Buyers' guide to golf gloves

What you need to know

Bob Warters's picture
Mon, 7 Jul 2003
Buyers' guide to golf gloves
Buyers' guide to golf gloves
Gloves - what you need to know.

It has always struck me as a bit posey, the way pro golfers tuck their glove in the back pocket of the trousers so that the fingers stick out like a plant being trailed over a garden wall.

I much prefer to fold it up neatly when not in use and stuff it into my left-hand pocket – like Colin Montgomerie – the opposite one to which I keep my tees, ball marker and pitchmark repairer.

But why do we need a glove for golf anyway – and why indeed only one – for the left-hand if we’re a right-handed golfer?

The reason we need a glove at all is to prevent the handle of the club twisting during the golf swing and to secure our grip without the need to apply extra pressure. It also helps prevent blisters – probably a golfer’s worst enemy.

But why do we need only one?

Because at a cost of as much as £15 a time, it’s too bloody expensive to have two!

No. The real reason is because with the normal Vardon (overlap) or inter-locking grips only part of the right hand is on the handle at any one time and the need for a pair is unnecessary.

But does size matter?

Yes. It’s important that the glove fits quite tightly on your hand. If loose fitting the club will twisting and slip in your hand as you make your swing giving you a firm hold especially at the top of the backswing and through to impact. The new glove should therefore feel tight without feeling uncomfortable and it will loosen and stretch with use. Golf gloves come in a range of sizes to suit any hand size.

Which hand?

For right-handed players the glove should be worn on the left hand. If you play the game from a left-handed stance then wear the glove on the right hand.

How should I look after it?

Ideally gloves should always be placed back in their original packaging after each round. This will help them retain their shape, prevent them becoming dried out, and therefore prolong their life.

Very few of us ever actually do this, but it’s important to keep the gloves dry when you’ve finished playing to keep it supple.

If it gets wet, don’t dry it on direct heat (eg. on a radiator) as it will become brittle. Let it dry naturally on a towel which will absorb any moisture.

It’s always a good idea to keep several gloves in a plastic bag within your golf bag when the weather’s wet or your hands get sweaty because the leather from which most are made becomes slippery when it gets damp.

What can you learn from a golf glove?

If the thumb is worn there’s too much tenions in your hand when gripping the club. If the heal of the palm (below the little finger) is scuffed there’s friction and loss of control at the top of the backswing.

Too much overlap on the velcro fastening identifies a glove that is too big for the hand or one that got wet and has been overstretched.

Why do most gloves have a ball marker pressed into the wrist band?

It’s a useful back-up if you don’t have a coin with which to mark your ball or if you need to mark a colleague’s ball to avoid delay while he’s raking a bunker. I like the press-studs that have a flat surface.

Some players prefer to play without a glove. Why?

One such player is Fred Couples the former US Masters champion currently making a comeback at the top level. Fred says that playing with a glove he lacks the feel he needs through the handle of the club to control shots. But he’s one of the few exceptions among pros, who see the glove as a lucrative branding exercise for the products they endorse.

What are gloves made of?

The best ones are made of cabretta leather –produced from the skins of sheep which have hair rather than wool. The leather is produced in India, China, South America and Africa. In the US, the best grades are from a Brazilian sheepskin. Cabretta is generally chrome tanned and has a fine grain and strong fibre network. There are also high quality gloves made from a combination of synthetic material and leather.

The best gloves also have plenty of ventilation between the fingers to help wick sweat and moisture.

What do they cost?

For a full synthetic glove, quick drying and hard wearing and ideal for winter play you will pay as little as £6. But for the best glove the cost rises to just under £20. No wonder you only need one at a time!

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