Interlock vs Overlap Grip – Which is Better in Golf?

Written by Michael VanDerLaan 

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The interlock and the overlap grip are the two most used methods of gripping the golf club, but which one is better? Let's take an in-depth look at interlock vs overlap grip.

The grip is so important for the relationship between how the body moves and how the club moves. Choosing the right grip can be the difference between finding yourself stuck in the mud, and lowering your scores and having more fun. 

Both an interlocking and an overlapping style each have their pros and cons, and they are each the better choice for different golfers. From the size of your hands to your swing tendencies and everything in between, we are going to help guide you through all of the factors that go into making the decision of which grip is best for your game.

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Interlock Golf Grip Explained

Interlock Grip

The interlocking grip gets its name from the way the pinky finger of the right hand fits in between the index and middle fingers of the left hand like a puzzle piece. This grip is a great option for golfers who feel like they need help getting their hands to work together, and for golfers with smaller hands. The image above demonstrates the body-dominant release of the interlock grip.

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The interlock is less commonly used, even among high level golfers. Although it is the harder of the two major grip styles to master, those who are able to learn to use it correctly tend to have an advantage built in to their game. 

Benefits Of The Interlock Golf Grip

1. The interlock grip creates a more solid connection throughout the hands and wrists. By working as a more of a single unit, you gain the ability to control the club head more effectively without having to focus so much on what the wrists are doing. 

2. It often feels easier to hold onto the club with an interlocking grip. Golfers who feel like they squeeze or choke the club tend to find relief with this grip. This is especially beneficial for golfers with smaller hands, who also tend to find more comfort with the interlock.

3. The hands and wrists can't over-rotate as easily with the interlock grip. Players who play with a stronger grip and those who's trail hand tends to dominate the release may find more success by interlocking.

Problems With The Interlock Golf Grip

1. An interlocking grip makes it more difficult to release the golf club. If you already struggle with a slice, the interlock may not be for you.

2. Especially when you're not used to the interlock grip, it can be uncomfortable. The way the right pinky interlocks with the fingers of the left hand, there is an increase in the amount of friction. That likely means a few blisters at first when you use this grip.

3. Due to the decreased wrist mobility with the interlock, it's common to see a decrease in club head speed when you first switch. It can be frustrating to make what is supposed to be a positive adjustment only to start hitting every club shorter.  

Overlap Golf Grip Explained

Overlap Grip

Also known as the Vardon grip, the overlap grip means that the pinky of the right hand rests on top of the gap between the index and middle fingers of the left hand for a right handed golfer.

Regardless of whether your grip is strong, neutral, or weak, the right pinky should rest in the same place on the left hand. A good benchmark is to check where the first knuckle of the pinky is resting. It should fit comfortably over the second knuckles of the fingers on the left hand. The way that the right pinky overlaps the left hand lends this grip its name.

The image above shows the free release that the overlap grip allows golfers to make.

Benefits Of The Overlap Golf Grip

1. Using an overlapping grip gives a great combination of control and freedom. The hands are able to work as more of a unit due to the connection created by overlapping the pinky of the trail hand without completely restricting the hands. 

2. Golfers with bigger hands and longer fingers tend to find the overlap grip more comfortable because of the way the trail pinky wraps around the leading hand.

3. Trying to model your swing after the professionals is a great way to improve. With the majority of touring pros using an overlapping grip, it can be easier to copy the way they swing the club.

Problems With The Overlap Golf Grip

1. Golfers with smaller hands often find it hard to maintain control of the golf club with the overlapping grip. This issue is directly related to the second problem for golfers who overlap - excessive wrist mobility.

2. Although it is necessary to be able to move and release the wrists in the golf swing, there is a fine line between a proper release and having too much freedom in the wrists. Those golfers with smaller hands, as well as those with stronger grips will struggle with over-rotating the club through impact, making control very difficult.

These common flaws with the Vardon grip frequently result in a loss of both distance and control. If you feel as though you often hook the ball (a hard left curve for a right handed golfer) or throw your hands at the ball, you may consider giving the interlock grip a try instead.

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Differences Between The Interlock Grip and Overlap Grip

The most commonly recognized difference between the interlocking and overlapping grips is the placement of the right pinky on the left hand. With the interlock grip, the right pinky fits in between the index and middle fingers of the left hand.

On the other hand, the overlap grip is characterized by the right pinky resting on top of the gap between the index and middle fingers of the left hand. 

The physical difference between the grips causes a change in the way the club releases with each grip. The interlock grip quiets the trail hand and promotes a release with less club face rotation - good for golfers who struggle with a hook. The overlap grip allows more freedom in the wrists and produces a more pronounced release of the right hand - perfect to help fix a slice. 

Interlock vs Overlap - The Release

In the images below, you can see the different release of the golf club when using the interlock vs overlap release.

The overlap grip promotes a full release, which is ideal for hitting a draw and the interlock grip somewhat restricts the release, which is better for players wishing to hit a fade or straight shot.

