The most common faults in the grip are holding the club entirely in the fingers of the left hand, placing the left hand too much on top of the shaft, and getting the right hand under the shaft.
An all-finger grip and getting the left hand on top, so that four knuckles show, go together. It’s almost impossible to hold the club entirely in the fingers of the left, without getting the left on top of the shaft.
When dropping the right hand lower and lower, some people feel they will get more power.
Well, they are all wrong and they go a long way toward ruining what might be a good shot. When the club is held entirely in the fingers of the left hand and that hand is on top of the shaft with three or four knuckles showing, there is an overpowering tendency to roll that hand over to the left as the club comes into the ball at impact. When this happens the face of the club is turned over and closed, or hooded. The result is a bad smother or hook. That is what happens with some players.
The all-finger, left-hand-on-top position leads to another fault. It has a strong tendency to make the player bend the left hand back at the top of the swing and get the left wrist under the shaft. This opens the face at the top, and it must then be closed on the downswing. With the body and shoulder action most players have, plus their fear of getting the face closed too much, this is seldom accomplished. Hence we have what is by far the most common and exasperating bad shot of them all – the slice.
Another move is for the player to try to hold the face of the club from turning as it goes through the ball. Then you see the lifting, lofting action which is so common, with the player trying to hold the face square long after it has hit the ball. This is a good way to bring on a slice.
When the right hand is dropped low, the faults of the left are compounded, for a low right hand tends to roll over at impact. The poor player may switch from slicing to smothering and go for several holes without getting the ball more than a few feet off the ground. This, we need hardly remind you, is a horrible experience.
On any course and in almost any foursome you will see many peculiar stances. Most of them are not fundamentally bad, except for one thing: standing with an “open” body. This means, simply, that although the feet are in a perfectly square position (an equal distance from the direction line), the hips and the shoulders are facing a little to the left.
These players are, in effect, aiming to the left of their target without realizing it.
You need hardly be reminded of the damage this can do. The player develops a pull to his shots, the ball starting out a shade to the left and, if it doesn’t slice, staying to the left. There are usually just as much rough and as many traps to the left of a fairway or green as there are to the right, and the chronic puller is sure to find most of them.
There are other bad positions, such as bending over too much, standing too far from the ball, having the weight too far forward, and so on, but the “open” body is by all odds the most common fault the average player has in the stance department.
Let us turn now to the positive side and take the positions that will help so much to give us a square face at impact, a straight ball that goes where we aim it, and fewer shots.
Actually there is nothing mysterious about the grip. We merely want the club held in a certain way, a way that will help bring it to the top in the position we want and which will help bring it back to the ball at the correct angle to the line of flight.