I’ve never heard someone say, “I wish I had Arnold Palmer’s swing.” While you’d be crazy not to take his seven majors and 62 PGA Tour wins — not to mention the giant, positive shadow he has cast across the game since he first laced ’em up in 1955 — you’d be wise to leave the King’s technique to the King.
Although Palmer came into the ball with the clubshaft perfectly in line with his left forearm, he held the face slightly shut, which forced him to hang on for dear life through impact — a compensation that resulted in his unique, helicopter-style finish. What made the whole thing work was his grip. Palmer still has the best-looking hold of all time. He learned it from his father, who stressed the grip as the most important basic you can master.
If you look at old footage of Arnie, you’ll catch him staring down at this hands before his swing — I think Palmer knew he had a great grip and loved to admire his work. Plus, that cool waggle — like a gunslinger coolly pushing open the swinging doors to a saloon.
Like it did for Palmer, perfecting your grip and waggling the club will give you the tightness you need to control the clubhead, yet free up your wrists to hing and unhinge freely — and add speed — from start to finish.
HOW TO GRIP IT LIKE PALMER IN 5 STEPS:
1. Set the grip under your left heel pad and curl your index finger around the handle.
2. Wrap your left hand around the grip and set your thumb just right of center.
3. Place the lifeline of your right hand over — and apply pressure to — your left thumb.
4. The Vs formed by your thumbs and index fingers should point in the same direction.
5. A finger-width space with between the pointer and middle fingers of your right hand gives you control without increasing grip pressure.