Golf Grip Size – How Crucial Is Grip Size to Your Golf Game?

Posted by on Jun 20, 2012 in Clubfitting | 29 comments

In a word?  Playing with the right grip size is HUGELY important.  If the grip is too small and the golfer has to wrap his hands too far around the grip, the muscles of the forearm tighten up.  When the forearm muscles get tighter, it becomes much more difficult to take the club away from the ball smoothly and then becomes more difficult to achieve a consistent swing tempo and swing rhythm.

If the grip is too large, this can impede a proper release of the wrist-cock angle on the downswing which also can prevent us from rotating the face back around to square on the downswing.

Over the years, there have been several guidelines created by various golf companies or by people who perform Clubfitting research for measuring the size of the hands and fingers, from which a proper grip size is recommended.

In addition, it has also been taught that the proper grip size is achieved when the golfer closes their hands around the grip and the finger tips come just short of touching the base of the hands.  As a starting point, such charts or overlays for the hand are fine.  But ultimately each golfer has to decide what their MOST COMFORTABLE grip size should be.

In short, if a hand and finger measurement chart says the grip should be one size and the golfer prefers a different size because it is more comfortable, you go with the decision for comfort – regardless what the golfer’s handicap or playing ability might be.  Give you a good example.  On average, my wife Mary-Ellen shoots between 95-100.  Via her hand and finger measurements, she comes up on the chart for a women’s +1/64 oversize grip.  Yet she much prefers and can keep her grip pressure most constant and comfortable with a men’s standard size grip.  That’s the grip she plays and that’s the grip I agree as a veteran Clubfitting research person that she should play.

Perhaps the best way for clubmakers to fit grip size for comfort is simply to keep a set of different grip size samples either on cut of shaft pieces or better yet, installed on actual golf clubs.  Gripping a cut off shaft section can fall a little short of giving the golfer a real sense of what a particular grip size will feel like when installed on a full length golf club.  Most people have enough old clubs laying around that it would be possible to use them as your grip size samples for grip size fitting.

Remember – grip size for COMFORT FIRST so the hands and arms can maintain a secure hold on the grip without excess grip pressure or muscle contraction in the forearms.


  1. Tom, I have struggled with finding the right grip size…. I have very long skinny fingers and not much meat to my Palm so this creates me having a very strong grip which I can manage on pretty much all clubs, except the driver. My hand length is 8 1/4 inches, and longest finger to top of thumb is about 3 1/2 inches. The area around my hand is just under 9inches. Any thoughts?

    • Brandon

      In grip fitting there are two sides that each golfer has to deal with, often times on his own through experimentation. We certainly can use the hand measurements to offer a size recommendation. But whether that ends up being the size liked by the golfer always depends on the golfer having to try it out on one club for a few days to see what he thinks. From your hand size, the typical recommendation would be a men’s + 1/32″ over size at the smallest (diam of 0.931″ measured 2″ down from the end of the grip). But you might feel that either a +3/64″ over (0.945″) or even as much as a +1/16″ over (0.960″). You should have one club each made to each of these three sizes and then take some time with each going through comparisons of feel as you hit shots. Then after some time you can make a decision for which one you like the feel of the best so you could have all the clubs done with that one preferred size.


  2. Hi Tom,

    Very much enjoy your writings. Question for you on grip size. I know ‘feel’ seems to be the #1 consideration but curious if there is a suggested fit for the fingers on the left hand and their position relative to the thumb pad. My finger tips are well under the thumb pad and thus, the pad does not rest completely on the handle. Should these fingers just barely be touching the pad?




