The Must-Know Pros and Cons of a Strong Golf Swing

Talk to Jack Nicklaus, and he will tell you that the motorcycle grip is hurting your game. The Golden Bear knows what he is talking about, but it has worked for several great players throughout history. Therefore, in this post, I analyze the pros and cons of a strong golf grip.

I will explain how a stronger grip boosts your clubhead speed and promotes a draw. Conversely, we will look at the downside of this setup.

 

Pros of a Strong Golf Grip

Increases Power

The average golfer should be pleased to note that a tight golf grip boosts power during your swing. The extra forefingers on the golf club equip you with the control to accelerate clubhead speed and generate a powerful strike through impact.

As a result, it increases your chance of transferring that energy to the dimples for maximum ball speed. This launches the golf ball into the air and promotes maximum distance.

Promotes A Draw Shape

The second positive of a strong grip is the pleasing shape of your shots. Golf coach Steve Johnston explains that this setup prompts an in-to-out swing creating a closed club face leading into contact. This generates the sidespin required for a draw. In other words, your ball curves from right to left as a right-hand golfer or left to right for a lefty:

A draw can enhance the control of each shot. You can replicate your setup and bank on the ball flying to the left. Therefore, you produce consistent results.

However, a draw is specifically efficient on doglegs or in wind. If you are a right-hander, you can employ this shape for a right to the left-hand dogleg or a breeze in the same direction. Furthermore, it enables you to play with the obstacles and not against them.

Low Ball Flight

The angle of the closed clubface at impact promotes a lower trajectory than when you use a weak grip. A strong grip prompts you to operate with a forward press setup. This means that your hands are ahead of the ball, positioning you to strike the ball with a closed face.

Closing your face at impact delofts the club and leads to a lower launching ball. That benefits golfers who tend to produce excess spin and balloon their shots. In addition, it helps you reduce the impact of the breeze when you are playing into the wind.

Finally, a lower trajectory means the ball is carrying less backspin rpm. The advantage of this outcome is that your ball creates optimal forward roll, to continue running once it lands. This boosts your total distance, especially on dry, firm fairways.

Less Spin

Closing the angle of your clubface at impact helps you reduce backspin rpm. This is ideal for windy conditions and golfers who naturally generate excess spin. The stronger lofted clubface takes spin off your ball, resulting in a low launch.

Increased Distance

Increased clubhead speed and power improve your ability to pass that velocity onto the golf ball. Achieving that helps you launch your dimpled ball far down the fairway.

This grip sends your ball along a lower trajectory which creates forward momentum. As a result, your ball hits the ground rolling to increase your total distance.

 

Cons of a Strong Golf Grip

Hooks

There are few things prettier than a well-executed draw. Unfortunately, closing your clubface through impact raises the risk of hooking your ball into the woods. This tops the list of disadvantages of a strong golf grip.

If your rhythm and tempo are off, it can lead to you closing the clubface relative to your target. Your ball starts off traveling towards your marker before hooking viciously to the left.

 

Rick Shiels explains that one of his students would open his clubface at address to compensate for the imminent right to left shape. However, his strong left-hand still caused the face to close and the ball to travel left:

The point is that a hook shape is challenging to shake if you lack control of the club with a firm grip.

Reduced Control

It sounds strange that a fastened hold on your club reduces control. However, it limits the ability of some golfers to keep the club on plane for an accurate strike. That is why amateurs produce erratic hooks. On the contrary, weak golf grips cause players to leave their clubface open to your swing path, prompting slices.

Lower Launch

Low ball flight is welcomed in windy conditions and by players who generate excess backspin at impact. The opposite goes for those with slow swing speeds. A low launch and reduced spin results in a loss of carry and total distance.

You may get lucky on dry courses where the ball runs free, but manicured layouts are a different ball game. These golf courses have lush fairways and rough that reduce roll. Therefore, a loss of carry distance will leave you well back from where you need to be.

 

Who Should Use This Style of Grip?

Serial Slicers

Amateurs commonly struggle with slices. They leave the clubface open to the target at contact, generating a clockwise sidespin. This means your ball will fly from left to right for right-handers, with the opposite result for lefties.

Strengthening the grip helps these golfers combat their open clubface predicament. Plus, it prompts a draw flight. The risk of this approach is setting yourself up for a hook.

Distance Seekers

Golfers seeking extra yards in your game should hit a few balls with a strong grip. The increased power and clubhead speed generation boosts your chances of producing rapid ball speed and optimal distance.

High Spin Generators

Producing excess backspin rpm on long game shots is detrimental to your total yardage. The additional spin sends your ball higher into the sky and immediately back to earth. The steep descent angle causes your ball to land softly and stop rapidly.

These qualities are desirable for short iron and wedge shots but not in your long game. Tightening your grip promotes a delofted clubface at impact, which reduces backspin. As a result, you produce piercing ball flight for maximum control and distance.

Windy Conditions

A tight grip is worth considering when you are playing in windy conditions. It is in your interests to keep the ball low and take the wind out of play. The reduced loft of your clubface at contact helps you to fly the ball under the radar to maximize yardage in these conditions.

 

Golf Pros Who Use a Strong Grip

What do Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, and David Duval have in common? Sure, they all won Major titles, but they are bonded by their strong golf grip.

Ben Hogan also operated with a tight grip at the start of his career. He later adjusted it to represent a neutral setup.

 

Is it Better to Have A Strong Grip?

Despite a handful of positives emanating from a strong grip, the reality is it is not the best setup to employ. A neutral position with fewer visible knuckles is where you should start. This creates the best platform for you to keep your clubhead on path and square the face at impact.

However, if a neutral grip causes you to slice your ball, a tight hold helps you compensate for an open clubface at contact. Strengthening your grip encourages the club to strike the ball with a closed face, promoting a right-to-left shape. Therefore, in that instance, the motorbike grip is better.

Furthermore, golfers who balloon their shots with a weaker grip should test a tighter setup. The closed clubface through impact works to reduce backspin rpm and deliver piercing ball flight. This improves your control and increases your distance.

 

Does A Strong Grip Promote A Draw?

A fastened grip tends to induce an inside-out golf swing, which causes you to close your clubface relative to your swing path. This angle generates a counterclockwise spin, sending the ball left to right for left-handers and the opposite for right-handed golfers.

However, a firm grip does not guarantee a draw. If your rhythm and tempo are off, the clubface could close relative to the target and deliver a hook.

 

How do I know if my grip is too strong?

Rick Shiels suggests that it is easy to identify whether your grip is firm. If the back part of your left hand is visible as a right-hander, it is the first sign of a tight grip. Furthermore, your right hand is typically placed too far underneath. In other words, no knuckles are visible on the right mitt:

Besides, following Shiel’s advice, you can tell from pure feel is your grip is too tight. Plus, your knuckles may be turning white.

 

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.