What's in a glove?
By birdieXris on 7/25/12
Chris "birdieXris" Embardino is a regular on oob, and from time to time he submits guest columns about his golfing experience. If you missed any of his previous submissions, you can find them here, here, here, here, and here. Enjoy!

The golf glove is one of the most overlooked, abused, and misunderstood items in the golf bag. I played a few seasons without a glove when I was younger. Never again. There's times that I take my glove off to play a shot, but it's so much nicer with one that I don't think I'll ever go without again. So what exactly does a golf glove do? Why just one glove?

Let's start with function. The main function of a golf glove is to keep your club from ending up somewhere other than your hand. A properly fit and maintained glove allows a physical lock with your golf grip so that, even if you loosen your grip you should not be able to pull the grip out of your hand easily (go ahead and try it, i'll wait). It provides a solid interface with your club so that you can swing without having to put a death grip on your club – especially effective from the rough or a bad lie where the club face has a tendency to grab and turn. It also helps when it's hot out and your hands get sweaty.

Secondary function is to save your interface hand. When you swing a club, there's a lot of torque and centrifugal force. Without the glove, the grip will grab your skin and pull. A lot of this will abrade the skin, create callouses and otherwise just make it uncomfortable for your hand. Even with a glove, most people will probably notice a small callous under the middle, ring, and pinky fingers.

Lastly, the glove acts as a last ditch shock absorber. Some work more than others and for good reason. Look at a glove by some top manufacturers as compared to some one-offs. The top gloves that are 20 and sometimes $30 are thin, top grain leather with very little filler material like nylon. They're also very thin to provide the most feel and feedback from the shot while still performing the main function of keeping the club securely in the hand. Other gloves are blends of space age fabric with a few suede or leatherette panels and thicker pads. Generally these range in the $10 or less realm and come in really handy (pardon the pun) if you tend to hit thin shots sometime. They wear out less frequently than the “top tier” gloves, but the lack of feel is a turn off for a lot of players.

So now we know what it does, but how do we know which glove to play? That's all personal preference and what works best for you. Thing is, whatever glove you choose MUST be fit properly or it's not going to help. I play a lot of weekend golf and I notice more and more weekend warriors with floppy fingers and ill-fitting gloves with velcro pulled way over and flapping in the breeze. This is going to do more harm than good. A good golf glove should fit snugly to the hand and not have any excess material over the fingers. Slide the glove on, press the glove into the web of your fingers. Now, make a fist, then close the velcro in the back it should fit pretty much right on the money with how it was shaped and made. If you have to pull it tighter and have a tongue of velcro, your glove is too big. If you still see the hard “hook” part of the velcro more than say 1/8 inch, or the glove only closes properly when your hand is open then the glove is too small. Gloves are made in a multitude of sizes. Small (s), Medium (M), Medium/Large (ML), Large (L), XL, etc. They generally also come in regular and “cadet” sizes. Cadet sizes have shorter fingers. You may find that, like me, you need this Cadet fitted glove in order to not have any extra space in the fingers. Not all manufacturers make a cadet size glove but the smart ones have caught on. Also, not all manufacturers have the same sizing system. What may be a M in one could be an M/L or S in another. Make sure you try the glove on before you buy it.

Care of your glove is also very important. If your glove is hard and “crunchy” before you put it on, then it's time to get a new one. Just like grips, the gloves wear out and get dirty. Some gloves are able to be washed (believe it or not) and it will breathe new life into them. Others, it's just time to buy another one. A properly fitted and well maintained glove will last you at least 15 rounds or more, depending on the type of glove and it's padding and thickness. Your experience may vary. I recommend buying two or 3 gloves at one time and rotating them out during a round if necessary. When leather gets wet, it wants to do at least a little stretching. When it stretches it stresses and gets soft and pulls and tears. Make them last longer by rotating them and giving a rest to the other gloves. Also, try taking your glove off between shots to keep sweat from soaking in and giving the glove some time to dry out.

