Every golfer grips the golf club, and when they do, they place their hands on the grip in one of three ways.

First, there’s an interlocking grip. This is when golfers link their hands together by intertwining the index finger of their lead hand (left hand for right-handed golfers; right hand for lefties) with the pinky on their other hand.

Here’s Tom Kim looking very pleased with his interlocking grip on the most recent cover of Golf Digest Middle East.

Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, and Rory McIlroy are a few noted Interlockers.

Fun fact about Tiger’s interlocking grip: He’s hit so many millions of golf balls with it over the years, it’s actually changed the shape of his right pinky finger. Notice how it’s slightly crooked, and skinnier towards the bottom compared with his left pinky. If that’s not the sign of a man who hit lots of golf balls, I don’t know what is.

An overlap grip is when a golfer joins their two hands by placing the pinky of their trail hand between the index and middle fingers on their lead hand.

Harry Vardon (who popularized the style), Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, and Phil Mickelson are some noted Overlappers.

Here’s a nice picture of Francesco Molinari displaying his overlap grip.

And then there are 10-finger baseball grips, which are exactly that. Every finger is touching the club, with the pinky of your trail hand flush up against the index finger of your lead hand. You don’t see too many 10-finger grips.

Because clearly I have too much time on my hands, I decided to conduct a kind of golf grip audit on the 2024 PGA Championship field. Of the more than 150 players in the field at Valhalla, who is using what? And what can we learn?

Here’s how it breaks down. Interlocking, by a notable margin, is the winner.

  • Interlocking: 58.4% (90 golfers)
  • Overlap: 40.9% (63 golfers)
  • Baseball: 0.6% (1 golfer)

Here’s how it breaks down by each country represented in the field.

And here’s how it breaks down for the 87 U.S. golfers in the field. More than 60 per cent of American golfers playing this week interlock.

The sole player in the field using a baseball grip is one of the PGA professionals, Kyle Mendoza. I asked him why on Wednesday, ahead of the first round.

“I used to interlock, but my freshman year of college I shut a door on this finger,” he says, pointing to the pinky of his right hand. “I had this splint in my finger, so I played the whole season with that finger hanging off the club. When it heeled I tried to go back to interlocking, but there was no chance. I had no clubface awareness.”

Christian Petersen

Which one is best for you?

There’s no real science as to who should use what grip, says Golf Digest Top 50 teacher Tony Ruggiero, who is here coaching Interlocker Andy Ogletree.

Tony says that generally speaking, golfers with longer fingers gravitate towards the overlap grips because interlocking grips can cause the pinky to wrap around awkwardly.

Golfers with smaller hands tend towards interlocking grips for the opposite reason: Their shorter fingers means the tip of their pinky fingers doesn’t nestle into the crest of their opposing hand enough. The right grip size for your hand shape can help make any style

“If they get their lead hand in the correct position on the club, I don’t care what grip you use,” Ruggiero says.

That’s, ultimately, what it comes down to. Making sure you see a couple of knuckles on your lead hand when you look down at it from setup; matching your trail hand grip with your body’s tendencies; and after you do both of that, settling on a style that feels natural.

“It just felt right,” Ludvig Aberg says of his interlocking grip. “It all comes back to the fundamentals. Keeping those intact, you’ll be able to figure the rest out.