I wear a golf glove during every round of golf I play. It never occurred to me not to. As a new player I spent a lot of time watching The Golf Channel—all the pros, both men and women wore a glove. I figured it was just a necessary part of the equipment. It’s not. Designed to protect the golfer’s hand from blisters after repeatedly swinging the golf club and to add a little extra tackiness to the grip, the golf glove is not required. But most people do use one.
Was it always this way? Golf gloves began to appear in golf journals and catalogs around the late 1890’s as a way to add extra protection for a golfer’s hands. The golf glove was easily adopted by amateur golfers who were happy for the protection but not by the golf pros. Professionals refused to wear gloves, preferring the feel of their hands directly on the golf club shaft. In fact they welcomed the inevitable calluses that developed from swinging the club so frequently as their “personal skin protection.” Meanwhile golf club manufacturers were continuing to develop methods for making the golf grips less slippery. It took over three decades till the 1930’s for golf pros to begin to wear golf gloves on a regular basis. Sam Snead was the first major player to use a glove and though players such as Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones never used a glove while playing, by the 1960’s gloveless players were the exception. Today, almost every pro uses a golf glove on tour.
One thing to notice while your watching your favorite pro play – they take the glove off while putting. This is one golf swing that requires a more sensitive touch and the glove just gets in the way. I’ve just recently started removing my glove when I putt and it seems to help.
What types of gloves are available? Does it matter which glove you use? What are some features you should look for?
First, be sure you are buying the right glove for the correct hand. Most golfers who wear a glove only wear one—and it goes on the hand that is the “upper hand” on the golf club shaft. If you are a right handed golfer, then buy a glove for your left hand. If you are a left handed golfer, look for a right hand glove. Sounds pretty obvious, but there are times it can get confusing. Bottom line – you want the glove to go on your NON-DOMINANT HAND.
Second, be sure the glove fits properly. You want it to be comfortable, flexible but not too tight. With a little bit of wear, the glove should easily conform to your hand. Try on the glove before you buy. Even if you know your size, try it on. Different manufacturers have slightly different measurements. You also want to be sure there is nothing pinching or squeezing any part of your hand and that the closure fits snugly but not too tight. With a glove that fits well, your game might improve, but if a glove fits poorly, stretches, pinches, is too loose or too tight, it will almost surely be a distraction and will almost certainly do nothing to help your game.
What material should you choose? Gloves are made of a variety of materials: soft leather that is water-resistant – not for those big rain storms, but resistant to the perspiration on your hands, also gloves are made from nylon, knitted materials and some synthetics. Your choice depends on climate and weather conditions. I have a pair of rather funky looking gloves that are meant to be used for rainy days. There are two to the set and the material is somewhat tacky. I wear two gloves to ensure that my grip doesn’t slip on the club. I also have a pair of winter gloves. Again, they come as a pair and on those crisp winter mornings (I will play in temps down to about 45 degrees F) they are a very welcome addition to my golf attire.
Lately I’ve been hearing about the Bionic Glove “The only women’s glove designed by an orthopedic hand surgeon. Custom design to fit the anatomy of female hands.” – They say the same thing for the guys’ hands as well. I’ve never tried them. They are a little more expensive than the usual $15 – $18 average priced glove, but they promise to improve distance and accuracy, and they are supposed to last longer. One feature I noticed in their online advertising: they have a special glove “the Silver Series” specially designed for golfers with arthritis! That’s something.
The Bottom Line:
Almost every manufacturer of golf equipment offers golf gloves as part of their product line. I suspect they are all shipping the work overseas and that there is very little difference in the quality of the gloves. So choose the one you like because of fit, features, material. They come in a variety of colors, some with ball marker buttons or magnets built into the closure tab, some with anti-slip pads on the palm. Test and see which you prefer and let us know.
If you have a favorite glove that really has brought success to your game, don’t hesitate to comment below. Which type of glove do you use?