Effects of Grip Features

It's worth mentioning here the rule of thumb for determining whether a grip is the right size for you. (The description appears, with pictures, in the GolfWorks catalog.)

Take your normal grip, then remove your right hand (assuming a righty golfer). Now look at the left hand, which is still gripping the club. If the fingertips of your two middle fingers just touch your palm, the grip is the right size. If they dig into the palm it's too small, and if they miss by more than 1/8" it's too big.

So why (besides the above rule itself) would you opt for a larger or smaller grip?

  • A larger grip inhibits the "release" of the hands through the ball; a smaller grip facilitates this release. For this reason, a too-large grip might cause a slice, and a too-small grip a hook. But have a pro look at your swing before you decide this is the problem; it may be something else, and trying to fix it by tweaking the grip diameter could make matters worse.
  • Since the large grip inhibits release, it may be inhibiting your power as well as the ability to bring the clubface square to the ball.
  • Since the large grip inhibits release, it may be just the thing to calm down your putting stroke if it's too "handsy".
  • The large grip may be easier to hold for someone with arthritic hands.
Once upon a time, everyone used wrapped leather grips. When the modern slip-on grip (a composite of rubber and cork) was introduced, it quickly took over all but the very-low-handicap market. But the pros and their imitators stayed with leather for a while because it seemed to give a more intimate (i.e.- less resilient) contact with the shaft.

Today, even the pro-line clubs seem to be gripped with slip-ons. While wrap-on leather grips still exist, they are expensive and harder to install. I don't know whether the pros still use them, but few others do.

There are many grip patterns to choose from (pick what looks and feels good to you), but really only one material choice left: do you want cord embedded in your composite grip? The pluses and minuses of the cord grip:

+Holds with less slip, especially with wet or sweaty hands (in case you play a lot in hot humidity or rain).
+Lasts longer.
-But your gloves (or hands) will wear out sooner; the improved gripping power comes from increased friction, which means faster abrasion of the surface it plays against.

Last modified Dec 7, 1998