Overall, gloves are a personal preference. It could even define a persona on tour, such as with Tommy “two gloves” Gainey. Wether you want to wear one, two or Zero gloves it all depends on how it impacts your game. I hate really wet weather because it forces me to wear two rain gloves. With my interlocking grip, it feels a little bulky and takes some getting used to. I guess it's better than pulling a Judge Smails and tossing a club into the club restaurant, though.

What about you? What kind of glove person are you?

This was written by Chris Embardino, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

Have an idea for a guest column? Send it here


Image via Flickr, mr.throk


[ comments ]
SteveMM says:
I bought rain gloves some time back. The first time I tried them on the range, my nine iron flew farther than the ball. I just couldn't get the grip pressure right with both gloves on. It was so horrifyingly embarrassing, I haven't worn both of them at the same time since. If it's raining, I just put on the one glove. I've been meaning to get with my one left-handed buddy and give him the other one.
7/25/12
 
bobhooe says:
3 for $16 at Costco, does the trick just fine. had a bionic glove but for $35 I only got about 15-20 rounds in before it was useless. I would rater spend the money on a better ball. The kirkland large fit me perfect and last 10-15 rounds if you keep them in a zip lock.
7/25/12
 
legitimatebeef says:
Makin some good points there Xris. Glove used to be an afterthought for me, something to mitigate the calluses. But no more, no more ill-fitted gloves, no more fake leather bargain bin specials. I'm using Titleist permasofts now. Going to do my best to follow the manufacturer's suggestion of smoothing it out after wearing and storing it in the sleeve. Also going to try the rotating thing instead of using just one and wearing it into the ground.
7/25/12
 
Matt McGee says:
I like the cheap Wilson gloves from my local Wal-Mart store. For my game, they're just as effective as the more expensive gloves. I generally wear mine for shots 150 yards and longer, and take it off for shorter shots, to get a little more "feel."
7/25/12
 
birdieXris says:
@legitimatebeef - I used the permasofts for a while. They got to my wallet though. I found that Footjoy's weathersof is really nice and it's comparable to the Titleist gloves. It's not as thin but i get the same feeling from it. Lots cheaper too. Storing it in the sleeve is a really good idea too. I do that for all my gloves.
7/25/12
 
homermania says:
I know I'm in the minority, but I wear it even on the green. Anyone else putt with their glove on?
7/25/12
 
kingwood hacker says:
In Houston, every round from April to September is at least a 2 glove rotation. I also keep my older ones for time at the range. I usually play the titleist permasofts or something similar. I like the mizuno Skintight ones as well. Anything that is full-grain leather I will try, but they vary so much in size. In the titleists I wear a regular medium, in foot joys I wear a cadet large, in nike I wear a cadet M/L. I've spent way too much time in the glove isle at golfsmith trying out different ones.
7/25/12
 
Backquak says:
me and bobhooe have had the same experience, I liked the bionic, but it didn't last and I would rather have a cheap glove and a better ball.
7/25/12
 
BigTazz53 says:
@homermania, I to wear it all the way thru. I to take it off in between shots so it has a chance to dry some if I'm really hot an sweaty
7/25/12
 
mjaber says:
When I first started playing, I had trouble finding a glove that fit me properly. I have long, skinny fingers. The glove was either too big, or the fingers were too short. I found the Nike Elite Feel was the only one that worked well for me. When they were discontinued, the local Sports Authority sold the @ 3 for 15. I bought 6. Still have a few that I haven't used yet.

