An Equalization of Golf Grip and Swing Styles

In continuing my discussion on Golfer’s Brain, if for instance one has a stronger upper body and a weaker lower body, then in the short run one particular golf club gripping style (resultantly influencing swinging style) might be more advantageous and/or natural.  But in the long run, no matter what grip/swing style is chosen either naturally or by force, the appropriate muscles, flexibility, and coordination can ultimately be developed.  Thus, virtually every style eventually becomes equal for most golf swing performance aspects.  Whether one essentially believes in this “equalization of golf club gripping and swinging styles,” the amount and/or intensity of practice one feels may be needed to achieve this equalization, and how much one feels that time and practice might be “cheated” on the road to learning to swing efficiently and confidently by using any given “method” are a few indicators of whether one has Golfer’s Brain and how badly.

While the bad news is that golf swing talent does not usually improve in as quick and/or dominant a fashion as it sometimes seems (or as one would like it to), the good news is that once a swing is sufficiently developed, one will generally not be able to further alter that swing (even if for the worse) in a quick and/or dominant fashion either.  As I have, perhaps you have also witnessed some golfers engage in “major restructurings” of their swings, only to mutter to yourself upon seeing their “new” swings (after an unprolonged period of time) that the swings looked basically the same as their “old” swings.  I have seen certain golfers’ swings change so much from the beginning of their careers to the end that it hardly seemed like the same people anymore, but there are longer-term factors involved in such transformations, not the least of which is “Father Time.”

With this information, I now return to the situation I recently proposed whereby more distance and equal consistency may be obtained using any given golf club by using a more natural grip in which the hands neither overlap nor interlock and merely butt up against each other.  This can easily occur, but do not succumb to Golfer’s Brain during the experience.  (If you are the type that becomes more confident that your swing has become better just like that, than you are also the type whose confidence in your swing is easily diminished when one or two bad swings take place).  The key phrase to note here is “any given golf club.”  Perhaps you may recall my previous development of the unique term golfitioner, which is the combination of a golfer and a golf club as a single entity that, if skillfully combined, allows a golfitioner to play his best golf (referencing this expression only in this particular paragraph today).  In the case of moving one’s hands a little further apart, any increase in distance (due to a potential of increased hand action and speed) more often than not may be accompanied by a pulling and/or curving of a golf ball to the left for a right-handed player (talking in terms of ball travel and not swing performance right now and assuming that the ball was hit fairly straight with the club while using an overlapping or interlocking grip).  Two of the most common ways to correct this ball flight are by an increase in golf club head weight or swingweight and/or an increase in the diameter (and general heaviness) of the grip.  While either or both of these changes may help straighten out golf ball flight, the added club dimension(s) will also tend to slightly decrease swing speed.  The final result is that when the club is “re-matched” to the player’s change in grip/swing style, the golfitioner is virtually right back to where he was in terms of both distance and consistency when using an overlapping or interlocking grip and the original golf club.  As you should see, the overall quality of the golf swing itself has really neither improved nor gotten worse as a result of the change in gripping style.

Bear in mind again that I was a beginner once myself, experiencing probably a hundred different times of changing one thing and essentially getting an immediate ten more yards of distance as a result.  Yet I have never seemed to quite achieve the thousand yards of distance this equates to.  How can this scenario be explained?  Well as established, the entire body is involved in the golf swing (at least ideally if one wants to be able to get the most out of what one has).  Any changes made that involve one part of the body will usually also affect at least one other part, though the totality of (often unconscious) events can take some time (and varying times) to develop.  Thus, as my entire body adjusted over a longer period of time to the immediate change(s) made, I would often find my distance mysteriously decreasing slightly even as my golf swing was becoming better in other ways (though I certainly did not comprehend it at the time).  And as might be deduced from the preceding paragraph, such happenings can apply to and interact with equipment changes as well as inherent swing changes.

Now while this information might be interesting from the standpoint of explaining why an overlapping or interlocking gripping process is absolutely not necessary to develop a consistent, efficient golf swing, it does not really begin to answer the question of why one should commit to grip a golf club using such a gripping style.  This preliminary material, though, may be helpful toward what follows.  In my next post it may seem like I abruptly change the subject matter and abandon the course of deciphering why a golf club should be held in the prescribed manner, but this is not the case.  The entry will help reveal the heart of the reasoning behind that foundational golfing element, in turn supporting the proper understanding of a golf swing, clubfitting, and more.