We recently interviewed Stephen Hutton, PGA Professional, and Head Golf Professional at Geneva Golf & Country Club, about the importance of playing with a properly sized golf grip. Thanks, Steve, for all of the great insights.
Common Problems, Simple Solutions
When a student or member is having trouble with their game, one of the first topics I discuss is the importance of using a correctly sized golf grip. At Geneva Golf and Country Club, we offer every member a complimentary grip fitting consultation. Our philosophy is pretty simple: in order to perform well, a player must be using the right grip. It’s amazing how many mechanical problems stem from a player using a golf grip that’s either too small or too large. Golfers are very aware of the benefits of custom club fitting, but very few have given any thought to their grips, and that’s the only part of the club that is in direct contact with a player’s hands!
Our process for grip fitting combines hand and finger measurements, with an in-depth “size trial” to determine if special circumstances warrant additional customization. For many players, simple hand measurements will help guide a player to their ideal grip. However, there is a large group of golfers that may actually benefit from a grip that’s either larger or smaller than their hand measurement dictates. For instance, a senior golfer might have difficulty with grip strength. These golfers may benefit from a slightly larger grip because it demands far less grip pressure and strength. A grip that’s smaller, even if it’s the ideal measurement, may require too much strength to effectively grip the club.
Despite the obvious benefits of using properly sized golf grips, and replacing worn-out grips, it’s likely that 80-85% of golfers are not using their ideal grip and, therefore, missing out on an immediate performance boost. That equals a staggering number of players who can immediately improve their game with a simple (and relatively inexpensive) grip change.
Custom-Fit Grips = Three to Four Stroke Game Changer
I recently worked with a senior member on a grip fitting consultation. He was a 15 handicap and had trouble generating the necessary club speed to get a decent ball launch. Based on his needs, and hand size, we recommended an oversize Lamkin Perma-Wrap grip. After using that grip on just one club, for just one round, he came back and had all of his clubs regripped. The larger size allowed him to grip the club with more strength, resulting in longer shots off the tee. While his hands were a “standard” size, this player didn’t have the strength to properly hold a smaller grip. Switching to the oversize wrap grip immediately shaved three strokes off of his game.
Another common grip fitting problem occurs with female golfers. Nearly every premium club manufacturer uses an undersize (stock) grip on their Ladies Clubs. These are great for an average female height of 5’5 or shorter, but are typically too small for ladies who are slightly or well-above average height. This was definitely a problem for a new female member at our club. She is 5’8” and had been using stock, undersize grips on all of her clubs. No one ever mentioned anything to her about grip size and grip fitting. We upsized her grips to a Men’s Standard and she immediately starting playing more consistently. Because she was improving and more comfortable with a slightly lager grip, she’s now playing golf more frequently… leading to even more improvement. A simple grip change was a huge catalyst to a significant change in her game.
Three Most Common Sizing Mistakes
1.) Seniors: It’s so important for senior players, or any player with medical conditions that impact grip strength, to spend time with a PGA Professional or Custom Club Fitter discussing proper grip fitting. Many senior golfers are starting to switch to a larger grip and they’re noticing an immediate improvement in their performance and enjoyment of the game.
2.) Ladies: If you’re a female golfer who’s taller than 5’5”, work with a professional to get properly-sized golf grips. There’s a very good chance you (and your game) is suffering with a grip that’s just too small for your hands.
3.) Juniors: There are a myriad of problems with the equipment used by junior players. Most juniors should be playing with at least an undersize (Ladies) grip, possibly even a standard or midsize grip. Unfortunately, most juniors are playing with hand-me-down clubs (usually with worn-out grips) that were built for a smaller player or for a bigger adult. Juniors might also have trouble with grip strength and, therefore, may benefit from a slightly larger grip. If a young player isn’t using the proper grip, they aren’t swinging with the confidence and comfort needed to really enjoy the game. Every junior player deserves the opportunity to play with properly fitted equipment.
Finally convinced that custom grip fitting is something worth considering? What next? It’s important you find a professional who understands grip replacements and grip fitting. Check with your local professional and ask about the size and condition of your grips. If they are knowledgeable about grip replacement, they will likely be able to help you find the perfect grip for your game. There are thousands of qualified PGA Professionals across the country, for a complete listing visit http://www.pga.com/pga-america/find-professionals.