The grip on your golf club is the only point of connection between your body and the club itself during the swing. Without a solid connection between your hands and the club, it’s unlikely that you will be able to hit solid shots on a regular basis.
Having quality golf grips in place on your clubs is important because it will allow you to forget about the grip and focus on what you need to do to hit a good golf shot. The only time you think about your grips is when they are a problem, so make sure they don’t become a problem by choosing the right grips to start with—and then keep them in excellent condition as the rounds add up.
Choosing the right golf grips is more of an art than a science. Where you can use all sorts of advanced technology to help you pick out the right shafts and clubs heads to create your set, but you really can’t do the same thing with your grips. Instead, you have to rely on your feel and what you think will work best in your game. Fortunately, grips aren’t nearly as expensive as new clubs, so you can swap out your grips at a relatively low cost should you decide that you want to try something different.
Get the Right Size
Sizing is really the only variable that can be measured when it comes to golf grips.
Visit your local golf shop and ask them if they can help you pick out the right grip size for your hands. Most golf stores will have a fitting pro who will be able to help you measure your hand and choose a grip thickness that is appropriate. While they might offer this service for free, it would be considered good etiquette to buy your grips from the shop if they have taken the time to help you choose the appropriate size.
Golf grips are usually offered in a few different sizes, but you can also vary the thickness of the grip by adding grip tape between the shaft and the grip itself. If you don’t know how to install grips on your own, this is another job that the golf shop would be happy to do for you (usually for a small fee). For example, if your preferred thickness is just slightly thicker than a normal grip, you could request that the person installing your grips add one or two extra layers of tape to provide a thicker feel. When all is said and done, you want a grip that feels natural in your hands so you can make your swing freely.
Soft or Hard?
Another element to grip selection is deciding whether you like softer grips or firmer ones. There is no right or wrong answer in this case – it is completely a matter of personal preference.
Some players like the club to feel soft in their hands, while others prefer to be able to feel everything that is coming up through the shaft. If you aren’t sure which style suits you best, ask your local golf store if they have any demo clubs you can try with various grips already installed. For most people, it will only take one or two swings to decide which style of grip feels best.
Note: if you have any physical issues with your hands, such as arthritis, softer grips are probably going to be the best choice.
Do You Want Cords?
Corded grips are golf grips that, not surprisingly, have cord material running through them to provide extra traction for your hands. Some golfers swear by corded grips – and others hate them. The positive associated with cord grips is the tremendous control that you will feel in your hands while you are swinging the club. Most likely, you will grab onto the grip of the club and feel like there is no way that your hands are going to slip. On the downside, cord grips have been known to chew up golfer’s hands pretty badly.
Here’s an example of two types of corded grips made by Lamkin:
If you have soft skin or are prone to blisters, you might find that cords are too harsh for you to use on a regular basis. Generally speaking, the players who enjoy cord grips ones who have sweaty hands and need all the help they can get keeping control over the club.
While putting a new set of grips on your clubs is not nearly the same kind of financial investment as buying an entire new set of clubs, cost is still a factor worth considering carefully.
Take a look around at your local golf store or online and you will find that there are a number of different grip brands on the market – some more expensive than others. Typically, you are going to get what you pay for when it comes to golf grips. If you decide to save money by purchasing the cheapest model in the store (appropriately $1-$3 per grip), you can expect those grips to wear out rather quickly, and they might not even perform that well when they are new.
On the other hand, premium grips should last you for a full season or longer, if you can stomach the price tag (approximately $10-$12 per grip). Obviously, you will have to decide what your budget is going to be when grip shopping, but rest assured that you should be able to locate both affordable and high-end options.
Grips are an important piece of the equipment puzzle. Along with your golf glove (if you use one), your grips are what will help your hands stay in place during the swing.
It’s hard enough to hit good shots when you have a solid grip on the club – it is nearly impossible to do so when your hands are moving around. Once you have the right grips in place, do you part to maintain them by washing them off from time to time, and always give them a chance to dry off after you play in rainy conditions.
Even just a little bit of minor maintenance can go a long way toward extending the life of your new set of grips.
Cover Photo by Dan Perry on Flickr