In this Article
The reverse overlap golf grip is an alternative hand position that can provide more power and consistency in the full swing. By flipping the traditional grip, golfers can find a more neutral position, reduce excessive wrist action during the swing, and get both hands working together as a single unit. Learn step-by-step how to grip the club using a reverse overlap for driver, iron and fairway wood shots. This unique grip style helps eliminate flipping, creates better timing, and gets you compressing the ball more efficiently on full swings.
The grip is one of the most important fundamentals in the golf swing, yet it’s often overlooked. Most amateur golfers learn the standard overlapping grip early on and stick with it throughout their golfing journey. However, while consistent, this grip doesn’t work optimally for every golfer’s swing.
For players struggling with consistency issues like a loss of power, erratic ball-striking, or excessive hand action in the swing, it may be time to experiment with an alternative grip style. One option is the reverse overlap grip.
In this grip, the positions of the hands are flipped from a traditional overlap grip. Instead of the lead hand pinky finger resting on top of the trailing hand index finger, the trailing pinky finger rests on top of the lead index finger. The rest of the fingers wrap around the grip naturally.
At first glance, this reversed hand position may seem odd. But for certain swing traits, a reverse overlap grip can provide tangible benefits. As we’ll explore in this article, this alternative grip can help limit hand action, square the clubface, and get both hands working together for more consistency.
While the reverse overlap grip takes some time to get used to, it’s worth trying for golfers who aren’t seeing results from a traditional grip. Read on to learn more about how to hold the club with a reverse overlap, when it can help your game, and key tips to make the adjustment successfully. With practice, this unique grip could take your ball-striking and consistency to the next level.
Table of Contents
How to Grip the Club With a Reverse Overlap
Now that we’ve covered the basics of the reverse overlap grip for full swing, let’s look at how to properly hold the club using this alternative hand position. Mastering the proper grip setup is crucial for getting the benefits of consistency and control from the reverse overlap.
Holding the club with a reverse overlap involves just a slight change from a traditional overlap grip. Follow these steps:
Place Lead Hand on Club
First, take your lead hand (left hand for right-handed golfers) and grip the club as you normally would. Wrap your fingers around the grip so the pad at the base of your index finger is on top. Your thumb should be pointing down the top side of the shaft in the center.
Make sure your lead hand is in the right position before adding the trail hand.
Position Trailing Pinky on Top of Lead Index Finger
Now add your trail hand to the club. Place your pinky finger on top of your lead hand index finger, so it rests comfortably on the finger. The pinky should sit just below the first knuckle of the index finger.
This is the key change from a standard overlap grip.
Wrap Remaining Fingers Around Grip Naturally
With your trail hand pinky in position over the lead index finger, wrap the rest of your fingers smoothly around the grip. They should fold together naturally. Avoid any tension or forcing the grip.
Apply Appropriate Pressure for Comfort and Control
Finally, apply a comfortable amount of pressure with both hands on the club. You want enough to have control but avoid tension and gripping too tightly. The reverse overlap already eliminates excess hand action, so take advantage of the lighter grip pressure it allows.
With both hands in position, you’ve set up a proper reverse overlap grip! It may feel unusual at first, but will become more comfortable with practice.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
As with any new technique, there are some common mistakes golfers make when first using the reverse overlap grip:
Gripping Too Tight
The lighter grip pressure promoted by the reverse overlap is one of its major benefits. Avoid negating this by squeezing too tightly.
Index Finger Overlapping Too Far Down
If the trail hand index finger rests too far down the lead hand, it can hinder hand movement and wrist hinge. Find the right balance of overlap.
Hands Rotated Too Far Open or Closed
The lead hand alone determines the rotation of the clubface. Don’t allow the trail hand to inadvertently open or close the face.
Being aware of these common errors will help you learn the reverse overlap grip correctly right from the start.
Finding the Right Hand Position
It takes some experimentation to find the ideal hand placement using the reverse overlap grip. Here are some tips:
Start with Standard Overlap Grip
First, address the club with your normal grip so you have a reference point. Make some practice swings to ingrain the feeling.
Gradually Slide Trailing Pinky Down
From your standard grip, begin sliding your trail hand pinky down the lead hand index finger bit by bit to find the right position.
Pay Attention to Feel and Swing Changes
As you try different positions of the trailing pinky, pay close attention to how the grip feels in your hands. Also, watch for any changes in the clubface at impact.
