In this Article
Should you adopt the popular double overlap golf grip? Learn how overlapping the pinky and index fingers can promote a neutral position and lighter grip pressure. Understand the benefits for consistency and slice reduction as well as potential drawbacks. Tips to overcome the learning curve and master this grip.
The double overlap golf grip, sometimes called the Vardon grip, is one of the most popular grips used by professional and amateur golfers alike. In this grip style, the pinky finger of the trailing hand overlaps the index finger of the lead hand on the golf club. While it may feel awkward at first, the double overlap grip offers several potential benefits for your golf game if utilized properly.
The origins of the double overlap grip trace back to famous British golfer Harry Vardon in the early 1900s. Vardon enjoyed tremendous success in his career while using this grip, including six Open Championship victories. His triumphs helped popularize the double overlap style, and it is now used by PGA Tour stars such as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Jordan Spieth.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the pros and cons of adopting the double overlap golf grip. You’ll learn the proper technique for gripping the club using this style. We’ll also discuss how it can impact your swing mechanics and ball striking. Understanding the nuances of the double overlap grip will allow you to determine if switching to it could help take your game to the next level.
Specific topics covered in this article include:
- What exactly the double overlap golf grip is and how to hold the club properly using it
- The potential benefits it offers, such as promoting a neutral grip, preventing over-gripping, and minimizing slices
- The possible downsides for certain players, including a difficult learning curve and increased chance of hooks
- Tips for making the transition smooth, including getting professional instruction, developing proper grip pressure, and being patient as you adjust
- How long it takes most golfers to fully adapt to the double overlap grip in their swing
Golf grip fundamentals are an important but often overlooked part of the game for amateurs. A repeating swing and consistent ball striking rely heavily on having a solid grip. While the double overlap may not be ideal for every golfer, understanding its nuances is key to determining if it could improve your consistency.
Table of Contents
What is the Double Overlap Golf Grip?
The double overlap grip, sometimes referred to as the Vardon grip, is a very popular style of golf grip. As the name suggests, it involves overlapping two fingers on each hand to hold the golf club. Specifically, the pinky finger of the trailing hand overlaps the index finger of the lead hand on the shaft. This connection between the two hands is the distinguishing characteristic of the grip.
To properly grip the club using the double overlap style:
- Start by positioning the handle of the club diagonally across the pads at the top of your lead hand (left hand for righties). Your lead thumb should extend down the middle of the shaft on the grip.
- Next, take your trail hand (right hand for righties) and grip the club. Your trail thumb should also extend down the center of the grip, parallel to the lead thumb.
- Now comes the key overlap. Let your trail hand pinky finger naturally drape over and connect with the index finger on your lead hand. The pads of these two fingers should have direct contact.
- Check that your grip pressure feels light. The connected fingers help reduce tension. Make minor adjustments up or down the grip until it feels comfortable.
When done correctly, the double overlap grip will have your hands working together as one unit. This can promote more consistent ball-striking.
History and Origins
The origins of the overlap grip can be traced back to legendary British golfer Harry Vardon in the early 1900s. Vardon won six Open Championship tournaments while utilizing this grip. At the time, many golfers used a baseball-style grip with all 10 fingers on the club. Vardon’s success helped popularize the more compact double overlap grip.
Since Harry Vardon’s heyday, the double overlap grip has been used by many other top professional golfers. Notable names include Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, and Padraig Harrington. The proven success of these golf icons helped cement the double overlap grip’s popularity through the generations.
For golfers experiencing pain in the pinky finger, an overlap grip like Vardon can help. The connected index and pinky fingers help take tension off the small finger and spread it across the hands. This may reduce the likelihood of injury and discomfort.
Compare to Other Grips
While the double overlap grip is common, it is not the only option. Let’s compare it briefly to two other popular grips.
The interlocking grip is similar in that the two hands are connected. However, instead of the pinky over the index finger, the index finger of the trail hand interlocks with the pinky of the lead hand. Personal preference dictates which overlapping style feels more natural.
The baseball or ten finger grip has no overlapping fingers. All ten fingers simply grasp the club handle in a traditional style. This allows for maximum hand movement during the swing. The lack of connection can make it more difficult to control the clubface consistently, however.
In the end, there is no definitively “best” golf grip. Even tour professionals utilize a variety of styles. The double overlap golf grip offers some potential benefits, especially in promoting a neutral position at address. But comfort and personal feel should dictate which grip works for your swing. Experimentation and professional instruction can help determine the ideal grip.
The Pros of Using the Double Overlap Golf Grip
The double overlap golf grip has several potential benefits that can help improve different aspects of your game. Understanding these advantages can help you determine if switching to this grip style could be worthwhile.
Promotes a Neutral Grip
One of the main upsides of the double overlap grip is helping golfers find a more neutral hand position at address. This means the clubface will be square to the target line at setup.
Having a neutral grip where the clubface is not open or closed is ideal for consistency. From this position, it is easier to swing along the target line back and through impact. With a closed or open face to start, manipulations must be made in the swing to square the face.
