Malaska Grip Series Part 2: Understanding the Role Grip Plays on Consistency
Some of the more common issues people struggle with are hooking and slicing: both can be traced back to grip, Mike Malaska, a Rapsodo Pro, is breaking down what you need to know about grip and what you can do to ensure a more consistent game on the green.
“Whether it’s speed or consistency, look at your grip first,” says Malaska
If you’re hooking the ball: A hook is when the ball starts its trajectory on one side and then curves around to the other side during flight. For right-handed players, a hook shot starts out to the right and swings to the left. If you’re having trouble with hooking the ball, Malaska advises checking your grip. Make sure your lead hand (left hand for right-handed golfers) isn’t too weak, and make sure your right hand isn’t twisted too far under your club. Try to strengthen your left-hand grip and rotate your right hand more toward the side of your club.
If you’re slicing the ball: a slice happens when a sidespin is put on the ball, causing it to curve to the right for a right-handed player and to the left for a left-handed player. Malaska says this usually happens when your lead hand is in a neutral palm opposing position. He advises shifting your lead hand, almost in a chopping position, so that the palm is facing down toward your lead foot when you swing, not facing the target. Your other arm (right arm for right-handed players) does the pushing and the corresponding hand the releasing.
Malaska says although many people recommend using the popular neutral position (which works for some), it requires perfecting the rotating (and timing) the position requires, leading to inconsistency in many cases.
Although an improper grip is the most common cause of hook shots, there could be other issues. Here are some other tips to avoid hooking the ball:
- Take a look at your stance, ensuring you’re in alignment with the target line. Make a habit of checking that your head, shoulders, forearms, hips, knees, and feet are squared up: you want to be aligned from head-to-toe.
- You also want to check how your body moves when you swing. Failing to turn your body all the way through, and not shifting your weight, can cause you to hook the ball. Make sure you keep turning your body until the middle of your chest is facing all the way forward, ensuring you’re shifting your weight off your back foot when you swing.
Some more tips on how to avoid slicing the ball:
- Much like hooking the ball, your alignment matters when trying to correct slicing. It stands to reason that many players would attempt to aim farther left to avoid a slice, but that approach will actually make your slicing problem worse. Make sure your body is in full alignment. You could try teeing off from the right, to give yourself some more room to work with, but that solution won’t fix the larger issue.
- Check your swing. Swinging too much with your upper body can cause a slice. You want to start the swing with your lower body, not your arms and shoulders. Overusing your upper body during your swing can cause you to rotate and pull the ball with an open club face, thus creating your pull slice issue.
For more tips, read Part 1 & Part 3 to learn how you can improve your golf game.