Previously on Project 17 to 12 handicap...
Friday had started so well. The sun was shining and I had a weekend of golf and friends to look forward to.
Then I had my weekly lesson with Anthony.
“How’s your golf?” He asked. “Great! I played well in Portugal and I feel like my swing is comfortable and consistent. I even won the foursomes competition on Wednesday.” “Excellent”, he said. “Let’s go to the net with the swing analyzer. We’ll measure how far your clubs go.”
And the nightmare started. Ball after ball started flying right. It was horrible. Puzzled, Anthony had a look at my grip and noticed that it was too weak. It’s an old problem: my right hand is turned too far to the left. I keep trying to place it in a better position, more to the right, but it just isn’t comfortable and it ends up going around again.
“Your hands are very small. Maybe the baseball grip would help you keep the right hand in the right position,” he said. “I’ll try anything to make the pain stop,” I replied.
I hit a few balls with the baseball (also called 10 finger) grip and it was a disaster. My shots were all over the place. It felt like the club had acquired a mind of its own, and it was the mind of a tantrumy 2 year old. However, when we looked at the data on the machine, one measure stood out: my clubhead speed was much higher than with my usual interlocking grip. This meant that if I could learn to master it, I would gain lots of distance. And I liked the sound of that.
Long story short: it felt completely wrong at first, but I persisted. Then I developed a blister on my pinky because of the change of position. Went whimpering into the office and Lindsay gave me a plaster. Walked back out to practice on the driving range and started getting to grips with it. It feels like I’ve taken a few steps backwards, but if it means it’s the only way I’ll get used to the grip that best suits my tiny Trump hands, so be it.
I had a look online to learn about the pros and cons of interlocking, overlapping, neutral, weak, strong and baseball grips. What I concluded is that there is no real consensus over any of it, because so much depends on the swing itself. Just check out this amazingly detailed review of the golf grip. The amount of research that went into it is impressive, but reading these types of articles just confuses me. I did enjoy reading this six page thread on experimenting with the baseball grip, though.
My conclusion? I will carry on trying to master the baseball grip because it does feel more comfortable and my clubhead speed is much higher. I also need to accept that the process of becoming a better golfer is anything but linear. Five steps forward, ten backwards. And blisters.