What are some of the accessories associated with a game of golf? A pair of pleated trousers, a cap to protect your head from the sun and the appropriate pair of shoes are some of the most common items which come to mind. However, what would a match be without form-fitting gloves? It seems as if the notion of wearing golf gloves has become a nearly universal requirement when hitting the green. You might even be surprised to learn that some of the most well-known names in the sport enjoy the bare-handed approach. Before we take a look at a handful of players and their unique habits, it is important to examine why golf gloves are worn as well as some of the main benefits that they will provide. You can then decide whether or not to adopt this habit.
What is the Main Purpose of Golf Gloves?
Some observers have been led to believe that golf gloves are nothing more than a fashion statement. Others are instead under the impression that gloves are only used when the temperatures outside begin to drop. On the contrary, these represent myths much more than realities.
The fact of the matter is that a golf glove is intended to provide the player with a more secure grip when grasping the handle of the club. Let’s not forget that the majority of tournaments and outings are enjoyed during the warmer months of the year. Your hands can easily begin to sweat; causing them to accidentally slip during the swing. Not only will this negatively impact the shot itself, but there may even be times when the club can slide out of your hands. Gloves provide an additional layer of tactile stability; a benefit which is particularly important when attempting a long drive.
We should also point out the principle of grip tension in relation to your swing. Gripping the shaft too tight will automatically place more strain upon your wrists, forearms and elbows. Even novice golfers appreciate the fact that flexibility is key during the swing. Any tightness will impact accuracy and inevitably shorten the driving distance. When points matter, it is obvious to appreciate why pro golfers and gloves are often seen working in tandem on the course.
Why Do Some Golfers Only Wear a Glove on One Hand?
It is not uncommon to see a golfer wearing a glove on only one hand. Why is this the case? Wouldn’t it make more sense to wear a pair of gloves in order to experience a more even and uniform tactile sensation? There is actually a very logical reason behind this habit.
Most golfers will choose to wear a glove on their lead hand. This is the hand which is located closest to the butt of the grip (and therefore higher up on the club). The lead hand is important due to the fact that it supplies the dominant amount of power. It will therefore be subject to a greater amount of force during the back-swing and the follow-through. To put it simply, the left hand is the lead hand for those who are right-handed (and the opposite in terms of lefties).
The other possible argument for wearing a glove on only one hand involves the notion of tactility that we mentioned earlier. While a glove will help the lead hand to remain in place, the less-dominant hand will often remain bare to feel the mechanics of the club (particularly when making contact with the ball). Many believe that such sensations are important when fine tuning their shot or if they are trying to determine whether or not a new club will help to improve their game.
The Possible Issue of Swing Weight
This is a lesser-known variable and yet, it is worth mentioning before moving on. Many golfers feel that a glove essentially represents part of the shaft when it contacts the handle. As a result, the swing weight of the club will change slightly (even if by only a few grams). This is nonetheless important, as this increased weight is closer to the axis of rotation. There is a possibility that such an addition may help to slightly increase the distance of your drives (although this make little difference when putting).
Concerns with the Grip of the golf Club
Most modern golf clubs are designed with grips that are intended to stand up to the elements as well as mechanical wear and tear over time. However, there are also certain materials (such as rubber) which can become slippery due to sweat or if it happens to be raining. This is another common reason why the presence of a glove could be a good idea. It can be used to augment your contact with the grip.
What Materials are Commonly Used?
You might be surprised that there are a number of materials to consider when choosing a golf glove. The three most common include:
- Hybrid materials
As you might have already imagined, leather is by far the most traditional option. Not only does leather offer a more classical appeal, but many believe that it is more comfortable than other options. High-quality gloves such as those which employ cabretta leather (leather sourced from a sheep) are known for their durability; offering years of seasonal use with few issues. The only possible downside is that leather may stretch out over time. This is why it is a good idea to purchase a glove that fits snugly around your hand.
Synthetic materials are obviously quite modern and they tend to be more flexible than leather. They are often made of a substance known as “PL leather” and they appear virtually identical to their more natural counterparts. Synthetic gloves are also relatively cheap, so they can represent an ideal solution if you happen to be on a fixed budget. It is still important to mention that synthetic materials will not breathe as much as leather. This could present a problem if you happen to be hitting the green on warmer days of the year.
