V is for Vardon Grip. Harry Vardon never made to golf in Thailand, he was past his prime before Thailand golf was started, but the grip he developed is certainly used all over Thailand and is also the starting point to a consistent golf swing. Without the proper “V” grip, Thai golfers, me included, struggle keep the club face square and hit the ball solidly. Less than 5% of holiday golfers I meet can play well with an unorthodox golf club grip.
An American golfer friend of mine showed me this easy way to get the grip right last night when we were practicing at All-Star Sports Complex, off Ratchadapisek Road. Start with your left hand and let it hang naturally down by your left hip. Place the club into the hand and can check the correct position by holding the club out in front of you. You should be able to see two knuckles of your left hand and the “V” created by you left index finger and thumb should be pointing towards your right shoulder. Make sure it is not pointed down the middle of your torso, which is a sure sign of a weak grip that will promote a slice.
While keeping the club out in front of you, put your right hand on it. The fingers, more than your palm, should be touching the club. Close your hand on the club again being sure that you are gripping the club more in the fingers of your right hand. The checkpoint is the “V” created by your right index finger and thumb, which should be pointing again towards your right shoulder. If both checks show the “V” pointing towards the right shoulder, you have it correct!
For those who are more visually oriented there are numerous web sites with photos of the Vardon grip, and almost all of them show the same thing. If this grip is new to you or if you just want to ingrain a good habit, the next time you are watching golf at home on the television try holding a club in the fashion described. The grip will take a little while to make into a habit, and it’s a good idea to get used to it without hitting a ball. Then on your next Thailand golf vacation when playing either of the new Thailand colored mountain courses (Red Mountain in Phuket or Black Mountain in Hua Hin) you will not have to think about your grip, only enjoy your round and your improved ball striking consistency!