Letting Go of the Club - Larger Grips?

On my improvement journey I discovered a significant problem leading to inconsistency in the golf swing, letting go of the club at the top of / transition in the swing. Largely solved by gripping the club more firmly, it was surprising to me just how firmly I had to grip the club in order to keep this from happening. Referencing the Harvey Penick book and gripping the club like holding a bird, I’ve found that I need to grip the club firmer in order to not let go.
I’ve spent a good deal of focus in the last year in developing a good, neutral golf grip. I’m tempted to experiment with a mid-size or large grip with the idea it might make holding onto the club a little easier.
Holding onto the club firmly enough without it interfering the ability to interfere with wrist hinge is something I’m concentrating on as well.

Has anyone experimented with larger grips for this reason?

I have smaller hands, so I’m hesitant to increase grip size a great deal fearing it would interfere with my hand overlap in the grip, although going to say a mid-size grip I doubt would interfere with grip technique much.

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If you have smaller hands, going larger size for grips will not be the solution.
A misconception of “holding a live bird”, starting with Sam Snead then many others who copied the famous terminaligy.
Yes, we should not choke the grip to death because then there is no way to properly set the wrists; however we should hold the grip firmly. Firmer if one has higher swing speed.
So, to modify the clause “holding a live bird” change it to " holding a bird who is trying to escape from your hold".
You should take the statement not literally. The key word is “holding” a live bird. Hold it lightly so you won’t choke it to death but firm enough to prevent it from escaping your hands.
Hold the grip of a club , extend it in front of you parallel to the ground and ask your friend to pull it away from you. If the club could be pulled away from you easily, then you’re not gripping it firm enough.
This is the thing we had discussed regarding the “feel” in golf swing. One golfer’s feel could be quite different than the next.
Sam Snead has large, powerful hands. His interpretation of holding a live bird may not be applied the same to each and everyone of us.
Ben Hogan has very strong hands through exercise.
Even when he was incapacitated from the collision accident with the Greyhound bus, still exercise his hands in bed by squeezing a rubber ball.
I forgot who, ( could be Gary Player), said, I just shook hands with 5 bands of steel, after meeting with Ben Hogan the first time.
So, a person with large and strong hands may think he is holding the grip lightly, in fact, he already applied much more strength to grip the golf club than another person with smaller weaker hands.
Grip it firm enough for your swing speed, so you’ll have control of the club face during the golf swing.
Check the condition of your golf grip, no good if it’s hard and slippery. I don’t believe we need to change the grips every season, but it has to be in a playable condition. It is, the only connect we have to the golf club.



Gotta’ admit, I’m a bit confused by what you mean. What is “letting go of the club” to you?

Is it casting early (and we’ll need to further define what “casting” means)? Is it loosening your grip to get more turn? Or is it something else?

In any event, you can get a bunch of different opinions on pure grip pressure: from lightly, to firm, to whatever won’t inhibit speed, and more besides. Me, if you feel like you’ve got to put a death grip on the club, change grips.

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Are you letting go and re-gripping it harder in the backswing? That’s something I basically did when I first started playing. I don’t think my hands are overly large, but I do wear an L grip and standard grips feel too small to me.

First lesson I took the pro noticed I was gripping harder at the top of my backswing. He put midsize grips on my clubs and it was like night and day for me. I think you need a grip that ultimately feels comfortable no matter your hand size.

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Correct, at the top of the backswing, as the forces increase with the beginning of the downswing, if I don’t grip the club in a way that to me is very firm, the club looses contact with the heel pad of my left hand. If the letter C represents the fingers around the grip, if I don’t grip the club very firmly, so much so that I need to focus on it, the grip within my fingers becomes more like the the letter J. The fingers unpeel slightly from around the grip. So my question was getting at is a larger grip easier to hang onto that a standard.
I can change my own grips, so based on the feedback, I’m going to try experimenting with a midsize to see if there is any discernable difference.

Definitely try midsize, if you believe your fingers are too close to/jamming into your thumb-pad (part of your thumb that forms your palm). But absolutely change grips in any event.

