The Importance of Golf Grips
Golf instruction floods the pages of most golf publication but precious little is ever written about the importance of golf grips. It’s the only place where the golfer’s body touches the club. Amazingly, so many golfers neglect this critical connection. That’s far from the case at the elite level where world class professionals fixate a good bit of their time in making sure the grips they use are always in first rate condition for maximum execution and performance.
Incredibly, there are some golfers who believe when they buy their clubs the grip is good for life. Eventually, the grips become so slick just holding the club can be an arduous task. I’ve even been told by club fitters and repairers that some golfers will visit them and it will take a Herculean effort to remove the grip because they’ve been on the club way too long.
Average golfers may not realize that golf grips — of all types — have a specific shelf life. Much of that is determined by not only much you play but how much you use the club in other situations such as practicing and at the driving range. The standard is usually forty (40) rounds before the qualities of the grip begin to show some form of deterioration. There is no such thing as a grip that will last as long as the club itself.
Players failing to make timely changes often compensate by gripping the fingers even tighter. Such an action is detrimental to hitting quality golf shots because of the increased tension caused by too tight a grip pressure which prevents the club from reaching maximum speed. How much of an impact does a poor grip have on shot execution. In many ways — a poor grip can cause a loss of yardage — anywhere from a few yards to 10-15 — because the golfer is gripping the club too tightly for a proper release to occur.
The good news for golfers is that the marketplace is filled with an array of different grip types. Players who value softer feeling grips can easily find them. On the flip side — golfers who embrace a much harder surface can also get what they need too. Costs for grips vary but spending anywhere from $9-12 for a grip is not uncommon.
The other aspect many golfers fail to heed is the overall thickness of the grip. Golfers come with varying hand sizes. Grips are made to account for the various hand sizes — not only between men and women but within each gender. A proper grip is one in which the tips of the fingers barely meet the rest of the hand. Those that completely envelope the hand are likely too small — resulting in the club being flipped uncontrollably by the hands and with that inconsistent shotmaking results. For those with grips too thick — the opposite happens. The club cannot rotate consistently and therefore it’s likely shots will again not be as consistent as they should be.
What many golfers often don’t realize is that grips can be altered for just one hand versus the other. When a club is regripped — it’s possible for additional tape to be applied to where one hand is located. For right handed golfers this may mean additional tape being placed on the grip for where the right hand is located. This additional “building up” of tape allows those golfers to have the appropriate amount of hand rotation during the swing.
The best way for golfers to see what works well is to try out different grip types. How the club “feels” is a matter of individual preference. There are players who simply believe a thinner grip works best for them no matter their hand size. Ditto those who feel the same when using thicker grips and have smaller sized hands.
Despite the information available it’s hard to understand why so many golfers play with grips long since worn out literally. Just like changing the oil is a sure fire way to keep your engine clean and performing properly — the same holds true for grips. New grips will not guarantee lower scores but they will certainly help eliminate higher scores because of inconsistency when swinging the club.
So, by all means, get a grip — literally!WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?