One other thing to think about is how to store your glove after the round. The Nike's I have came in a nice hard plastic case, with ventilation. I have made it a habit to make sure I put the glove back in the case, so that it dries flat, instead of in a ball in one of the other pockets. It makes it more comfortable to put on at the start of my next round.
7/25/12
 
Banker85 says:
I didnt know about the cadet sizes at first and felt like my fingers were jammed in the short gloves. Now i use footjoy sof gloves L and like em alot. I hate when i have one of the seems on the thumb not lined up right and it kinda bugs me. My fatherl in law needs the cadet glove casue his fingers are floppy.
7/25/12
 
aaronm04 says:
I'm not a golf glove fan. They are too thin and dainty. Having to take one off between shots and put it back on before swinging is a pain--play is slow enough as it is. I bit the bullet and went gloveless years ago. It took some time for my callouses to build up. Since they have, I just make sure that I keep my grips in good shape and that's all I need.
7/25/12
 
bkuehn1952 says:
Great idea for an essay and well written. I have tried the cheaper "leather-like" gloves and never liked them. So I purchase all leather versions that have elastic inserts between the fingers and across the knuckles. Not partial to any brand as long as the fit is good and the price not too high.

I have never tried the rotation idea. I typically wear them until they fall apart. I might try rotating.
7/25/12
 
lcarraway80 says:
I actually wear 2 gloves from 100 yards out. Golf is already mentally hard enough without having to worry about my club flying out of my hands. I tried to get past it, but now just accept getting the Tommy "Two Gloves" reference thrown at me. I usually play the short shots with 1 glove and ofter putt with no gloves. Although putting with 1 glove doesn't bother me if we are cruising along.
7/25/12
 
lcarraway80 says:
I have to agree that the Footjoys are best value out there. High Quality for pretty reasonable prices. The Calloway Warbird aren't bad either, plus they are usually on sale at Costco for 3 at a time.
7/25/12
 
joe jones says:
I have a pair of winter gloves for the early morning winter rounds here in Phoenix (40 to 50 degrees) because of arthritis in my hands but I take them off as soon as possible. I used a golf glove for years but stopped about 20 years ago. I don't think it has any negative effect on my grip. To each his own.
7/25/12
 
SD Charlie says:
I'm with Aaron M up there - no glove for me. I used to wear one up to about 120 yards. One day, I decided to go gloveless and haven't looked back. I feel much more comfortable with both hands bare, and I don't have any trouble holding on to the club. I'm surprised to hear people say that they worry about the club flying out of their hand. Why are you letting go of the club?!
7/25/12
 
mantajim says:
@Aaron M & SD Charlie, I'm with you, haven't worn a glove in years. Play 4-5 rounds every week, a dry towel and clean grips are all I need. When it gets cold I might wear one but by the end of the round I've forgotten were I put it. Our head teaching pro dosen't wear one and that's what got me thinking that gloves are just a big money suck thought up by a marketing department. I don't beleive Hogan wore one, he just talks about the correct location of your calluses. And haven't ever sent a club flying, well there was that one time after a really ...
7/25/12
 
GolferAnt says:
Hirzl has awesome gloves made with kangaroo leather. Kangaroo leather is way more durable then cabretta. Also it doesn't get hard like other gloves. one glove can almost last forever. I think this is ggod option for most people who dont wont to spend money on a new glove every couple rounds.
7/25/12
 
legitimatebeef says:
I think nowadays its easier to go gloveless thanks to all the new fangled polymer type grips. I don't use them myself but some of those "Winn" brand grips are pretty durned soft. I might try that at some point in the future. The downside is that they tend to lose their tack a lot faster though.

Based on you guys's recommendation I'll try those FJ weathersofts at some point, the price is nice at least.
7/25/12
 
mmontisano says:
WeatherSofts for sure. golfing in the tropics, you absolutely need a glove. sometimes 2 per round because you sweat through them easily, and i even take them off after every shot. i'll usually wrap it around the golf cart's windshield frame between shots so the wind dries it while we're scooting around the course.
7/25/12
 
askarzy says:
No glove for me either.
7/25/12
 
Matt F says:
+5 for no glove.
7/26/12
 
mjaber says:
You know what they say... "No glove, no love..." :)
7/26/12
 
SpaceMaNy0 says:
Ha! I thought I was the only Futurama nerd here.

I never wear one, even though there's one in my bag.
7/26/12
 
mjaber says:
@SpaceMaN... Didn't get it from Futurama. I got it a from a different type of adult show.
7/26/12
 
SpaceMaNy0 says:
Ah, still good.
7/26/12
 
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