GET INTO GOLF: Get a grip, save some strokes
One of the many memorable scenes from Caddyshack is a result of Judge Smails (played by Ted Knight) losing a bet to Al Czervik (played by Rodney Dangerfield). Smails is so consumed with anger, he releases his putter achieving that well known helicopter sound as it heads toward a woman in the patio seating.
Immediately he defers responsibility, “it just slipped,” and issues an order to his caddy, Danny Noonan, to have his clubs re-gripped. Noonan strategically accepts the blame, cozying up to the Judge in hopes of the coveted caddy scholarship.
This, of course, is all in good fun. But, our grips are the only connection we have with the club. We tend to overlook this and don’t even realize when these old grips could be hurting our game.
Grips, generally made of rubber, don’t last forever and as they age become hard and slick. The connection between the player and club becomes uncertain. As you can imagine, nothing good can come from this.
Especially this time of year, when the weather is cool or damp, we tend to hold the golf club tighter, often subconsciously, in order to avoid that familiar helicopter sound.
A tight hold on the club can be very counterproductive to a good swing. A solid swing is based on good body motions that allow the arms and hands to flow, to swing. This is why it’s called a ‘swing’ and not a ‘hit.’
Like other advances in golf equipment, there are a lot of options in golf grips. Club makers have innovative materials and colors and types. There are new synthetic materials that are designed to be comfortable, while still performing well in wet weather. They last longer and are a fraction of the price.
Next time you’re at the course, ask the staff in the Pro Shop to look at your clubs and determine if you need some new grips. This is a good, inexpensive “tune up” for your equipment and could save you some strokes, not to mention an apology to the lady sitting on the patio.
John Renslow is a PGA Professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides Golf Instruction at local courses.
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