Is The Overlap Golf Grip Still The “Gold Standard”?

Did you know that the overlap golf grip was made popular in the late 1800s by a golf legend named Harry Vardon? 

That’s why lots of folks refer to the overlap golf grip as the Vardon Grip. Before the overlap golf grip came around, most golfers used the baseball grip (also known as the ten-finger grip).

Our goal with this article is to give you more information about the overlap grip. Learn more about the pros and cons of the overlap golf grip to understand if it’s the right grip for you.

 

What is The Overlap Grip in Golf?

To use an overlapping grip, place the shaft of the golf club in both of your hands. Make sure that the handle is more in the fingers instead of the palm of each hand. Regardless of whether you use a strong, neutral, or weak grip, take the right pinky finger and rest it between the left middle finger and left index finger. It’s called the overlap grip because the right pinkie overlaps the left hand.

The overlap golf grip is highly popular amongst amateurs and beginners because it’s so comfortable. If you were to purchase a lesson from a golf instructor, the odds are he or she will teach you the overlap grip. This grip itself is considered easy to teach and learn.

Popular PGA Tour legends like Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer both achieved a high level of success with the overlap golf grip. Both Hogan and Palmer were able to bomb the ball off the tee while using this grip.

 

Pros and Cons of The Overlap Grip

There is no one size fits all approach to finding the right grip for your unique golf swing. Each golf grip has its own set of pros and cons and the overlap grip is no different. Just because a certain grip style works for your playing partner doesn’t mean it will work for you and your swing.

Here’s a brief list of the advantages and disadvantages of the overlap grip. Hopefully, this list will help you decide whether or not to try out the overlap grip.

Pro #1: Works Well for Golfers with Large Hands

Some golf grips are hard for golfers with large hands to execute properly. This is not the case with the overlap grip, as it unites the hands together as one unit but still allows the wrists to have plenty of freedom. 

More wrist freedom can lead to more power and distance off the tee. Who doesn’t love hitting the golf ball further?

Pro #2: Comfort Level

The overlap grip provides golfers with a high level of comfort, which is vitally important to creating a smooth golf swing. Some golfers feel that the 10-finger grip or the interlocking grip creates too much tension in the hands. 

Any unnecessary tension in the wrists or hands can lead to reduced clubhead speed and less distance. Many golfers find that the overlap grip helps to keep the tension in their hands to a minimum.

Con #1: Too Much Wrist Freedom

Wrist freedom in the golf swing is a good thing, as long as the golfer doesn’t overuse the wrists. Golfers with exceptionally strong hands may be tempted to over-rotate the wrists in an attempt to create more distance. When this happens, the golfer tries to whip the club through the hitting zone instead of simply making a smooth swing.

This can lead to lots of inaccurate shots and some mounting frustration. If you are using the overlap grip but experiencing lots of wayward tee shots, consider using an interlocking grip to calm your overactive hands down a bit.

Con #2: Less Control for Golfers with Small Hands

Golfers with smaller hands may not like the overlap grip as they may feel like it doesn’t give them enough control of the golf club. 

That is why lots of golf instructors advise golfers with small hands to use the interlocking grip instead of the overlap grip, as it provides a bit more control.

 

Is This The Grip That Most Pro Golfers Use?

Yes, the overlap grip is used by most PGA Tour pros. Some studies suggest that as many as 90% of golfers on the PGA Tour use an overlapping grip. 

The overlap golf grip has been the choice for most pros for several decades. We don’t see that trend changing any time soon.

 

Difference Between The Overlap Grip and Interlocking Grip

Outside of the overlap grip, the interlocking grip is the next most popular golf grip.

Golf-Grip-Interlocking-Overlapping

No one knows who invented the interlocking grip but it has been around the game of golf for quite some time. Some folks say that the interlocking grip first came onto the golf scene way back in the 1930s. 

The Golden Bear Jack Nicklaus used the interlocking grip while winning his PGA Tour record 18 major championships. Nicklaus is only 5-10 and he has small hands so it makes sense that his golf instructor taught him the interlocking grip as a young kid. Nicklaus has said that the interlocking grip gave him a greater sense of security while swinging the golf club.

Tiger Woods, the winner of 15 major titles, also uses the interlocking grip. Woods idolized Jack Nicklaus when he was younger so that’s why he decided to use the interlocking grip. Woods has said that the interlocking grip gives him more control of the club head at impact.

PGA Tour phenom Rory McIlroy also uses the interlocking grip. The Northern Ireland native has won 20 PGA Tour events including four major championships. 

The main difference between the overlap grip and the interlocking grip is the placement of the pinkie finger of the right hand. With the overlap grip, the right pinkie simply rests on top of the left hand between the index and middle fingers.

However, with the interlocking grip, the right pinkie locks in between the index finger and middle fingers. This keeps the hands locked together throughout the entire golf swing. Some golfers feel like they have more control of the golf club with this grip.

 

So… Which Grip is Better?

This is a very difficult question to answer. The overlap is the most popular choice for PGA Tour players but the interlocking grip has been used by the two of the best golfers of all time. Both grips can be considered a proper golf grip.

Think about what you need to do to improve as a golfer. Do you need more wrist freedom and power? Use the overlap grip. Do you need more control over the golf club? Go with the interlocking grip.

Do you have a hard time keeping both hands on the golf club throughout your swing? If so, try out the interlocking grip for more control. Since the two hands are locked together, holding onto the golf club with each hand will be much easier.

Are you a golfer with large hands who finds the interlocking grip to be too uncomfortable? If that is the case, try out a different grip like the overlap golf grip to give your hands a little more freedom during the swing. This little bit of extra freedom may end up giving you a few more yards with your driver.

We hate to say that one grip is better than any other because so much of golf comes down to personal preference and comfort. If you are just starting to play golf, the best thing you can do is try out each golf grip on the driving range and stick with whichever one gives you the best results.

 

Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with sports for over 30 years. He's been an avid golfer for more than 10 years and is obsessed with watching the Golf Channel and taking notes on a daily basis. He also holds a degree in Sports Psychology.