Find Natural, Comfortable Hand Placement
Ultimately, you want a reverse overlap grip that feels natural and allows free movement without tension. This takes some trial and error.
Consult a Teaching Professional if Needed
If you are struggling to find the right grip placement, ask a golf instructor for guidance on getting properly fit for a reverse overlap grip.
With a bit of practice, you’ll find the ideal reverse overlap hand position to maximize your consistency. Don’t be afraid to experiment until it feels right. Proper setup is the foundation for reaping the benefits of this alternative grip.
Advantages of the Reverse Overlap Grip
Now that you know how to grip the club using a reverse overlap, let’s look at some of the key benefits this alternative hand position can provide:
Promotes a Neutral Golf Grip
One of the main upsides of the reverse overlap grip is it helps golfers find a more neutral position of the hands on the club. This can provide multiple performance advantages:
Helps Prevent Overly Strong or Weak Grips
The reverse overlap grip naturally squares up overly strong or weak hand positions. If you tend to grip the club too weakly, with the clubface open, the trailing pinky on top limits face rotation.
For golfers who grip it too strongly, closing the face, the lead hand frees up a bit under the trail pinky. This gets you back to a neutral mid-point.
Allows for More Consistent Ball-Striking
With a neutral grip promoted by the reverse overlap, you are better positioned to swing the club on the plane and deliver the face squarely to the ball. This leads to making more solid contact and hitting shots on your intended target line.
Square clubface = straight shots.
Limits Overactive Hands and Wrist Action
Another benefit of the reverse overlap grip is it naturally restricts excessive hand action during the swing:
Reduces Flipping or Casting of the Club
Golfers who tend to “flip” their hands and release the club too early gain more control with the reverse overlap. It limits how much the lead hand can take over.
Keeps Wrists Quiet Through Impact
With the trail pinky pressed into the lead index finger, too much wrist action is also eliminated. This allows you to swing the club more as one unit for consistency.
Improves Consistency and Control
Overall, the restricted hand and wrist action promoted by the reverse overlap grip helps improve consistency and control over shots.
Hands Work Together as Single Unit
Rather than the lead hand dominating, both hands sync up their movements effectively. This unity creates a more repeating swing.
Enhances Feel for Proper Release
The lighter grip pressure and connection of the hands also help you refine your sense of timing and release for optimal impact.
For golfers struggling with a strong grip, our article on the strong left hand weak right hand grip may also be helpful.
Using the Reverse Overlap Grip for Different Shots
While the reverse overlap grip offers advantages for full swing shots, it can also provide benefits on short game shots around the green and on the putting green. Let’s take a look at how it can be applied to every part of your game.
Reverse Overlap Grip for Full Swing Shots
The full swing is where the reverse overlap grip really shines in terms of maximizing power and consistency. Take advantage of it for:
Driver and Woods Off the Tee
Good ball-striking and solid contact are crucial for distance with the driver and fairway woods. The neutral hand position and reduced wrist action of the reverse overlap promote consistently pure strikes.
Make sure you tee the ball up to match your driver’s optimal launch angle. The reverse overlap grip helps ensure you deliver the clubface squarely to the ball. This allows you to be aggressive with your driver swing since shots will launch straight on your target line.
Long Irons and Hybrids for Distance
Long irons and hybrids also require solid contact to get maximum distance from your tee shots and approach shots. Again, the neutral grip and unified hand action provided by the reverse overlap will produce consistent ball compression.
Focus on making a full weight shift and turning through the ball. The reverse overlap eliminates any urge to flip the club early and allows you to swing aggressively through impact.
Mid Irons for Maximum Control
Mid irons like your 6-8 iron are key scoring clubs. You need to be able to control distance and trajectory precisely. That’s where the enhanced feel and lighter grip pressure encouraged by the reverse overlap come into play.
Make balanced swings, letting the club do the work rather than your hands. You’ll gain a better sense of how to vary the trajectory for the shot at hand simply by adjusting your swing path.
For more on limiting hand action through grip, see our article on the Ten Finger Golf Grip.
Short Game Shots
The reverse overlap grip can also help improve touch and finesse on delicate shots around the green:
Pitching and Chipping Around Greens
Finesse wedge shots demand a soft grip and quiet hands. The reverse overlap grip provides both. Let the bouncing of the club off the turf impart pendulum-like motion rather than hand action.
Focus on making crisp contact. The clubface awareness provided by the reverse overlap helps you eliminate fat and thin shots.
