Golf Grips 101

Golf Grips 101

The grip you have on your golf club is a huge telltale of how well your shot is going to go.

No matter how you play the game, you need some form of golf grips on your gloves, your club, or your stance.

Your grip isn’t going to win the game for you, but slipping up and turning the club on your downswing could. The Grip is essential to a well-thought-out strategy when the numbers count, and you’re trying to get into or come on top in a competition.

Since professional PGA and USGA switch out their grips all the time, why shouldn’t you? Well, there are a few things you need to know about grips before you take a razor to your grip and strip it from the shaft.

Why is Grip Important in Golf?

golf grips essentials

To get into this subject nice and easy, let’s just discuss the main importance of having a good grip, and work forward from there.

It would be a bit extreme to say that grip is everything, but it would be negligent to say that grip is nothing, as well.

Your golf club is not a symmetrical piece of equipment. It’s bulky, and not weighted properly, and that’s just something you have to compensate for. It’s not an easy task, but we work with what we’re given.

Having a solid grip allows you to compensate for angular changes during your swing. You are not a machine, you are not going to make perfectly aligned shots every single time. Your grip is basically a buffer between your club and your capabilities.

You may be good, but your uneven club will behave a certain way. It’s up to you to control it.

Your grip starts on the handle of your club and ends on your non-dominant hand’s golf glove. These two meet and create a sense of friction between one another, and that’s how you hold onto the club so well.

It’s important because it reduces and/or prevents turn, which is the term used to describe when your golf club is aligned at the peak of your swing, but not aligned with where you wanted it on the downswing.

Wind resistance and a lack of control (lack of grip) mean that the club comes down awkwardly and loses control. It still hits the ball, but the clubhead doesn’t strike it properly.

If you look at your club right now, you’re going to notice the angle at which the club’s contact point is put. That’s the whole point of having different irons and woods in the first place.

When you bought your clubs, you might have taken note of the angles but not entirely known when they meant.

The angle defines how the ball is going to be sent off the tee. The most refined the angle is (lower handicap level club), the more you need quality grip to cut down on wind resistance and hit the ball directly.

While much of your grip comes from the way you stand, it’s not all of it. You need to have your arms fully extended so your joints are straight, hold the club tight, and feel the friction and pressure between your gloves, and the material of the club grip.

Pros and Cons of Each Golf Grip Type

golf gloves and club grip

Let’s talk about the different grip types, and what some are better than others.

Everything is going to have its flaw, it’s just about finding a flaw that works with your strengths so you can balance it out.

Rubber

Rubber is one of the most common grip types that you’re going to see.

It’s inexpensive to manufacture, it’s durable, but it’s not as heat resistant as some other options.

The rubber on a hot day, in the sun, sitting on the hot metal of your club could degrade it slower than intended (which is why you still see some golfers use umbrellas on sunny days).

When it comes to regripping your golf club, a rubber is going to be your cheapest option. It’s easy to apply since these and synthetic grips usually have the same adhesive on the backside.

When it comes to actually hold onto it, rubber is excellent to provide traction and friction with almost every type of glove on the market, from leather to synthetics, it all feels good on a rubber grip.

Rubber grips do wear down though, and they may leave residue on your gloves if you aren’t careful.

With rubber grips, you might see scuffing on the inside of a leather golf bag, or bits of blackened sections of your canvas bag. Storing these grip types properly will make all the difference.

Leather

leather golf grip

Leather is beloved for being durable and sturdy, but it is more costly than rubber or synthetic in this instance.

Leather grips usually aren’t attached to golf clubs with an adhesive, unless it’s a leather and plastic blend.

But that’s not necessarily a good thing. You’re still going to need some form of an adhesive or solvent to attach it. In most cases, you can mix your own solvent at home and apply it to the freshly sanded golf club handle before attaching the grip to it.

Leather, in general, doesn’t come with any stick issues as rubber does.

It has some of the same durability or traction as synthetic grips, though admittedly rubber is usually the best for friction.

The main benefit of using a leather grip over another type is that it will last for ages. You won’t have to regrip anywhere near as often, and it’s not going to leave scuff marks all over your canvas bag.

Playability is still good, and arguably better than synthetic, it’s just not a leather sock that goes over the handle as people think.

This is a more involved application method that will require you to get your hands dirty. Be sure to wear a mask while doing it.

Synthetic

Synthetics are not commonly associated with oversized grips.

Instead, they’re thin, inexpensive, and easy to apply just like rubber. While that’s all well and good, synthetic materials are often not-specific.

Synthetic grips can be a blend of various different things, it all depends on the brand or company that’s producing them. Synthetic grips are generally susceptible to intense weather conditions and humidity damage.

Synthetic grips provide a pretty comfortable swing, where you can get a nice low hit on the ball and send it flying.

It might make your club feel a little bit slender if you’re coming from a rubber or leather grip, so account for that with extra pressure.

How to Choose a Golf Grip

synthetic golf grip

So, how do you choose which one is going to work for you?

There are a few factors to consider that rely on budget and your availability to regrip your clubs on your own.