      Thanks very much, that’s nice to know you enjoy what I write from all my adventures in the technical side of golf clubs. Much appreciated for sure. The fit of the grip is probably THE most subjective part of clubfitting that there is. We have created hand and finger measurement charts to offer a guideline for grip size fitting but that all flies right out the window compared to the golfer’s feel preference – what feels the best while enabling the golfer to use the minimum amount of grip pressure to maintain a secure hold on the club THROUGH THE WHOLE SWING. My wife measures for lady standard but give her anything but a men’s standard size grip and she can’t play the game. As to the feel of the fingers to the palm/hand, that too is purely a personal preference. Many people get distracted when they feel the finger tips even touch the hand. Some need to feel that to sense they are holding on securely. So there is no right or wrong about the finger tips and the base of your hand. The biggest one is grip pressure – you never want to feel that you have to really squeeze firmly on the grip with the hands to maintain a secure hold on the club through the swing. Light to medium pressure is best because that prevents the forearm muscles from contracting too much. Tight arm muscles can mean less smoothness with the takeaway, backswing, transition, downswing and release. With the release being the most important move with the hands in the swing – your grip size has to be comfortable enough that you can release the club through impact with the most freedom and least restriction possible. In the end, most golfers find they have to experiment with different grip sizes before they can say “this is the one I like the best.” Which is a good reason to learn how to install grips yourself so you can switch grip sizes frequently at low cost.

      Hope this helps,

    • Thanks, Tom, for the very thorough considered response. Seems odd in a game where we try to make everything else so precise (Trackman, etc.) that the one and only connection we have to the club is so non-specific. Good point on getting set up to do our own grips, making it easy to test a variety.


      There are and shall always be a certain number of esoteric, subjective, feel related elements in clubfitting that will never be able to be evaluated and determined by any technology advances. I used to joke around in my research work and say that I needed to invent a “feel-o-meter” for these things !! Grip size is one – take ten golfers with the identical hand and finger size and you can have almost as many preferences on grip size feel for comfort. Then you have the shaft and its weight and flex effects. Some golfers want to feel the shaft “kick” during the swing, others want to feel the shaft be very firm all the way through the shot. All these feel related things are VERY important to the final success of a fitting. They very often make all the difference between the golfer loving his clubs and playing to the best of his ability vs not and playing poorly. As such in the training of a clubfitter, there is always some science and some art involved and it shall always be that way.

  3. Tom,

    I have loved your designs from the long ago and far away Golfsmith clubmaking days. Your’re a golf guru and I awesomely respect your thoughts on all things golf. Now to my grips. I am a woman in my fifties and can still hit a drive 250 yards (average 225-230) with a light Graphite Design senior shaft. I am terribly inconsistent with all my clubs. I play irons and hybrid/irons with senior flex shafts cut between ladies and senior flex, light graphite shafts, but I tend to squeeze softer grips. I have Winn men’s standards on true hybrids a friend gave me and tend to squeeze the heck out of them. My driver through 5W have Golf Pride tour velvet 580 core men’s standards, and my irons have Golf Pride Multicompound standards. I have gotten so many opinions that I am left confused. My hands are about 7 1/4 inches from base of wrist to top of middle finger. I was wondering if I should try Golf Pride MCC 4 with the larger right hand bottom in undersize. While I really like my standard GP multicompound grips, I notice I have some trouble with my bottom hand. I thought maybe the GP MCC4s in undersize might help make me more comfortable. So many options, so little ability and money to try them out. I hope you can help. Thank you so much!

    • JOAN

      Many thanks for your very kind words of appreciation and support. That’s very nice of you to say that. Grip fitting will always be a trial and experimentation for golfers because it involves such a personal preference from each golfer for what feels comfortable and what enables the golfer to maintain a secure hold on the club without having to really squeeze the grip hard with the hands. A Light pressure but secure on the club is what you need. it really sounds to me that what you need to do is to get the very minimal things you need to do grip removal and installation on your own – that way you can experiment all over the place with sizing for both hands while not spending much money at all. There are a ton of videos on You Tube to show this and they all show the items you’ll need to have to do it. If not, then you end up paying someone else to do it, each time you wish to try something a little different. At any rate, when you do experiment with adding wraps of masking tape on the shaft where your lower hand sits on the club, you’ll want to just do that with one club so you can keep your costs down and get a chance to hit shots, compare, think about it, hit more shots, think about it, make another change with tape build up, hit shots, compare, think about it – and so on over and over until the lightbulb illuminates in a moment of “VOILA, THIS IS IT !” And that is how it is done. Nothing more scientific than that. Time consuming, yes, but it really is the only way you’ll find what you are looking for.


