There is only one ingredient in a golf club’s construction that remains in contact with you from the moment you grab it, enter your setup, make your backswing and finish with the follow-through (with optional club twirl). Still, it’s an element too few golfers pay attention to when sizing or purchasing their clubs.
Your golf club grips are your lifeline to the tools that help you play the game. The laws of physics dictate most of a golf swing, but that small portion you do control depends on your relationship to your grip. You might want to call that your “relationgrip,” but I certainly won’t.
Here you’ll find a useful, expert-driven Q&A to give you a better grip on grips — including some useful shopping links that will take you to the leading brands on the PGA tour.
How do I size my golf grips?
So much of selecting the right golf grip comes down to one factor: personal preference. Do you like thin or thick? Leather, rubber or a blended material? Tacky or dry? How does a given grip work with your favorite brand of golf gloves?
According to Mike Vance, certified PGA teaching professional, the most important factor in grip selection is always personal preference and comfort. He re-grips his student’s clubs when they need improvement and guides them when necessary.
“The first thing I tell a golfer is get a feel for his or her preferences,” Vance says. “What do you like in terms of feel? Is there a color you like? Comfort is essential because anything that doesn’t feel quite right will throw off a golf swing.”
Regardless of those preferences, a grip fits if it just barely touches the palm of both hands in the traditional interlocked hand position. It shouldn’t be too thin that the hands can’t make contact or so thick that the mitts are completely enmeshed.
What golf grips are legal?
According to the rules for equipment issued by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the USGA, the golf grips for your driver, irons, fairway woods, hybrids and wedges must be round. The only exception? Grips can include a ribbed design with a single raised seam, usually on the grip’s underside, to allow for the hands to find an easier alignment.
Putter grips can be thicker; they can also be rounded or squared. They obviously adhere to the length of the putter and cannot anchor to the body anywhere but the hands. The days of the legal belly putter with its two-foot-long grip are gone.
Do different grips work better for different clubs or different swings?
The modern varieties of grips will work well with any brand of clubs, and a good fitter will make certain your chosen grip adheres properly.
As for swing types, the right grip can help a player feel more comfortable “releasing the club.” At some point in a good golf swing, the player is still holding the club, but he or she isn’t in control of the results. Physics take charge and guide the club head through the impact zone. The player ends feeling the club again in the follow-through over the shoulder.
Many players struggle to feel that natural swing force and fear releasing the club. The right grip can make the entire process more comfortable. How much a grip tapers from top to bottom makes a difference here. This writer and golf lover’s favorite grip, the Golf Pride CP2 Wrap, rounds out in a wide butt end, keeping my Honma’s snug as they release in my downswing.
“Generally, bigger grips are for bigger hands or for players looking to take their hands out of the swinging process,” Vance explains. “Thinner grips are for players with more touch.”
“The placebo effect is massively important in golf and golf grips. If you believe the grip is right, there’s a good chance you’ll swing well. If you believe the grip is wrong, nothing is going to make it work.”
How do I care for my golf grips?
A lot of players will wash their club heads. In fact, serious golfers consider showing up a good course with dirty clubs is an insult to the game. Still, very few players remember to wash their grips. Vance recommends a simple scrub with dish soap and water to get skin oil and suntan lotion off the club’s business end.
What are the top brands of golf grips?
The top golf club makers from Honma and TaylorMade to Titleist and Callaway all ship clubs with grips carrying their company name. Still, none of these companies have their own leather tanneries or rubber factories. They all subcontract out to these top golf grip makers:
Golf Pride: Commonly referred to as the most popular grips on tour, Golf Pride products are excellent for the player looking the best tapering and alignment guides.
Lamkin: A direct rival of Golf Pride, Lamkin’s products are respected for their advanced materials, giving them a combination of soft feel and durability.
Winn: This brand likes to stick to rubber constructions, and its rain-centric grips offer some of the best performance for wet weather play.
SuperStroke: While this crew makes grips for all manner of clubs, their oversize putter grips are popular for professionals and amateurs alike with their increased stability.