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  • Right thumb

    Need a confirmation. Where does the right thumb go and which part of it is actually in contact with the grip? I've been getting my skin scratched off all over my thumb (mainly the thumbprint area and right on top of the knuckle on the inside facing the fingers).

    At the top of my swing, I feel that my right thumb can dictate how far I let the shaft hang down. And even upon impact, I can feel the thumb in play.. Is that right?

  • #2
    Re: Right thumb

    I place my top-hand thumb across the shaft (ie not down the middle). This creates some seperation between my thumb and hand.

    While my thumb does kind of dictate how far the shaft droops at the top (almost like it's supporting it), I actually don't put much pressure on the thumb at all - it's not necessary.

    If you're holding the club properly in your fingers, then you can actually hold the club without the thumb on it at all.

    In fact, just to reinforce this, I'll grip the club with my top hand, and I'll play 'tug of war' with my 3 year old, holding the grip more loosely until she 'wins'. It's amazing how loosely you can hold the club before it's interested in moving.

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    • #3
      Re: Right thumb

      Thanks. Yep I used to put my thumb across the shaft, but developed a bad blister so currently I am playing with my thumb practically in line with the shaft, ie. my thumbprint is pressing on the shaft, rather that slightly in of the thumb. Hope that does not affect my swing much, or should I just stop practising for a while?

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      • #4
        Re: Right thumb

        Yo Simon, as far as I know, actively placing your right thumb down the shaft or controlling the club whatsoever with it is a cardinal fundamental sin of golf. I cringe when I see others do it. It causes a chain reaction of non-golf muscle usage in forearm and beyond on the right side. So listen to Low Post when he says it's not necessary, and I'll go further and say it's unwanted. It takes one to know one, I used to do it when I sucked. Blisters ensued when I was playing tense. Ben Hogan's 5 fundamentals is my first exposure regarding the evils of this practice. On the 3rd and 4th digits, the 1st phalange pads on the fingers immediately connected to the palm(ie not tips) wrap and apply the grip for the right hand there and there only. Hogan's book has pretty drawings of this, but remember don't take everything of his too literally for instance you're grip will not be as weak as Hogan's.
        Last edited by briguy; 08-10-2005, 08:24 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Right thumb

          Originally posted by LowPost42
          It's amazing how loosely you can hold the club before it's interested in moving.
          Yeah, I had an instructor hit shots for me with only the tips of his index fingers, middle fingers and thumbs of each hand on the grip just to beat in the point that I don't want to choke the club. They were nice, clean shots, so I was impressed, to say the least.

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          • #6
            Re: Right thumb

            Thanks guys. Yep placing the right thumb along the shaft is not natural for me either. I've gone back to placing it across the shaft slightly to the left once the blister healed :P

            So I'm wondering, for a person who says hits 200 balls 3 times a week at the driving range, should I still be getting torn skin (especially on the right thumb)? If so, does it mean I am still gripping too hard or employing the right thumb incorrectly?

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            • #7
              Re: Right thumb

              In his book The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, Ben Hogan shows how it is possible to hit good golf shots with only the middle two fingers of the right hand on the shaft of the club - see pages 25 - 27.

              I agree with briguy that the right thumb should not be controlling the club at all during the swing. The left thumb is far more important than the right one.

              It sounds to me as if you're using your right hand too much. Both hands should play an equal part in the swing as I point out in my blog today - see http://the-golf-bandit.blogspot.com/

              All the best

              The Golf Bandit.

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              • #8
                Re: Right thumb

                Wow ok I will try to take off my thumb later at the range and get a feel of it. I do always feel that I need to use my thumb to hold the club at the top of my swing, to prevent it from fall down beyond horizontal...

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                • #9
                  Re: Right thumb

                  sounds to me like you are just gripping way to hard because of the (false) sense of control/power it give you.
                  A tight grip robs you of the correct release thus dropping you distance and also a square hit.
                  Keep dialing it back a notch, you will be amazed.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Right thumb

                    I would suggest that you need to do some forearm strength training. There are many forearm exercises available on the net. With increased strength in your forearms you will find you don't need to grip your club as tight AND you will be able to delay your release a bit longer, creating a more powerful release.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Right thumb

                      Thanks for all your replies. Yeah I dunno why, I've had 2 practice sessions where I really loosened my grip, and it felt really great. But subsequently when I go to the range and try to work on the other parts of my swing, I realised now on hindsight that I've been gripping the club the "natural" tight way.. Will definitely work on this! Thanks!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Right thumb

                        Simon, as a fellow range junkie, I know the fix it provides that "your working on things", but I suggest you make mirror time for yourself. You need to nail the golf setup(grip, stance, posture, ball position, alignment). All within range of every human being, yet these things are dismissed by every 95+ golfer out there I promise you that. There's layers of detail in these "simple" five things and how they interrelate. Or maybe they're just boring and people just want to get to cranking the ball. Whatever, 15 minutes a day at home on the grip and some mirror time to emulate a pro setup ensuring your doing what you think you're doing at address should sustitute for some of that range time. 600 balls/week with a bad grip or anything else just grooves poor swings or bad compensations. LEARN YOUR BASICS before grooving God knows what. I've learned I can play better by chilling out on the range a little and revisiting the basics which incidentally is what tour coaches are for largely, to say "hey you're getting out of position" (i.e. they're a mirror).

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                        • #13
                          Re: Right thumb

                          Thanks briguy. I've posted my swing video in the photo gallery So what I normally try to ask are the smaller minute details which might be a bit difficult to see even on the video, and which might not be that widely discussed as the common topics like setup, posture, swing path etc.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Right thumb

                            I think the main issue with the grip is that both hands work in sync with the club head. The v's formed by the thumb and index finger of both hands should point in the same direction - more towards your nose for a weaker grip and more towards your riggt shoulder for a stronger grip. The right thumb pointed down the shaft may be the result of a weaker grip with the V almost going toward the left shoulder.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Right thumb

                              The same deal for me. I hit 200 golf balls and my thumb print has two blisters. I am probably gripping it to hard.

                              Thanks for the post.

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