Get A Grip!
One of the things that I notice about other golfer’s clubs is their grips. I guess I’m drawn to that because I feel like a sound grip on the golf club is the most basic fundamental of the swing. (I also used to work with Neumann Leather, before they went away – what a wonderful grip that was!!) Whether you prefer the overlap, interlock or full finger grip method, unless you have a proper hold on the club, you just will not be able to make a strong and consistent golf swing.

That said, I also know that most amateur golfers hold on to the club much too tightly. If you created a scale of grip pressure, where “10” was as tight as you could squeeze it, and “1” where it would fall out of your hands, most tour professionals would probably be in the 2-4 range, whereas most amateur golfers would be from 6-8, with a few pushing 9. And when the pressure is on, or when you are not playing all that well, the first indicator is grip pressure.

But there’s another cause of too-tight grip pressure that is totally curable, and that is the condition of the grips on your clubs. Here’s a fact, guys and gals . . . .

Grips wear out . . . . and grips get dirty!

And both cause you to hold the club tighter than you need to. What prompted this discussion today is that I went to see my golf pro’s 9-year-old play a baseball game the other night, his first time on the mound this season. Now, Nick is a really good little athlete, but a cool front brought in a light shower before the game and a light mist off and on during play. So keeping a dry ball was just not happening. I could tell Nick was having problems getting a secure hold on the ball, so he was squeezing it tighter and losing all control. Very frustrating for him, for sure.

The same happens to us when our grips get worn or slick. The problem is that these are gradual things that creep up on us. No matter what kind of grips you prefer, the surface texture and tackiness will wear out over time. Not as quickly as the old rubber grips, but they still wear. And even more quickly, they get coated with dirt, sweat and grime and that makes them slick.

As you start this season, and several times during, take a half hour one evening and clean your grips. The difference will amaze you. The process is easy. All you need is the kitchen sink, a stiff nylon brush and some Comet, Ajax or other abrasive cleaner. Just wet the grip, sprinkle on a little cleaner and scrub away. Then rinse thoroughly and dry off with a towel. It’s also a good idea to leave the clubs out of the bag overnight so they can dry thoroughly.

No matter what kind of grip you play – even leather – this is the right way to keep them clean. And you’ll be astounded as to how much better they feel afterward.

While you are looking at your grips, also notice if there are any wear spots on your most-used clubs – driver and wedges – which can indicate movement of the club during the swing. I see many players with grips that have a distinct depression or worn spot under the top hand thumb, or lower hand thumb. A good hold on the club won’t allow that to happen.

So, fess up to all of us, guys. When was the last time you cleaned your grips?

photo source
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[ comments ]
lcgolfer64 says:
Good article Wedge Guy. full disclosure: I scrub out my grips about once a week or so (after 4-5 rounds)
I also found out first hand that the thickness of the grip also plays a factor as well. Do you concur?
I replaced the grip on one of my drivers about a year ago, I thought I would try and 'upgrade' to a thicker grip this time. After taking it to the range and playing a few rounds with it - I gave it to my brother. A club that I was hitting fairly consistently to the fairway, was now (maybe in my head?) unplayable.
Stymie says:
I change my grips every 6 to 7 months (play 2-3 per week). Wedge and 6 iron more often as I practice with them more than any other clubs. At least once a month some stranger I get paired with will pick up one of my clubs and make a comment about how good they fell compared to the slick things on there clubs.
kingwood hacker says:
I try to keep mine clean during the round as well. In the summertime down here in houston, if your grips aren't tacky you're in trouble. So, I use 2 towels when I play; 1 wet, 1 dry. When it's really humid, I wet down and dry the grip before almost every shot.

In addition to that I try to clean mine with soap every couple of weeks. I'm going to try comet though. I've just been using dawn.
tennesseeboy says:
I would like to hear someone explain the appeal of leather grips. I have always used rubber grips. If the purpose of the grip is to provide friction against your glove to allow you to swing with the lightest grip possible, doesn't rubber would always win over leather. I have shoes with rubbery soles and shoes with leather soles. The rubber soles always provide better traction.
ipherr says:
I have some 200 grit sandpaper in my bag and just sand the grips lightly every so often. It helps a lot.
bortass says:
I'm surprised you didn;'t mention making sure you have the right sized grip or is that another article?

I found out recently that the irons I've been playing for the last 6+ years have had a grip that too small. I just had my entire set regripped with midsized grips and I definately feel like I'm able to grip the club better. It feels much better and I haven't noticed myself 'regripping' my club mid swing, at least not yet.
vja430 says:
Good article, I re-grip every golf season. And I also wet down and dry the grip before every shot. I used Golf Pride new decade multi-compound on every club. I clean my clubs and grips after each round. The other day I picked up old wedge with my old grips and it felt like a pipe. Once I re-gripped my whole set even my putter, it felt like I just upgraded and got a whole new set. So I recommend re-gripping every year. I tell my golf buddies about re-gripping but they don't really believe me how often you need to re-grip.
SingleDigits says:
do you install your own grips or have someone do it for you? From what I've read, it looks pretty easy (albeit a bit messy). Is it difficult to get the grips aligned properly on the club (or is there any alignment that you need to worry about)?
sepfeiff says:
I taught my ten year old daughter how to regrip clubs, I know that anyone here can do it. This link below is an INCREDIBLE deal if you have a Golf Smith nearby.
vja430 says:
I let my local golf store do it for me. I rather paid someone to do it and have a good result.
HotBacon says:
I typically clean my grips every month or so and replace them every other year, but only play 2-3/month during the summer. I've never tried an abrasive cleaner like comet or ajax, as I typically use regular dish soap. I'll have to give it a try next time.

I've regripped my own clubs the last 3 times, and am still surprised at how easy it is. Not only can you ensure you are getting the result that you want (instead of what the golf store guy wants), but the satisfaction that you did it yourself...and probably saved some money.
tennesseeboy says:
I was really hoping someone would answer my question. :(
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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