Choking Up on Golf Clubs: Improve Control and Accuracy Like the Pros

Colin McCarthy

choking up on golf clubs

Golf is a game where small adjustments can make a big difference. One such tweak that professional golfers often use is choking up on the club.

This simple maneuver can help players fine-tune their distances and improve accuracy without overhauling their entire swing.

Choking up involves gripping the club slightly lower on the handle, which can lead to more controlled shots and better contact with the ball.

While it’s a common technique among pros who know their yardages well, even regular players can benefit from understanding how and when to choke up.

This adjustment can be particularly useful when the ball is above your feet or when you need to make precise shots around the green.

By incorporating this technique into your game, you can add a variety of new shots to your arsenal. It’s an easy change that doesn’t require stressing over your tempo or swing mechanics, making it a valuable tool for golfers of all skill levels.

What Is Choking up on Golf Clubs?

Choking up on a golf club refers to gripping the club closer to the shaft, typically by moving the hands higher up the grip. This adjustment shortens the effective length of the club, providing greater control and precision over shots.

Golfers may choose to choke up on the club for various reasons, such as when they need to make delicate shots requiring finesse or when they want to achieve a shorter distance with more accuracy.

Choking up allows players to maintain control over their swings while making minor adjustments, offering versatility in different situations on the course, ultimately enhancing their overall performance.

Benefits of Choking Up on Golf Clubs

Choking up on a golf club, which means gripping the club closer to the shaft, can offer several benefits:

Improved Control and Precision

Choking up on a golf club makes it easier to handle. By gripping the club lower on the handle, the overall club length decreases, resulting in more control.

Many find that this helps in hitting more accurate shots. For example, think of the difference in swing control between a 7-iron and a driver.

By choking up, golfers can better manage their swings, leading to better ball control and improved precision. Furthermore, choking up can be particularly beneficial in windy conditions, allowing for more stable shots.

This technique can also help reduce fatigue during long rounds, contributing to consistency throughout the game.

Enhanced Ability to Shape Shots

Golfers can effectively shape their shots by choking up. This technique is useful for executing draw or fade shots, enabling players to adjust their trajectories.

When a golfer chokes up, they gain the ability to make subtle changes to their swing path. This adjustment leads to better shot shaping, which is crucial when navigating obstacles or positioning the ball on the green with greater accuracy.

Additionally, choking up on the golf club can improve overall control, especially in windy conditions or during short game scenarios.

By reducing the length of the club, players can achieve greater consistency and precision in their shots.

Increased Consistency

Consistency in golf swings is crucial for lower scores. Choking up on the club fosters a repeatable swing pattern, making it easier to replicate successful shots.

Many players who naturally grip down on the club find stability in their swings, reducing mishits and errant shots. Gripping down also prevents glove wear on the palm, adding to the comfort and consistency of the grip over time.

Furthermore, choking up can enhance control, especially in windy conditions or tight lies. This adjustment aids in managing trajectory, providing better precision in challenging situations.

Potential Drawbacks of Choking Up

Choking up on a golf club has these drawbacks:

Reduced Distance on Shots

Choking up on a golf club shortens its length, resulting in a decrease in total carry distance. Tests with SkyTrak launch monitors indicate a reduction of around 2 yards on full shots.

Players like Anthony Kim, who grip two inches lower, experience even more significant distance losses. As the ball flies shorter, players may need to recalibrate their distance expectations.

However, improved contact resulting from choking up might offset some of the distance reduction, especially for those struggling with consistent ball striking.

Impact on Swing Mechanics

Altering grip position affects swing mechanics by changing the club’s swing weight and shaft stiffness. Choking up lightens the swing weight, making the shaft effectively stiffer and altering the natural feel of the club during the swing.

This change can lead to adjustments in swing tempo and timing, potentially causing inconsistencies. Experienced players and professionals might manage these changes better, but casual players might find it challenging.

Proper practice sessions are crucial to adapt to these mechanical shifts and maintain consistent performance.

