What does Choking Down on the Club Mean?
Choking is a word that usually sounds like it has something to do with a health hazard. But, in golfing, choking down is not a bad thing. In fact, it is considered to be a simple fix to a host of issues in the golf swing.
Choking down on the club means holding the club further down the shaft when you take your golf grip. Usually, golf players will hold the club about half an inch or so below the butt end. Holding it any higher can make your hands almost touch the butt end and weaken your grip.
Choking down on the club means you hold the shaft one inch further down. You can even go lower depending on how far down you want to “choke”.
It is not known how the word choking came to be used for referring to how someone grips a golf club. But, some say that it is a reference to the word choke which means messing up at a critical juncture in a sport. Choking down on the club is a solution to not choking on the golf course.
Choking down is not a new technique. Professional golfers have been using this simple trick for many years.
Golf is a complex game that involves reading the surface, knowing the weather conditions, the wind strength, getting your swing right, being in the right stance, having the right posture, and so on.
There are many simultaneous moving parts.
In such conditions, wouldn’t it be great if one simple adjustment can lead to a meaningful impact in multiple areas?
Choking down on the club is not a solution for every golfer. Rather, it is one possible solution that you need to first test at a driving range or under practice conditions.
What Impact Can Choking Down on the Club Have?
So what exactly can happen just by holding the golf club further down the shaft? A range of areas can get impacted:
Holding the club an inch or two lower makes the golf club shorter when you swing. This will reduce the distance that the ball will travel as compared to what would get covered if you held the club with a normal grip at the normal zone on the shaft.
A reduced distance can be good or bad depending on the situation that you are in.
Sometimes, you don’t want to overhit the ball as there may be a lot of hazards or sometimes you want to land the ball in a tight zone. A reduced distance works well in such situations.
Believe it or not, but a shorter club results in greater control. Try this out at your local driving range.
Hold the club an inch lower and practice using your driver or iron. You will notice the difference.
Besides, think about the difference in control when you use your 7-iron vs when you use your driver.
One club is shorter than the other. Which one do you feel gives you more control? The shorter club generally does.
If conditions are very windy, then you don’t want the ball to rise a lot. This will place the ball against the wind path and throw off its intended trajectory.
With a lower flight, you will have a better chance of getting close to your intended target. A lower flight can be achieved by choking down on the club.
You should, however, know that lowering the flight may also reduce the distance that the ball travels. So, it is a bit of a trade-off.
However, in certain situations, this sort of trade-off between ball flight and distance tends to work out nicely.
When else to use the choking down technique?
If you find yourself in a tough spot, perhaps in the woods or a sand bunker, then you will want as much control over your shot as possible.
Those are the times when choking down on the club may work. Again, you have to practice these scenarios by maybe placing the ball behind a tree and simulating trying to get back onto the fairway.
You can also try using the choking down technique if you are not finding consistency.
Sometimes, golfers do get into a cycle of not hitting the ball well. You can try to break this cycle by choking down on the club and getting better control over your shots.
Sometimes, you want to try and land in the fairway or on the green rather than getting the maximum distance. Those are also the times when you choke down on the club. Once you get yourself back into the groove, you can always adjust your grip to hold the shaft higher.
What clubs can I choke down on?
You can pretty much use the choking technique on any golf club. However, if the club is too long for your height, then choking down is not going to solve the problem.
You would ideally want to either find an appropriate club or try cutting it down to suit your height.
Many golfers use the choking down technique more frequently with their wedges. When you are close to the green, control and shot execution become really critical.
Nailing a wedge shot sets you up for the all-important putt and a chance to score a birdie or an eagle. Choking down on a wedge brings your body close to the ball. This results in better control over your shot.
If you are wondering whether you can choke down on a putter, then the answer is yes.
If you feel that the putter is too long and that it is not allowing you to swing freely or focus your eyes on the ball, then try choking down. The technique also works when the putting green is downward-sloping and fast.
We hope that you found this article useful. Choking down is a technique that some golfers turn to when the situation demands. Other golfers who are against the technique tend to point out its disadvantages. We recommend that you try it out to form your opinion. Good luck!
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