Moe Norman used an overlapping grip from the time he started playing until 1993. He switched to a 10-finger grip in 1994. Why did he switch?
In the early 90’s a company called Natural Golf which taught a similar golf swing to Moe’s Single Plane. They promoted a 10-finger grip. As a matter of fact, Natural Golf’s original clubs were three inches longer than conventional golf clubs – and they taught that hands on the club were split a few inches.
Even with the differing hand positions of Natural Golf and Moe Norman – their concepts of the swing being on a Single Plane was similar. When they collaborated in 1994, Natural Golf’s Hand position came together, closing the gap between the hands, and Moe moved his hand apart to a 10-finger position.
Personally, I prefer an overlapping grip position both as a player and a coach. I played for a few years with the 10-finger position but found it more difficult to move my wrists and lost substantial speed. There are technical reasons for loss of speed. When you move the hand apart, you shorten the club length. Often times the separation of the hands causes the trial hand to have too much pressure and control – decreasing its range of movement.
If done correctly, the separation of the hands is hardly noticeable and has little effect. Other hand a shortening of the club (the trail hand is closer to the club head), there is very little difference with a good 10-finger grip and and overlapping grip. I think people make way to big of a deal about the 10-finger grip. Usually if it is a “big-deal” their hands are incorrectly placed on the club.
Here are the important points about the hand position on the club.
Its not the hands, its the wrists
The hands are what hold the grip of the club, the arms and wrists move it. As the “holders” of the club the most important part is the rotation of each hand.
Rotation of each hands is key
People often consider the overlapping grip a “conventional” hand position. When Moe Overlapped, his swing was still unconventional and “Single Plane”. This fact is because he had the proper rotations of the hand to form the Single Plane at address. How exactly did he do this?
Skip rocks for speed
The most important part about the lower hand on the club is that the area and the wrist are a major speed producer. If you identify the pressure point of the hand, and where the speed is generated you would quickly notice that a good arm and hand movement require flexion and extension of the wrist – similar to skipping a rock. If you incorrectly hold the club with the palm of the trial hand, you reduce wrist movement. This dramatically decreases the speed of the club.
The thumb needs a place to go
After you place your lead hand on the club, you must tuck the thumb into the trail hand. When people hold the club with 10-fingers, they often ask me “where do I put my lead thumb”. The lead thumb tucks into the palm of the trail hand – unifying the hands so the wrists are closer together.
Hand action into impact – and the bent right arm
Look at how the wrists unhinge into impact. The trail arm is bent and trail wrist still bent. This is a signature impact position of all great ball-strikers. If you extend the trial hand down the club into a 10-finger position, it promotes a straighter trial arm at impact which can cause a loss of speed and improper impact.
In conclusion, I prefer a proper overlapping grip where the hands are placed correctly on the club to promote a Single Plane address position. This requires a neutral lead hand and “Non-rotaional” trail hand.