As with many sports, it's the same with golf: buying equipment and then just getting started doesn't work. The first step is not about training, but about the foundation. And in golf, that lies in the right way to hold the club.
This is unfamiliar at first and quickly distracts from all the subsequent movements, not least because you can get a lot wrong here.
The golf swing is, as one hears again and again, the sporting activity in which most of the body's muscles are involved at the same time. Coordination work has to be done here, muscle memory is called for here.
If you want to make a good tee shot, you have to perform this movement intuitively. This only works with concentration, and this in turn only without major distractions.
So if you pick up a golf club and want to practice your swing, but haven't yet familiarized yourself with the right grip, you will fail. That's why this post, the first of many articles on fundamentals, is first about the grip. And that is a matter of habit.
If you've never picked up a club before, the first time you do, you'll grip it like a sledgehammer: your hands are behind each other. You're familiar with this, even a broomstick is gripped in this way.
But hammers and brooms are about power, not so with golf. Here, the power that is ultimately to act on the ball should not come primarily from the muscles, but from the downswing, the swing speed.
It should be a fluid and controlled movement, the club should be guided with feeling. Only in this way can the ball flight be controlled by the player. But if you grip the handle like a hammer or broom, you will not be able to achieve this control.
Therefore, the hands must be in good contact with each other. And the player achieves this by placing fingers on top of each other or even interlocking them. However, not as extreme as folding the hands in prayer.
But from the beginning, step by step: Basically, the rule is that right-handed players start with the left hand and vice versa. So you take the club, let the club head point vertically towards the sky and grasp the end of the club handle with the fingers of the first hand. The thumb is placed on the handle so that it points to the club head.
The second hand is now placed with the ball of the thumb on the first thumb, so that the second thumb extends the line of the first, i.e. also points to the club head.
Index to ring fingers also embrace the club handle, the little finger of the second hand is placed on the index finger of the first hand. Here there is also the possibility to place the little finger of the second hand between the index and middle finger of the first hand. So at this point the hands are intertwined.
If you now look at the club from above, both backs of the hands point away from the club on both sides, the thumbs, lying half on top of each other, half behind each other, form a line to the club head.
In order to see whether the club is now being held correctly when the stance is taken, you can check with both hands whether the two "Vs", which are formed between the thumb and index finger on the left as well as on the right, point as far as possible to the right shoulder, in the case of left-handers of course to the left.
If you now move your wrists, you will notice how both hands have to communicate with each other in order to move. But they can do this much better than if they were gripping the club handle in front of each other. This now provides the basis for good control of the club and thus also of the ball flight.
It is not only the correct posture that is important, but also the firmness of the grip. Nick, the pro, gave the following advice during the golf course: "The upper hand holds the club, so it must have a firm grip. But not in such a way that the hand cramps. On a scale of 1 to 10 from "The club flies away" to "The club grip is crushed", about a 5 is enough.
The lower hand, which grips closer to the club head, is used to guide the club. And this should grip the handle, says Nick, "as if you were holding a small bird in it."
At this point, it's a matter of rehearsing the swing and preferring to leave the hands a little looser beforehand than is really necessary. Because in the swing it happens then automatically that one grasps nevertheless again somewhat more firmly.
The first foundation for a good golf game has been laid at this point. More will follow in the other articles in this series.
Previous article in the series: How to Golf 0: Warm up properly before the first shot
Next article in the series: How to Golf 2: Swinging to the Green