Just for fun next time you visit a retail golf store ask the clerk why they offer gloves in sizes from small to extra large, but their rows and rows of clubs all have the same size grip. Be prepared for an awkward response.
If you're like the majority of golfers you're probably not aware that grips are available in a variety of sizes, materials and shapes.
Why is it important to fit grip size?
The proper grip size gives a golfer a comfortable feeling at address and control during the swing without inhibiting his wrist action through the impact area. A proper grip feel also enhances how the golfer mentally perceives the club which adds confidence.
Grips that are too large can decrease clubhead feel, inhibit wrist action and cause a player to choke down where the grip diameter is smaller and feels better. This effectively shortens the club and reduces swing speed.
Grips that are too small may cause the clubhead to twist at impact because the player cannot get a firm hold on the club, or squeeze the club too tightly to "hold on" to the club, thus inhibiting his wrist action before impact. It may also cause the player to hold the club too far out on the end where the grip is larger, thus increasing his chances of "losing" the club at the top of the backswing and reducing control.
How to determine proper grip size.
The best way to fit grip size is to have the player take his normal grip on the club. Next, remove the right hand only from the club, and with the left hand remaining in the same grip position, bring the club up so that the fingertips of the left hand are visible. If the fingertips dig into the palm, the grip size is too small. If the fingertips barely touch or just miss touching the heel portion of the palm, the grip size is correct. If the fingertips are separated by more that 1/8" from the heel portion of the palm, then the grip size is too large.
Keep in mind that specialty grips are also available such as arthritic grips. These grips are designed to feel softer and install to a much larger size under both the right and left hand. The softer feel and larger size allows it to be more easily held during the swing while exerting less hand pressure than would normally be required.
Often players are not aware of the poorly transmitted grip feel by using a too small a grip, too large a grip, or in most cases, a slick or hardened worn out grip. Sometimes the size is correct and the grip is new, but the player may experience another grip material or style that he likes better based on personal preference.
Grips play an important role in the club fitting process as they provide the golfer his only physical contact with the club. If you have questions about your grips or are considering re-gripping your clubs stop by Golf Rx and talk to Steve. His response will be anything but awkward...