Tiger Woods is perhaps the most famous junior golfer of the 21st century. Things like Tiger’s attitude, his swag, and his powerful stingers have made him famous in the Golf World. Tiger Woods’ golf grip is interesting in that it has rapidly evolved over time. Today we’ll give you a run down of what his grip used to be, how it has changed, and what you can do to grip the club like he does.
The Evolution of Tiger Woods’ Grip
Tiger began his career with a strong grip. Anyone who watched the 1997 masters has seen the way this grip pulled the shaft towards the ball creating some booming, powerful shots. But due to concerns about consistency, Tiger made a switch.
In 2000, Tiger went almost entirely neutral. If you looked at his grip, it would closely resemble the parallel “V” shape depicted in “How to Grip a Golf Club” for dummies or any other golf book. He also weakened his left hand grip to try to optimize for consistency and minimize overcompensation.
By 2004, Tiger was consistently shooting the low fades that made him famous. His grip shifted to the weaker side.
In 2010, Tiger opted for a strong grip again. He hoped this would help him to stay more centered over the ball and increase shaft lean at impact.
Tiger currently favors more of a neutral interlocking grip, meaning the pinky of his trailing hand is between the index and middle fingers of the leading hand.
See How Tiger Woods’ Grip Can Help You
You can see how Tiger Woods’ Grip can work for your game in real time. Gears touts the most powerful, precise, golf swing motion capture system in the world and the clairy and practicality of our analytics are unmatched. With our system you can not only compare your rotation and connectivity with a pro’s, but you can enjoy a glorious 3D rendering of every angle and speed of your body movement so you know exactly where you can improve. Want to try it out? We’d love to show you around.
Why Tiger’s Grip Changed So Much
Junior Golfers are extremely flexible, but often they lack the strength needed to deliver powerful shots. TIger’s choice to play a strong grip early on largely reflects his need to optimize for a larger swing arc and faster body rotation. At some point, his upper body strength caught up with his legs, allowing him to transition to the weak and neutral grips.
Advantages of a Tiger Woods Grip
Unless you’re a Junior Golfer seeking to replicate young Tiger Woods, you probably think of Tiger’s current neutral interlocking grip.
The Tiger Woods Grip has a few distinct advantages. First is that it’s low tension. The interlock helps you maintain pressure from all 10 fingers with the club. That way your hands can flow more freely allowing for a smoother swing.
Second, the hands and wrists become one. With the interlocking grip, they are locked together improving the swing motion and overall connectivity of the swing.
Third, it provides optimal control for those with small hands. Smaller golfers can benefit from better control of the club.
Disadvantages of a Tiger Woods Grip
Just because Tiger uses a neutral interlocking grip doesn’t always mean it’s right for you. There are a few potential disadvantages to this grip. Take the time to experiment and find what works for you and your game.
First, The Tiger Woods Grip can significantly reduce wrist movement. This minimizes potential power you can get from a wrist hinge and forces you to rely more heavily on a correct swing sequence.
Second, if you have any swing or posture problems, an interlocking grip can exacerbate these as it forces you to rely on your entire body to produce powerful, accurate shots.
Third, it can be awkward for those with big hands.
Fourth, it can be tough for beginners as it feels extremely unnatural at the start.
Which Golf Grip Should I Use?
Your choice of grip is personal. Just because a certain pro favors one grip over the other doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. When considering which grip you should play, evaluate what kind of player you are with the criteria below:
- Experience Level
If you’re a beginner start with the ten-finger or overlapping grips as these often feel the most natural for non golfers. Intermediate golfers usually begin to transition to an interlocking grip, but again no one golfer is the same. If you’re an advanced golfer, you’ll likely have an idea of which components of each grip fit your needs so you can customize your grip accordingly.
- Strength and Size
Most junior golfers will want to opt for a strong grip, or one that provides a high level of wrist hinge. Smaller, less muscular golfers need a grip that provides a snappy swing motion that provides maximum hip driven speed and power.
Hand size should also be taken into consideration. Smaller handed golfers might find an interlocking grip comfortable, while golfers with larger hands may prefer some overlap.
- Swing and Posture
If you have any unresolved bad habits; for example you tend to favor your back foot or frequently slice, you’ll want to find a grip that’s more forgiving. More restrictive grips(especially those that interlock) can worsen such problems. Choosing the right grip can be a stepping stone to fixing bad habits. Some of the best golfers like Tiger, Jack Nicklaus, and Ben Hogan have used their grip to shape their ideal swing. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll probably like our recent article about Ben Hogan’s unconventional swing.
Bottom Line: What You Can Learn From Tiger Woods’ Golf Grip
The evolution of Tiger’s Golf Grip shows you that no one grip is superior in Golf. He played with anything from a heavy shaft lean strong grip to a textbook neutral weaker one. Golf calls for different mechanics in different situations. Tiger did an excellent job of responding to the circumstances with a variety of grips and swing shapes. Give Tigers grips, old and new a try and see what they add to your game!