Bump and Run Shots from Tight Lies
For low-running bump and run shots from tight lies, you need to make clean contact to avoid digging. Having the trail pinky on top enhances your feel for brushing the ball off the turf.
Apply this same concept if you need to putt from off the green. Keep the face square and let the ball come off hot to get it rolling smoothly.
Lastly, the reverse overlap grip can also help improve your touch and consistency on the greens:
Provides Good Feel on the Greens
The lighter grip encouraged by the reverse overlap provides a better sense of touch to judge pace. You can read greens more effectively and control distance better.
Helps Take Wrists Out of the Stroke
With the connection between the trail pinky and lead index finger, excess wrist action is removed from the putting stroke. This enhances the feel and promotes a pendulum-like motion.
Keep your head still, make a smooth takeaway, and stroke the ball on your intended start line. The reverse overlap grip helps you roll the ball on the face with minimal manipulation.
Apply this grip even just in practice to ingrain an improved feel on the greens. Over time, it should lead to more consistent putting and lower scores.
Practice Drills and Training Aids
Making the switch to a reverse overlap grip requires practice to ingrain the right feels and motions. Try these drills and training aids to help accelerate your learning:
Drills are a great way to develop muscle memory with the reverse overlap grip:
One-Handed Practice Swings
Take practice swings using only your lead hand on the club. This isolates the feeling of the trail pinky pressed against the index finger.
Make smooth, waist-high swings, paying attention to the hinge motion in your wrist.
Brush Shot Drill for Release
Work on your sense of release by making one-handed brush shots. Let the lead hand hinge naturally through impact as you gently brush the ball off the turf.
Alignment Stick Swing Plane Drills
Place alignment sticks on the ground to monitor your swing plane. Check that the reverse overlap grip isn’t causing you to get too flat or upright.
There are also some great training aids that can help with the reverse overlap:
Impact Bags for Grip Feedback
Using an impact bag gives instant feedback on where you are hitting the clubface. You can ensure your new grip is delivering square contact.
Swing Gloves to Ingrain Proper Hand Position
Try using a swing glove or reverse overlap training glove. This keeps your hands in the proper position throughout the swing motion.
Clubs with Guides to Monitor Hand Placement
Some clubs have built-in guides that give you feedback if your grip is off. These keep your hands in position as you groove the motions.
In addition to these drills and aids, recording your swing on video can help you check for progress and see changes from old swing flaws.
Potential Drawbacks and Considerations
While very effective for some players, the reverse overlap grip isn’t magic and does have some potential drawbacks:
Can Feel Awkward at First
Any major grip change feels unusual in the beginning. Give yourself time to adjust to the new feels.
Requires Adjustment Period
Developing rhythm and timing with the reverse overlap takes practice. Be patient as you ingrain new motor patterns.
Not Ideal for Certain Swing Traits
It may exacerbate certain issues like coming over the top. Assess your swing first.
Works Best When Practiced Consistently
To get the full benefits, you need to commit to using it full-time, not just occasionally.
Consult a Teaching Pro If Struggling
If you can’t seem to adapt, ask a teaching pro for help making the change successfully.
With some effort and patience, most golfers can learn to take advantage of the power of the reverse overlap grip. But be willing to tweak and make changes if needed. Proper guidance can help you implement it effectively.
The reverse overlap grip can be a powerful tool for golfers seeking more consistency and improved ball-striking. Flipping the position of the hands promotes a neutral grip, calms excessive hand action, and gets both hands working together.
The key takeaways for mastering this alternative grip:
- Grip the club with the trail pinky finger on top of the lead index finger. Keep the rest of the hands in a natural position.
- Find the right balance of pinky overlap through trial and error. Don’t overlap too far down.
- Use a light grip pressure – the reverse overlap promotes control already.
- Utilize it for full swings with all club types, but also short game shots and putting.
- Practice consistently and give yourself time to adjust to the feels.
Both the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) recommend trying alternative grips like the reverse overlap to find the right fit for your swing mechanics and body type.
While it may seem odd at first, keep an open mind to the benefits of the reverse overlap grip. For players struggling with consistency issues, it can help get you back on track.
The neutral hand position, restricted wrist action, and improved timing are tangible advantages. If you diligently practice the reverse overlap grip, you should see these benefits emerge.
Don’t be afraid to experiment – you have nothing to lose. Try it out first during practice sessions and on the range before taking it to the course. Over time, it may just take your ball-striking skills and consistency to the next level.