The Reverse Grip: Short Game Help

In the last grip article we looked at the Baseball grip and how with a bit of a tinker you could learn to feel more of how you load a shaft. It also gave us clues in how to relate a grip to feeling what goes on with your swing using some exaggeration as the method. In this article we will look at the Reverse Grip.

You can use the reverse grip for close in chipping. It is not often seen at Tour level as the skilled players know how to hit down on the ball and not scoop. For our weekend warriors it can be a good option if you need not fly the ball far.

Describing the grip, the hands are reversed in order with the left hand now the lower one of the two as show in Fig 1 and Fig 2. As in a putting grip, both hands are palm grips rather than the left hand being a normal finger grip, starting off with the shaft running right up the right forearm as in Fig 3.

This is a little used grip in the main because it is not very powerful and ironically therein lays its strength as a potential scoring device. Reverse grips are often seen used by players in putting yet get overlooked for other applications. Its greatest strength is in its stabilising nature of the wrists. It reduces a player’s chances to both bending and any cocking action as well as from a reduced ability to roll the clubface much.

This is a great anti-scooping grip. Once the hands are placed on a shaft like this it is actually very difficult to have the left wrist bend towards the target in a scooping type motion. The right hand will show a very bent angle at the set up and so there is an extreme of one of the imperatives to hit a good golf shot – that of a Flat Left Wrist and a Bent Right Wrist allowing for the right forearm to be on plane at impact.

Players can power this grip with either a little hitters action, right arm thrust, or via a pivot with their mind in their hands to maintain the initial angles and alignments. Looking at Fig 4 you can see that the initial right wrist bend is still in place at the Top of the backswing and the left wrist is still flat. Either way a smooth stroke through the ball is more likely to be successful for many players using this method if they have any propensity to throw the clubhead at the ball in a flip with their normal grip.

The Stroke In Motion

Fig 5 shows the initial stance with the face lined up with the direction that we wish the ball to travel in. Figure 6 the short back swing required, Fig 7 impact and how we have returned to our initial posture and Fig 8 post impact with the ball airborne to land safely on the green.

Fig 9 shows a face on shot of impact where the structure looks very exaggerated yet is just the same as it was in the initial get up.

An important mental image is to have the body working as one and the club is part and parcel of the whole. Often scoopers try to manipulate the clubhead without this wholesome image and chaos results.

Should you over extend in the backswing using this grip all hell breaks loose with the grasp on the shaft unless the body gets active. Either way a player can work out very quickly where the end point of a reverse grip swing is.

Whilst the illustrated example is of a very close in chip, it is possible to hit the ball a reasonably long way with it just as you can putt a long way with the grip too. You will work out very quickly just how far this grip and stroke combination can hit the ball without much time being wasted.

If you feel the grip breaking down in a search for power, then you are past this grips use by date and need to revert to a normal grip type to get the clubhead speed needed.

As a drill, getting a player to see the results of a cleanly hit reverse grip chip is a very good thing. All of a sudden the Flat Left Wrist leaps up the understanding curve as being a very, very useful thing to own.

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