How to Properly Choke Up on Golf Clubs

Choking up on a golf club involves gripping the club closer to the shaft, typically by moving your hands higher up the grip.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it properly:

Technique for Drivers

Choking up on a driver involves placing the hands slightly lower on the grip. This technique can offer greater control and reduce the margin for error on longer shots.

Start by moving the hands down about one inch from the top of the grip, ensuring a firm yet comfortable hold.

This adjustment can help the player maintain better control over the clubface, leading to straighter and more accurate drives.

However, the shortened grip may slightly reduce total distance, compensating by ensuring solid contact with the ball.

Adjustments for Irons and Wedges

When using irons and wedges, choking up can improve precision and shot shaping. For irons, players should move their hands down the grip by one to two inches, depending on the desired ball flight and distance control.

This adjustment helps in tighter control during approach shots, leading to more accurate placements on the green. With wedges, this technique becomes invaluable during delicate short-game situations.

Choking up by about two inches can provide the finesse needed for delicate chip and pitch shots, enhancing touch and feel around the greens.

Considerations for Putters

Choking up on the putter can stabilize the stroke and improve consistency. Players should move their hands down the grip just enough to feel more control over the putter head, typically around one inch.

This adjustment can help reduce wrist action and promote a more pendulum-like stroke, crucial for consistent putting.

It’s essential to practice this technique under various conditions to become comfortable and retain the natural flow of the putting stroke.

Additionally, choking up can also be beneficial for chip shots around the green. By shortening the club, players can gain better control over distance and accuracy, leading to more precise shots.

Situational Uses of Choking Up

Choking up on a golf club can be a strategic move in various situations on the course.

Here are some situational uses:

For tight fairways, golfers often choke up to enhance control and accuracy. Tight fairways demand precise ball placement to avoid hazards.

Reducing the club length by choking up improves swing control. Professional golfers employ this technique to keep shots straight and low.

Choking up about an inch enhances stability and consistency, minimizing the risk of errant shots. This adjustment is especially useful in windy conditions where lower ball flight can offer additional control.

Approach Shots on the Green

Golfers choke up on approach shots to fine-tune distance and improve contact. Approach shots require precise yardage control to get the ball close to the pin.

Choking up reduces swing power slightly, providing better distance management. When golfers need to carry the ball over hazards or stop it quickly on the green, this technique aids in maintaining precision.

Professional players often use this method to ensure the ball lands softly, enhancing the likelihood of closer proximity to the hole.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does choking up affect shot distance?

Choking up on the club typically reduces shot distance due to the shorter length of the club. While you gain more control and precision, the trade-off is a shorter overall distance on your shots.

When should I choke up on my golf club?

You should consider choking up in tight fairways, delicate approach shots on the green, or when you need to fine-tune your distance and improve shot precision.

Are there any drawbacks to choking up on the club?

Yes, the primary drawback of choking up is the reduced distance on shots. Additionally, it can alter your swing mechanics, which may require some adjustment for consistent performance.

Can beginners benefit from choking up on the club?

Absolutely. Beginners can gain better control and accuracy by choking up, which helps them make more consistent contact with the ball.


Choking up on golf clubs can be a game-changer for golfers looking to enhance control and accuracy. While it may reduce shot distance slightly, the trade-off often results in better contact and precision.

This technique is especially useful in tight fairways and approach shots, where stability and fine-tuned distance management are crucial.

Both amateur and professional golfers can benefit from mastering this skill, ensuring they remain consistent and confident in various golfing scenarios.

Additionally, choking up can help mitigate mishits and off-center strikes, providing better feel and feedback. It’s a versatile adjustment that can adapt to different course conditions, enhancing your overall performance.

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Colin McCarthy

Golf is about mastering your misses and learning from them. I seek answers on the how and why of the golf swing, gaining experience even when answers elude me. With over 11,000 hours of teaching and a hunger for learning, I welcome any questions. My goal is to introduce golf to as many as possible, simplifying the game for all to enjoy. Passionate, eager, and ambitious, I'm here to teach, listen, and learn. LinkedIn

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