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How to Grip Irons in Golf

by M.L. Rose
    PGA Tour golfer Charles Howell III uses a standard overlapping grip with his right pinkie resting on his left hand.

    PGA Tour golfer Charles Howell III uses a standard overlapping grip with his right pinkie resting on his left hand.

    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

    Golfers have many choices when selecting their irons. They may choose blades or cavity-back heads, with forged or cast iron construction. The shafts may be steel or graphite. But even if you have the best irons available, they won't provide the maximum benefit if you don't hold them properly. The manner in which you grip the club provides the foundation for your golf swing, so take a little time to be sure your grip is correct.

    Step 1

    Place the club at an angle across the fingers of your left hand (for a right-handed player). According to PGA pro John Stahlschmidt, the club’s grip should run from the middle knuckle of your index finger to just below the spot where your pinkie meets your palm. Tiger Woods suggests running the club at a slightly shallower angle, from the base of the index finger to the pad just below the pinkie.

    Step 2

    Grip the club with your left hand, then adjust your hand so the V shape created by your thumb and index finger points between your chin and your right shoulder.

    Step 3

    Place your right hand on the club, with the pinkie resting between the index and middle fingers of your left hand and your thumb pointing down the shaft. Woods says the club’s grip should run from the middle of the index finger to the base of the pinkie. Adjust your right hand so the V shape between your thumb and index finger points to your right shoulder.

    Step 4

    Grip the club lightly to avoid tensing your muscles. Swing coach David Leadbetter advises golfers to “maintain a relaxed grip pressure throughout the swing” to achieve maximum club head speed.

    Tips

    • As you gain experience you may need to adjust your grip. Golf writer Steve Newell says to strengthen your grip by rotating your hands clockwise just a bit if you tend to slice. Do the opposite if you’re hooking the ball badly.
    • Jack Nicklaus recommends that players with small hands use an interlocking grip. First, take a standard grip, with the right pinkie overlapping the left hand, then pull your left index finger off the club. Place the left index finger over your right hand so the fingertip rests between the bottom knuckles of your right hand’s pinkie and fourth finger.

    References

    • Golf Tips: Master Your Iron Play
    • How I Play Golf; Tiger Woods and the Editors of Golf Digest
    • What’s a Golfer to Do?; Ron Kaspriske and the Editors of Golf Digest
    • The Complete Golf Manual; Steve Newell
    • My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score; Jack Nicklaus

    About the Author

    M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.

    Photo Credits

    • A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images