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A firm-and-gentle grip on the club will improve your short game.
A firm-and-gentle grip on the club will improve your short game. (Mike Bailey/WorldGolf.com)

A firm-and-gentle grip will improve your short game

Eben DennisBy Eben Dennis,

The biggest mistake I see in most golfers is that they hold the golf club way too loosely in their fingers and way too firm in their arms. This creates poor control of the club and forces them to use too many muscles in the swing.

Imagine trying to pick up a cup of coffee with your fingers soft and your arm stiff. You would spill it, at the least, and most likely drop it. That same principal of control works with the golf club. The club needs to be held firmly in the fingers so the ball can bounce off the club.

By doing that, you can now create control while having great touch on and around the greens. This eliminates the urge to slap or hit at the ball.

The best way I have found to get my students to feel that is to have them pull on an exercise band, or theraband, held firmly in the fingers, while pulling it in one fluid motion, using as few muscles as possible.

If you pull too quickly or from your elbow or shoulder, you will notice a lot of tension in your arm and torso. By doing this exercise, you will strengthen your fingers and ingrain the feeling of swinging the golf club gently while having firm control in the fingers.

When you take this onto the course, you will notice your feel improve, and you won't decelerate. Instead, you will have one fluid motion, and the ball will just get in the way. This allows it to bounce off the club properly.

When you master the feeling of firm in the fingers and gentle in the motion of the swing, you will be able to tap into your ability for creative shot-making. Playing your best and having fun is at your fingertips if you choose to keep it simple.

Eben Dennis is a teaching professional based in McKinney, Texas. His students include PGA Tour players such as Nick Faldo, Billy Mayfair, Robert Gamez and Shaun Micheel; collegiate golfers; amateurs and beginners. He is the author of "Power Feel Golf: Your Path to Great Golf." To learn more about the book and its DVD companion piece, click here. Eben learned golf at Champions Golf Club while growing up in Houston, where he received tips from Jackie Burke, Jimmy Demaret, Ben Hogan, Julius Boros and Bruce Crampton. He attended Florida State on a full golf scholarship and played professionally in the U.S. and Australia.

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