Why Do Golfers Wear One Glove?

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Anyone that watches golf for the first time is bound to wonder why golfers wear one glove.

After all, in most sports where gloves are worn for a better grip, the players wear gloves on both hands. But not golf.

So let’s start with why golfers wear them at all.

What is a golf glove?

Golf gloves are worn on the top hand (left hand for a righty golfer, right hand for a lefty golfer) while swinging the club.

They are made of leather, or some similar material. They come in a variety of sizes with the intention of fitting the hand closely. For those with shorter fingers, there is even “cadet” sizing.

What does a golf glove do? (why golfers wear them)

Golf gloves are designed to offer a better grip. This means the club does not move as the player hits the ball. Instead, things like sweat, dirt, or even precipitation don’t affect how you swing the club. When you wear a golf glove, you are less likely to lose control of the club.

If rain is a concern, there are specific gloves made for playing in inclement weather. This usually means wearing two gloves since it’s much harder to keep control when there is a lot of moisture on your hands and clubs. Thanks to an innovative design, these gloves actually provide more grip as they get wetter.

Golf glove colors

In the past, normal golf gloves were always white or tan and more recently, black was reserved for rain gloves. Recently, companies began producing golf gloves in different colors. This change is a welcome one for a younger generation of golfers as it allows them to show a little personality with their attire. Just like unique shoes and cleats in other sports, a colored golf glove adds a little flair to your game.

One glove or two?

The main reason for wearing one golf glove is that only your lead hand is fully on the club. This is the hand that without the glove would regularly develop ugly calluses and blisters. When those pop up, it’s even harder to hold the club and in extreme cases keeps you from the golf course entirely.

Your bottom hand has less contact with the club, and the contact it does have, is far less as intense. Some golfers wear a second glove to protect their other hand, but since friction related injuries are less common, this type of golfer is few and far between.

Is a golf glove necessary?

To put the answer plainly, yes, it is absolutely necessary to wear a golf glove. Golf gloves provide a superior grip and prevent injuries. Unless you’re willing to sacrifice strokes on the course and open yourself to the possibility of injury, there is no possible benefit of not wearing a glove.

There are people who do not wear golf gloves, and some of them are high profile. Any golfer over the age of 30 will remember a certain pro who dominated the 90s and did so without wearing a glove. That pro is Fred Couples.

There is always a choice to wear a glove. For some people, the choice is obvious. When you play golf like Fred Couples, you get a bit of leeway. When you make the choice like Fred did, and still does on the Champions Tour, there are some things you have to do. You see him constantly wiping his grips down and drying his hands. For most, this is a hassle. What you don’t see is the superglue he puts on his hands before playing.

Between the constant need for a dry towel, routine of wiping the grip down, and superglue on the hands, this isn’t worth it. If you’re a normal golfer, do yourself a favor and wear a glove.

Gloves and putting

You almost always see golfers take their glove off when they putt. This is because most golfers believe they getter a better feel on the greens when there is less between them and the grip. In many cases, this is a mental trick. Then again, most of golf is mental and if you can get a leg up on yourself, do whatever it takes.

In terms of a practical rationale for removing your glove on the green, it is no longer necessary. You wear a glove to get a better grip on full shots and ensure the club doesn’t slip. When you’re on the green, you are not taking a shot hard enough for your grip to slip. Because of this, do what you’re most comfortable with. If you can’t stand the hassle of taking it on and off, leave it on. If you like the feel of it off, putt without a glove.

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Mike Regan
Mike is a weekend golfer from Connecticut and a student of the game. Any day he keeps it under 80 is a good day. When he's not writing about golf or playing, he works in higher education fundraising.