Does Grip Size Matter? – Golf Myths Unplugged

Does Grip Size Matter Title

Much Ado About Nothing?

While it’s a topic that doesn’t get a lot of coverage in the mainstream golf press, an avid golfer can talk your ear off about his or her grip size preferences.  Midsize with an extra wrap under the right hand, standard stretched an extra inch, jumbo with five full wraps…the combinations and specifications are endless.

The question we set out to answer in this edition of Golf Myths Unplugged is: Does grip size matter?  There are many bits of “common knowledge” about grip size, so with the help of Club Champion, we put them to the test.

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The Myths

Myth #1: The correct grip means more distance, accuracy, and consistency

Myth #2: Bigger grips prevent hooks

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How We Tested

For this test, we brought together five golfers of varying abilities.  Each player selected a driver and hit 20 shots with it – 5 with an undersized grip, 5 with a standard sized grip, 5 with a midsize grip, and 5 with a jumbo grip.  We then had each player repeat the same process with a six iron.

All testing was done at, and with the help of, Club Champion.

The Results

Myth 1

After looking at the results of the 200 shots that were hit, we came to the surprising conclusion that grip size is not as important as we expected…at least not in a measurable way.

With few exceptions, every tester performed similarly with each grip.  There were some differences, but bad shots were as likely to occur with a well-fit grip as with one that was too big or too small.

The reason that this myth is labeled “Inconclusive” instead of “Busted” is because of what the testers told us.  Every tester expressed in no uncertain terms that they were very comfortable with their fitted grip and uncomfortable with others.  The level of sensitivity varied from player to player – some hated everything but their preferred grip, others were only uncomfortable with extremely different grips – but each one noticed the differences.  It’s my opinion that over a longer test the well-fit grips would have shown some measurable benefit due to the player’s comfort and confidence.

Also, anecdotally, it was easy to observe when a player was using his preferred grip.  With the right grip, the players were relaxed and swung naturally.  When forced to swing with larger grips, our testers seemed to labor over their swing.  Smaller grips made some testers “hold back” as if they were afraid the club would fly from their hands.

Myth 2

This myth, a favorite among better players, is 100% busted.  There was not one data set in our entire test that supported this theory.  Whether we looked at the number of shots hit to the left or the size of the hook, there was no correlation with larger grip size.

This isn’t to say that some individuals may not benefit from larger grips, but we found nothing to support this being a rule of fitting.

Other Findings

One of my most important takeaways from this test is the importance of maintaining swing weight when changing grips.  Among the grips that we used for this test, the weight ranged from 45 grams to 61 grams.  This changed the swing weight and feel for the club head dramatically, and some of our testers were really bothered by it.  In fact, one tester hit his six iron progressively worse as he moved up in grip size (despite being fit to a midsize grip) and stated during the test, “I’m losing the club head.  I can’t feel it anymore.”  Another reported that he had “no connection” with the club when he tested the jumbo grip.

When you change your grips, especially if you’re going to use a different size, make sure that you maintain the swing weight of your clubs.  This is where working with a high quality club builder like Club Champion pays off – this is standard practice for them, but it’s unheard of in big box repair shops.

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Conclusion

Based on our testing, it seems that the grip is the one part of the club that every golfer is equipped to fit for themself.  Our testers showed the ability to adapt to play any size grip, but they were clearly the most comfortable and confident with a grip that fit their hand.  Do keep in mind, however, that when changing your grips, you need to maintain your clubs’ swing weight so that you can preserve the clubs’ feel.

As always, please post any questions or suggestions for future Golf Myths Unplugged in the comments sections.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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8 Comments

  1. The key point I took from this is that golfers feel more relaxed and confident with the right grip. Tension may not show negative effects as obviously on the driving range where there is no pressure, but that tension could cost multiple strokes on course when that extra grip pressure or lack of confidence leads to mishits and potential penalties.
    Great article! I think on course testing or target practice on the range could have given a more conclusive result

  2. Randy Frick

    Unbelievable grip, recently changed all mine from GP Tour Wrap and could not be happier. I don’t wear a glove and recently played in 100 F heat and the club did not slip one time in my hand.

  3. Odyssey 2 ball putter. Does the fitting of super stroke/ fatso grip disturbs the balance of putter? If so, advise remedial measures to derive the maximum benefit of the grip. I use claw grip & happy that wrist is out the stroke.

    • Matt Saternus

      If the new grip weighs more than the old grip, you will be changing the balance of the club. To get the old swing weight back, you need to add weight to the club head.

      -Matt

  4. I am having the problem with my sweaty hands. When humid weather and I played the golf, I can’t be grip comfortably. I bought a new MCC Plus4 Standard Grip golf grip.

  5. I switched to Jumbo grips because the smaller the grip, the quicker Arthritis fatigue sets in. I’m 72 years old.

  6. I would actually think a larger grip makes it easier to hook the ball. I think of it like opening a door. If you try to push on the door really close to the hinges, it would be extremely difficult to open. If you push the door at the farthest point from the hinges, it’s easier to open. That’s just the laws of physics. A larger grip means a larger diameter which means your hands (or the point where you’re applying force/torque on the club) is farther away from the center axis of the shaft. Just like the door, the farther away the force is applied from the center, then the less force required to rotate something around it’s axis.

    A larger grip might promote a weaker hand position if someone isn’t being mindful of their grip, but all things being equal, that’s how I think of it.

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