The force required to hang onto a club at full speed, is something in the 100 lb-force range. Friction from normal grip pressure, with the resistance supplied by your hand and arm can supply that, but you need a decent coefficient of friction. Which worn grips won’t provide.

I’ll give the same advice I’ve received, and with the caveat that I’ve not seen your swing: shorten your backswing. Or at least look at it on video and see if you need to be taking it back far enough that your grip ends up suffering. You likely don’t.

If mine gets too long, I start doing bad things like extending, getting fake depth by artificially throwing my hands behind my shoulders, and loosening my grip. All of that feels like it’s making me faster, but it just gets in the way.

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In my younger days, I used GP Tour Wraps. I gripped thousands of clubs including my own. I would use 3 layers of tape then grip tape. I would put 2 Pennys in the bottom of my grips on my woods. I have meat paw hands with thicker fingers. I no longer have to manipulate, I still use Tour Wraps by gp, but I use jumbo grips. I try and maintain steady grip pressure all the way through but the thicker grips work well for me

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Probably not a coincidence but in the past year, dedicating myself to an extent at getting better, I have been consistently videoing my swing. The benefits of this paid off right away. Besides noticing I was wrapping the club around me low immediately on the take away, was too level in my backswing, I was WAY over rotating, my own John Daley imitation… One of the hardest “feels” I’ve been working on is the upper limit of a full turn, shoulders perpendicular to the target, the shaft ending up somewhat parallel to the target line as a guide, not over turning. Thank everyone for their replies.

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Grip the golf club with mainly 5 fingers, the rest are just coming along for the ride.
The last three fingers of your top hand ( pinky, ring, and middle fingers of your left hand for a righty) and the two fingers of your lower hand ( ring finger and the middle finger of your right hand ).
If only these 5 fingers are gripping the golf grip firmly, the action will not get in the way for you to set the wrists at the top of your golf swing.
To explain what is a light golf grip. First, ask yourself why almost everyone say the same thing, to grip the golf club lightly?
Well, maybe because if we grip the golf club too tight, it will be difficult to set the wrists at the top and release them through impact. The wrists should act like a door hinge. strong enough to hold the door to the frame and flexible to swing the door.
You can not over grip the golf club if you only grip it with those 5 fingers.

The grip’s important. So important, I’ll leave this Golf Tip #2 from Padraig Harrington.

I tried it tonight—if only to cut down the wear on my gloves’ palms—and found this grip to really activate the wrist in flexion. As well as giving the shaft/grip some pretty rock-steady stability.

Try it, see what you think. His Golf Tips series is a rabbit hole of rabbit holes.

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That’s a lot to keep track of. I can’t do it. Two thoughts max is the most I can juggle, and that after I’ve decided on the shot, and the set-up I think I need to get there.

A big +1 on the videoing. It’s mildly humiliating to tell the coach, “I am stopping before left arm parallel, damnit!” then see the video. Nope.

There’s definitely something to this ‘exaggerate the feel’ thing. But your work should pay off. After my attempts to shorten it, my backswing is a lot shorter now, and more repeatable. Haven’t really lost much distance either. It was only a hair past shaft parallel at the top, and I think this grip exercise by Paddy will eliminate any floppy casting and trying to cheat a few degrees.

It’s hard. It feels so much like you should be making those overswing movements to really get into it, and they just don’t help at all. Now get your hindbrain to believe it…LOL.

I agree with Jay. During my current practice sessions, I am working a ton on over exaggeration of movements that begin with the downswing. The missing piece for me has been a trigger for beginning the downswing. Doing things slowly, then speeding up through sheer repetition is making it easier to get into things into place. The golf swing occurs in a split second, there are a ton of things that are happening when you are breaking it down bit by bit. Truth be told you don’t have enough time to think of 2 out of the 15 things that are happening in that 1 second. The entirety of your whole swing depends on a solid, consistent grip onto the club. Adjust all you want until you find the spot (some are weak, some are strong, some are neutral) you feel most comfortable with…then stick with it. The job of the hands are to hold onto the club it’s pretty simple. I don’t worry about anything except a good solid turn, if everything else is relative the club head should reach the top of you backswing the exact same way and position every time on a normal swing. MY goal is to get as close as I can to delivering a solid strike on the ball everytime without my nemesis of my right shoulder coming over. It’s getting better. But it’s reps, reps and more reps. When I do it correctly and consistently I can pump the ball out there with no fear at a good distance for a senior. You will still hit bad shots… it’s just the fewer, the better for your game overall AND less injury.


