Golf Grips: Which One’s Right For You?

How many different kinds of golf grips are there?

In a word: many.

The material used to make golf grips vary- a LOT.  The typical materials used, in no order of importance:

  • Rubber
  • Synthetic
  • Cord
  • MCC (multi-compound)
  • Leather

 

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!

Rubber

This is the “standard” grip.  The majority of golf clubs are made from rubber.  They look like this:

karma tour velvet style golf club grips
Karma Velvet Grips

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.  What that means is, the thicker the grip, the more “spongey” it feels.

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.

Pros:

  • Widely available, in multiple price points
  • Versatile; works well in all weather conditions

Cons:

  • Non-descript
  • Can wear easily, especially thinner styles

Synthetic

This is another popular style.  It’s not rubber, but a synthetic polymer blend.  They can look like this:

Winn wrap golf club grips
Winn wrap-style

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.

Pros:

  • Good in multiple climates, especially humid areas
  • Offers a “classic” look

Cons:

  • Can come apart if abused or past their wear date
  • Tends to wear faster

 

Cord

Cord grips are rubber grips, like the ones above, with cotton strands inlaid within the rubber.  Like this:

Golf Pride Z-Cord Golf Club Grips
Golf Pride Z-Cord

Notice the little white “hash marks”?  That’s the cord patterning.

Cord golf grips are good for 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.

Pros:

  • Extra gripping power
  • Ideal for hot/humid climates, or if you just have sweaty hands

Cons:

  • Can destroy golf gloves
  • Can hurt your hands if you don’t have callouses built up

RELATED: What’s the difference between cord golf grips and non-cord?

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:

Golf Pride MCC golf club grips
Golf Pride MCC

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.

MCC-style grips are good for those that like the traction-control for the lower hand, but have a feel sensitivity with the lower hand, and want to maintain that.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Like cord, can hurt the lower hand and/or destroy golf gloves
  • Generally, much more expensive than rubber or cord models

Leather

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:

 

Golf Grips: Which One’s Right For You? 1Golf Grips: Which One’s Right For You? 2

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • Cost.  Leather grips are expensive.  Might be offset by its durability.
  • Difficult to find.  Not many companies make leather grips anymore, so they’re harder to find.

Which is Right For You?

Well, based on the pros and cons of each style, which of these styles of golf club grips would be a good choice for you?

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 don’t need anything special and/or want something more affordable, rubber or synthetic grips might be the best 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 clubfitting “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.

properly-fit golf grip
Notice the slight (1/8″) gap? That indicates the correct size for my hand!

The thought was, and in some spaces still perpetuated, that grips that were too big perpetuated a slice, while grips that were too small perpetuated 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!

RELATED: How To Grip The Golf Club Like Ben Hogan!

 

How about you?  What’s your favorite style of golf grip?  Let me know in the comments below!

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