So after a long winter break from the game of golf, I finally could hit the links this week and for the first three holes and (slapping a few balls into the woods), I had forgotten to put on my golf gloves. With every piece of equipment you need to play a round of golf, the excitement to play again caused me to forget to even put it on.
So I got to thinking, can you play golf without a glove?
As a general rule, playing golf with a glove is not required or necessary. There are no official rules in existence forcing a golfer to wear one. It is a personal preference and depends on your golf swing.
In this article, I want to go through a few things I found regarding the pros and cons of wearing a golf glove and how it can improve (or hurt) your game. Then list a few examples of professional golfers that do not use gloves and why. This way, you can make a decision that will be comfortable for you.
Does a Glove Really Help in Golf?
Where some feel that golf gloves are simply a fashion thing, others have the notion that gloves should only be worn when in cold weather or wet weather.
Although some golfers may wear a glove for these reasons, this is not even close to the main reason why gloves are worn.
An interesting fact, according to Glovesmag.com, the advantage of gloves “were solely created to protect the golfer’s hands from blisters and calluses from the unforgiving form of the handles on the clubs of the day.”
That being said, golf clubs like irons and woods have come a long way since then, as have the grips and thank goodness!
The synthetic material we are used to today was a far cry from what it was like years ago. The original golf club grips comprised leather strips wrapped around a hickory shaft (ouch).
You can just imagine what this did to bare hands over time, yikes!
The harshness of these early grips forced the industry to rethink them.
The importance of the grip as the connection between the golfer’s hands and the club cannot be understated.
Doing your golf club grip due diligence can greatly enhance your game and striking distance if you’re leaning on playing without a glove.
This fittingly brings us to the pros and cons of wearing a golf glove.
Pros and Cons of Wearing A Golf Glove
If you are a novice, an amateur, or even just a casual player, wearing a golf glove should be considered.
The reason why a glove is typically worn is because of how it can give extra grip in various circumstances regardless of club quality at that moment.
When to consider wearing a glove
If you choose to play during the summer or in humid conditions, you need to consider the heat and all the sweating that goes along with it.
A sweaty hand can cause you to lose your grip. Not only can you lose your grip, the club has the potential to slip right out of your slick hands and negatively impact your shot.
The material of the golf club grip
It might even negatively impact an observer standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. These odds increase depending on the material the handle is made from.
Often this material is rubber, which is known to become very slippery when wet.
In this case, a glove can help you maintain a firm and secure grip despite what’s going on in the palm of your hand and despite where that observer may be standing.
A glove increases the necessary tackiness to maintain the grip. This would also hold true when it’s a rainy day and you just have to have those 18 holes.
Your grip is one of the most important parts of your silky swing. Also as crucial, and even more so is the consistent pressure you keep on your grip throughout the entire swing.
A glove can help you keep your grip without the need to increase the pressure of your grip. On the other hand, a glove can affect the way a club feels in your hands, thus impacting the accuracy of a swing.
This is the reason some professional players choose not to wear a glove. They want to feel the grip and feel more as one with the club.
Calluses and Blisters
If you find yourself playing a lot of golf without a glove, you will notice that due to continuous repetitive friction between your hand and the club, you will very likely develop not only calluses but painful blisters.
A glove can help you reduce or even avoid these altogether.
There is also a cost involved when choosing to use a glove. When used often, they can be worn down quickly. This would require them to be replaced frequently.
The average golfer doesn’t have a barrage of sponsors supplying them with free products, so they would need to absorb the cost themselves. You do not have to buy expensive gloves. Fortunately, you can find gloves at a relatively affordable price depending on the type of glove you choose.
Common materials are leather, synthetic and a hybrid of both of these. Leather is definitely the most traditional material and commonly felt to be the more comfortable option. But leather also is known to stretch over time, which affects the fit. The synthetic variety is the more modern choice, with more flexibility than the classical leather option.
The Material of the Gloves
They are more affordable for those on a budget. Also important to note is that synthetic gloves don’t breathe as leather can. This needs to be considered during the summer months.
This is also why you will often see golfers taking their gloves off after every shot. As their hand is sweating inside the glove, taking it off gives the players’ hands a chance to breathe as well as the glove.
The hybrid is the most recent in the market.
The hybrid material uses a combination of natural and synthetic leather. This could be your go to choice if you want to take advantage of the best of both worlds.
Keep in mind these tend to be the more expensive ones, but they also last longer.
Professional Golfers that Don’t Wear Gloves
Several golfers, including some pro golfers still choose to go bare handed. Going gloveless allows them to have a more natural feel experience.
According to GolfingJourney.com, “we have just seen that gloves are often a matter of subjective comfort as opposed to an absolute necessity.
This is why it only stands to reason that there have been a handful of well-known names who choose to “bare it all” while on the green.
Here are some personalities who have proven that gloves do not necessarily make the player:
- Ben Hogan
- Lucas Glover (ironically)
- Arron Oberholser
- Fred Couples
- Jonathan Byrd (on occasion)
We can therefore see that pro golfers and gloves do not always enjoy a “hand-in-hand” relationship.
Referring to Lucas Glover’s successful career using bare hands, Golf.com suggests these great tips
“When you swing the club with your bare hands, making sure you get a good grip on the club is especially important. Glover said that his caddie wipes his grips down every tournament day, but he uses full cord grips for maximum tackiness. And with four Tour wins on his resume — including the recent 2021 John Deere Classic — Glover is clearly doing something right.”Golf.com
Conclusion and what to do next
Golf gloves are an essential part of playing golf, but they are by no means required.
They can protect your hands from the elements and keep your grip strong.
However, not everyone needs to wear golf gloves when they play. In fact, many players don’t even own them.
Regardless, you get better at golf by practicing, but you have to practice on the right things, and this training has helped me quite a bit. You should check it out, too!