Fitting for the Proper Grips

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Editor's Note: Bruce Martin is a PGA Master Professional with the San Diego Golf Academy. SDGAs program offers a curriculum of golf instruction and golf business management at all four golf schools, and provides graduates with the education required to get the golf job they desire. You'll soon be teaching others how to improve their game! Click here to learn more about SDGA
 
With the grip being the only part of the club that we physically are connected with, one must agree, it is a very important factor in fitting. Having a properly fitted grip will assist every golfer in placing their hands consistently on the club each time and help with achieving the proper fundamentals of the swing. A properly fitted grip is also a huge factor for the players confidence level.
 
Lets begin with common grip problems that many amateurs encounter, before we discuss the recommend design advantages that several manufacturers offer.
 
Listed below are a few disadvantages from poorly fitted grips:
 
1) Wrong size
 
Too Large - Grips that are too large will have a tendency for the golfer to delay/reduce release producing shots to the right (right handed golfer) = fades, slices, and pushed shots.
 


 

Too Small - Grips that are too small will have a tendency for the golfer to release early producing shots to the left = draws, hooks, and pulled shots.
 


 

How to test your individual grip size = Take your normal grip with leading hand (Left hand for the right handed golfer). Check to see if your two middle fingers gently touch your heal pad. If there is a space, your grips are too large. If your fingers are digging, your grips are too small.
 


 

Note: Grip size for Mens standard is .900 and Ladies stand is .850. This is measured 2 below the cap / top of the grip. A grip gauge is used for the measurement.
 
2) Grip inconsistency throughout the set
 
With the wide variety of manufacturer brands within a golfers set make-up, I would highly recommend to have all clubs re-gripped with the same grips, except for the putter. Consider that different grips may vary in size, patterns, and material which may have a negative effect on consistency.

3) Grips that are worn out
 
Grips that are ready to be replaced will have the following conditions: (Consider a right handed player)
 
Shiny and slippery = non tacky
Unable to properly clean grip to remove slippery condition
Cracking or splitting
Wear pattern from the left thumb
Wear pattern from right index finger
Wear pattern from heal pad of left hand slipping
 
Note: Certain wear patterns may be due to specific problems that golfers may encounter with incorrect grip positioning. See your local PGA Professional for a diagnosis on your grip wear patterns.
 

Recommended Design Advantages of Specific Grips

 
Ribbed Grips
 
A rib grip is a built up portion designed inside the grip on the underside/lower side as the golfer takes his/her normal grip. I highly recommend this design advantage for the advantages of having control of your face angle and release. I recently picked up an original Bobby Jones 9 iron with a leather grip, and yes it had a rib built into the grip.
 
Most grips installed on clubs prior to the 1990s had ribbed grips. The most popular being the Golf Pride Green Victory.
 

 

As more clubs have been manufactured overseas in China, this type of grip has pretty much been eliminated from stock sets. Why, the process of installing round grips is much faster and less important on perfect grip installation, which equals less time and more profit. The ribbed grip must be precisely installed with the rib on the bottom/under side during installation. I strongly believe that a golfer will feel where the face angle better throughout the swing with the advantages of this technology, as many of my friends on the PGA Tour are adamant about with their grip preferences.
 
Cord Grips
 
Cord grips offer the advantage of absorbing moisture in the hands. Cord is added to the synthetic/rubber batches at the plant. The amount of cord a specific grip has may vary as the batches may be inconsistent and have a little more or less cord. I would recommend hand selecting each grip if you would like a softer cord or harder cord feeling grip. A cord grip is not for everybody. Please see the list below for recommendations.
 
Recommended golfers for cord grips
 
1) Cord grips are great in Southern/hot climates with a lot of humidity.
2) Cord grips are also good for golfers that sweat or perspire easily.
3) Golfers that have built up calluses on their leading hand.
 
Non-recommended golfers for cord grips
 
1)Golfers that have softer hands.
2)Golfers that do not play that often.
3)Golfers with tendonitis and arthritis.
 


 

Grips with patterns
 
Grips with Patterns have become very popular. I highly recommend this technology. Why, patterns offer grip consistency and shows the golfer where to place both hands on the club properly every time.
 


 
Arthritic / Chamois grips
 

The Chamois and oversized grips are great for the golfers with tendonitis and arthritis. The Chamois grip has air bubbles built into the grip to help absorb the shock of impact.
Chamois grips have a tendency to be larger also, which may help with not having to squeeze too much, which may lighten grip pressure.
 


 
Winn Grips
 

Winn is now a major player in the market with their aggressive marketing campaign with Butch, John, and Natalie. The Winn grip is made of a synthetic material similar to tennis racket grips, called elastomer. Lets discuss the advantages/diadvantages of this product. I have hundreds of students that use this product, and the following are my findings.
 
Advantages of Winn grips
 
They are very soft and have a higher level of shock absorption
The softer feel will assist the golfer with a lighter grip pressure
They will help the player with arthritis and tendonitis
They offer a wider variety of colors than any other manufacturer
They are great for putter grips ' I highly recommend this for your putter
 


 

Disadvantages of Winn grips
 
They wear out faster than rubber grips
They are very slippery in the rain and humid conditions