How you grip a club can significantly affect your game when it comes to golf – that's why sticking to one grip is difficult for many golfers. A grip that works well for a player can completely ruin the performance of another.
Accordingly, the best grip has always been a point of contention between golfers, and to this day, no one can decide which one is truly the best, especially when it comes to the overlapping and interlocking grips.
That's why we've made it our mission to tell you about each grip and let you decide which one can fix your flaws and ultimately raise the level of your game.
Table of Contents
The Importance of a Golf Grip
A proper golf grip is one of the first things a new golfer is taught, ultimately since your grip decides many elements in your game, from your stance to the consistency of your swings. Basically, If your grip isn't up to par, you won't be able to manage the movement of your ball as the movements of your club and body aren't well-controlled.
For example, your shaky swing or stray shots can all be because you don't grip your club with the correct pressure or strength. Moreover, one grip can allow better distance, another can promote better consistency, while another can be more comfortable and easier on the hands.
With that said, we’ll now explain two of the most widely used grips in golf; the overlapping grip and the interlocking grip. We'll tell you how each one works and its advantages and disadvantages so that you can choose the one that'll suit your needs.
The overlapping grip, also known as the Vardon grip, was dubbed so after Henry Vardon, who made it popular among professional golfers in the late 19th century. Nowadays, both amateur and professional golfers use this grip due to the many benefits it provides.
The overlapping grip is achieved by raising the pinky of your right hand (trailing/non-gloved) and placing it on top of your left hand (lead/gloved) between the pointer and middle finger.
If you're at a loss at how to achieve this grip, simply start with a baseball grip and shift your fingers as told above. Then, keep adjusting your grip until it feels more comfortable and you're good to go. Of course, the more you use it, the more comfortable you'll find yourself with it, so don't worry if it doesn't feel natural to you in the beginning.
You'll find many famous golfers using the overlapping grip, some of whom include Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson, among others. We'll reveal below why this grip is top-rated among them and why they advocate its usage.
First of all, this grip is effortless to get used to with some practice. You'll find many golf instructors teaching it to beginners precisely for this reason. Moreover, many golfers love it because it minimizes the blisters and wounds they obtain while playing, especially when compared to those formed by the interlocking grip.
In addition, with the overlapping grip, your hands release the club more easily and powerfully once the impact occurs. This means that your hands move together with the swing and don't get left behind, allowing you to have better wrist action and to prevent a fade or a slice from happening.
This one is also perfect for when you're playing a draw, as you'll find yourself reaching the correct release point more efficiently with it. Furthermore, your grip’s structure and stability will also significantly improve, yet your range of movement won't be compromised in the least.
To top it off, the overlapping grip is perfect for people who have hands that are on the larger side of the spectrum. That's because it’ll allow them to be in control of their grip pressure, and the resulting motion will be free-flowing and incredibly natural.
The only actual drawback of this grip is that it removes the extra leverage achieved by a baseball grip. Since your hands are placed one on top of the other, you lose some of your distance, which can be quite critical when you're using your long irons or drivers.
While this disadvantage doesn't affect many golfers, you should still keep this tidbit of information in your mind when you're playing. Also, know that this grip isn't very suitable for those with small hands. There are other grips that'll allow them to have better control and power over the club.
Old-school golfers generally prefer the interlocking grip, which is why it was used by some of the most renowned golfers, such as Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
It's pretty much identical to the overlapping grip except for one small modification. Here, your right pinkie finger doesn't lay over your left index and middle fingers; it goes directly between them.
The grip may seem a bit daunting at first, and you may find it very difficult to adapt to, but once you do, you'll notice some pretty major changes in your plays, which clarifies why this grip is still used nowadays.
First and foremost, the interlocking grip allows you to have a better and stronger hold of the club, which can be very hard to obtain if you have small hands, short fingers, or you generally lack strength in your arms.
Since your hands are locked together in this grip, they'll allow you to lock the club into place, and you'll feel as if your hands are cohesive and working well together as they move throughout the swing. Consequently, the consistency of your ball striking will significantly improve, even if it comes at the expense of distance.
Jack Nicklaus himself said he preferred this grip because he had small hands, and he could grip the club much better with the interlocking grip. Still, those with strong hands can also benefit from this technique as it'll allow them to hold the club firmly but without excessive tension in the hands and forearms.
Another great thing about this grip is that it minimizes your wrist movements. Too much freedom in your wrists when you swing can cause the dreaded snap hook. However, the interlocking grip can quickly remedy this mistake when used properly.
The most bothersome disadvantage of the interlocking grip is the hand irritation. Your pinky and surrounding fingers become subject to friction, which causes pain and blisters with continuous practice.
This disadvantage is more noticeable if your grip pressure is too high and you're holding the club too tightly as you swing. Still, a golfing glove can dramatically lessen the pain and injuries, and easing up on the club a bit can also help.
One more drawback of this one is that it's very difficult to adjust to. Some people can take months until they become at ease with it since the interlocking position can be very uncomfortable. So, keep practicing with it until it feels more natural to you.
Which One Is the Right Grip for You?
Honestly, this decision will come down to your sense of judgment in the end. Whichever grip feels more comfortable to you and allows your hands to rest neutrally on the club is the correct grip for you. Moreover, you should feel as if the grip you're using lets you stay connected to the club from start to finish of your swing.
Generally, people with larger hands can start with the overlap, and those with small hands would primarily benefit more from the interlock. However, as you gain more strength and experience, you may find yourself naturally switching to another grip. Just don't keep switching between the two grips – it's better to stick to just one and practice with it until you perfect it.
Once you've tried both grips, trained with them sufficiently, and discovered your weaknesses and strengths with each one, only then should you decide on your go-to grip. This will be the one that feels the most comfortable and allows you to reach your fullest potential.
Many golf players can't seem to settle on one golf grip. That’s why it’s quite normal to find yourself trying out new grips in the hope of finding one that feels comfortable and can take your game to the next level.
In this fight between overlapping and interlocking grips, remember that no grip can take the lead for everyone. When it comes down to it, each grip has its uses, and both come with their benefits and drawbacks.
Therefore, it's imperative you try each grip and practice with it until you can determine which feels like the right grip for you. Remember that only you can decide, so don't let people force their opinion on you as each golfer is different from the next.