  4. Hi there, your insight into ‘grip size’ is very interesting. I have standard grips on all my clubs, but find that whilst i can produce good results with my G30 driver, i really struggle getting my grip right with the Driver in particular! I’m a right handed golfer, but find with the Driver that i am constantly trying to wrap my left hand around the grip, and only after much persistance and fiddling am i reasonably contented to begin my backswing! My right hand i have no problem with! I am 43, fit(ish), but only being 5ft 9, and quite small hands. Could trying to thicken my driver handle help do you think?
    Best Regards

    • ANDREW
      Absolutely – the first thing to experiment with when you are not instantly comfortable with a grip is to increase the size by at least 3 wraps under the grip to start with. Then see how that goes. Grip size is FAR more about comfort than it is measuring a hand and finger size and trying to ascribe that to some chart for size fitting. Because of that, so often golfers have to experiment with different grip sizes until they try the one that lights the bulb and just FEELS best to enable a light pressure in gripping the club while being totally comfortable.

  5. My woods and rescue clubs have smaller grip sizes than my irons. Does this make sense?

    • PAUL

      It’s not something that most golfers would choose to do on their own because the typical procedure is to have all grips be the one size each golfer finds to be most COMFORTABLE for him/her so that he can maintain a secure hold on the club with the least amount of grip pressure. There is no actual standard in the golf industry for grip size because there is no “organization” that ordains any types of standards of any form for any aspects of golf equipment. So it is possible for grips on one company’s clubs to be a different size than another’s. Not really the best way for the golfer for it to be that way.


    • PAUL:
      Only if you are 100% comfortable with the feel of the grip on these clubs when you hit shots. Grip size is so much more about comfort than it is about some measurement of the hand and fingers. Because of that, there is no substitute for experimenting with different grip sizes until you feel the one that lights the bulb. If you are more comfortable with the grips on the irons, change those on the woods and rescues to match the irons. If you’re more comfortable with the woods and rescues, do the opposite.

  6. Tom, I have always been told at fittings that I needed a mid-sized grip, but have always chosen to go with the standard sized grip. Being an early fighter of the slice I felt the smaller grip gave me a better chance of turning the club over. Until recently I was playing KBS C-Taper stiff shafts with GP full cord grips, and my elbows and forearms were in constant pain. I recently switched to a old set of Macgregor flatsole blades, with TT DG S400 shafts and mid-sized multi-compound style grips….elbow and forearm pain…..gone!!! Unbelievable!! Who knew that the combination of a larger softer grip and a softer shaft would be the cure? I have never hit the ball as straight or a well….all with some oldish clubs conventional wisdom says I shouldn’t be able to hit.

    • MATT

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with trying out the larger grip size. Without question, grip size has to be approached on the basis of comfort but it also has to be a part of fitting that one needs to try different grip models and sizes just to be sure of covering all bases for what may end up being better in the end. With regard to joint discomfort, there is no question that softer and larger grips have brought relief to quite a few golfers to enable them to reduce the discomfort enough to enjoy the game more than before. So anyone with such issues really must expose themselves to trying bigger + softer. Very pleased to hear you jumped a little outside the box to give this a try and found that it was better for you.


  7. Hi Tom,
    I’ve been +1/32 for my irons consistently but a few years ago a store re-gripped my 3-Wood with two wraps + a midsize grip, i baulked at first but like this now with my 3-W & Driver. It’s about feel. These two work for me, not with my 5-W funnily enough and thicker grips just lose feeling on irons. Any experience of this or thoughts? I’ve been told “One Grip For All”…but…hey…
    Thanks for your work, Alan

    • ALAN

      In all honesty, in 40 yrs of working on golf clubs all the way to the present, I have never heard of a golfer preferring different grip sizes on his woods vs his irons. However, you are absolutely right in saying that grip size is totally about what feels good to the golfer, period. But what this sounds like more than a grip size thing is the effect of the heavier weight of a larger grip on the balance point/swingweight/headweight feel of the irons. So what you should do is to get some lead tape and take 2 of the irons, say a #6 and #9 iron, and go the range and start hitting shots with the irons while adding a little weight to the heads. Add weight, hit 3,4,5 shots, add a little more weight, hit more shots . . . and see if you get to a point where the increased feeling of the weight in the head begins to make you feel better about the swing feel of the irons.