The connected pinky and index fingers act as a guide to keep the clubface looking straight ahead. Numerous tour pros adopt the double overlap grip for this neutralizing effect.
A neutral grip can also help golfers stop slicing the ball. An open clubface relative to the swing path is the predominant cause of slices. With a squared position, you remove this gear effect spin and can start hitting straighter shots.
Many amateur golfers struggle with using too much grip pressure during their swing. This tension restricts the hands and forearms, reducing clubhead speed. Over-gripping also leads to inconsistent strikes and loss of distance.
The double overlap grip helps mitigate this problem in two ways. First, the overlapped fingers act to literally connect the hands together. This provides a built-in unite so you don’t feel the need to squeeze excessively.
Second, studies have shown that overlap grips reduce tension versus grips with 10 individual fingers. Spreading the grip pressure across the connected fingers minimizes the chance of over-gripping.
This light but connected grip pressure is ideal. From this relaxed state, you can maximize clubhead speed as the hands hinge and unhinge during the backswing and downswing.
Better Control and Feel
Due to the enhanced connection between the lead and trail hands, the double overlap grip can improve feel and control. Golfers are better able to manipulate the clubface through impact when the hands work as a single unit.
The lead hand typically dominates control of the clubface. But an overlap grip gets both hands involved in keeping the face square. Golfers can enhance their ability to intentionally shape shots or trajectory.
Having a more relaxed grip also heightens the tactile senses in the hands and fingers. You can better “feel” the proper delivery of the clubhead to produce the desired ball flight. Developing a great feel around the greens leads to improved touch on chips, pitches, and putts.
Can Minimize Slicing
As mentioned previously, the double overlap grip sets the clubface in a neutral position at address. This inherently helps golfers correct or improve their alignment. For those who battle a persistent slice, adopting this grip can help minimize the problem.
With a more closed clubface relative to swing path, a proper right-to-left ball flight can be achieved. Slices occur when the face points right off the target at impact. The neutral grip address makes it easier to approach the ball correctly.
Note that the double overlap grip alone will not necessarily fix your slice issues. Other swing techniques like closing the stance or bowing the wrist may still be required. But a neutral grip is the foundation for delivering the clubface squarely.
Good for Golfers with Large Hands
The double overlap style can be an excellent match for golfers with naturally larger hands. The extra connected finger fills up more grip space, leading to a comfortable hold.
Those with bigger hands often feel cramped using a traditional ten finger grip. The overlapping style allows both hands to grasp the club effectively.
Testing indicates that grip comfort has a direct effect on performance. When your hands feel relaxed and natural, it frees up the rest of your motion. Ensure proper hand placement to maximize comfort.
In summary, the double overlap grip provides some tangible benefits for golfers who adopt it properly. A neutral address, lighter grip pressure, enhanced feel, and slice correction are possible. Experiment to see if it improves your ball-striking consistency.
The Cons of the Double Overlap Golf Grip
While the double overlap golf grip certainly has some benefits, it also has some potential drawbacks to consider. What works well for one golfer may be uncomfortable or counterproductive for another. Here are some of the main disadvantages that can come with using an overlap grip.
Difficult Learning Curve
For many golfers who are accustomed to using the traditional ten finger “baseball” style grip, switching to an overlap grip can feel quite unnatural. Even those who have played for years may struggle initially.
It takes time and practice to get fully comfortable with the pinky over index finger connection. At first, it may hinder the normal wrist hinge and hand movements in your swing.
Some golfers are able to adapt relatively quickly, while for others it takes weeks or months to truly get at ease. Taking professional lessons can help shortcut this learning curve. An instructor can provide early feedback on your grip form.
Without proper practice and instruction, an overlapping grip may never feel right for some players. Be patient through an adjustment period, but also realize it may not be the best choice for you.
Can Promote Hooking
Earlier we discussed how a neutral grip position can help straighten out a slice. However, the double overlap grip could have the opposite effect for certain golfers.
If the clubface is closed too much at address, it can lead to big hooking issues. The hands working together overly rotate the face into a closed position. Then a straight backswing exaggerates this further.
Hooking problems require a different technique like weakening the grip to open the clubface slightly. If you start seeing big leftward misses, the double overlap grip may not be a good fit.
Not Ideal for Small Hands
Due to the additional connected finger, the double overlap grip requires reasonably sized hands to be comfortable. Golfers with especially small hands may find it difficult to adopt.
The pinky to index finger overlap may feel like too much of a stretch for short fingers. It can create undue tension and affect your ability to hinge the wrists.
In these cases, a grip with less overlap like the interlock may work better. Kids and junior golfers may also lack the hand size to utilize the Vardon grip effectively.
Harder to Hit Specialty Shots
One other consideration is the impact this grip can have on playing different shot shapes intentionally. Fades and draws require opening or closing the clubface relative to the swing path.
Since an overlap grip sets the face in a neutral position, it can make these specialty shots more difficult. The hands don’t have as much latitude to manipulate face angle.
