The world of golf is split into two primary grips: overlapping (aka Vardon grip) and interlocking.
Which you use should primarily come down to preference and feel. If you’re not quite sure which you should commit to, let’s compare these two grip styles to help you make a decision.
Before we get into describing each grip, let’s take a visual look at how they compare:
Table of Contents
- The Overlap Grip
- Pros and Cons of The Overlap Grip
- The Interlock Grip
- Pros and Cons of The Interlock Grip
- Another Potential Grip Option – The Ten finger Grip
- So… Which Grip is Better?
The Overlap Grip
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.
Some studies suggest that as many as 90% of golfers on the PGA Tour use an overlapping grip. 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.
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.
The Interlock Grip
An interlock golf grip is a popular grip and it has been around for quite some time. Lots of amateur and professional golfers swear that the interlocking grip is great for making the hands act as one unit. Here’s how the grip works:
- Put the shaft of the golf club in both your left hand and right hand.
- Take your right pinky finger and lock it in between your left index finger and middle finger.
- Be sure to wrap your right index finger around the handle of the golf club to make sure the left thumb doesn’t slip off the handle.
- If you’ve performed the grip correctly, your right thumb will be pointing straight down the shaft.
Pros and Cons of The Interlock Grip
Here is a shortlist of advantages that the interlock golf grip provides. Keep in mind though that making any type of grip change can take quite a while to get used to.
Pro #1: It Makes the Hands Act As One Unit
A common problem for golfers is that their dominant hand wants to take over their entire golf swing. When this happens, the golfer’s clubhead speed is reduced, which means he’ll lose lots of yardage with his shots.
Since the interlock golf grip locks the hands together, it becomes almost impossible for one hand to dominate the golf swing. This leads to a more controlled swing, as the two hands working together in unison make it easier for the golfer to square the clubface.
Pro #2. Keeps the Hands from Slipping
Have you ever had your hands keep flying off the golf club during your backswing? Needless to say, it is super frustrating. Slippage tends to occur when golfers use the baseball grip (AKA the 10-finger grip) since the hands are not linked together in any way.
The interlocking golf grip makes sure that the hands stay on the golf club throughout the entire golf swing. This gives the golfer peace of mind, knowing that he doesn’t have to worry about his hands slipping down the shaft.
Con #1. Not Ideal for Golfers with Large Hands
The interlock golf grip is an excellent choice for golfers with smaller hands. Jack Nicklaus had small hands and he was adamant that the interlocking grip helped him keep a better grip on the golf club.
Golfers with larger hands will find this grip to feel uncomfortable and awkward.
Con #2. Can Impede Wrist Movement
While you do get the benefit of the hands acting as one unit, you might also notice reduced wrist movement with this grip. That can unfortunately lead to less total distance on your strikes.
Another Potential Grip Option – The Ten finger Grip
This is also known as the baseball grip. This golf grip was the most widely used before the overlap grip burst onto the golf scene back in the late 1800s. The ten-finger golf grip is the simplest way to learn that all ten fingers rest comfortably on the club at the same time.
The 10-finger grip is a popular choice amongst kids and beginners. Some golfers feel that the 10-finger grip is the most comfortable option. This grip is rarely seen on the PGA Tour for a variety of reasons.
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.