Budget

What’s your budget look like?

Rubber and synthetic are cheaper than leather, so if you can’t wait any longer to regrip your clubs, you might have to consider a different material.

Take your budget into account when it comes to your own ability to regrip as well, otherwise, you might be better off having a professional regrip your clubs for you. If this is the case, know your preferences beforehand.

You should still know what type of grip you want.

Consider the time it would take to regrip the club on your own versus how much it would cost to have someone else do it.

If you have a wide budget and don’t need to siphon it for any other activities in life, then you can probably pay someone to regrip for you and save yourself from the hassle.

Ability

There’s a slightly involved process here, so do you have the ability to do it?

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m good at the workshop, but I’m not great. It takes me longer to regrip than it probably should, but it’s still something that I choose to do.

Do you have the tools and the know-how to effectively regrip? If you aren’t able to complete the process, understand that it’s okay, because your club will still be intact and you’ll be able to seek out help.

Time

Do you have the time to regrip?

Many of us are playing golf on our free days while working the nine-to-five grind. Some of us are out here working 60+ hours a week just to get by, but still, want to find time for our favorite activity.

Consider that if you already don’t have a lot of time to golf, you might end up being a slave to your equipment. If you’re spending more time regripping and tuning your clubs than anything else, it’s less time to spend playing.

At that point, you’re basically dividing your time in half, and that’s never fun. Consider this when discussing the budget and possibility of having someone else regrip for you.

Preferred Material

different types of golf grip

Look, we like what we like.

I can’t judge on that. Sometimes it isn’t about what’s statistically or factually best, it’s about what we like using.

Maybe you turn the club every once in a while, but you still love leather grips and can’t imagine using anything else. That’s actually okay.

When we use it when we like or do what we like, we tend to excel at it. If you enjoy the material you’re using, regrip with that same material.

If you think that you’re not performing as you should be, consider the fact that you’re just in a learning curve (possibly because you’ve chosen a harder route) and you just have to work your way out of it.

Grip Style

Do you have a proper grip on your club?

Have you looked at tutorials, and you have no problem with pressure on your current grip?

That’s good—whatever one that is, you could get another since you’re already so familiar with it.

Your grip style should remain consistent if it’s working for you, so if you’re used to leather and you’re hitting your shots the way you want, you might not need to switch.

Instead, borrow a friend’s club for a couple of hits and see if the difference in grip is something you find beneficial or not.

Surface Texture

Some golf grips are oddly smooth on top Rubber and synthetic grips usually have a bit of a groove or way that they’ve been cut to allow for more traction on the surface, while others, like leather, are harder material and require more pressure.

The surface texture only matters so much if you’re already seasoned at the game and have no worries about how you pressurize the handle during play.

How to Grip a Golf Club

Start with your non-dominant hand, which is the one that will be gloved.

Place your palm over the butt of the grip, and close your bottom three fingers. Make sure your pinky is held to it nice and tight before continuing.

Now close your index finger. It should rest about half an inch lower than your bottom three fingers. From here, your thumb will press down in that half-inch margin.

Bring in your dominant hand, which will rest partially on top of your non-dominant hand. Repeat the same grip style, only this time, it will be mirrored. Check to see if your wrists are 1-2” apart. That’s the perfect golf grip.

How to Replace Golf Grips

Using a razor or utility knife, you can cut back the grip by slicing a straight line down the middle and peeling the rest of it away.

Depending on how it was gripped in the first place, you might have to use some sort of a paint thinner or lacquer thinner to remove the remaining solvent or adhesive that was left behind by the previous grip.

This process can take upwards of five or ten minutes, so set it and stay still.

I would tell you to leave the room, but you don’t want these solvents on the club for longer than it needs to be.

Clean up the handle area, and then prepare it for the new grip. If you wish to have an oversized golf grip, now would be the time to put some grip tape down.

Strap the golf club into a vise so you can work on it properly from this point on, and put a drip pan underneath it.

Now that it’s a clean, clear metal handle that you’re working with, you have to get the new grip ready. The new grip will come with a form of adhesive, commonly referred to as a mineral solvent.

This is used as a liquid glue to attach the grip to the handle.

Hold the new grip over the drip pan, and pour the mineral solvent into. Use a generous amount, you will be wasting some, but we need to get it into the grip properly.

Once the excess has run out, there will be a light drizzle of solvent. Put the drip pan underneath the golf club handle, then drizzle/drip the solvent down over the handle to begin bonding it with the metal.

Slide the new grip down over the butt of the handle. Your new grip will come with a way to align it, so be sure to follow and instructional material that was provided in your kit.

Slide it down over the handle until the two ends meet.

You don’t want 0.25” of metal just sitting on the end; get it aligned properly. From there, you have to remove the excess solvent that will be trying to run down the rest of the golf shaft.

Clean that up, and hold the new grip firmly in place. You may have to clean up more solvent from the bottom of the grip (nearest the shaft) once before finishing.

Let it sit in the vise for a minimum of eight hours, but a preferred twenty-four hours to really be sure that it’s set there.