This isn’t a huge factor for most amateurs focused on consistency. But lower handicap golfers like shaping shots for better scoring may be limited.
As we’ve covered, the double overlap golf grip has advantages and disadvantages depending on the golfer. While many professionals have used it successfully, it takes practice and personalization to fit your game. Experimentation with professional help is recommended to determine if it is right for your swing mechanics and body type. An overlapping grip is not inherently “better” than alternatives.
How to Adopt the Double Overlap Golf Grip
Switching to the double overlap golf grip takes time and practice. Follow these tips to help you master the new grip and work it effectively into your swing.
Getting the Right Placement
Proper hand placement is vital for maximizing the benefits of an overlapping grip. Follow these steps:
- Start by positioning the club diagonally across your lead hand as normal. Your lead thumb should extend down the center of the grip.
- Now grip the club with your trial hand. The thumb should fit perfectly next to your lead thumb in the middle of the shaft.
- Extend both index fingers down the grip, pressing them together.
- Drape your trail pinky finger over the top of your lead index finger. The pads of these fingers should connect.
- Check that 2-3 knuckles on your lead hand are visible. This ensures proper hand rotation.
- Make minor adjustments sliding your hands up or down until it feels comfortable.
Focus on keeping both thumbs pointing down the middle of the shaft. Let the pinky drape naturally rather than forcing it over. Start with your normal grip pressure then relax.
Develop Proper Grip Pressure
The right amount of grip pressure is vital for maximizing the benefits of this grip. Follow these tips:
- Start with a light, relaxed grip. Too much tension negates the advantages.
- Imagine holding a small bird in your hands – not enough to hurt it but enough not to let it escape. This is ideal pressure.
- Keep constant pressure as you swing – no gripping down harder during the swing.
- Shake out tension in your hands and arms before each shot.
- Stay conscious of grip pressure in the early stages until it becomes natural.
- Consider a reminder like a wristband to stay relaxed.
The connected fingers should work together to produce a uniform, light pressure. Eliminate any independent squeezing or death grips.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Smoothly integrating this new grip into your swing mechanics takes repetition and practice. Be sure to:
- Practice with every club, not just your driver. The grip should be identical to a wedge or putter.
- Hit balls at the driving range 2-3 times per week focused on grip fundamentals.
- Spend time on short game practice greens getting the feel with wedges and putter.
- Try drills like exaggerated wrist hinging and rotating during the swing to get the hands working together.
- Go through your pre-shot routine prior to every swing, checking your grip.
- Commit to using it exclusively for 3-4 weeks minimum to build true muscle memory.
The more often you repeat a proper double overlap grip, the quicker it will become second nature.
Get Feedback from a Teaching Pro
Working with a PGA-certified teaching professional can shortcut the learning curve as you adopt this new grip. Seek help to:
- Confirm that your hand placement and overlap are correct. Minor adjustments make a big difference.
- Check that your grip pressure is optimal, not too tense or too loose.
- Identify any initial changes to your swing path, release, or ball striking.
- Learn helpful early-stage drills and exercises.
- Correct any major issues that arise early before they become ingrained.
Professional analysis helps build great fundamentals from the start. Don’t ingrain poor habits trying to figure it out alone.
Be Patient During the Transition
Expect some inconsistent ball striking and shot outcomes as you transition to this new style of grip. This is completely normal. Stay patient as you integrate it fully into your muscle memory.
- Allow yourself time to adjust without judgment during each range session.
- Focus on feedback like shot dispersion rather than scores early on.
- Make incremental changes from session to session until you see improvement.
- Trust that your feel and comfort level will increase the more you practice properly.
- Stay positive knowing the adjustment period is temporary.
With consistent practice and an incremental approach, seamlessly adopting the double overlap grip into your game is very achievable.
The double overlap golf grip can be an effective technique for some players but requires an adjustment period to master. While top professionals have utilized it successfully, it is not universally superior for all golfing abilities and body types.
The potential benefits such as a neutral address position, lighter grip pressure, and integrated hand action make it intriguing to try. But it also poses some risks like increased hooking and may not suit golfers with small hands.
Carefully consider your current swing flaws and mechanics to determine if switching to an overlap grip could help or hinder your game. The ideal candidates are slicers who grip too tightly and have naturally larger hands.
If adopting this grip, commit to practicing properly 2-3 times per week for at least a month. Work through the awkwardness of the hand placement and allow your muscles to adapt. Seek early feedback from a certified teaching professional to build proper fundamentals.
With consistent practice, the double overlap grip can promote more unified hand action through the swing and crisper ball striking. But some golfers ultimately find a different style like the traditional Vardon or interlock better fits their game.
Experimentation, self-evaluation, and professional guidance are key to finding your optimal grip. A grip that appears ideal on paper or for one golfer may not suit another. Keep an open mind as you test different options tailored to your body type, swing mechanics, and shot tendencies.
While the quest for better golf often starts with changing technique and equipment, sometimes the fundamentals you have developed over time work best. Adapt any changes gradually and ensure they complement your innate swing DNA.