Avoiding the death grip

February 17, 1958

I'm sure the greatest of all errors in golf is tension. I believe it begins in the fingers and spreads all through the player's body, and that this is the cause of just about all of the common errors in golf.

Since tension generally starts in the fingers, I believe that the most important thing to learn first is how to hold the club correctly. Most high-handicap players, and especially the women, tend to clamp a death grip on the shaft. They defeat themselves right then. By gripping the club with such tension, they become tense through the forearms, the shoulders, the neck, the knees, the legs—the entire body. They should remember that it is muscular coordination and not brawn that makes a golfer.

A golfer must have a really good grip, and he must work on his left hand particularly. There should be a sense both of grip and feeling in the fingers of the left hand, especially the fingers nearest the top of the shaft. Along with this, there has to be a cultivated feeling of the steady pressure of the fleshy heel of this hand. The two together undoubtedly form the master part of the golfer's "feel." Once this right feeling is acquired, it influences everything: a relaxed stance can be more easily assumed, and such a stance encourages the subsequent flexibility and speed that are the life of the proper delivery of the club face to the ball.

BOBBY CRUICKSHANK, Chartiers CC, Pittsburgh

PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONthe death grip ILLUSTRATIONthe correct grip

NEXT WEEK: Bill Roach on putting Bermuda grass greens

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)