During the past 10 years or so, there’s been a flood of fantastic new technology into the golf industry. And it’s succeeded in drowning a bunch of bad ideas with it.

One of those is the old myth that golfers should grip the club softly. It’s not that the advice itself wasn’t based on anything, it’s that it makes the classic mistake of mixing “feel” with “real”.

When Sam Snead uttered his famous “grip the club like a little bird” tip, he was describing what he was feeling. In reality, Sam Snead was a really strong, athletic, flexible guy. What gripping softly felt to him would actually be really firm for the rest of us.

It’s the ability to grip firmly that is a secret and underrated power key.

Why grip strength matters

Cam Young actually touches on this in his instruction feature in the June issue of Australian Golf Digest (on-sale May 25), but research for the Titleist Performance Institute found that golfers’ grip strength isn’t just important in its own right, it correlates with overall strength.

The reason grip strength matters is that it acts as a catch-all metric that helps measure all the little muscles in your hands, fingers, wrists, and forearms, which play key roles in your ability to release the club through impact. The harder you can squeeze, the faster you’ll be able to swing.

Pros, generally, have the ability to grip with more than 60 kilograms of force, while the average golfer can only manage about half that. When Golf Digest‘s Maddi MacClurg ran an experiment with fans at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, she found most amateurs topped out at about 45 kilograms of force.


How you can improve your grip strength?

SuperSpeed recently released a grip strength trainer to help with this, while Dr Rose at the Titleist Performance Institute says one of the easiest and quickest ways is to “lift heavy sh-t”.