In a previous article, we discussed the importance of choosing the right grip for your golf game. We cited a Golf.com study where 1440 golfers were tested, and it was determined that 90% were using the wrong grips. That’s a staggering number that inspired our last article on the topic. Today, we’re taking it up a notch with the help of some serious scientific research. Are Jumbo grips just for people with big hands? Can we rely on sizing charts or feel? Or is there something else?
The book Evidence-Based Golf has been on my list for a while now, and I just dug into it this week. In the first chapter, I was amazed to find they hit on a topic already covered on this site and all but proved our thesis, so I had to write a follow-up.
Evidence-Based Golf is available in print or Kindle format, which can be turned into an Audiobook using the Speechify app. I benefit tremendously from auditory learning, which enhances my commute and mundane tasks. Read more in our article “Enhance Your Productivity, Elevate Your Game With Audiobooks & Accessories.”
Evidence-Based Golf by Bob Christina and Eric Alpenfels
This well-researched book goes beyond the basics and details the practice of using the best scientific findings and information available to guide decisions about improving your game. Written by Bob Christina and Eric Alpenfels, experts in the scientific aspects of golf, this book will revolutionize how you approach the game. Using the latest scientific discoveries, the book offers research-based recommendations to help you decide what to do, the most effective way to do it, and the best conditions to improve your game. Most of our evidence came from numerous studies conducted at the Pinehurst Golf Academy.
The book is divided into six parts, presenting empirical evidence and research-backed insights to enhance your golf game greatly. From selecting the right grip size and improving your aim to maximizing your driving distance, correcting slices, perfecting your short game, and mastering putting, Evidence-Based Golf covers it all. Whether you’re a player, coach, parent, or simply a passionate golfer, this book is a valuable source of knowledge that will propel your understanding and skills to new heights.
The Grip Size Myth: What Traditional Guides Get Wrong
Traditional grip-selection guides have long been considered the go-to resource for golfers looking to optimize their game. These guides often recommend grip sizes based on hand size and personal preference. However, what if we told you that this conventional wisdom might be steering your game in the wrong direction? The authors question why they see so many elite players with grips that are either smaller or larger than the grip recommended based on their measured hand size.
The authors partnered with Golf Magazine and conducted this research with 24 low-handicap and 25 high-handicap golfers. In a controlled experiment, the testers hit five-iron shots with various grips and sizes. Their findings were unexpected as the traditional guides, which rely on static hand measurements and personal preferences, were not effective predictors of the best grip size for golfers.
The research presented in “Evidence-Based Golf” indicated that lower-handicap and higher-handicap golfers frequently favored grip sizes that varied from the recommendations of traditional guides. This contradicts the commonly accepted belief that grip size should be determined solely by hand size. Therefore, the study raises the question of what should be the deciding factor in selecting the appropriate grip size. One of the most significant revelations from the book is debunking the idea that the grip size that “feels” right is the best for performance. It turns out that what feels comfortable in your hands doesn’t always lead to better shot accuracy and consistency.
Relying on Real-World Testing
The authors of “Evidence-Based Golf” propose a different approach grounded in real-world testing. Instead of relying on hand size or personal preference, they advocate for a data-driven method. This approach involves hitting shots with different grip sizes and using a launch monitor to measure the results. It’s a method that demands dedication and effort, but it promises better results on the course.
The book outlines a systematic method for golfers who are serious about optimizing their game. Here’s how it works:
- Determine Your Current Grip Size: Before starting the testing process, golfers are advised to take stock of their current grip sizes on all their clubs.
- Warm-up and Baseline Shots: Begin your testing session with a warm-up, hitting shots with your current grip sizes. This serves as a baseline to compare with the results of different grip sizes.
- Testing Different Grip Sizes: Replace the grips on your clubs with different sizes, following a structured plan. For example, if your current grips are standard, you might test midsize and jumbo grips.
- Hit Shots and Measure: Using a launch monitor, hit a series of shots with each grip size. Pay close attention to shot accuracy, consistency, club-head speed, ball speed, and other relevant factors.
- Compare the Results: After testing various grip sizes, compare the results to your baseline shots. Look for improvements in shot accuracy and consistency.
- Select Your Ideal Grip Size: Based on the data collected during testing, you can confidently choose the grip size that enhances your game the most.
Wrap Up – Debunking Common Myths
Contrary to popular belief, larger grip sizes, including jumbo-sized grips, don’t necessarily cause shots to veer right. “Evidence-Based Golf” shows that golfers of all handicaps can benefit from considering larger grip sizes without worrying about uncontrollable slices. The authors concluded that traditional methods for selecting golf grip sizes, such as those based on hand size or personal comfort (“feel”), are unreliable predictors of optimal grip size for improved shot accuracy and consistency.
By following this evidence-based approach, golfers can take control of their game and make informed decisions about their equipment. It’s a process that may require time and dedication, but the results can be transformative. The days of guessing the right grip size based on traditional guides or personal preference are over.
In closing, an appeal for jumbo-sized grips, such as my favorite – JumboMax. Jumbo grips offer unique advantages:
- Reduce Hand Action: Contrary to the assumption that thicker grips limit hand action, jumbo grips can stabilize the hands during the swing, promoting a smoother and more consistent stroke.
- Enhance Control: The book’s findings indicate that jumbo grips can lead to greater control over the clubface, reducing the likelihood of open or closed faces at impact.
- Improve Comfort: While comfort is not the sole criterion for selecting a grip size, many golfers find that jumbo grips feel more comfortable in their hands, allowing for a relaxed and confident grip.