None, One or Two? The Golf Glove Dilemma

Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Lucas Glover and Tommy Gainey (below). Four golfers and each of them is part of a somewhat select and unusual club.

They are golfers that do not use a single lead-hand golf glove to play a round of golf.

Tommy Gainey

In the case of Couples, Pavin and Glover, these three players tend not to play most rounds without any glove on at all. Tommy Gainey, on the other hand, has earned the nickname “Two Gloves” for playing with precisely that, two golf gloves, one on each hand.

Of course this means that the vast majority of other professionals (and many amateurs) will follow the seemingly more accepted wisdom of playing with a golf glove on their lead hand. For those who swing the club right-handed, this is the left hand and for those who swing left-handed, it is the right.

What is the perceived wisdom about using a golf glove?

As far as I can ascertain (as it has never been written down), golfers wear one glove on their lead hand for a number of reasons.

The first is that the glove offers a better and more solid hold on the grip of the club, than a hand would. This is probably true if you are a person who suffers with excessively sweaty hands (though conversely, excess sweating is exacerbated within the glove and can render gloves unusable after a round or two).

The other accepted wisdom is that a golfer will use their glove for every golf shot, however will immediately remove the glove when they get the ball onto the green. This is because the grip on the club isn’t so vital on the green with a putter, where feel is more important and as such, having no glove improves the ‘feel’ when putting.

Some golfers may even remove the glove when chipping or for precision shots with wedges.  Again this is to give themselves ‘enhanced’ feel without the glove by having direct contact with the club.

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Is that wisdom true?

Well, certainly a golf glove can offer you a better grip, particularly in hot or rainy conditions (but be sure to wear the right glove for the prevailing weather conditions). If your golf grips are starting to wear down, or you have very sweaty hands then gloves can certainly help.

But if you follow that logic, then surely two golf gloves, as Tommy Gainey uses, would surely be a better option as your following hand would also have a better grip on the club?

The issue of feel however is more interesting. I am unaware of any scientific evidence that can clearly show that using a golf glove on wedge shots or particularly on the putting surface, will be to the detriment of your game.

This area is of interest to me because I am one of the few golfers I know who actually prefers to putt the ball while wearing my golf glove and I get somewhat bored of being stopped as I am lining up a putt by a playing partner, who generously points out I have forgotten to take my glove off.

I’ve putted without a glove for many years, but I find no significant decrease in productivity on the green when I leave my glove on. In fact, I feel I am holing more putts now wearing a glove, than I did when I used to remove it on the way to the green.

The real reason to wear a golf glove

To my mind, the real reason you should wear a glove is not so much down to grip, but more for medical purposes. Swinging a golf club repeatedly can chafe hands and cause blisters and calluses and the golf glove helps prevent this.

Have you tried playing golf with a nasty blister right where you grip the ball with your lead hand? It is no fun at all, second only to trying to play without a golf cart, when you have ill-fitting golf shoes and huge blisters on your feet.

Therefore, if you suffer from blisters or chafing like this, then a golf glove is certainly the sensible way to go.

Personal choice

Other than that, I believe whether you use one glove, no glove or even two gloves is a matter of personal choice. A couple of years ago, my brother in law’s younger sibling started to play golf and he was adamant that he felt more comfortable with the glove on his right hand, rather than his left, even though he was a right handed golfer.

My brother however, never ever wears a glove, even in rainy conditions and feels that using one drastically reduces the effectiveness of the game.

Me personally? I play with the accepted, one glove on the lead hand, but I keep it on when I putt. I may look daft, but it’s no dafter a look than Tommy Gainey; and he’s won on the PGA Tour.

In the end, whether it’s one glove, two or none, use what works for you and what you feel most comfortable with.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia and Tommy Gainey’s Facebook Page

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