How to Choose the Right Grips for your Golf Clubs


In golf, it is often the detail that counts and grips are no exception. One of my friends told me once that his club manufacturer couldn’t produce another set that felt the same as the one he was using. After pulling a couple of his clubs apart, I found that the problem lay with the grips.

The grips on his original clubs were sealed with a plastic cap, while the newer sets had a rubber cap with a hole in it to let the air escape. The clubs sounded different during the swing, and felt very different as well at impact mainly because the newer cap was made of rubber and not plastic.

Grips are the only link between you and your club. If they don’t feel right and don’t fit properly into your hand, the club will move during your swing, and you will lose control.

Right Grips  Golf

Sizes

It is an absolute necessity to have grips that are neither too thick nor too thin for your hand, or else the finest equipment will fail you.

If your grips are too thick for you, your muscles will tense to hold on to them. This makes it difficult for you to release the club, and may cause a slice. Too thick a grip will definitely impede any intentional draw shot you plan to hit.

If the grip is too thin for your hand, your muscles won’t be very tense, allowing you to release easily, maybe too easily and too early for your swing. An early release means your clubface has closed at impact, causing a hook.

Here is a simple way of telling whether the grips on your clubs are right for you. Place your top hand around the grip as you would normally hold your club. If the tip of your middle finger barely touches the thumb pad, the grip is ideal for you. If your middle finger doesn’t reach the thumb pad, the grip is too thick for you. If your middle finger pushes into the thumb pad, the grip is too thin for you.

You would also be well advised to double-check if the grips on your existing set are all the same size. Unfortunately, you can’t take this for granted. And, obviously, you need to have the same feel for all your clubs and all your grips.

Materials

Once you have found the correct size for your grips, experiment with different grip materials to find the one that you feel the most comfortable with. Quite a few good golfers like the feel of leather grips, and don’t mind paying three to four times the price of rubber or synthetic models. The disadvantages of leather are the amount of care they require as they tend to soak up sweat and get dirty easily. If not taken care of properly, they will become slick.

Rubber grips are by far the most popular, with or without cord inserts. While the rubber grip is relatively kind to tender hands, easy to maintain, and long-lasting, the types with cord inserts may be a bit rough if your hands are sensitive.

A new soft synthetic grip, again with or without cord, has been gaining favour with golfers of all levels. It almost resembles leather, but doesn’t require as much care.

Styles

There are many styles of grips on the market today, featuring lines, dots, arrows or other intricate patterns. There are even grips with integrated air-cushions to offer better feel. They may be worth a try.

Manufacturers now produce greatly oversized grips for people with very big hands, but also for golfers who suffer from arthritis and have difficulty closing their hands around the grip.

Again, it is advisable, if you have decided on a style you like, to go and hit a few balls with the club. While grips are cheap, it is extremely important for your performance to get the one that is right for you.

Changing Grips

Once you have found the correct grip size, material and style, your club professional can easily fit new grips to your clubs, even if he doesn’t carry stock of different grip sizes, by sticking layers of adhesive tape onto the shaft before pulling the grip over it. This doesn’t take more than a few minutes per club.

However, if your new grips have a ridge running down the back of the grip, you must make sure that the ridge runs in a straight line and is positioned right in the centre, because the ridge really tells you where to position your hands. To skirt this problem, quite a number of good golfers prefer grips without ridges.

Another problem you may encounter when your grips are changed is bulging. Check the grips properly after the job has been done, and don’t accept poor workmanship. Ask for the grips to be refitted if you aren’t satisfied.

Maintenance

As grips are the one and only link to your clubs, they need to be in pristine condition if you want to play your best. You need to clean the grips every three or four rounds of play, to prevent dirt from settling on them for good, making the grip slippery in the short term, and the material hard and brittle in the long term.

You also need to replace the grips on your clubs every three years if you play more than 30 rounds of golf a year. Most golfers neglect to do this, causing the grip to wear where they apply the greatest pressure when holding the club. This in fact makes the grip illegal under the Rules of Golf because such a grip is regarded as a swing aid since it influences the player to grip the club in a certain way — whether rightly or wrongly is irrelevant.

Putter Grips

A putting stroke requires more feel than any other golf shot. Therefore you may want to be especially careful when selecting the putter grip. Most grips are flattened in front to give you a sense of direction when you are stroking the ball. Depending on your individual putting style this may help or distract you. Again, the best method to find the correct grip for your putter is trying out different models.

You may also want to consider excluding putter grips from your usual maintenance routine. A number of professionals believe that a sudden change in the feel of the grip may affect their performance on the green, and thus they don’t clean their putter grips.

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Filed Under: Sports & Fitness

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About the Author: By profession, Ralph Crutcher is a swimmer but enjoys playing football, Golf, and regularly goes to the gym to keep himself fit and healthy. This is one of the reasons; he likes to write about sports and fitness.

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