Sunday, February 24, 2013

Scott Piercy's Grip

I think it was GC that mentioned this during their WGC-Accenture telecast Saturday and I wanted to pass it along.

Scott Piercy uses a 10-finger grip, also called a baseball grip. (I do too, btw, and have done so for well over 20 years so I know a little bit about it.)

view of Piercy's grip

ESPN posted an article about his grip back in mid-2012 so I'll just link you to it. But I would like to say a couple of things about this much-maligned grip.

The author of the ESPN article says "My friends and a few swing instructors on tour told me that I would hit the ball left with the grip." I can tell you from experience that this simply isn't true. Given the fact that most Tour players who have a problem hitting the ball left use Vardon grips, I'd say that if your grip is making you hit the ball left (or right, for that matter) then you're using your hands improperly. Your hands should simply hold the club, not manipulate it. (Except for some trouble shots... and I've found I can manipulate the club better with 10 fingers.)

I like the baseball grip because it's simple and it's a natural way to grip a club. I've heard that an overlapping grip (aka Vardon grip) helps your hands work together better than any other grip... although the most legendary players like Jones, Nicklaus, and Woods all use an interlocking grip and never seem to have a problem. (Interlock grips also put all 10 fingers on the club.) Why should a baseball grip be any less successful?

I do think a baseball grip is the best grip for players with smaller hands. Nicklaus once said that's why he went with the interlock, but I don't know if Jack Grout would have ever recommended the baseball grip because it's not as traditional. Personally, I've used all three grips and find that I control the club better with all ten fingers on the grip. When I interlock my fingers, it sometimes causes me to get my hands out of position -- a problem I never have with a baseball grip.

Finally... when Carl Rabito straightened out my swing, he never even suggested I change it. Since he's coached major winners I guess that means it's not harmful to your game. Wouldn't you agree?

So if your grip feels uncomfortable, you might be better served by a baseball grip. Or if you use a baseball grip now, don't feel like you have to change it just because it's not the most popular grip around. It's a good grip -- just ask Scott Piercy.

The photo came from this nationalpost.com article.

10 comments:

  1. Mike,

    Do you have any advice or drills on making solid contact?
    I feel I'm inconsistent with that and have noticed that some of my clubs are hit closer to the toe than in the middle.

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  2. Patrick, my first thought is that you're standing too far away from the ball at address... but you say it's only with some of your clubs. Which ones... and is it the same ones each time?

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    1. Good point.

      I used to lean over more at address, then I moved closer by standing more upright. I noticed earlier this month that I was back to leaning over again, so I corrected that. It's easy to fall back.

      It's the longer clubs, like the hybrid and the 3 wood. That may change if I keep fixing myself.


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  3. That helps, Patrick. Since I can't see exactly what your swing looks like, here are a few more questions: Are you taking divots and, if you are, in which direction do they point (left, right, or straight ahead)? Are the divots thin or thick? And do your divots point in the same direction with your shorter irons?

    A note for those of you reading these comments: Patrick is left-handed (hence "Lefty"). So if his divots point to the right, that's an out-to-in stroke; if they point to the left, that's an in-to-out stroke.

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  4. I'm more of a sweeper than a digger. If I take a divot, it's thin.

    I have been working to get rid of my over-the-top move(thanks to your books)but it still happens.

    I'll remember the next time I'm on the range to compare the divots.

    Ball flight - with woods, usually a fade (right-to-left) or dead straight. Yesterday I hit fades on the front nine and then lost it with a few weak slices (left and then more left) and on the last three holes, dead straight.

    The sound of the last three tee shots was solid.

    I rarely carry a driver and play a 3-wood off the tee. I try to play from the tees that make the course about 6,000 - 6,3000 long. It's good for the ego to putt for birdie.

    The driver stays in the garage until it wants to be friends again.

    90% of the time I'm in an open stance with woods and hybrids.

    With irons, more of a pull (to the left), sometimes with a slight draw at the tail. 90% of the time I'm neutral or slightly closed.

    With the irons, I can hit a draw or fade, if needed. I rarely can hit a draw with the woods/hybrids.

    Hope that helps,

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  5. Without seeing your swing, I'd guess you're pushing up (straightening your knees) as you start your downswing. That could cause both problems -- the over-the-top move and hitting the ball off the toe.

    Ok, let's try this first...

    Check out this post. It has a basketball drill that should help you learn to move your knees laterally instead of bobbing up and down. To some people, it feels as if they're squatting to start the downswing.

    Give it a try and let me know how it works.

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  6. Mike, I have a major question...which arm powers the downswing? I think because I'm right hand dominant I can really use my right hand strength and hit the ball. But due to my body being slower than my hands it becomes a pull or hook. I'm thinking of just using my left hand to swing instead of right.

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  7. A quick note for those of you reading these comments: Ramzi is right-handed.

    You're ALWAYS using both hands and arms, but you may feel it more in one or the other. For example, you may feel that your right hand is in control and your left is just keeping the club steady... or it may feel the other way. It depends on you.

    Does your swing feel like you're swinging a tennis forehand or a baseball bat? Then it probably feels like your right hand is the power source. But if it feels more like a tennis backhand or a Frisbee™ throw, you probably feel that your left hand is in control.

    But no matter how it feels, the two arms are working together. Let me refer you back to a post you may remember... This post is the last in the series about pushes I wrote for you. (The links to all four are on the Some Useful Post Series page.)

    If you keep both elbows close to your side as you come through -- and especially that lead elbow, since it's the one "paces" your swing and keeps it from getting ahead of your body -- that will help you keep your hands in synch with your turn. In many ways, that's the key Ben Hogan found for beating his duck hook. He called it "connection."

    Try hitting some balls while keeping your lead arm firmly against the side of your chest, the same position it's in at address. Just make half swings, waist high to waist high. Keep that elbow pointed down at the ground -- don't twist your forearms! At first it'll probably feel like your lead arm is really stiff, but after a while you'll be able to relax it and still hold the position.

    I'm guessing that you may feel like your left arm is in control when you try this... but both arms are doing the work. After a while you should be able to stretch your swing out, shoulder height to shoulder height. By then it should feel pretty good. You can hit as hard as you want with your right hand as long as your left arm stays in synch with your body.

    Let me know how it goes. If you're still having problems after you try it, I'll see if I can come up with a new drill.

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  8. Thanks Mike,

    Does this mean before I swing instead of forward pressing I'll have to press my elbows closer together?

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  9. Forward pressing is a separate matter and can be done (or not done) as you please. I think the new post explains the elbow part more clearly -- at least, your comment there sounds like it does.

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