Out of the Bunker: How do you hold a baby bird?

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Are you familiar with the quote Sam Snead gave regarding proper grip pressure?

His exact words were to “grip the club as if you were holding a baby bird.” Though I do appreciate this concept, especially coming from one of the game’s all-time greats, I don’t believe it to be the simplest way of understanding proper grip pressure in the golf swing.

Unless you’ve held a baby bird, it may be difficult to comprehend exactly how firm to grip your golf club based on Snead’s famous quote.

Instead, I ask my students to simply focus on feeling the heaviness in the clubhead while making their golf swing. If you grip the club too tightly, you won’t have any feel for the clubhead.

On the other hand, if you grip the club too loosely, you won’t have a proper handle of the golf club. It is a fine line, but not a difficult one to find.

The first step to feeling the heaviness in your clubhead is to make a few swings with no weight in the clubhead. Flip your club over as though you are going to strike the golf ball with the grip of your club.

Your hands will be placed on the bottom of the shaft, just below your clubhead. Practice making a few swings with fluid rhythm, while maintaining your balance the entire time.

Your swing will feel strange, mostly since there is no weight at the bottom of your club.

Now, flip the club back to its normal position, and take your standard grip. You will immediately recognize the heaviness in your clubhead. In fact, the club will most likely feel much heavier than it ever has before.

That’s a good thing.

Once you’ve reestablished that heaviness in your clubhead, make a few practice swings with the same fluid rhythm you used when the club was upside down.

Your grip pressure will be comfortable, and the golf club will start working much better for you.

Grip pressure is a major factor in establishing a repeatable golf swing. When you begin to question your pressure, try making a few practice swings with the club upside down. This will create a new sensation for you, and you will immediately begin to regain the feel for your clubhead.

It is much easier than chasing down that little bird flying high in the sky.


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