The overlapping grip (also known as the Vardon grip) is the most commonly employed set up by an amateur golfer.
However, there is more than one way to hold a golf club; other options include the interlock and baseball grip. In this article, I highlight the 7 common problems caused by an interlocking grip.
After reading this, you will understand why the Vardon grip is preferred to the interlocking golf grip. Although the latter worked for Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus, it is a hard handle for beginners to master.
7 Common Problems Caused by an Interlocking Golf Grip
1. Grip Pressure
Applying sufficient pressure to your golf club’s grip enables you to produce adequate clubhead speed and power on the downswing. In addition, it helps you keep your club on plane to execute accurate shots.
However, when you get it wrong, you lose control of the club, which impacts power and your swing path. Therefore, you produce inaccurate shots and fewer yards.
Strengthening your grip pressure positions you to close your clubface through impact, which can cause a hook. A solid grip also restricts your wrist hinge, disabling you from maximizing power through the back and downswing.
When you strengthen an interlocking grip, both palms face outwards, which is easy to identify at address. If you see this, step away from the golf ball and reboot your pre-shot routine.
On the contrary, insufficient pressure loosens the hold of your right index and middle finger. This reduces your clubhead speed and makes it challenging to square the clubface up at impact. As a result, you leave the face open, which prompts left-to-right sidespin from a right-handed golfer. This motion sends your ball slicing into the right rough.
2. Lack of Control
A lack of control stems from the poor grip pressure of the golf club. I regularly notice that amateur golfers struggle to control the golf club when employing an interlock grip for that exact reason. Now, this is not the grip’s fault; it means that the golfer did not set up correctly.
Casual golfers that grip the club excessively tight tend to close the clubface at contact leading to consistent hooks. Conversely, those operating with a weak trailing hand will struggle to generate sufficient swing speed and often leave the face open at impact. This causes a loss of distance and consistent slices.
3. Limited Wrist Hinge
A firm grip hampers your wrist’s ability to hinge on your backswing and downswing. This restriction minimizes your power and clubhead speed, resulting in a loss of distance. In addition, the inability to hinge your wrists makes it challenging to get your clubface square for contact.
4. Open Clubface at Impact
An issue that a weak interlock grip cause is an open clubface through impact. The reduced control of the golf club prevents you from closing it on the downswing to bring it square at impact.
Therefore, your clubface remains open to the target line through contact. The angle of the clubface at impact encourages left to right ball flight for a right-handed golfer. In other words, you produce a fade when executed correctly. The worst-case scenario is a slice.
5. Loss of Clubhead Speed
To avoid deeply interlocking fingers, amateurs weaken their trail hand. This is done by rotating your right hand around the grip until you can see the back of it. That creates a v-shape that aligns with your left shoulder.
Operating with this hold on the golf club reduces your control and the number of fingers touching the grip. This reduces your stability on the downswing to spawn the necessary energy for a long golf shot.
Besides the loss of club speed and lack of control, the interlocking grip is uncomfortable, especially when you have larger hands. Contrarily, golfers with smaller hands feel that the interlock offers the most sealed grip.
However, the issue I have with the interlock is that it does not feel natural. No matter how many times I have tried to use it, it does not feel comfortable. The club either feels too loose in my hands, or I feel as if my right hand is strangling the left one.
7. Blisters on The Webbing of Your Finger
Playing with a firm interlock grip can cause blisters and cuts on the webbing between your right pinky and ring finger. The pressure and friction of your glove on this delicate skin prompt blisters.
In addition, the synthetic leather of your golf glove can scratch or cut your skin. No matter how brave you are, a cut in the webbing of your finger is unbearable. I learned that lesson when I was six, and a leather cricket ball cut deep into my webbing between my right thumb and index finger.
How to Address These Problems
Eradicating the deep interlock problem is an easy fix. It simply requires an adjustment of the point where your right pinkie locks between your left ring and index finger. A deep lock sees you push your pinky, all the way, into the webbing between the left index and middle finger.
This is uncomfortable and a fast way to hamper wrist hinge, boost discomfort, and increase blisters and cuts. Simply place your right pinkie higher up, closer to the joint of your left index finger, to overcome this.
Interlocking at this point brings your hands closer together, which enables them to work in unison and produce an optimal shot.
The Golf Doctor demonstrates where the optimal point to overlap or interlock this. This will help you achieve the desired pressure and hand positioning:
Ultimately, the solution is simple, interlock your right pinkie at the point of your left index finger joint. This will loosen the grip slightly, increasing your comfort and boosting the freedom of your wrists.
Neutral Trail Hand
Opposite to the deep interlock issue is a weak trail hand. Golfers often weaken the trail hand to combat the strong grip caused by deep interlocking. A light trail hand occurs when you rotate your right hand around until you can see the back of it.
This weakens your grip and causes some of your fingers to relinquish their handle. A weaker grip often causes golfers to leave the clubface open through impact, resulting in a slice.
Overcoming a weaker trail hand requires rotating your right hand anti-clockwise. In other words, you twist your right hand around the grip until you see your thumb running down the grip. This creates a neutral grip position for your trail hand, increasing your comfort and control over the golf club.
A neutral position makes it easier for you to generate maximum clubhead speed and square your clubface up at impact. Therefore, you give yourself the best chance of producing straight, long golf shots.
Rest The Tip of The Right Pinky Finger in The Webbing
The final solution to mastering an interlocking grip is the position of the tip of your pinky finger. Most amateurs tend to guide the tip of their right pinky finger to the knuckle of their left index finger.
Amateurs typically do this for an overlapping and interlocking grip. However, this setup causes your right index and ring finger to lift off the grip. This means you have two fewer fingers controlling the club, which impacts your power and stability.
The simple solution to this issue is to guide the tip of your right pinky into the webbing between your left index and middle finger. Keeping your pinkie in this spot allows you to keep the right index and middle finger on the grip.
As a result, you are now prepared to produce maximum clubhead speed and keep your clubface on path. That means you have a higher chance of delivering a more extended, straighter golf shot.