Believe it or not, golfers don’t just wear gloves to look the part! There is actually some method in the madness. Once you know why, you may want to go out and buy one! (Or maybe not).
The primary reason for golf gloves is to provide grip. A glove can help to provide more friction between the rubber golf grip and the players hands. Having a solid grip on the club is key to hitting good shots.
Glove gloves are usually made from leather or rubber. They tend to be quite sticky, allowing them to provide excellent grip even when the hands are sweaty or damp. Even though you only walk around a golf course, you may be surprised just how sweaty you can get!
Additionally, golf gloves typically allow the player to grip the club lighter when swinging. Many golfers enjoy the feeling this gives them as it can help to promote a more relaxed swing.
For amateurs, golf gloves can also be a godsend when it comes to mishits. Poorly struck golf shots often send a lot of vibration down the club which can lead to blisters and calluses on the hands. Gloves help this by providing a nice layer of protection between the skin and the grip. In cold weather mishits can really hurt, you’ll have to trust me on that!
Another benefit to golf gloves is that they can improve performance when playing with worn golf grips. It’s generally recommended to replace the grips once they become worn but many golfers leave them too long.
Well, it’s true that most golfers wear only 1 glove. It may seem puzzling but there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. And no, they’re not trying to just trying to look cool!
Almost every golfer wears just one glove, regardless of their ability. Keep on readinging to find out why!
The simple reason for golfers wearing one glove is that one hand provides more grip than the other. This is the hand that is nearest the end of the club, known as the “top hand” or “lead hand”. It provides the most leaverage and experiences the most force.
Wearing a glove on this top hand will provide a lot of grip, whereas wearing one on the bottom hand will offer very little benefit. For this reason, most golfers chose to wear a glove on just their top hand.
For a right handed golfer, the top hand is generally the left hand. This is because the traditional way of gripping the club puts the left hand above the right.
So the vast majority of golfers chose to wear just one glove on their left hand. This will help to provide them with plenty of additional grip.
In fact, if you go to buy a golf glove you will find that almost all of them are left handed gloves. Ironically, left handed players need a right handed glove. Makes perfect sense right?! But unfortunately, there still aren’t many options available for the Phil Mickelsons (the best lefty of all time?!) of the world.
Some pro golfers actually choose to play without a glove at all as they believe this offers the most feel over the club. Probably the most well known golfer that doesn’t wear a glove is Fred Couples. And yes, he is known for being a “feel player”.
But one of the downsides to not wearing a glove is that it can be difficult to achieve enough grip. This is especially true in warm weather where the hands are sweating.
If you ever see Fred Couples play you may see him drying his hands with a towel before a shot (if the weather is hot). You may also see his caddie drying his golf grips with a towel to ensure there is no moisture or sweat on the surface.
However, there is one shot where almost none of the pros wear a glove and that is during putting. Since there is very little force during a putting stroke, the vast majority of pros chose not to wear a glove for putting.
Some claim that not wearing a glove during putting helps to improve “feel”. Some players take this a step further and chose not to wear a glove during chipping and other short strokes.
In general, most golfers prefer to wear just one glove on the top hand since one on the bottom would have little effect. Additionally, many players believe that by not wearing a glove on their bottom hand, it provides them with more feel over the club.
Whether this is true or not is another thing, but golfers are stubborn beings. If nothing else, wearing one glove saves you some money! It also allows your right hand to breathe. Golf gloves can get quite clammy in hot weather!
There is nothing in the rules preventing a player from wearing two gloves if they prefer. In fact, some pros choose to wear two gloves. Probably the most well known player is Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey. I think his nickname should tell you how rare it is for a golfer to wear two gloves!
Having said that, it’s not uncommon to see golfers wearing two gloves in the rain. It’s possible to buy wet weather gloves that are specifically designed to provide grip when it rains.
Personally, I would recommend that every amateur golfer has a pair of wet weather gloves in their bag. Pros have the benefit of a caddie who helps to keep their grips dry, as well as many replacement gloves.
But us amateurs cannot generally afford such luxuries. A good pair of wet weather golf gloves can help to give you that extra bit of grip. When the heavens open, it could be just the edge you need over your playing partners!
At the end of the day, it’s up to each player to decide what is best for them. Wearing one glove on the top hand is most common but it isn’t neccessary.
You can wear two gloves if you find it helps. In fact, in wet weather two gloves could help you significantly.
I hope this article helped to clear some things up. Time to head to the course!
I’m Tom Rothwell and I’m a 3 handicaper that's obsessed with golf. You can often find me hitting balls on a driving range somewhere!
I'm on a journey to learn as much as possible about the great game. I've made Clean Strike Golf to share everything I discover along the way.