The most misunderstood club fitting step is sizing grips for the golfer. A properly fit grip ensures better club head control at impact with maximum club head speed. But a lot of club repair and do-it-yourself technicians give little consideration to sizing grips.
The grip core diameter and the shaft outside diameter must be considered when properly sizing grips. It is helpful to know and understand the various grip terms. Here is a glossary you can download for easy reference.
To learn how to properly size grips, you must understand the term grip volume. That is simply the amount of grip material in each grip. Grip material does vary between the different grip core sizes. For example, knowing that the standard men’s grip size is .900”, that is 900 thousandths of an inch, when matching a .600” grip core size with a .600” shaft butt diameter you have a grip volume of .300” thickness. That is simply subtracting .600” grip core size from .900” shaft butt diameter. But when you put a grip core size of .580” on a .600” butt shaft diameter, you have a .920” finished grip size. That is determined by subtracting .580” from .900” which is .320” and when added to the .600” butt diameter it is a finished size of .920”. That makes the grip size .020” larger than men’s standard or about one grip size bigger. Each grip size change is .015”, which is actually .0075” on each side of the circumference. It is not much but does make a difference in the feel of the golf club.
Another element to grip fitting is recommending a round core grip versus a ribbed core grip. The USGA has specific rules governing a non-round grip. See the following USGA Rule.
3. The Grip
Appendix II, 3 begins by stating that:
The grip consists of material added to the shaft to enable the player to obtain a firm hold. The grip must be fixed to the shaft, must be straight and plain in form, must extend to the end of the shaft and must not be molded for any part of the hands. If no material is added, that portion of the shaft designed to be held by the player must be considered the grip.
i. Circular Cross-Section Requirement (Woods and Irons)
Grips on woods and iron clubs are allowed to deviate from circular by having a slightly raised rib running along the full length of the grip (often called a “reminder rib”).
“Slightly raised” is interpreted to mean that the maximum and minimum diameters of the cross-section at any point must not differ by more than 0.040 inches (1.016 mm). Additionally, the dimension of the rib width, from edge to edge, should not exceed 50% of the grip’s internal diameter. While the first measurement can be taken using a pair of calipers, due to the nature of gripping materials, caution should be taken in making decisions in the field.
In the case of a standard-length grip (approximately 10 inches (254 mm) in length), the “full length of the grip” is interpreted to mean that the rib must extend to within 3 inches (76.2 mm) of the tip. This is generally regarded as enough to cover the span of the player’s hands on the grip (see Figure 13).
Naturally, ribbed grips are not for everyone. But they are designed for the specific purpose of helping golfers repeat their hand position on the club. The theory is the rib provides better control of the club head at impact.
Golf Pride has introduced their new Align grip with what appears to be an external rib.
This new design aids in consistent hand placement for better control. Golf Pride introduced it in their Multi-Compound model but have plans to incorporate this new technology in other grips.
If you are a golfer looking for assistance in repeating your hand placement on the club every time, you should give this grip a try. It is available in both .580” and .600” core sizes. Keep that in mind when sizing your grips during installation.
Whatever grip you use, the proper size will help your scoring ability by hitting more consistent shots. Ask the technician what size best fits you next time you have your clubs re-gripped.