Check Your Grip for Straighter Golf Shots

Club Face Drill

Recently, I have been reading a number of blog posts on Steve Wozeniak’s website — no, not the Apple genius, but the seasoned golf pro from the Seattle area who is a long-time Ballard disciple and coach to many well-known pros. Beyond his passionate writing on the ill state of popular teaching methods, he details a number of very useful drills.

One specific post that stuck out for me was Steve’s recollection of Tiger talking about the three simple keys he and Butch Harmon worked on in 2000. During that time, Tiger was adamant about focusing on grip, posture and balance. Steve Wozeniak has a very simple drill for the grip part of Tiger’s three fundamentals, which I have found very effective for making sure your grip is set up to keep the club head square through impact. Let’s face it, if the club does not start square, it is pretty darn hard to get it square at impact.

First, take your normal stance and grip. From that position, simply hinge the club vertically with your wrists without moving your arms or shoulders, until the club head is in line with your hands straight in front of your body, parallel to the ground. If the toe is not pointing directly to the sky, your grip is not square from the start, and you need a refresher.

Club Face Drill

To fix this grip issue, review the drawings from Hogan’s book of the Five Fundamentals on grip, and move your grip to get more in these positions. If by chance you do not own this book, then I would highly recommend you visit your neighborhood bookstore and pick one up directly.

Ben Hogan 5 Lessons

When you have gotten your grip to look more like Hogan’s, you will be able to do the above drill and have the club come up with the toe pointed at the sky. Once the club is in front of your hands and pointed at the sky, simply use your left shoulder to coil into your backswing from that postion. From there, you should be in a great position to swing back through the hitting zone with a square clubface. If you’re using your lower body correctly to initiate and lead the downswing, you will see a really, really straight ball come off your club.

Repeat a few times, and then start back in your normal address position. You can hinge the club up as part of your pre-shot routine to see that it is indeed still square, and then back down to begin your swing. Or, you can do what several pros have done for entire rounds, when their wrists were sore or injured– play the whole round using the drill, and starting with the club right out in front of your hands.

Sounds easy, but without a square club head at address you will simply be fighting your body to make solid contact. Better to start square and use a more natural motion.

Written by Wade Baynham
Single-digit handicap, who learned golf in his early 20′s from my former father-in-law, a long time PGA tour and Champions tour player. I enjoy studying the golf swing and occasionally give golf lessons.