Feel vs Real lol. That is frustrating. I have been working on shortening my backswing as well. For me it’s getting too quick and overswinging. If I can have some tempo and shorten my backswing better swings tend to happen a lot more often. Otherwise I am John Daly with horrible tempo and much less hand coordination to make up for it. I feel like I slowed down and made a 3/4 swing, but then I watch the video there is hardly a difference.

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I like the Paddy series but I hadn’t seen the one on grip. The pressing of the right hand life line down on top of the left thumb is something eye opening for me. I had gleaned though enough reading and other videos on the interaction of the hands in a proper grip, but him articulating feeling this pressure or connection is new for me. I’m going to try it in response to the issue I was having. Padraig also has an excellent video on the hinging the wrists.

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I found the same thing, even when concentrating on shortening the backswing, often it would end up in the same place. One thing that was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me was realizing my backswing was too level, that I lacked tilt. This made shortening the backswing easier, limiting the degree at which I could turn, replaced with tilt. The sensation was more swinging around the body, and on a plane, less steep and over the top.

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I found a few drills recently that seem to help. I also found it’s easier for me to make a better swing with heavier clubs. My current irons are a good 20-25g lighter than my last set. I recently took them apart and will put them back together with more weight. I’ll probably also go back to a shorter heavier driver.

The feel is still new to me, and did not play nice with my short game practice yesterday, but it really increased the rigidity of my grip through impact. Which caused my first pitch yesterday to go 60 yards (into the trees & brush) versus the 40 yards it should’ve gone, LOL.

I’m eager to try more of it with fuller swings and see what happens.

By the end of the session, I was able to calibrate it with my flop shots, and better than I was able to consistently do before. Nothing like opening a 56, taking a swing that should send it 90-100 yards, having the ball go higher than the surrounding trees, hit 2’ from the 50 yd target, and stop 2’ on the other side of it. I couldn’t stop giggling… Still don’t need a lob wedge.

Definitely dial it in with lead tape first, unless you’ve already done that, LOL. On the driver, you’re familiar with the Driver DIY post at GolfWRX, right? If not, there’s a bunch of extremely helpful tests, measurements, and data you can use to try to fit your driver yourself. Shaft length, shaft weight, swing weight, tee height, loft/lie, etc…

Something I need to go and do: fine tune the heads with tape, then get all of the clubs’ parameters measured. I’m planning on re-shafting in the next few months to graphite, and knowing the existing SWs will make the build a lot easier. Using tip weights where I can and such.

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Yes I played around with lead tape and backweights, but my old set is really the blueprint. I’ve been building clubs for a little over 20 years, but I sort of gave it up 5 years ago and used a fitter. He also did my most recent set and I didn’t realize he built the irons so much lighter…he begrudgingly did the driver longer and lighter at my request, but we never discussed making the irons so much lighter.

I’m not getting any younger, but I guess I still need some heft to keep my tempo in check. Sometimes it’s easy to find a groove on the launch monitor, but the proof is out on the course.


When I re-shafted to the X-100 in my irons… I reweighted all my irons to a D-4 from a D-6. The club heads are dialed exactly the way I want them, so it was a reshaft with GP Jumbos. I back weighted the 7 & 8 iron with a penny in the grip to get those there. (If you are into it, a penny prior to 1980 is 3 grams and will move your swing weight 1 point just attach to top of the shaft when gripping) My Wedges were already D-4 with no manipulation off the rack. The 3-FW metal clubs are D-3 and my both my Drivers are D-1. They came D-0. I like how the longer shafted clubs work with my swing feeling lighter. My clubs generally all feel the same except the Driver. I purposely did that to keep things slow (even though my partners say my downswing with the club looks fairly violent. The vids say that too…) I’m working on tempo with the big guy all winter.

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