  8. Thanks for the very informative article on grip size and it’s overall importance in maintaining proper grip pressure. I’m 42 about an 8 or 9 handicap but carried around scratch in college. I’ve regripped my own clubs for years but this last year started developing tendonitis in my elbow as well as some fairly constant arthritis in my hands as well. I’ve come to realize I may have undersized my grips. I remember feeling like I had to “death” grip it and had a fellow player mention the same. I trimmed my shafts 3/8 or so and went with minimal tape before this last season. I was honestly pretty discouraged this year and began wondering how much gas was left in the tank. Thanks for the best description of the importance of proper grip size on the net and the timely reminder. Hopefully I can find some grips that take the extra tension out and help me get my game back.

    Best Regards

    • Jay
      You’ll know when you have the right grip size AND texture/feel from when you can maintain a good hold on the club with the LEAST amount of hand pressure. So I would strongly recommend you experiment with different grip models so you can get the feeling of different grips in terms of softness, sponginess, tackiness – then when you find one that feels good start with one club and experiment with bigger sizes until you sense you are at this point of being able to maintain a secure hold on the club with the least amount of hand pressure. That will make a big difference when you can do that.


  9. SO , if I do change my grips , going from a mid size with 2 wraps to a jumbo with 0 wraps , will the overall weight of the new grip on the club effect the swing weight & moi of the golf club itself.
    Would you have to get the clubs swing weighted again to allow for the extra weight on the grip end ?

    Thanks John

    • JOHN
      Different size grips from different grip makers can all weigh different amounts, so it is simply not possible to offer a specific answer for how much your grip change would change the swingweight of the club unless you could tell us the exact weight of the old grip with its build up tape and the weight of the new grip. With that it is a simple math calculation to determine the effect of the grip change on the swingweight of your club(s).

      As to whether you would need to add weight to the head were the new grip to be heavier than the old and thus reduce that swingweight, that is very much an individual thing for all golfers. Some golfers would want to add weight to the head to establish a little more of a headweight feeling during the swing, while others would be fine leaving the headweight as it is. Golfers have different perceptions of how much they feel the presence of the head’s weight during the swing and how much they depend on that to achieve their most consistent swing tempo, timing and rhythm.

      So the best advice we can offer is to tell you to change grips on ONE CLUB only to start with. Go out and hit balls 2 to 3 separate times over the course of a week or two and then sit back and think – “do I feel the head enough during the swing and feel that my swing tempo is good, or do I not feel the head enough during the swing and feel like I need a little more weight feel out there on the end of the shaft?”

      All fitting for the weights of golf clubs do end up being trial and experimentation because of differences in golfers’ swing tempo, timing, rhythm brought about by differences among golfers in their downswing force, downswing tempo, strength and perception of the feel of the club during the swing.


  10. Tom,
    Selecting the actual model of grip, grip size, wraps of tape, etc. has always been my golfing kryptonite, I just can never seem to get it right, this may sound strange, but the biggest issue is that it’s not quite a performance issue, I’m not quite sure what sort of issue it is actually because my swing doesn’t really suffer, but I tend to have to grip harder at the very top of my swing, I only find it extremely noticeable when I’m on the range with a lot of swing thoughts, but it almost always happening.. I normally don’t do anything about it because I play well regardless, weather I notice it or not, weather I’m thinking about it or not, it doesn’t affect my swing plane, wrist cock, or release, I can move the ball in both directions, generate the shape and/or trajectory I want shot to shot, I have never been able to correlate it to any sort of decreased performance at all, but it would be nice to get the thought out of my head once and for all… As it stands I have been playing standard sized grips with an extra wrap of tape(2 total), would my tendency to grip tighter at the very top be helped by slightly larger or slightly smaller grips? Just as an aside, actual Oversize/Jumbo grips do affect my swing negatively… Let me know. Thanks.

    • Typically a golfer who notices that they struggle a little with maintaining consistent grip pressure on the club are candidates for trying a larger diameter grip. The way that usually can work is if the hands do not have to close around the grip as much because it is larger, they also can hold on to the grip with less pressure. Less grip pressure that still keeps the grip secure in the hands usually can mean more consistent swing tempo and rhythm because the muscles in the hands and arms are more relaxed through the swing.

