Get a Grip: Choosing the Right Grips for Your Golf Clubs
When someone says, “golf grip,” two things come to mind. The first is the way a golfer grips or holds the golf club during his swing. There are myriad ways to do so, and substantial discussion to that end. That is not what we are discussing here. Rather, we are talking about another and perhaps less appreciated meaning, which is the actual inanimate grip installed on the shaft of a golf club to provide cushion, comfort, and control during a golf swing. This use of “golf grip” may be given less focus than how one holds the club, but there are a few reasons why getting the right grip, not only in holding the club, but also the grip that you install on the club, is of considerable importance.
Before jumping right in to a discussion of choosing the right grip, it is important to understand just how a golf grip impacts your golf shot. The size of a grip impacts the rotation of your wrists. The larger (thicker) the grip, the less rotation in your wrists. This is important for the golfer who plays too much of a hook: increasing the grip size may reduce the rotation and reduce a hook tendency. A lighter grip, on the other hand, “lowers the club’s balance point, thus, in theory, increasing club head speed and allowing golfers to better feel the club head,” reports Golf.com. New grip technology is advancing to the point where grips now may wick moisture away to keep the hands and grip drier. Corded grips, which are composed of linen thread, are also a strong play for wet weather or the golfer with sweaty hands. Other grips are designed to help a golfer with the way she actually holds the club. And the list does not stop here. In sum, just like there are myriad ways to hold a club, there are so many different grip options as well.
Now, here are few different characteristics of a golf grip you should consider when choosing what type is right for you.
A leading golf grip manufacturer, Lamkin, provides a helpful grip-choosing guides. The first factor to consider is grip size, considered by the experts to be “the single most important factor when selecting a grip.” Golfsmith’s golftips page provides that grips come in the following sizes: undersize, standard, midsize, oversize and any size in between with the use of buildup tape underneath the grip.” The general rule of thumb for the grip size is to ensure that “the fingertips of your top hand [are] just slightly touching your palm when gripping a club.”
Lamkin’s second factor is grip material, and an important consideration in choosing material is the weather or moisture conditions in which one plays. The most common grips are made of rubber or synthetic materials. However, for wet-weather or sweaty hands, the corded grip provides additional traction to prevent hand slippage. On a related point, grip texture is a spin-off of grip material, and there are all sorts of different designs and patterns featured on a golf grip. Here the rule is that “golfers should chose a texture that feels comfortable and secure.” For instance, Golf.com reports that professional golfers “Nick Price and Pete Jordan rotate [their grips] partly around the shaft so they feel the grips’ patter in their fingers instead of the palm.”
Another golf grip characteristic is firmness. Lamkin reports that “[f]irmer grips are favored by Tour players and PGA Professionals because they promote a light-pressure grip while providing incredible stability.” On the other hand, softer grips are “ideal for players with lower swing speeds or minimized hand strength.” The danger with a softer grip is that “players have a tendency to use excess hand pressure” to compensate for the soft feel.
A final point of advice on choosing a golf grip comes from PGA Professional, Jack Tattersall, via PGA.com: “Ideally, you want to have your grip measured, in your stance, with your clubs. If you wear a glove, have a glove on. Two people with the same size hands don’t automatically have the same correct grip size, based on how they hold their clubs, how their wrists hang, what type of shots they want to hit.”
While the options in choosing a golf grip are endless, the common consensus is that having golf grips well-suited to you and your swing will not only impact how you feel when you play the game, but will also have a measureable impact on how you score.