Today I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much "just knowing" that you are gripping the club correctly can improve your confidence. Without changing a thing, I was striking the ball consistently, and except for an occasional draw, I was hitting the ball high and pretty straight.
Worrying that my grip was one of my weaknesses, I've been playing around with variations for about a year without much success. In fact, each new change made things worse and worse. The more I practiced the worse I got. Each new grip made my arms feel like they were bending and extending in an unnatural way.
I've always had a "strong" grip, meaning that my left hand is turned inwards (clockwise) so that the V between my forefinger and thumb points to somewhere between my nose and right eye. The left thumb presses slightly on the side of the grip opposite to the target, and the right hand barely does anything but follow.
During my younger days, the fashion was to adhere to a "neutral" grip where both hands are clapped together at right angles to the target line and grip the club at that position. The left thumb is aligned along the length of the club shaft with the right hand folding right on top with the right thumb also lying along the top of the grip.
(Even in Ben Hogan's book "Five Lessons" the "neutral" grip is taught and the V of the right hand should point to the chin.)
I'm now reading the book "Swing Like a Pro" by Dr. Mann, which is based on years of scientific analyses of the best professional golfers. It presents a bio-mechanical approach to golf, where a model swing is individualized and applied.
In the second chapter of this book, I was pleasantly surprised to read that my natural grip, the one I was born with and used as a kid until I took official lessons, matches closely to the ideal grip as explained in this chapter. The V of the right hand points to the right shoulder.
So I do not have to change anything about my grip (actually, that V of my left hand should be pointing slightly more in the direction of my right ear). Just grab the club naturally with my hands and that's it. Not only does this grip feel the best, just knowing that it is a good grip makes me confident. I am more mentally prepared when I take my stance and address the ball. My arms swing freely and are not obstructed by a grip which feels foreign to me.
Next fundamental is my stance which will be covered in the next chapter.