Now, I’d like to share another example of when you don’t want the “do what I say, not what I do” philosophy and show why many people don’t ever improve their ball-striking, whatever they are trying to do to get there.
It’s because the grip, or how you hold the club, is an intensely personal thing. It will also hold you back if you’re not trying to implement a standard neutral grip, unless you have some physical condition that prevents you doing so.
And please don’t talk about Paul Azinger, about whom it has always been said that he was told in high school or college to run away from any coach trying to change his grip.
Well, you won’t see ANY other golfer anywhere the top levels of golf with that kind of grip he used, so he’s the example proving the rule, and also – whatever success he had on Tour with that grip, we’ll never know how he would have done with a proper grip and the innate talent he possessed and the skills he developed.
Back to the grip – I could tell looking at my swing videos that, while I was preaching the neutral grip, I wasn’t getting it perfectly myself.
What can I say? I’m human and therefore flawed, and it was the age-old “it just feels more comfortable this way” issue.
So, during the winter hiatus, I decided to make myself get used to the new grip, knowing I’d have months of swinging the SwingRite during my pivot work to ingrain the Dunaway mechanics (which I got right indoors but slipped on when back out).
And when I got back out for my first session, guess what?
I didn’t even have to think about it other than to check every few swings that I was still adhering.
You can see how much better the neutral grip looks, with my hands married to the club.
There is also a run-on effect, as you can see my stance looks much more relaxed and comfortable all around in the May pic compared to October:
Not to mention, two people have already noticed it – when the gentleman who complimented me on my drives remarked, “your grip is perfect, hard to miss with a grip like that,” and a very long-time WAX Nation citizen mentioned in an email to me yesterday that he took a good look at my grip in the new videos and received some clarification!
The problem I would encounter with that more relaxed position of the right hand (October) is that it essentially made my grip stronger than neutral.
So on hard swings, if I messed up, the face would close and I’d snap hook the ball. Or, I might turn a tad early to prevent that face from closing, leading to premature and higher trailing heel lift into impact.
I didn’t hook one ball this week when I went back. My misses were actually either straight pulls if I missed left, or a push or baby fade when I missed right, indicating I was still trying not to turn the face over, which would have been a psychological hold-over from the improper grip over the years up to last October.
So there you have it – the minute I was gripping the club properly, it was noted and commented upon, not to mention my dispersion with the driver was probably the best I’ve ever had, and that was the first day hitting balls after a 7.5 month layoff.
When it comes to the grip, the standard neutral grip is the standard neutral grip and has been for a century since Vardon, because it’s the best way to grip the club.
And on that, I rest my case.