Guide to The Vardon Grip

A demonstration of The Vardon Grip used in golf
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The Vardon Grip—also called the "overlapping grip" or the "Vardon Overlap" grip—is the method of holding the golf club that is most popular among professional golfers. This grip technique is named after the great Harry Vardon, who popularized it in the late 19th/early 20th centuries.

How to Do It

To use the Vardon grip, a right-handed golfer should grasp the golf club using the following steps:

  • Place the little finger of your right hand between the index and middle fingers of your left hand, overlapping those fingers as in the photo.
  • The thumb of your left hand should fit in the lifeline of your right hand.

For left-handers, the little finger of the left hand overlaps the index finger of the right hand and settles into the gap between the index and middle fingers.

Who Uses It

Most male golfers, especially most good male golfers, use the Vardon grip (as do many female golfers). The overlapping grip is the grip of choice for most pro golfers—by some estimates, upwards of 90 percent of PGA Tour golfers use the Vardon grip. But your choice of grip is, in some sense, a personal choice: What's comfortable for you, what you have confidence in.

There are three main grips used by golfers: the Vardon grip, the interlocking grip and the 10-finger (or baseball) grip. And there are some advantages to each depending on the type of golfer you are.

Interestingly, while the vast majority of good golfers prefer the overlap, the two greatest golfers of all-time—Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus—both use the interlock. The interlocking grip is also a good fit for golfers with smaller hands, so some LPGA golfers prefer the interlock to the Vardon.

Who Invented It

Harry Vardon was golf's first great international superstar in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He was a 6-time winner of the British Open and innovated many things in pro golf, including having one of the first equipment deals with a sponsor and authoring one of the first instructional books by a pro golfer. And also, of course, there's the grip named after him.

However, Vardon did not invent the grip, he merely popularized it. Vardon's fellow "Great Triumvirate" member, J.H. Taylor, for example, won the British Open before Vardon did with the little finger on his right hand overlapping. So who was the inventor of the overlapping grip? Most golf historians agree it was probably amateur golfer Johnny Laidlay. Laidlay, a Scotsman, won the British Amateur Championship in 1889 and 1891.

When Vardon began using the grip, though, his stardom and advocacy for this way of holding a golf club led to his name being attached to it. And today, although it is probably more common to hear this grip called the overlap, the "Vardon grip" name still sticks.

Older Grip Styles

In his encyclopedia of golfers called The Who's Who of Golf, first published in 1983, Peter Alliss wrote that before the Vardon grip took over as the main golf grip, "the majority had played with all fingers on the club, sometimes with a small gap between the two hands, and the shaft, particularly with the right hand, was held in the palm."