The best golf grips are those that feel good to you, and fit your hands comfortably. That means it isn't just the material used, but the size (diameter), as well!
In this article, we're going to look at the different styles of golf grips- rubber, cord, etc.- and give a "pro" and "con" style check-off. With that info, you should be able to determine what kind of golf grip's best for you!
As a type of disclaimer, I'm not going to push a certain brand(s) on you. There are many options for the same type of material, and I know firsthand that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get grips that perform for you. We'll stick to style/material, only, so you can decide for yourself how much you want to spend to make it happen.
These pics will have Amazon affiliate links attached to them. If you see something you like and want to buy, go for it! I do get a (very) tiny commission, but it in no way reflects my opinion of each grip; honestly, I can find nice things to say about all of them. It would help out with keeping the site running, though!
How many different kinds of golf grips are there, anyway?
In a word: many.
The material used to make golf grips vary- a LOT. The typical materials used, in no order of importance:
In this post, we’ll go over the different kinds of golf grips, what pros and cons there might be, and if they’ll be good for you and your game.
Let’s get started!
This is the “standard” grip. The majority of golf clubs are made from rubber. They look like this:
Depending on the design, they range from very firm-feeling, to very soft.
This is also the “tour” pattern. Depending on the company, it can also be called “velvet” or “silk”. There’s nothing special about it, just a rubber grip with perforations cut into it.
Like every other option here, they can also be made in midsize and oversize, which means they’re thicker than the standard version. The trade-off is, the thicker the grip, the more “spongey” it feels.
Of course, you can replicate that bigger grip size by having your club builder use "build-up tape" to create the larger diameter. It makes the grip less "spongey", in my opinion, which is why I prefer to go that route over ordering "midsize" or "jumbo" grips for myself.
So, do you think you’re a good candidate for the standard rubber golf grip? Let’s take a look at some of their pros and cons.
- Widely available, in multiple price points
- Versatile; works well in all weather conditions
- Can wear easily, especially thinner styles
This is another popular style. It’s not rubber, but a synthetic polymer blend. They can look like this:
These synthetic styles are good all around, but they’re especially good for golfers that play mostly in humid climates. Many have a softer feel to them, but that’s not always the case.
While synthetic models can come in the “velvet” style, usually the “wrap” look (like what you see above) is the most popular. It’s literally a length of material wrapped around a thin rubber core, with end caps at the “butt” and “mouth” to keep them in place.
These are made similarly to the old style. The rubber core or underlisting slipped onto the shaft like a grip, but then the leather (the material of choice back then) was wrapped around. The grips were literally in components: the underlisting, the wrap material, and the butt and mouth caps.
Today, the grips are all one piece, which makes installation much easier. But you have to be careful: from personal experience, I’ve had a grip similar to the above come apart on me! Granted, they were in need to be swapped out, but I was surprised to see the “old way” was still going strong (for the most part)!
These can also come in “midsize” and “oversize”, by using a different core.
- Good in multiple climates, especially humid areas
- Offers a “classic” look
- Can come apart if abused or past their wear date
- Tends to wear faster
Cord grips are rubber grips, like the ones above, with cotton strands inlaid within the rubber. Like this:
Notice the little white “hash marks”? That’s the cord patterning. This style is made by molding rubber infused with cotton "cord" throughout the grip's length.
That extra layer lends itself to adding extra traction. For some people, especially those that tend to have sweaty hands, they can help you keep a proper grip on the club even when it’s really hot out.
Come to think of it, you could even save yourself some money! The extra traction of the cord does lend itself, for some people, to forego a golf glove altogether. If you don't like wearing one, or struggle to find one that fits properly, it might be a good idea to check this style out!
Does this sound like you? Would this make the cord style the best golf grips for your needs? Let's check this style's pros and cons:
- Extra gripping power
- Ideal for hot/humid climates, or if you just have sweaty hands
- Can destroy golf gloves
- Can hurt your hands if you don’t have callouses built up/grip too tightly
MCC/Multi-Compound Golf Grips
Multi-compound grips are just that: golf club grips that are made from two or more different materials. They tend to look like this:
The “top” of the grip, the “butt” end, is made of cord material. The “bottom”, the “mouth” end, is made of standard rubber. Some models, like Sharpro’s 3CAT, take it a step further by incorporating vertical plastic “bars” within the corded half of the grip.
Another variation is the "+4" style. Many golfers like a grip where the "bottom" hand portion of the grip is built up, while the "top" part stays the same. It reduces the taper of the grip, and for those golfers, makes for a more comfortable grip.
This can be reproduced similarly to the "midsize" style, with build-up tape on the "bottom" half of the grip.
MCC-style grips are good for those that like the traction-control for the top hand, but have a feel sensitivity with the bottom hand, and want to maintain that.
- A blend of both cord and rubber, for different traction needs with each hand
- Extremely versatile, as the different blends play off the strengths of each material
- An argument for "best golf grips" could be strong for these, as many pros and amateurs alike gravitate towards these.
- Like cord, can hurt the lower hand and/or destroy golf gloves
- Generally more expensive than rubber or cord models
Leather is the “granddaddy” of the materials on the list.
It’s been around since the beginning of golf, as it was the only material for the majority of golf’s existence. It can look like this:
Gripmaster Tour Classic Wrap
There are people that swear by leather grips. Traction control, durability, all-weather performance… it has it all. Some like the stitching in the back, as it acts as a “reminder rib”; something to help you remember where to place your hands on the club each time.
- Durability. Most other grips need replaced every 40 rounds; leather can go much longer
- Looks. Many prefer the classic and timeless look of leather golf grips.
- Cost. Leather grips are expensive. Might be offset by its durability, but for roughly $30 a grip, that's a decision only you can make.
- Difficult to find. Not many companies make leather grips anymore, so they’re harder to find.
Which Really is One of the Best Golf Grips?
Well, based on the pros and cons of each style, which of these styles would make the type you choose for your set the best golf grips?
If you need more traction control, you might want to look at cord, MCC, or leather styles.
If your hands tend to sweat more, cord or leather grips might be a good idea. If you want those things and are OK with giving your grips extra TLC, leather might be a good choice.
If you don’t need anything special and/or want something more affordable, rubber or synthetic grips might be the best golf grips for you.
Pay Attention to Grip Size!
Most people buy their clubs “off the rack”, and that can be a mistake. We’re not “one size fits all”. There’s approximately 20-some million golfers, all with different body and hand sizes!
Here’s a club fitting “Rule of Thumb”:
There should be 1/8th of an inch of space between your heel pad and the tip of your longest finger.
If your finger’s digging into the heel pad, the grip’s too small. If there’s more than 1/8″, the grip’s too big.
The thought was, and in some spaces still perpetuated, that grips that were too big caused a slice, while grips that were too small caused a hook.
That’s not true.
The fact is, there’s no correlation between grip size and ball flight. Regardless if the grip’s too big or too small, you’ll get missed shots on either end of the spectrum.
Do yourself a big favor: once you decide on a style, get the grips fitted to your hands!