Driver Grip vs Iron Grip: Should It Change Based on Club?

Talk to any golf coach, and they will tell you that the root of your issue stems from your grip, posture, and ball position. In this post, I take you through the intricacies of the different types of grip and explain why you should employ the duplicate driver grip vs an iron grip.

I intend to help you better understand the different grips and strengths and how they impact your swing path, club plane, power, and accuracy. After reading this article, you’ll notice that consistency is gold and that leaving your grip unchanged ensures a smooth transition between woods and irons.

I suggest bookmarking our guide to proper golf grips to improve your control, accuracy, and power during your golf swing.

 

Quick Overview of The Different Types of Grips

Before I dive into the best grip for driver and iron shots, let me introduce you to the predominant setups and strengths. Besides explaining how to operate each hold, I will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each setup.

Grip Setups

Overlap grip

overlapping grip

The overlap or Vardon grip is the grip that I see most players employing as coaches promote it. It offers a controlled hold of the golf club. Let me explain how you would prepare for a shot with this grip if you are right-handed.

Steps:

  1. Grab the base of the grip with your left hand, and leave your index finger off the grip as if you were pointing a firearm.
  2. Wrap your left index finger around the grip
  3. Place your right hand underneath the left
  4. Rest your right pinky finger on your left index knuckle

Interlocking

interlocking grip

An interlocking grip is the least common setup among amateurs, but Jack Nicklaus always used it, and clearly, it works. This setup is said to work best for golfers with smaller hands, who struggle to gain a solid handle on the club using Vardon’s approach.

Steps:

  1. Grab the base of the grip with your left hand, and use the firearm approach I suggested with the overlap.
  2. Wrap your left index finger around the club’s grip
  3. Guide the pinky finger on your lower hand through the webbing between your left index and middle fingers.

Baseball

10 finger grip

The baseball or ten-finger grip allows for comfortable hand placement when you are just starting out. Or, in my case, 28 years later. It is a grip that most coaches dismiss because the incorrect pressure can prompt your hands to operate independently and send the clubface off the path during swings.

Steps:

  1. Grab the base of the grip with your left hand, and ensure that all five fingers touch the rubber.
  2. Grip the lower portion of the handle with your right hand
  3. Ensure your knuckles on both hands align with one another

 

Grip Strength

Neutral

Golf-Grip-Neutral

The golden standard of strength and a golf coach’s best friend is the neutral grip, designed to help golfers deliver improved accuracy. When your hands are positioned neutrally, you’ll notice that the V-shape created from the webbing between your thumb and index finger align on both hands.

Weak

weak grip

A weak or closed grip occurs when the back of your right hand is visible at the address. Essentially it removes most of your left hand from the line of sight. Now, a weak grip is not to be confused with the level of tension in your hands. You should always have a lighter grip pressure.

You’ll see that a weak grip means that your right-hand covers your left hand. In other words, you rotate your right hand clockwise from the neutral position.

When you leave your right hand closed, you reduce the wrist hinge making it impossible to turn your hands over through impact. You’ll find it causes you to clubface open at impact and slice or push your golf ball into trouble.

An open clubface, coupled with an outside-in swing path, causes you to cut across the ball at impact and send your ball flying right of the target.

Cutting across the golf ball with an open clubface will cause your ball to travel right of the target. In addition, you may struggle to square your face up and leave it closed, prompting a nasty hook.

Strong

Strong grip

You create a strong grip by rotating your right hand anti-clockwise from the neutral position until your palm faces away from you. This is also described by coaches as an open grip because the palm of your hand is open, and faces your chest.

Many golfers feel that this grip helps them boost power for optimal clubhead and ball speed. However, it is a common reason amateur golfers slice their golf balls all over the course.

A strong grip is not all bad and clearly works for Dustin Johnson, but it caused me to play with a fade for most of my junior years. Instead of fixing it, I compensated by aiming further to the right and allowing the ball to fade back toward my target.

 

Should You Use a Different Grip Between Your Driver and Irons?

No, you best not use different golf club grips for your driver and irons to ensure consistency and a smooth transition between your stronger and mid-loft golf clubs. When you employ a different iron grip to a driver grip, it may lead to varying swing paths and ball flight, making it a challenge to produce consistency.

The only golf clubs where I would permit a change in your grip setup is with a putter. Feel, feedback, and bullseye accuracy is the order of the day. You achieve this by restricting wrist movement on putts.

Besides the conventional left-hand high and right-hand low, the claw, saw, left-hand low, and wrist-lock grip is used on the dancefloor.

 

Which Grip is Best for a Driver?

A neutral setup is the best golf grip for a driver, as it sets you up to produce a controlled swing path and straighter golf shots. It is irrelevant whether you use an interlocking, overlapping, or baseball grip as long as your strength is neutral.

You may feel like your neutral approach costs you clubhead speed, coefficient of restitution, and ball velocity. In this case, I recommend that you try a stronger grip. Remember, although it may help your swing speed, it can cause you to leave your clubface open at impact and slice or push your shots.

Now, for those experienced players who have found success using alternative methods, you are proof that there is no one size fits all approach. This article is to help beginners get ahead and limit the number of bad habits the rest of us have picked up over the years.

 

Which Grip is Best for Irons?

Like your driver, I advise using a neutral grip for irons to encourage direct ball flight and lower the risk of producing a hook or slice. If you set up for a draw, you may consider tightening your grip by rotating it anti-clockwise slightly to help you close the clubface faster.

Conversely, when you wish to play a fade with your irons, you can weaken your grip by moving it clockwise to slightly conceal your left hand. Remember, this is a game of inches, and rotating it too much can lead to a savage slice.

 

Which Grip is The Best For Putting?

As a traditionalist, I support utilizing the conventional reverse overlap setup, which requires the opposite placement to a full-swing Vardon grip. With this grip, your left index finger sits on the knuckle of your lower right hand, switching roles. You’ll find that this setup restricts wrist movement for straighter putts.

Another option is the low left-hand approach or right-hand low for lefties. Instead of your setup for full shots, you place your left hand at the bottom of the grip while the right hand anchors at the base. You’ll find that this grip promotes less tension and wrist action to keep your putter face square at contact.

Finally, golfers also use the saw or claw variants, which Mark O’Meara popularized in the nineties. You literally hold the putter as if you were holding a saw or have a claw, which restricts moving your wrists to keep your club online during your stroke.

 

Which Grip is Best to Hit a Draw?

Our guide has highlighted that a stronger grip is your best bet to hit a draw because it helps you close the clubface faster at impact.

However, be careful not to over-strengthen your grip because this can rapidly turn your draw into a snap hook and lead you down the path of trouble. In addition, ensure that you are aiming to the right of your target to compensate for the proposed right curve.

 

Which Grip is Best to Hit a Fade?

Contrary to a draw, a fade requires a slightly weaker grip setup, which will help you propel the club on an out-to-in swing path. You’ll notice that this leads to your clubface slicing across the ball while remaining open to the line and sending your ball on a left-to-right trajectory.

Finally, ensure that you are set up left of your proposed target to prepare for the fade, or you will end up right of the mark.

 

Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years.