Every Shot must have a mental approach

Every shot must have a Mental Approach

This was said by Percy Boomer, legendary Golf Professional during the early 20th century and wrote one of the most popular instructional books on golf of the era, On Learning Golf, published in 1942. He learned to play golf through the writing of Harry Vardon and Ted Ray.


Percy Boomer                     Harry Vardon        Ted Ray

Boomer was one of the top teachers of golf in Europe and spent the majority of his professional career at St. Cloud Country Club in the Paris suburbs. He was a proponent of muscle memory in the golf swing and reminded his students to block out negative thoughts in favor of more positive ones in order to play better golf. He was one of the first golf teachers to use stop-action photography.

Boomer endeared himself to his followers when he wrote, ”Everything I have ever done in golf, I have had to learn to do myself.”

Therefore and when we are talking mental, we will start by one of the most important things and that is confidence and as Dr. Bob Rotella said: “Golf is not a game of perfect – it´s a game of confidence.” And what is confidence and how do I get that? Trust is a word that then comes to mind and when I can trust my fundamentals, and then I can trust my swing.


So when we talking fundamentals we must give the grip some thoughts, and we are talking placement, positioning, pressure & precision related to the club.

The primary influence the grip has is the direction and the grip has then an influence of the clubface position (open, square or closed). Some explanations:

  • Placement (how far up or down the shaft the hands are placed) can alter the club´s effective length.
  • Positioning (the clockwise or counterclockwise rotation of the hands on the grip) by altering the hand’s position can cause a big slice or a hook.
  • Grip pressure (how hard we squeeze the club) influences timing, speed, and control.
  • Precision Taking the same grip all the time is critical for consistency

Then; What is a good grip? It is the one which let the player hit the most good shots

And if you want to play your best golf possible, go see your PGA professional and learn the grip that is the best for you. And as Jackie Burke Jr. said: “If you don´t learn a good grip, you don´t need a good swing”.

There are different ways to hold the club;

  • Overlapping or the Vardon grip, a grip that is said is coming from the great Harry Vardon which actually not is true. He made it popular as many other players (not so famous as Vardon) used. And this grip is fine for players with large fingers and strong hands. But what for the others?
  • Interlocking the grip that Jack Nicklaus uses, is for the player with smaller and weaker hands. For women this grip is very useful as well as:
  • The ten-finger grip where all fingers are on the grip, a grip that is used by many newcomers and kids. Also by some good players like Jarmo Sandelin who felt he could hit the ball longer with that grip as he could make more use of his right hand during impact.


Vardon Grip                                 Jack Nicklaus        Jarmo Sandelin

So here we can see that there is not one grip all but there is one grip for each individual player.

“Don´t worry about the player with a good swing and a bad grip, but be careful when you meet a player with a good grip and a mediocre swing”

Strong, weak or neutral grip and what is the difference? Here we are getting down to the individual. And this has to do with how the hands are hanging straight down by the side of the player. It is all getting down to the type of shot that comes out of the impact.

One great story about this and that also gave us professionals more work was from Ben Hogan’s book 5 Lessons:

Ben Hogan the world’s best player in the 50´s gave out this book in 1953 and it was a huge success. And everybody wanted then to copy Hogan´s swing. Ben Hogan always fought a hook and therefore he played with a weaker grip. And that grip was modeled in the book. And players, who previously sliced the ball, sliced it even worse.

Conclusion: See your PGA professional and make sure you get the grip that suits your game.

Getting into consistency and trust. This will increase with a good and repeating pre-shot routine and I suggest you start with this before the season starts.

  • Stand behind your ball looking down the line of play, pick a target and not only fairway or green. No pick a small target. Claude Harmon said: “ If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time”
  • Place your hands on the club take a small loose practice swing; find a small target (30 cm) in front of the ball.
  • Step up to the ball and start by placing your left feet then the right and make sure your aim-line is parallel to the target line
  • Line up the clubface towards the small target
  • Look at the target once and then

Trust your swing

Bertil Garpenholt

PGA Club Professiuonal & Certified Mental Coach

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