A Solid Grip as the Foundation of a Solid Swing? Absolutely Maybe
As I prepare to move on to a different subject for a while, I may perhaps leave you with more questions than answers about a golf swing, but they are questions that if asked and answered honestly will set one on the path to developing and making the best golf swing he or she is capable of achieving at any given moment in time. Few good players and teachers will argue that taking a proper grip on a golf club is the foundation of a good golf swing. Though I still fundamentally believe in this assertion more often than not, recently I have been pondering if maybe I am wrong about this whole thing. I find today that I am only able to stand behind this premise probably about seven out of every ten days I wake up. A few years ago it was closer to nine out of ten, and I will tell you why.
As I reflect now about how I remember my swing to be during my early years of playing golf, certain insights are captured. I recall having quite a strong grip back then (hands turned more to the right for a right-handed player) with a ten-fingered grip as well, and I was still a horrible slicer of the golf ball initially despite already being very experienced at swinging a baseball bat by that time. Even if I had learned a more “endorsed” grip in somewhat of a short time span, the rest of my swing would never have been able to handle that hold for a time afterwards. I almost certainly would have played worse for a while. Golf clubs might have literally come out of my hands until the rest of my swing adjusted (not necessarily improved), and there is no speculating now about how long that would have taken in my individual case. I therefore sometimes debate internally as to whether a good grip is the cause of eventual good swinging, or the result of eventual good swinging. The same could be said for other common features of less-practiced players, such as not being able to keep their weight on the inside of the right foot and excessive bending of the left elbow (for right-handed players) during the backswing, both unconscious attempts in general to gain some added power when the rest of the body is just not capable at that point.
Is advising these changes for players genuinely the right thing to do, or should they be left alone, virtually all of whom will naturally outgrow those positions and movements as they just keep on swinging? I’m afraid I do not have the authoritative answer on that one. In one respect, depending upon what specifically is being attempted with the swing, teaching as such can be likened to fitting golf clubs for players based on what their swings may be like a few years from now, rather than giving them what they need to get the most out of their games right now. I will conjecture that most golfers never pay for personal lessons, yet as they continue playing the game the vast majority of them end up in the same golfing positions as those who do employ golf instructors. That is hardly conclusive, however, as golfers are constantly bombarded with “free golf lessons” from various sources. They may also learn from purchased or studied books and other media in the course of developing their skills, so again I am not saying that a private golf instructor and/or personal lessons cannot be extremely valuable for any given golfer. What do you feel is best for you?