Jack Nicklaus: Why You Lose Your Grip
By Jack Nicklaus and Roger Schiffman; Illustrations by Jim McQueen
WHAT I WROTE IN 1973
Loosening the hands at the top of the swing is a major fault of weekend golfers and a sure shot-wrecker. The answer lies not in putting a stranglehold on the club, but in maintaining a consistent firmness in the hands. If you haven’t swung the club back adequately by turning your body, loosening your grip will be instinct’s way of getting it there.
It’s never a good thing to let go at the top. If I do it a little today, it’s because my body won’t turn like it used to. But I never, ever tried to turn. Never consciously made a shoulder turn. I let the club turn me. I let my body coil through inertia, with the momentum of the club pulling me back.
It should be a flow back, but only go as far back as your body will allow. If your swing is a little shorter as you grow older, that’s fine. When you try to force a bigger turn, you move off your plane; you lift your hips, your shoulders, your head; and yes, you loosen your grip.
When I was playing really well, I might have let go a little with my right hand, but never my left. Keep that left-hand pressure constant, and you’ll be much more consistent.
Jack Nicklaus writes only for Golf Digest. In this series he looks back at his classic lessons published in the magazine.