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Mark Wickenden

by Q: Was switching my grip a good idea....

Q: I'm a 9 handicap and last Dec. was very frustrated after a poor weekend golf outing. On returning to Atlanta, I decided I would switch from an interlocking grip on the driver to a 10-finger grip. I did this on the spur of the moment on the first tee box with no practice. The results were immediate and positive, with longer and straighter ball flight. I have not switched back and 4 weeks ago went to a ten-finger grip with all the clubs except the putter. I've had better than average results but am beginning to not know where the ball is going. The ball flight is left, straight, and right. Solid contact seems to be more difficult to achieve especially off the grass. I sense I am hitting the ball as opposed to swinging. My question is, was making this switch a good idea? I am a tennis pro and I think bringing the right hand into the release of the club seemed to feel good to me, like a forehand topspin crosscourt. Thanks for a response.   - Alan Hartley

G'day Alan - sorry to hear you are having consistency problems at the moment. I would recommend going back to the interlocking grip or to even try the overlapping grip. As a tennis pro, I'm sure your right hand and arm is the stronger of the two and the 10 finger grip tends to allow the right hand/arm to dominate. Going back to interlocking or overlapping will make your right hand 'weaker' on the grip and you will be less likely to 'release' the club early which may be the cause of those 'less than solid' shots off grass. I believe also that the 10-finger grip is a contributing factor in the feeling that you are hitting at the ball rather than swinging through to your target. Focus on getting your body rotating on the downswing, finishing with all your weight into your left side, facing the target with 'perfect' balance. By rotating through with your body, you should achieve a natural release of the clubhead, rather than a conscious, manufactured release with the hands. Ultimately though, the purpose of the grip is to return the clubface to a 'square' impact position, and judging from your erratic ball flight, the 10 finger grip hasn't achieved this for you. Hope this helps Alan, I'll be happy to check out your grip next time you visit Cobblestone.
- Mark Wickenden, Head Pro, Formely @ Cobblestone GC

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