How to perfectly grip a golf club, according to a major champion

Pro golfer padraig harrington grips a golf club during demonstration

If you want to learn the basics of gripping a golf club, heed this advice from three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

Scottie Scheffler is the best ball striker in the world — and it’s not particularly close. He currently leads the Tour in SG: Tee-to-Green (just as he did last season) and the gap between him and his closest competitor is the same as the gap between second place and 30th place. He’s ridden that otherworldly ball striking to two victories and four other top 10s this season.

With the amount of success Scheffler has had striking the ball, you might assume his practice is rather intricate. However, his training tends to be just the opposite. Rather than putting tons of focus on the minutiae of the swing, Scheffler keeps it simple. He’s a feel player, and doesn’t make things too complicated.

Scheffler might not fuss over technique too much, but there is one fundamental that he puts a particular emphasis on, and that’s the grip. He even uses a molded grip to make sure he’s putting his hands on the club consistently.

“Golf’s a pretty challenging game and so I’m constantly putting in the work to maintain where I’m at,” Scheffler said recently. “[I’m] always working on my grip, always working on the fundamentals. Usually when my swing gets out of whack, it’s usually something fundamental that’s going wrong.”

If the world No. 1 puts such an emphasis on the grip, then you should too. In today’s edition of Play Smart, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington explains how.

How to grip the golf club

The grip is perhaps the most important fundamental in the golf swing. With a poor grip, you’ll have to make compensations throughout the swing to get the clubface square at impact. And even if you can make the proper compensations, it’s more difficult to do so consistently with a poor grip. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that you learn how to grip the club the correct way, and can do so over and over again.

Below are a few keys from Harrington that will help you perfectly grip the club.

1. Fingers, not palms

The first key for a good grip is holding the club in the fingers — not the palms. Think about how you would pick up a suitcase handle or put your hands on a bar to do a deadlift.

“You’d never be down here in your palms or anything,” Harrington says. “It’d be fingers.”

2. Don’t grip on the ground

Harrington also says you shouldn’t lay the club on the ground when taking your grip. Instead, hold the club in the air.

“The minute I put the club on the ground, you could see the club comes up very high,” Harrington says. “[Your wrist] is locked. It doesn’t allow your wrists to work.”

You want your wrists to be able to move freely during the swing, so you should take your grip holding the club in the air away from your body.

3. Look at the thumbs

Once you’ve got your fingers on the club, it’s time to place your thumbs on top. When you place your lead hand on the club, you want the thumb to be slightly across the grip, and then you want the thumb of your trail hand to be slightly across in the opposite direction.

“If there was a ‘V’ there, it goes between your chin and your shoulder,” Harrington says.

Remember, a good swing starts with a good grip. So if you’re struggling with your swing, make sure to check your grip first.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at