April 02, 2014
By Travis Fulton, PGATOUR.COM
- Steven Bowditch's stronger grip delofts the club to ensure a leaning shaft at impact. (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
If there's one thing all professional golfers do, including Steven Bowditch, it's that they hit the ball with a forward leaning shaft. As a result, the clubface is more delofted through impact, which makes the face play stronger and the club perform more like a 6-iron than a 7-iron. That's one of the reasons how they are able to get the ball to pierce through the air like a missile.
Most amateurs don't create enough forward lean at impact.
Because the clubface is open going back, they flip the clubhead at the ball in an attempt to square it coming through, usually adding loft to the face. So how do you get forward lean? You start by strengthening your grip, which is going to force you to shut the face going back and bring the clubhead down on a better path with a forward leaning shaft.
Why? Because if you have a strong grip and release it early, the ball is going to start left, and then hook even farther left. The body begins to anticipate this, and starts to rotate more aggressively through impact, preventing an early release and backward leaning shaft.
Bowditch, much like Fred Couples and Zach Johnson, plays with a very strong grip. The word strong means that the clubface is going to effectively play stronger (delofted) through impact -- it's going to promote less rotation going back, and more coming through. To strengthen your grip, rotate both hands to the right on the handle; not just your left. You should see a minimum of two knuckles on your left hand and your left thumb should rest on the right side of the shaft.
Make sure to bring the right hand in from the side, not from above. The side of the left thumb should rest in the lifeline of your right hand. Another key: Make sure that both thumbs are in a short position, or slightly bent. The longer and more extended each thumb is, the more prone your grip is to be weak (i.e., hands rotated to the left).
A strong grip is very important in the development of one's full swing, whereas a weak grip can slow that progression down because of all the compensations you must make to overcome it.
Start with a strong grip, and you'll be hitting bullets off the turf in no time.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.