Do golf gloves really make a difference?
This has been a common question asked of me by golfers over the years and my answer has always been the same – ‘You don’t need to wear a golf glove but there are a few good reasons to wear one (or two) while playing golf’.
The first examples of golf gloves began to appear in the game during the late 1800′s, marketed as a way to add extra protection for a golfer’s hands – a function that all golf gloves still perform today.
As the golf glove allowed golfers to play the game with less damage to their hands from the rough leather grips of the time, the bulk of golfers took to them quickly.
So, the first reason they make a difference is to protect the skin on golfers hands.
Something that is especially important for new or infrequent golfers, to enable them to play the game without damaging the skin on the palm of their hand or fingers – as well as golfers who play or practice more than two or three times a week – who may find themselves wearing the skin on their hands away through simple repetition, if they don’t use a golf glove (or two).
The next useful reason for wearing a golf glove (or two) is something called Sebum.
It’s an oily or waxy substance that all of us secrete to lubricate and waterproof our skin through the sebaceous glands, which are microscopic glands in the skin.
Found in greatest abundance on the face and scalp, the glands are also distributed throughout all skin sites on the human body except for the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet.
Haven’t heard of Sebum before?
Quickly, get a fingertip and run the tip of it along the palm of your other hand, then run that same fingertip along the fingers beside the palm.
Feel the difference the Sebum makes to the way your fingers feel?
Sebum’s purpose, is that it constantly lubricates and waterproofs our skin – which is great for our body the majority of the time but not too handy if you are playing golf on a hot or rainy day and the mixture of sweat or water combined with the Sebum, makes your hands become so slippery that as a result – you lose control of the golf club in your hands and your shots start going sideways or worse still, the club slips right out of your hands!
As you can imagine, a golf glove (or two) can help to eliminate that possibility completely by forming a barrier between your hands and the golf club.
The third reason that you may want to consider wearing a golf glove (or two) while playing, is to enable you to achieve a good connection between your hands and the golf club without using excessive grip pressure.
That’s important, as if you aren’t already aware – excessive grip pressure prior to hitting a golf shot is one of the main causes of both ‘topping the ball’ and ‘slicing’ for a lot of golfers – as well as a sure fire way to lose 10 or 20 yards off the tee!
A golf glove (or two) can help a golfer to combat the tendency to have excessive grip pressure through the materials used to make them, which these days is either specially made or treated to be more ‘tacky’ than the human hand.
The huge benefit of this to the golfer of course is that as the glove itself helps to form a good connection between their hands and the golf club which allows the golfer to use a light grip pressure while still maintaining control of the golf club, due to the tackiness of the material.
Which brings me to the next reason that you may want to wear two golf gloves – playing golf on a rainy day.
Now, I’m aware that no one really likes playing golf in the rain but a good pair of rain gloves (yes, they need to be a pair) can really help bridge the gap between your normal level of play and your performance in wet conditions, through being specially designed to ensure that your grip doesn’t slip on the club – due to the special materials that they are made from.
As a side note from that, if you happen to play golf in cold conditions – a pair of winter gloves that usually have a thick thermal layer on the back of them – will greatly help your performance until the day heats up and you can go back to normal golf gloves.
Those four ways that a golf glove can make a difference to your golf game, are only of any use to you if you actually have a glove or pair of gloves that fit you properly.
Make sure that you try on the gloves before you buy (if possible) as even if you know your size, different manufacturers have slightly different measurements and fittings.
Avoid the most common mistake I see golfers make when it comes to buying golf gloves – which is to buy a glove that is too big.
You want each glove to be comfortable and flexible but still fairly tight – be aware that with a little bit of wear, the glove will loosen and conform to the shape of your hand – also be sure that there is nothing pinching or squeezing any part of your hand and that the Velcro closure doesn’t make it too tight.
If you want to know more about golf gloves (or why I keep suggesting that wearing ‘two’ might be a good thing) you can find my FREE 16 page Ultimate Guide to Golf Gloves here.