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Interlock Grip Release

Interlock Grip Release

Overlap Grip Release Position

Overlap Grip Release

Which Is Better, The Interlock Grip Or Overlap Grip?

Every player is built differently, and every swing is unique. That means there is no one "better" grip, it depends on what works better for you! Things to consider when trying to decide which grip to use include:

  • What is your normal miss? Slicers may like the overlap grip while golfers who hit a hook might want to switch to the interlock.
  • The size of your hands. This may sound strange, but the bigger a players hands, the more likely they are to have success with an overlapping grip.
  • Comfort! At the end of the day, a grip that works but is not comfortable after an adjustment period might not be the right grip for you.

The main idea is to be able to release the golf club through impact, without losing the connection between the hands and arms, and the rest of your body. 

Who Should Use The Interlock Grip?

Deep Interlock Grip Error
Proper Interlock Grip

Above is a side by side of the "deep interlock" grip mistake (left) compared to a proper interlock grip (right). 

Golfers with smaller hands and shorter fingers or golfers with sweaty hands should use the interlock grip most often. These players will find that the connection created between the hands helps to release the club with the body and reduce the amount of release with the trail hand. An interlocking grip also helps these golfers to monitor their grip pressure.

If you choose to use the interlock grip, the easiest mistake to avoid is known as a "deep interlock." This is the result of a connection between the web between the index and middle fingers of the left hand and the base of the right pinky. Employing the fundamentals of a proper golf grip will ensure that you don't make this mistake.

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Who Should Use The Overlap Grip?

Golfers with bigger hands and those who struggle with a slice tend to benefit from the overlap grip the most. The combination of increased comfort and less challenge in releasing the club through impact lends an overlapping style the advantage with these players. 

Using the overlap grip, it is not unusual for golfers to end up with a strong right hand. This combines with the freedom in the wrists that the overlap already promotes and leads to an exaggerated release and a nasty hook. Understanding where the pinky is supposed to overlap the left hand helps to avoid this issue.

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Which Golf Grip Do Most Pro Golfers Use?

As many as 90% of professional golfers use the overlap grip. Some players who made the biggest splash with this style include Phil Mickelson, Arnold Palmer, and Ben Hogan.

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Which Pro Golfers Use An Interlocking Grip?

Tiger Woods' Interlock Grip

Here is a great view of Tiger Woods' grip. Notice how the right pinky is interlocked with the left hand.

While it is by far the less common grip, some of the biggest names in golf history have employed the interlock grip. Players who have had the most success interlocking include Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy. 

Is The Overlap Or Interlock Grip Better For Hitting A Draw?

The overlap is better for hitting a draw. This is because of the way overlapping the right pinky frees up the wrists to release more through impact, closing the club face relative to the target. 

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What Is A Baseball Grip?

Baseball Grip

A baseball grip is a more common grip for beginning golfers. Also known as the 10 finger grip because all 10 fingers are in direct contact with the golf club, it is not commonly seen at higher levels of golf. The only player on Tour known to use a baseball grip consistently is Scott Piercy. 

The ten finger grip is common among junior and beginning golfers. Those who don't have the strength to swing the club and those who have not practiced the motion may find more control in the short term by having all ten fingers on the club. Golfers with hand issues, such as arthritis, also find the baseball grip to be more comfortable than the more awkward interlock and overlap grips. 

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What Grip Should You Use For Putting

The putting grip style you should use is the one that works best for you. There are so many variations of putting grips that work well for different players that it takes a little bit of experimenting to find the sweet spot. 

Unlike the conversation of interlock vs overlap grips, there are a variety of choices when it comes to gripping a putter. Common variations of a putting grip include conventional (reverse overlap), left hand low (cross handed), the claw, and interlocking. The goal in putting is to minimize the use of the hands. The more you use the big muscles in your back and shoulders, like a rocking motion, the more control you will have over the club face. Choosing a grip that helps you feel like your hands and arms stay relatively quiet will immediately improve your putting!

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Final Thoughts

The debate between the interlock vs overlap golf grips can be traced all the way back to when Harry Vardon first popularized the overlap and challenged conventional teaching. Both grips have their pros and cons, and neither one is definitively the better option. 

The grip style you choose can have a major impact on your experience with golf. It changes the way the club interacts with the hands and, by extension, the body, and impacts everything in the swing from setup to release of the club head. Choosing the right grip for you may take time, but the results will be worth the patience. 

The best way to go about making the right choice for you is to understand what makes each grip effective, and then go out to a driving range and try them for yourself. After a little bit of playing around with both the interlock and the overlap grip, you will be able to identify which feels and performs best for you, and take it out to the course!

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Michael VanDerLaan

Michael is an Associate Editor here at Golf Gear Advisor. He is a playing professional with a passion for finding the best equipment through product testing and evaluation. He has an intimate knowledge of the golf swing and a very effective way of communicating his knowledge to those that are interested in learning more. As an Associate Editor at Golf Gear Advisor, Michael shares his knowledge about the golf swing, fitness and finding the right equipment for your game.

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