I’ve been playing golf for nearly 40 years now and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had a detailed discussion with a fellow amateur about what grips we are playing.
I’ve spent many weeks of my golfing life talking endlessly about the latest drivers, irons, wedge spin rates, grooves, putters, shaft flexes, club head speed etc but when it comes to the subject of golf grips it’s hardly mentioned by comparison.
Which given it’s the only part of the golf club we actually touch when playing that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
And the first obvious question which arises and should be addressed when it comes to grips is whether you should have the same ones on all your clubs?
There is no evidence that having the same grips on all golf clubs gives an advantage to all golfers. The majority do select the same grips to give a consistent feel but others prefer varying combinations of grip size, material & firmness. Grip size is the most important factor when selecting a grip.
Many amateur players will build their golf sets over time and before they know it will likely end up with a mixture of different club brands and types making up their 14 club set.
By the time that has happened however a lot of them will not have even thought about whether their mixed set contains lots of different types of grips.
And those players that do realise it often wonder how much it really matters.
Well the short answer is your grips definitely matter and the simple fact you may not have thought about it, or even dismissed it as something that’s not that important, could be costing you a number of strokes per round.
Golf Club Grips Matter and Size Matters the Most
One of the common misconceptions about golf grips is that there is not that much to them and that is why they don’t deserve that much attention.
A grip is a just a grip.
Well the truth is that the advances of the last few decades in golf technology have not escaped the golf grip and so when we are talking about whether one grip is ‘the same’ as another we now need to take account the following basic factors:
- Grip size – There are four basic golf grip sizes – undersize, standard, midsize and oversize. And even then things don’t stop there as players can further customise the size of their grip by adding additional layers of tape between the shaft and the grip to alter the size of the grip they choose even further.
- Grip material – The majority of grips are made of rubber or synthetic material and come in a variety of textures which alter how the grips ‘feel’. ‘All rubber’ grips for example are designed to deliver a smooth feel while at the other end of the spectrum ‘full cord’ grips are much more coarse and abrasive to the touch.
- Grip firmness – Grips also vary according to ‘firmness’ to provide different options according to how much pressure different players grip the club with. Better players with higher swing speeds for example will typically grip the club much more lightly and therefore often favour firmer grips. Softer, more comfortable grips by comparison will likely suit golfers with slower swing speeds and reduced hand strength as they tend to feel stickier and help them feel more confident that their grip is secure.
Add to these basic factors additional design elements which can be part of a grips design – for example ‘alignment lines’ which help players check they are putting their hands on the club in the right place – and we can quickly see that for one grip to be ‘the same’ as another there are a number of things which must match.
And choosing you have the right grip matters, and confirming you have the right size of grip for you, matters most of all.
Lamkin, one the main golf grip manufacturers, estimates that an incorrectly chosen grip can cost a player 3-4 strokes every round.
Now while we should always be sceptical of golf companies citing stats that relate directly to the product they are selling it surely makes sense that as we don’t all have the same size of hands, or apply exactly the same pressure when gripping the club, different grips may work better for different golfers.
“It’s amazing how many mechanical problems stem from a player using a golf grip that’s either too small or too large”Stephen Hutton, PGA Professional
And there is little doubt that the wrong golf grip size can definitely affect the shape and consistency of your shots.
Having a grip which is ‘too small’ can cause your hands and wrists to become too active, and lead you to tense your forearm muscles too much, during your swing as you strain tightly to hold on the club.
As a result you release the club head too early making you much more likely to hook or pull your shots more.
Go with a grip that’s ‘too big’ by comparison and the opposite is more likely to happen.
With your hands and wrists slowing down you can lose club head speed and distance at the same time as developing an increased tendency to push or slice the ball as you struggle to get the club face square through impact.
In addition to larger grips also making more sense for taller golfers with bigger hands it is also recommended that golfers who struggle with arthritis can benefit from going bigger than standard.
This is because oversize grips reduce how tightly your hands need to squeeze the club and so can reduce any pain some players can feel when gripping the club.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) mandates that grips must be no more than 1.75 inches in diameter and today the recommendations for different grip sizes based on hand measurement and glove size are as follows:
|GRIP SIZE||HAND MEASUREMENT||GLOVE SIZE|
|Undersize||Less than 7 inches||Small|
|Standard||7 to 8.75 inches||Medium / Large|
|Midsize||8.25 inches to 9.25 inches||Large|
|Oversize / Jumbo||More than 9.25 inches||Extra Large|
And the options to adjust the size of your grips don’t stop there as further minor adjustments can be made to the size of an individual grip by adding extra layers of tape between on the shaft of the club underneath the grip.
Now of course golfers all have unique swings and as with everything when it comes to golf equipment there are no hard and fast rules which apply to every player when it comes to choosing the grips that work best.
Some players for example want to ‘feel’ a consistent grip on every club while others prefer thicker grips on there shorter irons and wedges compared to their driver and woods to help prevent hooking or overswinging.
