back to the catcher's mitt (toe up, relative to body lean) and lifting the club up vertically from the toe line is pretty clear. I watch the videos and try to picture a clock in front of Don (facing him). I sometimes see the club perfectly vertical at 12 o'clock. Other times, it looks more like the club points to 11 o'clock. Might be my imagination, maybe not. But once again, I guess the most important thing is that the hands (arms) are not behind the toe line, even if the club is slightly.

I just have to continue watching and try and pick up things little by little.

Thanks for all your help, opinions, and advice Robert.


Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I'm not sure exactly what you are saying in the last paragraph so just in case you are looking at "vertical" and the clock in the wrong way:

The club is "vertical" (or close to it) from a down the line view, nothing to do with a face on view. Surge usually goes across the line at the top just a little so his club is just past 12:00 o'clock from the down the line view (like 12:05).

From a face on view the club is somewhere between 1:00 and 2:00 o'clock (with 3:00 o'clock being parallel).

beaglegolf's picture

Submitted by beaglegolf on

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the help. I totally understand the face on view that you you just explained. So looking from face on the club is not perfectly vertical (12 o'clock). It goes a little past (the 1 to 2 o'clock range). I am guessing that this is due to the fact that momentum carries the club a little further at the top, even when you try to stop it.

I probably confused you or explained the down the line view. I was placing the clock in front of Surge. Like he was swinging at the clock. So I am thinking that 12 o'clock is where the club is perfectly upright from the toe line as Surge mentions in his videos. I am not saying that his hands -arms are in the grave yard. They are definitely at the toe line. But maybe it's my imagination , but the club (club head) is slightly pointing to 11 o'clock. If we want to use minutes (which might be better because it's such a slight variation), it's like at 11:57. I hope I am explaining correctly. Again, it might be that I am wrong.

Thanks Steve. I really appreciate the help.


Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Hmmm. Not sure what video you looked at but Surge is pretty consistently in this position at the top (at least from everything I've seen, and I've seen about everything available).

BTW. Two other points:

The hands are more like even with the front of the ankle. The left upper arm is what shouldn't go behind the toe line.

Be careful of camera angles. In this video the camera is out around the ball/target line (which is not a very good place to film a golf swing). The camera should be more on the toe line. With the camera out that far everything extending back in the backswing (club, arms, and hands) will automatically look deeper than they are.

beaglegolf's picture

Submitted by beaglegolf on

Hi Steve,

Thanks again. I'll take another look. As i said, I could be wrong. I am new to the game and to PPGS. I will continue to watch my videos, the videos on the blog, and of course all the You Tube videos. I am sure that you are right, as you know the swing and all it's intricacies. I n checking all the information I have, I am sure that I will find what I need with the right camera angles.

Thanks for the link you provided and all your help. It's much appreciated.