Tom’s Tip: Checkout the ‘Bridge Grip’

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
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TOM WARD
TOMPWARD@SBCGLOBAL.NET

There are very few topics in golf that generate more questions and comments among experienced and novice players as the grip. The grip is the lifeline to the swing, and having a faulty grip is going to lead a lot of golfers down a path of wayward shots and lots of frustration.
Remember the only purpose of the grip is to hold onto the club. When getting nervous or anxious during a round of golf the tendency is to squeeze the club a little tighter than normal. This added tension in the hands will automatically start transferring into the arms, shooting all the way up into the shoulders and neck compounding the anxiety. This, in turn, causes overuse of the muscles that aren’t geared to swinging the club properly. When the hands are overworked during the swing, the wrists are forced out of position which leads to  loss of control and power. There are steps you can do to prevent this.
First, place your palms so that they are facing each other, as if you were praying…..the objective is to keep the hands in a neutral position whenever possible, not being too weak or too strong. It’s like placing your hands on the steering wheel of a car. Turning the hands to the right or left of the steering column will make the car go in that direction. Relating this to golf…too much movement of the hands to the left or right will result in hooking or slicing the golf ball. In short, proper hand alignment allows a golfers to drive a ball in the desired position.
A good grip leads to good wrist action. There are two directions the wrists can move in the golf swing: forward and backward (breaking) or up and down (hinging). One doesn’t have to learn the up/down (hinging) movement if the grip is correct and left arm (for right handed golfers) is in the correct natural position, the hinging will be automatic. In order for“hinging” to happen properly, keep the left wrist flat in relation to the back of the left forearm and the back of your left hand. It’s as simple as that!  If the left arm is in the correct position, the wrist will hinge; if positioned improperly, there will a breaking motion. Never try to cultivate an independent wrist action. Let it occur naturally.
There are three different standard grips: Interlocking, overlapping and the 10-finger (baseball grip). The ‘correct’ grip is a matter of individual preference based on comfort and feel. However, there is another grip I created nearly three decades ago that I call the ’bridge’ grip.
I introduce this grip in practice sessions with students. It helps to create a better understanding of the importance of how the grip works and how the hands and wrists move correctly during their swings.
When using this grip, right-handed golfers need to place their left thumb on top of their right thumb (as seen in the photo on the right that is circled) and press down lightly. The photo on the left is a standard grip. This grip will inhibit the wrists from becoming too active in the swing and it allows the arms to control the takeaway in a smooth, one-piece action.
Arms must control wrists- not the other way around- for the swing to be effective.
The downfall of many a swing begins in the hands because this is the only contact made between the body and the club.   Improper use of the hands and wrists will always make the game of golf a laborious affair instead of a fun activity.
Remember the point about a good grip? The arms have to put the wrists into position to hinge and unhinge naturally. Never try to cultivate this action by cocking the wrists prematurely. My employing this technique you’ll have a new appreciation of the term ‘thumb drive’.
So if you want to get a grip on your game this season and start experiencing better shot making by hitting more greens and fairways, which, in turn, will lead to lower scores give my tip a try.
Tom Ward can be contacted at www.teetimewithtom.com

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