As the Director of Instruction at the Legacy Golf Club in Las Vegas, I will have the opportunity to write monthly columns on a wide variety of subjects relating to golf. Rest assured, each and every article will help you to raise the level of your understanding of how to go about optimizing your talents in golf… whether they are physical, mental, emotional or managerial. More enjoyment, lower scores and greater consistency will be inevitable to those of you who take the time to read, study and apply the information given… you will be able to get in the game.
Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Bob Byman. My experience and expertise put me in a rather rare category for golf instructors and coaches. There are literally only a handful of teachers available today that have had the playing experience and success that I have had coupled with decades of teaching and coaching every type of player and who has a great passion and love for helping others achieve their goals in golf. I am the Director of Instruction at the Legacy Golf Club in Henderson. I also offer instruction at the TPC Las Vegas and at the Punta Cana Resort and Club in the Dominican Republic. I have played with or seen play every great player from Hogan and Snead to Woods and Mickelson and have studied those that came before them. I have seen many swing fads come and go and have also seen the fundamentals that have stood the test of time and competition. I have personally tried or have seen tried just about every possible way to motivate a golf ball toward and into the hole. I know the roads that lead to performance optimization and I also know the dead ends.
I have had the pleasure and opportunity to play all over the world. Everywhere I have gone, the same basic errors are being made… this is why over the last 4 or 5 decades there has been no improvement in the average handicap of golfers. In order to get in the game, you must become knowledgeable about the ideas that will assure your continued frustration and also that will ensure your short term and long term improvement. You can not change effectively without fully understanding what you are trying to do.
Everyone that I teach brings me their own system of motivating a golf club in order to make a golf ball go toward a target. Most systems produce consistently inconsistent results. To hit a golf ball well with dependably predicable outcomes, the parameters that one must stay within are fairly narrow. The fundamentals are the fundamentals. There is no trick to it or mystery…the more fundamentals you feed into the different parts of your game, then the more consistent and reliable your results will be. These fundamentals allow you to express them individually… so your swing will and must have its own signature and uniqueness. The commonalities among all great players’ dynamic movements and static positions are undeniable and are easily recognizable once you know where to look.
So, what is the most valuable gift that I can give you and/ or any golfer? To answer this question, I refer you to a recent meeting with the living legend Don Cherry. Don is the greatest example of a singer/golfer in history. Of course, I had heard of Don now and again over my decades involved in competitive golf, but after meeting with him I must say that I wish I had gotten to know him sooner.
Of course, I wanted to know about some of his experiences with the great and talented players that he had shared the fairways with over the years. And now the main point of this short divergence to you;
Don was playing in a practice round with Ben Hogan in the Colonial Invitational in the early 1950’s. Don snap-hooked his drives on each of the first three holes…upon which Hogan took him aside and said, “…before you totally embarrass yourself, you have to learn how to put your hands on a golf club. Clap your hands together and never put your hands on the club any differently.” I smiled and asked him if he took Ben’s advice? He replied, “hell yes, it is the only advice I ever took in golf”.
Ben Hogan was the finest ball striker in the history of the game. Jack Nicklaus is the greatest player in the history of the game. These two men have the two best grips that I have ever seen. They were magnificent in their functionality, effectiveness, simplicity, beauty and balance. And this brings me to the greatest gift that I can give any golfer… in order to get each and every player to get in the game… how to put your hands on a golf club.
The grip is the single most influential fundamental towards the short and long term development of your game. It dictates how you will and must swing the club in order to produce your desired result. Every player who has dominated this sport in their hey day, from Harry Vardon to Tiger Woods on the men’s side and from Patti Berg to Annika Sorenstam on the women’s side used a grip that is 99% of what I teach and that I would strongly encourage all of you to employ. Here are the most important factors that you should use:
- The palms of the hands face each other on the grip.
- The palms of the hands face in the same line as the leading edge of the clubface.
- When affixing your grip, make sure that you have equal pressure on all sides of the shaft.
- The left side of the shaft goes across the mid points of the left hand. Close the last three fingers and the heel of the hand first, then the index finger and then the thumb. The thumb is neither long or short but naturally laid down basically the middle of the shaft.
- The right side of the shaft goes across an angle that is parallel to the angle the shaft went across the left hand, but about an inch farther down in the fingers. Close the middle two fingers first, then cover the pocket of the palm of the hand over the left thumb, then crock the index finger, the thumb goes to the left side of the shaft and the pinky goes in the groove between the left index and middle fingers.
- There are no gaps… everything fits nicely together. The hands are compact and unified. The grip pressure is created by the form of the grip.
- The back of the left hand is the clubface, the palm of the right hand is the clubface. Where ever the hands are the clubface is.
This will make you look like a golfer, feel like a golfer and allow you to hit shots and develop a swing motion with basically the same quality results as the most accomplished golfers in the world. It will allow you to get in the game. Enjoy!