Make no mistake about it. Using the wrong grips can hurt your golf handicap. The wrong grips stop you from hitting good shots. Needless to say, it’s in your best interest to use grips tailored to your swing, not to your hands. Finding the perfect match can also make you perform better—without changing your swing. If that’s not enough to make you take grips seriously, I don’t know what is.
Conventional wisdom holds that the type of grip you use depends on the size of your hands. Unless your hands are really big or really small, conventional wisdom says, you can use standard-size grips. Some instructors teach this in their golf instruction sessions. But a recent study done by a golf tips magazine suggests otherwise. Your grip, the study contends, has more to do with the dynamics of your swing than the size of your hands.
Wrong Grips Hurt You
Testers analyzed 1,440 swings. They had 24 golfers hit 5 identical 5 irons, each with a different size grip. The golfers also hit their own 5 irons. They had golf handicaps ranging from +1 to +7. All markings were covered so no one knew what brand clubs or grips they were hitting.
The testers also had golfers choose the grip they liked best while blindfolded. They then measured the golfers for grip size using a fitting chart, like those often used in golf lessons, and compared choices. Next, the testers had the golfers hit balls. The testers used a launch monitor to record data, and then tallied and analyzed the results.
When all was aid and done, the study contends that 9 out of 10 golfers play the wrong-size grips. The study also contends that the wrong grips can cost you 5 strokes or more per round, and that having the right grip made golfers longer and more accurate. The study also contends that hand measurements seldom work when choosing grip size. Neither does feel.
How To Use These Findings
How can you use this study? The study’s findings reinforce the idea that the best way to find the right grip is to experiment. In other words, try as many different grips with as many different sizes as possible. The findings also reinforce the idea that you should get professionally fitted for your grips—something we tell students who take our golf lessons all the time.
If you do decide to get professionally fitted, ask the person fitting you the following three questions:
- What type/size grips do I have?
You want to compare performance with your old grips against performance with the new grips. It’s the best way to determine if the new grips help.
- Can I hit the same club with other grips?
This is how the study tested the performance. It’s the only real way to test performance with each size and get a truly accurate answer. You do have to make sure swing weights are consistent. Clubs can some times feel too light with larger grips.
- Can I use a launch monitor?
Hitting into a net is a poor way to judge performance. Using a launch monitor is a far better way of judging performance. If the fitter doesn’t have a launch monitor, see if she has another type of shot tracking device. You want your grip decisions based on pinpoint accurate data, not guesstimates. The answers to these three questions will go a long way to making sure you buy the right grips.
A new set of grips for 14 clubs is rather inexpensive, probably around $100 to $125. That’s not bad for a season of use. It’s also a small price to pay for chopping strokes off your scores and/or golf handicap.