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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting a Grip on Grip Size

I'm sure you've seen ads for oversize club grips. I'm thinking of the one with the smug guy who makes a bet with a friend who uses oversize grips (I think they're called JumboMax) and ends up having to play a round in a dress. And it's no secret that K.J. Choi has been using an oversize putter grip for several years (I believe that one's the SuperStroke, made by Tiger Shark).

Well, if you're a curious sort, you might be wondering if oversize grips will really help your game. I wish I could answer that question, but I can't. I'm not sure anybody can, simply because every player is different.

However, you might find this article on a grip size test did interesting. Their test was a small sample size -- only 24 golfers -- so I wouldn't call it particularly scientific. But it had these players compare 5 identical 5-irons with different size grips, both for feel when they held them and for consistency as measured by Trackman.

They found that most players were playing the wrong size grips. And what was their advice? They concluded that "The only way to know what size grips to use is to experiment with as many different sizes as possible."

Not very helpful, huh?

But in reference to oversize grips, I can tell you this. As a general rule, the larger your grips are -- within reason, of course -- the less tightly you have to grip them to hold the club firmly. That should mean you rotate your forearms less during the swing, which should help your accuracy.

The key word here is should. That's the theory behind oversize grips. But should you go out and get a set?

I wouldn't unless I was sure I liked them. If you're really curious, you might consider having one of your clubs, preferably one you use a lot, regripped with an oversize grip and spend some time playing with it. If you like it -- and more importantly, if it helps your game -- then you might want to invest in a full set. But bear in mind that even the jumbo grips that all the manufacturers have made for years are more expensive than the regular sizes. These new oversize jokers are MUCH more expensive.

For example, I zipped over to Golfsmith to compare grip prices. I decided to compare Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips:
  • The standard Tour Velvet was listed at $4.19 each.
  • The mid-size +1/16 inch was $4.99.
  • The jumbo +1/8 inch was $5.39.
Some other oversize grips went up to $9.99.

Then I went to the JumboMax site and their grips were $10.99. Their sizing chart is here.

So hopefully that will answer any questions you have on the topic -- at least, as well as I can answer them.

And no, I don't have any arrangement with any of these companies where I make a profit if you buy their stuff. This post is purely for your information only.


  1. Hey Mike,

    I've just been reading through some of your posts and there is a lot of great stuff here. I noticed you did a series using Dexter as a subject, WOW what an eye opener and so helpful. I recently got in touch with Dexter via his blog comment section as I noticed we are at similar stages in our golfing journeys. Hopefully we can share some stories, tips, etc. I too have a small blog ( nothing as good as yours ) but I'm just starting out in an attempt to document my progression to hopefully a single figure handicap (in the UK). It would be great to interact with you and maybe help each other out. Hope to hear back from you my blog link is

    Thanks Lee

  2. Mike,

    I do use an oversize grip on my putter.

    I have read (somewhere) that using an grip that is too large would move the grip from your fingers into your palms, and that it should be avoided.

    Was that wrong?

  3. Lee -- I'll try to peek in on your blog from time to time. If you have questions, just ask me -- Dex does. ;-)

    Lefty -- You're not wrong.

    As far as your putter goes, the grip really should be in your palms. Since your wrists don't cock -- at least not much, although they can "flex" a little -- a palm grip just makes it easier to keep the putter in line with your forearms.

    For the record, I use a round jumbo Lamkin grip on my putter, the same kind people with big hands use on their regular clubs. I don't like grips that force me to hold the club a certain way (which putter grips do), but I like a larger grip on my putter.

    Where people differ (and this is probably what you were reading about) concerns large grips and the full swing. I think the reason goes back to Hogan. He believed that the butt of the grip should fit under the heel of your palm, and some teachers believe that a large grip will prevent that.

    I'm not sure I agree with that. Your grip can make a difference -- an overlap grip (which Hogan used) is different from an interlock grip is different from a ten-finger grip. And your swing concept can certainly make a difference. For example, Steve Stricker doesn't use a lot of wrist cock in his swing, so I doubt a larger grip would make much difference to him either way.

    Personally, I'd be more concerned with comfort and stability. If a larger grip feels better and you can keep better control of the club during your swing, you should definitely consider larger grips. I think the biggest question would be how firmly you can hold the club with a big grip. If the grip's too large, you might have to grip too tightly. (That's rarely a problem with putters, since the stroke is so short and slow.)

    In the end -- like so many other things in golf -- it's a personal thing.

  4. Cool. Interesting how the full swing and the putter come back to, in Dave Stockton's words, "be comfortable."

    Years ago, my wedges had a slightly larger grip as an experiment. I hoped that the larger size would give me better control and I usually don't play a full swing with them. I don't remember why, but I've since made them the same size as my irons.


  5. Glad to help, Lefty. ;-) And thanks for the input.