One of the easiest ways to improve your golf game might not require a swing change or hours on the range. This is hard for me to say, as I am one that loves to help people improve their golf swing and their mental development to the game, but to be quite honest it might be just in the preventative maintenance of your equipment. And this just might be the perfect time of year to address this problem.
The grip is one of the most important components in golf and the only part of the club that you actually touch but is quite often the most neglected.
Golf grips take a great deal of physical abuse. They are handled swing after swing, round after round, often times season after season. They are exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun, intense heat in the trunk of the car, ozone from the atmosphere, and dirt, oil and perspiration from your hands. Grips wear over of time and use. We are all at fault of this at one time or another… playing with grips that should have been replaced seasons ago.
One of the easiest things to do to add life to your grips is a regular cleaning. Most grips can be cleaned with a mild dishwashing detergent. For rubber grips (including cord) a soft abrasive pad or brush may be used. For non-buffed grips a washcloth should be used instead of an abrasive pad or brush. After scrubbing, the grip should be rinsed in warm water to remove all remaining soap residue. After doing this quick and easy step you will notice immediately a newfound life in your grips feeling resilient and tacky.
If your grips are too far gone that a simple washing is not bringing new life then it is time for replacement. Expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $200 for your entire set of clubs, depending on the grip you choose. Grips come in all different makes, feel and colour. The key is making sure that the size of the grip fits your hand.
Grip size can be a critical element in club fitting and performance. While standard size grips are adequate for the vast majority of golfers, many players can benefit from oversize or undersize grips. School of thought is that a proper size grip allows the fingers in a golfers top hand to barely touch the palm. Unfortunately this rule of thumb does not address many other grip and swing issues.
A grip that is too small can cause the player to squeeze the grip too tightly, creating tension and inhibiting wrist action before impact. If the player has the proper grip pressure but the grip size is too small, the golfer may then have overactive wrist action causing the golfer to hook the ball.
If a grip is too large, there may be reduced head feel. Also, wrist action may be inhibited not allowing the clubface to return to the square position at impact staying open and causing a slice. A too large grip may also cause the player to grip down on the club because it feels better, which in effect shortens the club and can reduce swing speed resulting in inconsistent and shorter shot distance.
But with knowing the tendencies of the ball flight patterns, if a golfer has an undesirable swing technique, and shot pattern, tweaking of the grip size could be the quickest and easiest way to fix that problem without fixing the swing fault.
Golfers who suffer from arthritis often use an oversize grip, which is thicker then the conventional grip. The oversize grip is much more comfortable for those with pain in the hands and fingers. A smaller grip is uncomfortable due to the hands and fingers wrapping around the grip.
Putter grips are the most touched, most used, and most overlooked piece of equipment in the bag. Because putter grips are used once, twice, and unfortunately sometimes three or four times per green, they deserve far more attention and care than they typically get. Putting is the key to scoring, and good putting requires confidence. That’s why you need to select a putter size, shape, and material that perform best for you. And once you’ve made your selection, you need to clean the putter grip just as you do all other grips in the bag, to maintain that original tacky feel. Nothing is more individualistic than putting, so look for the putter grip that suits your personal preference, and helps you take the dreaded 3-putt out of your repertoire.
So fixing your golf game could come from a good cleaning to the proper fitting and replacing of your golf grips. Take a look in your bag and see what condition your grips are in and play better golf next time out.
By: Todd Keirstead
For anyone interested in contacting Todd for private golf lessons or corporate outings email him at email@example.com