Someone who plays without a glove will likely have different requirements to those that do.
A survey of 89 golfers we conducted online found that while over 55% of golfers had the same grips on all their clubs, with the exception of the putter, 45% of players used a different grip on one or more of their clubs.
So when it comes to grips different players will have different set ups as is common with all golf equipment decisions.
Whatever grips you end with however just make sure you don’t simply accept the stock grips that come with your clubs without giving it any more consideration and think it doesn’t matter!
Don’t Choose the Wrong Grip for the Wrong Reasons
A common thing you will find it when it comes to looking at players who have different grips on their clubs is that they have got there by simply not thinking about it.
They have built their set of clubs over the years and simply accepted whatever grip came with each club.
The honest among that group will admit that they have come to that end point simply because they were too lazy to get their grips changed to all the same ones or to whatever grip worked best for their different clubs.
When it comes to the question of deciding which type of grip you should use though we would of course always recommend that you end up with a set of grips through a conscious choice rather than laziness.
As we have already discussed the most important factor when it comes to deciding which type of grip you should use is size.
And its’ a straight forward process to determine which size of grip will probably fit your swing best. The easiest way is to look at what size of glove you wear.
If you a wear a men’s large, XL or 2XL glove midsize and even oversized or jumbo grips might be the best fit. Wearers of men’s small, women’s medium or smaller sizes or any junior glove will likely prefer undersized grips.
By comparison, if you wear a men’s medium or women’s large golf glove chances are standard grip sizes will be the best choice.
And don’t forget you can always further adjust the size or thickness by adding layers of tape on the shaft before the grip goes on top.
Other considerations in your choice of grip include weather, age and simple personal preference.
If you play in hot or humid conditions or simply find your hands perspire alot when you play golf grips that include cord are helpful to maintain a good grip on the club.
Many players however can find even half cord grips, where the cord part of the grip covers only the top hand on the club, too abrasive for their hands especially if they play alot.
For those players however there is still the option of grips which have a heavy pattern and surface texture to provide extra traction.
Senior golfers who are finding their club head speed reducing or are losing a bit of strength in their grip can find switching to larger golf grips can help as they reduce how tightly your hands need to squeeze the club.
When it comes to grips also some players simply just have a personal preference for a type of grip. For me I just like the ‘feel’ of wrap grips on my hands and I find they give me more confidence especially with my irons.
But if you are now thinking it’s time to look at what grips you have and potentially change them just make sure you approach it right.
Don’t for example simply work out what grips are the most common across your current set and then change the others to match.
Like every golf equipment decision take some time to work out what ones work the best for you across all your clubs and save some money in the long run.
Start by simply running through your bag the next time you are doing some practice and see whether you notice any difference in the grips and the shots you are hitting now you are paying attention to them.
If you’re hitting them all great don’t change them but if you like the feel of one grip in particular or find yourself hitting one club with a hook when you hit everything else the other way go and try out the club with another grip on it to see if that may make a difference.
Don’t rush to get them all changed straight away. Try one club and go from there.
And remember what works for one player won’t automatically work for another so don’t just accept a ‘general rule’ you read saying that ‘larger grips are better’ or that you must have the same grips throughout your set.
Our survey of 89 golfers did find that the majority (55%) of players had the same grip throughout their set for reasons of consistency and some of the minority wanted to have the same grips but didn’t only due to laziness.
That doesn’t automatically mean however the majority approach of having the same grip throughout the set will be the best set up for you.
Taking a close look at your golf grips can deliver good results if there are changes to be made and a new set of grips can range in price from only $70 – $130 (£50 – £95).
There are also more expensive options nowadays such as the Arccos Golf Caddie Smart Grips which incorporate AI sensors to allow players to automatically record and analyse every shot they take and give them average club distances and other PGA tour-level data insights into their game.
If you don’t want to go that far though a simple grip change can be one of the cheapest changes you can make in the world of golf equipment.
And it could make a big difference to your game.
[Editor’s note – The only exception when it comes to the question of golfer’s grips being all the same or not is the putter. Your putter grip should be considered entirely on its own and not compared to any other club in the bag.]
Do the Pros Use the Same Grips on All Their Clubs?
When it comes to any golf equipment decision a starting point of reference is often checking out what the pros are doing.
And when it comes to grips it turns out it again is not a commonly talked about subject compared to other elements of their club set up.
A simple search of the internet will lead you to find loads and loads of references to what’s in the golf bags of all the top pros.
But you will be amazed how often in those articles that the types of grips the players are using is not even mentioned.
Analysis of the grips used by some of the best players however indicates that many of them have the same grip on all their clubs with the exception of course of their putter.
|Rory McIlroy||Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord|
|Dustin Johnson||Golf Pride Tour Velvet||Cap is 1/8 inch thick|
|Tiger Woods||Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord|
|Bryson DeChambeau||JumboMax||Grip weight of 125 grams is compensated by the shafts on the clubs|
|Tony Fineau||Lamkin UTX Midsize Full Cord||4 wraps under left hand, 3 wraps under right hand|
|Bubba Watson||Ping 703 Gold||13 wraps under left hand, 11 wraps under right hand|
|Jon Rahm||Golf Pride New Decade MultiCompound (MCC) Midsize||1 tape wrap|
|Collin Morikawa||Golf Pride Z-Grip Cord|
That does not mean however that many pros do not have their very unique personal preferences.