      While there are hand and finger measurement guidelines that some use to fit grip size, in the end it is always going to be about each individual golfer’s sense of comfort and feel. That’s why it is not uncommon to see golfers with small hands use grips that are larger than what any measurement guideline might indicate is the proper fit. Since COMFORT rules all in grip size, this also means that grip size fitting becomes a matter of trial and experimentation. Thus it is best to take one club to start with and put grips of different size on it and then go hit shots over 2 or 3 different days so you can get a sense over time as to whether you really do like the size feel and from it, are able to really keep the hands comfortable but secure on the club.


  11. Tom,

    I have large hands (palm a basketball) and I am playing with midsize grips. My fingers still somewhat dig into my palms.

    I have always struggled with an early release, and a lack of wrist cock when I clamp down on the grip.

    Do you think that going to an oversize will help reduce some of that release problem? I’ve heard some people say that too small of a grip will contribute to too much hand action.


    • Aleksi

      I do think that it is definitely worth trying to use a much larger grip size to see if it can help you hold on to the wrist cock angle during the downswing. I think you can get some help from the much larger grip. But please do realize that while this might help a little, learning how to hold this angle for a longer time on the downswing is a separate movement of the golf swing that will require you to either take some lessons to learn the technique or to practice repeatedly on your own with a very slow downswing movement to try to re program this swing move.

      You might want to search on You Tube for videos that show techniques to practice to learn to hold the wrist cock angle longer. I’ve found that there are some golf swing teaching videos on You TUbe that are pretty good.


  12. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to send you an
    email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

    • Thanks for you kind comments and we are pleased to hear you enjoy the information. We spend and have spent a lot of time researching and digging into all areas of club performance and fitting technology because for one, we’re very interested to know that stuff. Second, it is important to find this stuff out because there has been so much misinformation about these things circulating around the game. If you have questions, we are happy to answer to the best of our knowledge and experience by contacting us a .

      Thanks much again,

  13. Tom, enjoy a lot of your stuff, and especially your contributions to GolfWRX, where I was introduced to you and your work.

    I am a serial grip tinkerer. I have tried all sorts of shapes and sizes, but I have never really felt comfortable with any of them. One thing I have always been confused on, and was wondering if you could shed some light on is the finger vs palm discussion. How much do you think should be palm and how much fingers, and how does this affect grip fitting? I was just curious on your opinion.

    Also, as an aside, as a fitter, do you find people err on too small or too large? Thanks!

    Dan Reeves

    • DAN

      Distance from finger to palm is difficult to use with any consistency for grip size verification because some golfers hold the grip in the fingers, while others hold it more in the palm. So that’s not a good way to verify a proper grip size.

      And while we too have published charts that convert a hand measurement and middle finger measurement into a recommended grip size, this too can be difficult to use with consistency for grip size fitting because of the very most important thing about grip fitting to any golfer. . . . . . HOW DOES IT FEEL TO YOU?

      Bottom line? How it feels to the golfer, whether they are COMFORTABLE with the grip, whether they can hold securely to the grip with the least amount of hand and arm pressure – these are the key elements of grip fitting regardless what any chart or distance from fingers to palm might say. Yes, this becomes more of a trial and error process, but in the end, the sign of a proper grip fitting is that the golfer really feels it is comfortable, that they do not have to use any extra pressure to hold on to the club and that it just FEELS GOOD.

      For example, my wife shoots low 90s to high 90s, she measures from the chart for a ladies std grip and with a lady std grip her fingertips are close but not touching the palm. BUT SHE FEELS THAT GRIP IS TOO SMALL. So for COMFORT, she much prefers a men’s standard size grip, and with that men’s grip she can hold on to the club with less pressure. So that’s what she should play.

      Taking this approach might mean you go through a period where you install a few grips at various ranges in size before you find that one that FEELS the best. But in the end, this is a much better way to find that perfect grip size that then feels comfortable, and that you do not have to use any extra pressure to hold on to the club.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *