Golfers often overlook the importance of choosing the proper grip for their clubs. The performance of different models, weights, textures, and sizes cannot be overstated. The grip is the only connection to the golf club players have. Grips that are the wrong size or texture prevent golfers from swinging the club freely and causes them to alter their ideal swing arcs. Your thirteen clubs and your putter should all have a grip that has been fit for your hands and helps you hit your best shots.
Types of Golf Grips
There are many types and styles to golf grips, and there really is not one size fit all. Here are the different types and styles of golf grips.
Rubber Golf Grips
Grips made completely of rubber are the most common grip installed for golf clubs. Popular rubber models include Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet, SuperStrokes’ S-Tech, and Lamkin’s Crossline Black grips. These grips are versatile and smooth in your hands. Golfers often prefer the feel of these smooth grips to more course options. Another advantage of rubber grips is their longevity. Due to their uniform compositions, these grips are more durable than a hybrid, corded, or wrapped grip.
Corded Golf Grips
Corded grips, or hybrid grips, have grown in popularity with the most prominent being the Golf Pride Multi-Compound grips. These grips leverage the benefits of rubber with infused brushed cotton for a more coarse texture. This texture is great when playing in the rain or for golfers whose hands perspire a lot. Golfers new to these grips may find them harsh when taking lots of swings. If you do prefer these grips, be aware that the rough cotton will wear down more quickly than the rubber components of other grips. Golfers playing these grips should expect to regrip their clubs more frequently.
Wrapped Golf Grips
Wrapped grips were traditionally designed to provide golfers with an exceptionally soft feel. Modern wrapped grips use high-performance leather to achieve a tacky-soft feel that helps golfers improve comfort and control. Some premium grips come wrapped in leather and can be beautiful additions to your golf clubs.
Lightweight Golf Grips
Lightweight golf grips help players to balance the weight of their clubs. Many grip models come in lightweight options. Golfers with smaller hands or who prefer to grip the club lightly may find that these grips offer more freedom to swing the club quickly and maintain control. Junior golfers many find these grip especially useful to ensure their clubs are not stressing their mechanics as they develop their swings.
Choices for putter grips have grown exponentially in recent years. The high subjectivity of how a putter feels in different player’s hands makes choosing a putter grip more art than science. A variation of sizes, weights, and taper designs are available. Brands such as SuperStroke and Golf Pride make numerous options for golfers of all types to fit a wide range of putter head models. Counter-weight options are also available, and this helps to promote less wrist action in the putting stroke and help to counteract the increasing weight of the putter head.
Many golfers play the wrong size grip. Conventional wisdom encouraged golfers fighting a slice to move down in grip size and golfers fighting hooks to use larger grips. Many tests have been done to try and support the use of grip size to alter ball flights. However, club fitters agree that grip size in the hands of different golfers produces different results. Ultimately, a golfer should choose a grip size that feels the best in their hands and allows them to swing the club the most naturally.
Beyond just the size of the grip, taper rates can largely affect how a grip feels and performs. Most grips are created with a bottom section that is smaller in diameter than the top section. Couple that with a butt-section in the shaft that is largest at the top and you get grips that are noticeably larger under a right-handed golfer’s left hand and a left-handed golfer’s right hand. To combat this discrepancy, golfers have traditionally used wraps of tape to make the grips uniform in size. For most grips, adding four wraps of tape under the bottom hand reduces the taper.
Undersized, standard, midsized, and jumbo grips are available to help fit a wide range of golfer preferences and hand sizes. These grip sizes vary in weight and clubs should be swingweight tested once your grip of choice has been installed to ensure that your club is built for you. Between models, rubber or hybrid and wrapped options, the weight of the grip can change and should always be referenced when making a club buying decision.
Round vs. Ribbed Grips
Round grips and ribbed appear very similar. After the installation of these grips, the ribbed grip has an extra piece of rubber that creates a ridge above the golf shaft. This ridge serves as a reminder for golfers who want their hands in the exact same position every swing. Ribbed golf grips make a great choice for beginning golfers who need help with where to put their hands on the club. Golf Pride has taken this ribbed design to extremes with their ALIGN Technology.
Firm Grips vs. Soft Grips
Choosing a firmness of grips is highly player specific. Testing different grip textures and firmness levels, is the best way to know what is best for your swing. Aging golfers who battle fatigue and arthritis can find relief in wrapped grips and softer rubber models. These softer grips help absorb impact and can ease hand and arm pain over the duration of the golfing season.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is not uncommon to have questions when trying to select a good golf grip. Below, we have outlined the questions golfers have most often.
Q: How long do golf grips last?
A: Many grip manufacturers recommend regripping your clubs each season. However, less used clubs among your iron sets and your putter will not need to be changed as often. Depending on your grip model, the lifespan between grips can vary. Hybrid or corded grips tend to wear out more quickly than 100% rubber alternatives.
Q: When should you replace your golf grips?
A: Once your grip begins showing signs of wear, they will need to be replaced. Things to look for are color changes in the grip, black to grey or white to off-white, thining spots where your thumb and index finger hold the club, or a lack of tackiness when compared to new models.
Q: Is it better to buy one grip or a set of grips?
A: It is recommended that your entire set of clubs, minus your putter uses the same grip. Similar grips keep the feel of each club consistent to promote better scores. Many golfers will find cost-saving benefits in buying 13 grips as a set rather than buying each grip individually. Many pro shops even offer free installation when 13 grips are bought from their shop as a set.
Q: How do you maintain your golf grips?
A: Making sure that your grips are dry between each shot and before and after golf rounds is the best way to improve the duration of your grip’s life. Storing your golf clubs inside rather than in the trunks of cars will also help your grips retain moisture.
When storing your clubs over the winter break, make sure to keep them inside your home where the temperature is regulated. Leaving your clubs in a garage or vehicle can damage not only the grip but also the integrity of the club head.
Q: How do you replace your golf grips?
A: For do it yourself golfers, a grip knife, vice, double-sided grip tape, and grip solvent are required. The old grip should be removed carefully with a hook knife or box cutter. The old tape should be removed using the grip solvent and an old rag.
Once the butt-section of the shaft is free of any old tape and grip residue, place the shaft into the vice and secure your club. Measure a strip of double-sided tape that is one inch longer than the grip. This one-inch overhang will be tucked into the shaft to help seal the grip.
Place a golf tee in the hole at the butt-end of the grip and generously pour grip solvent into your new grip. Shake the grip to ensure that the interior of the grip is lubricated. Pour the grip solvent from the grip onto the tape and then quickly slide the grip over the shaft and into position. Be sure to quickly arrange any logos or marking on the grip into their proper alignment because the solvent will begin to solidify quickly. Freshly installed grips should be stored in a cool, dry environment for four hours before they are completely solid.
If you would rather employ the help of a club builder, most golf retail chains including Dick’s Sporting Goods and local pro shops have professionals with all the tools necessary to install your grips. Many offer discounts for the installment if you purchase your grips with them. Aftermarket grip installation usually costs between three and six dollars depending on your professional and number of clubs being regripped.
When purchasing golf equipment, every detail is important. The golf grip is the only part of the club your body will interact with. This relationship between your hands, the grip, and ultimately, the club head can make all the difference in good shots and bad. Differences in size, texture, weight, and price should all be considered when regripping your clubs or buying a new set. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions regarding your clubs or grips, check our other reviews and buying guides or talk with your local club pros and club builders.