What Happens When Your Golf Grip is Too Big?

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The right grip might save you five strokes per round. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

If you want to rip it, you'd better have the right equipment to grip it properly. As club technology expert Tom Wishon states, "Playing with the right grip size is hugely important." A grip that is too big is likely to put you in the rough or a bunker on a regular basis. The golf industry uses charts to measure your grip size according to a formula that has been around for decades. But the conventional wisdom regarding grip size is under attack, and the ideal grip size for you is likely to be a matter of trial and error.

Bigger Is Not Better

If your grip is too big, you can expect errant shots. Wishon explains that an overly large grip adversely changes the angle of your wrist on the downswing. This can prevent you from rotating the clubface quickly enough to square it up to the ball at the point of impact. Fades and slices are a likely consequence. Bob Lamkin, president of Lamkin Grips, one of the premier grip manufacturers, says that overly large grips tend to restrict hand movement, which affects clubhead speed and results in less distance. Overly small grips aren't advisable either -- your hand movement increases too much and plays havoc with your accuracy.

Conventional Wisdom for Defining a Too-Big Grip

According to the conventional wisdom, your grip size is correct when you close your hands around the club and the tips of your fingers just miss touching the base of your hands. If your fingers touch your hands, you need a larger grip. If there is a noticeable gap between your fingers and hands, you need a smaller grip. Grips came in five basic diameters, ranging from undersized to jumbo and can be customized as precisely as 1/64th inches. But a number of experts believe the conventional wisdom is out-of-date.

The Conventional Wisdom Debunked

In a test conducted by Golf.com in 2010, 24 golfers of different ability levels hit balls using grips based on the conventional fitting chart. Almost all of them preferred a different grip size than the chart designated as appropriate for their hand size. More importantly, only five of the 24 golfers hit their best shots with conventionally fitted grips. Golf.com concluded, "Your grips are costing you at least five strokes per round."

The New Wisdom

According to Golf.com, the only way to determine the best grip "is to experiment with as many different sizes as possible." Measure results on the range or with a launch monitor to determine which grips give you the most distance and accuracy. Tom Wishon believes grip comfort is the key for golfers of all ability levels. By choosing the most comfortable size, "the hands and arms can maintain a secure hold on the grip without excess grip pressure or muscle contraction in the forearms."

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