While Jon Rahm for example uses Golf Pride’s New Decade MultiCompound Midsize grips with only one tape wrap, Tony Fineau opts for Lamkin UTX Midsize Full Cord grips with 4 wraps of tape under the left hand and 3 wraps under the right hand.
2-times Masters champion, Bubba Watson, meanwhile chooses Ping’s 703 Gold grips with a staggering 11 wraps of tape under the right hand and 13 under the left hand.
And of course Bryson DeChambeau goes for something different again. He currently uses the largest grips which can be found in the golf industry – JumboMax Golf Grips which add 125 grams of extra weight to his clubs.
And his reason for doing this is that it is his belief that if he is using less energy to grip the club due to the larger grips he can put more of his energy into swinging the club.
As for the golf club grips of the great Tiger Woods he uses the more common Golf Pride Tour Velvel Cord grips although he continues to use the same grip on his putter that he used as a junior golfer – a Ping PP58.
What does this tell us?
While it seems the pros seem to be more consistent in their use of the same grip throughout their set than the 55% of amateurs we found in our online survey it seems clear personal preference again plays a big factor in their grip decisions.
Don’t forget also of course that they have full-time access to golf club specialists who can change their grips for them any time they want for free!
How Often Should You Change Your Golf Club Grips?
A study by Golf Pride, the most played golf grip brand on the PGA Tour, found that well worn, two-year-old grips can cost you up to 3 or 4 strokes per round.
While it’s clearly in Golf Pride’s business interests to cite such stats anyone who has played golf for any length of time can testify to the fact that golf grips do wear, break down and lose their stickiness over time.
Many factors contribute to this including the oil and sweat from your hands, uv light, heat, dirt, how hard you grip the club in addition to simple volume of use.
On average the majority of professional golfers change their grips every 6 weeks to two months but unless you are playing as often as a pro it’s worth checking out the condition of your grips at least once a year, particularly if you are playing regularly.
Checking your grips is also easy to do and simply casting your eye over them is a good place to start.
Do they look worn with shiny spots in particular areas? Can you spot any cracks in the rubber? If you have cord grips is the cord starting to fray?
Or do they feel slippery to the touch or indeed are now starting to twist in your hand during your golf swing, particularly in wet weather.
“When a grip feels slippery that’s when you should look to change it.”
If they are it’s probably time to look at re-gripping them as they will undoubtedly by this point be costing you shots as you lose more control of the club throughout your swing.
The amount you use your clubs and therefore grips is clearly the biggest determining factor of how long they will last but so does how well you look after them.
If you have just played in wet weather or on a particularly hot day don’t just leave them after the round. Get a towel and dry them off.
Regular cleaning of your grips can also help prolong their shelf life.
A simple scrub with a cloth or soft pad in dishwashing detergent is good but again make sure you dry them off thoroughly afterwards with a towel once you’ve rinsed all the detergent residue away with warm water.
And one final thing to beware of is where you store your clubs. Rubber doesn’t like too much heat so watch out you don’t leave your grips regularly exposed to overly hot or dry conditions.
Golf is an expensive sport and adding the costs of new grips may feel like just another cost you could do without when it comes to the bottomless pit of money it can sometimes feel you can spend on golf equipment.
This article is not intended to get you rush out and get all your grips changed to be the same throughout. That may work for you but it also may not.
But when it comes to your grips it is one of the less expensive options for upgrading your golf equipment which can at the same deliver some lower scores.
It’s also the only connection between you and the golf club and therefore worth taking a look at if you haven’t already.
Or you could simply choose to wait until your current grips wear down before you start investigating your grip set up further if you don’t want to waste what you’ve already spent or don’t want to spend the money straight away.
At that point just try out a few different grips and if you find anything better than your current set up start experimenting with them on more clubs.
It’s also a good idea once you finally find the grip that works best for you to buy a few extra so you have a few spare at home.
More great articles related to this topic:
- Should All Your Wedges be the Same? Focus on Gaps & Variety
- Should Your Driver Match Your Woods? Don’t Waste Your Money!
- Should Your Wedges Match Your Irons? Consistency is Key
- Are My Golf Clubs Too Old? It’s Performance Not Age That Matters
- Are My Golf Clubs Too Heavy? Trust Your Feelings
- What Hybrids Should You Carry? It’s All About Ego
- Should I Play Blades or Cavity Back Irons? Use Your Head
- How Much Does a Golf Club Fitting Cost? Is it Worth it?
- Can You Get Your Existing Golf Clubs Custom Fitted? Complexity = Cost