What is Grip Tape?

grip tape replacing

Grip tape is an adhesive strip that’s applied directly to the golf club handle before you apply the actual grip to it.

This is used to DIY your own extended or oversized grip.

Grip tape doesn’t hold up as long as an oversized grip applied at the time of manufacturing.

Even with a vise in your workshop and some steady hands, it’s just not going to create the same type of bond to the handle.

You can still use gold grip tape, considering the fact that if you’re a frequent player, you’re going to have to swap out grips fairly regularly anyway.

Grip tape adds an extra step to the process, but there are major benefits of an oversized grip and viable reasons to use grip tape to achieve an oversized grip.

Why Do Oversized Golf Grips Improve Your Game?

This is going to be a big one because there’s way more to oversized grips than meet the eye.

I’ve had others at the driving range ask me why I use these grips when they can look a bit cartoonish, and then I let them use the club.

They’re blown away. I prefer an oversized grip when it’s an option, and they are PGA and USGA approved, so why not? Let’s take a look at why they actually help your game out.

#1 No Pressure

The most important aspect that I cannot stress enough is reducing the amount of pressure you need to apply to your golf club.

With a bigger grip, you actually don’t even have the space to hold the club any tighter. That’s a good thing.

It means you’re not straining your joints and hands, so you can let your arms be straight, but not strained. This is going to make your downswing feel like the result of a well-oiled machine.

Then there’s the risk of injury being reduced. When you have to apply major pressure, as many do with their smaller gold grips, you’re increasing your blood pressure and making your movements stiff and rigid. You want some fluidity in your motions.

One of the golden rules of golf is to have relaxed hands, and you’ll have a relaxing game.

#2 More Durability

Showing Golf Grip

Oversized grips might cost a bit more, but they also come with a longer lifespan on them.

When they’re factory-made and applied grips, they’re thicker rubber or a bigger cut of leather (whichever you prefer), meaning it’s going to take longer to wear through them.

If you’re using grip tape to do this at home, it’s going to have roughly the same durability as a standard grip without the oversized aspect.

That’s because you’re just putting an as normal-sized grip on top of the tape, so it’s two separate elements that can fail.

They’re more durable when the oversized grip is factory-made, but using grip tape is still a good option to reap the rest of the benefits from having an oversized grip.

#3 Leverage

You don’t want to hook the ball, and you surely don’t want to scoop it. You have to hit it head-on to get the most out of your shot and maximize that spin. To do this, you need to grip the club fairly loosely, but you can’t do that on a standard sized grip.

Greater leverage means better ball trajectory, allowing it to cut through the air and land where you need it to with precision.

When you have a full diameter different from 0.25” to 0.5” on your golf grip, the way the weight distribution changes drastically affects your swing (in a good way).

These subtle changes aren’t so subtle when you think of how fast and precise you have to be during a swing.

As a final note on leverage, you’re also reducing your chance of turning the club while swinging. Nothing ruins good leverage over the ball like turning the club at the last second.

This is usually due to a lack of control on the grip, which can be improved with an oversized one.

#4 More Comfort

comfort grip

Oversized grips are simply more comfortable, even if you’re using grip tape underneath.

It grants better control and leverage, as we know, so you’re not straining your hands nearly as much. In this capacity, it actually lowers the long-term damage of pressure on your hands.

If you suffer from arthritis, as many golfers do especially as they age, every little bit of comfort and relief is a blessing. It’s like investing in the relief of your hands for the long haul.

If you pick up two clubs, one with a normal grip and one with an oversized grip, which one will you be able to twist easier? 

Many people think that, because there’s less material on a standard grip, that it would be easier to twist it, but in fact, you can just do it faster.

The only speed that matters in golf is how fast you can swing the ball. Nothing else. When you have more comfort, you have more control, and you can align your shots far easier.

Everything you do with your golf club starts at the handle, and ends at the shaft—changing the comfort of the input, the handle, makes a huge impact.

#5 Better Putting

When it comes to putting, you have to drive the ball home to the ball without major force. We talk a lot about the distance between your hands while putting, and about the length of your club mattering.

While those are true, the better grip you have (back to the no pressure benefit), the less extreme your movements have to be.

You can hold the club loosely and have a nice smooth movement to tap it without overshooting. Nothing is more frustrating than overshooting on a simple putt, so do yourself a favor on this one.

Personally, I’m seeing more and more oversized grips when I watch golf. It’s not a well-kept secret, but it’s something that most people just kind of shrug at until you really look at the benefits.

Many of these are minute, but when combined together, an oversized grip ends up being much better than a standard grip.

Your Grip Can Help Control the Game

You might be surprised to find just how much goes into your golf grip, from gloves to clubs and your technique, but every last bit of it will come into play one way or another.

Replace your grips as often as possible for the best effect, and to keep your club in the best shape possible. When all systems are in check, you’re in control of your outcome, of how the game will end.

Your grip isn’t going to win the fight for you, but it’s a benefit in your corner. Find out what grip works best for you, and run with it.

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