The most recent innovation to hit the markets comes in the form of a synthetic glove. This variant utilises both natural and synthetic leather. The natural leather tends to be located around the palm of the hand and across the fingertips. This will provide you with superior gripping power. Synthetic substances such as PL leather are likewise found around the joints as well as other areas that may be prone to wear and tear. This helps to increase the longevity of the glove. Hybrid models could represent the ideal choice if you have been looking for the best of both worlds. Still, keep in mind that these tend to be the most expensive variants.
Pro Golfers and Gloves: A Quick Look at Design Options
You have numerous choices when choosing the most appropriate type of glove. For example, some have been engineered with open fingertips in order to accommodate for longer nails. Others are equipped with perforations along the top of the hand so that excess sweat can be wicked away from the body. Slits along certain fingers can accommodate those who wear larger rings and others are even fashioned from a material that will allow your hands to tan evenly while on the green. It is a good idea to take a look at the features associated with different models in order to make an informed decision.
Why is the Colour More Important Than You Think?
Some golfers will use coloured gloves to make a fashion statement or even to support a charitable cause. However, might the colour of your glove also impact your playing abilities? Although the verdict is still out, we should highlight the fact that bright tones such as oranges and reds may cause a visual distraction during your swing. This is why hues of white and off-white are normally preferable. However, you will need to decide which colour suits you the best and this will naturally vary from player to player.
Are Gloves Mandatory on the Green?
As the majority of golfers choose to wear gloves during gameplay, you might have been led to believe that their presence is mandatory. In fact, gloves are by no means mandatory. They are simply a matter of preference. It is still important to note that most instructors will recommend using a glove when learning the game. Try this out for yourself. Take a few swings with and without a glove. You might even choose to play nine or 18 holes in order to determine if such an accessory has a direct impact upon your score. To put it simply, gloves are more of a personal preference than anything else.
What is the Average Price of a Golf Glove?
Please note that pro golfers and clubs can sometimes be associated with higher pricing options. This is often due to the fact that professionals will often request custom-made designs that suit their extremely unique requirements. Most normal individuals will not have to be concerned with such a financial commitment. In fact, the majority of models currently available will only cost between £10 and £15 pounds.
There can nonetheless be times when you desire a glove that is engineered for specific weather conditions or that is designed to fit extremely large or small hands. In such cases, customisation could be the only option and this is normally a bit more expensive. When in doubt, ask if you can try on the glove before making a purchase. This will help to ensure that it does not have to be re-sized in the future.
When Should a Glove be Worn?
This is a slightly subjective question that will ultimately be determined by your personal preferences. Some golfers will keep a glove on throughout the game while others may choose to remove this accessory on occasion. As a general rule of thumb, most experts recommend that you employ a glove when swinging with:
It is normally a good idea to remove your glove when on the green, as putting requires a discrete tactile sensation in order to maintain accuracy. Let’s also remember that the chances of a putter suddenly flying out of your hands due to a slick grip are virtually nil.
A Quick Look at Pro Golfers and Gloves: Who Does Not Wear a Glove?
We have just seen that gloves are often a matter of subjective comfort as opposed to an absolute necessity. This is why it only stands to reason that there have been a handful of well-known names who choose to “bare it all” while on the green. Here are some personalities who have proven that gloves do not necessarily make the player:
- Ben Hogan
- Lucas Glover (ironically)
- Arron Oberholser
- Fred Couples
- Jonathan Byrd (on occasion)
We can therefore see that pro golfers and gloves do not always enjoy a “hand-in-hand” relationship. There can also be times when a golfer who would not normally don such an accessory will use one out of necessity due to issues such as extremely hot temperatures or rainy conditions.
To Glove or Not to Glove? That is the Question
Anyone who has recently taken up golf as a hobby is encouraged to experiment with the different types of gloves which exist on the market. There are countless configurations and designs to choose from, so you will normally be able to find the best fit for your needs. The good news is that you will not be forced to spend an arm and a leg. You still might be very surprised to see how the addition of a single glove can impact your overall playing experience.
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