So I hooked a drive pretty badly yesterday, embarrassing, I know, but I’m in this for the fun.
But truthfully, I’m not the greatest golfer in the world, but in wet weather, there are occasions it’s hard to maintain a grip on the club. So the question is, do golfers use pine tar or anything else to improve grip?
As a general rule, pine tar can be used to get some extra grip on a club and is not illegal according to the rules on Golf.com.
However, golfers looking for extra tackiness often use other sticky applications instead of pine tar–particularly golfers seeking a better grip due to excessively sweaty hands or wet gloves.
So let’s look at the ethics of using grip boost products and some products you can use to improve your hold on the club.
Is Pine Tar Legal in Golf?
According to rule 4.3b(5) in the USGA’s, Rules of Golf, players may use “rosin, powders and other moisturizing or drying agents.” Golf.com’s “Rules Guy” says the rule clearly permits the use of pine tar, while pine tar is never called out specifically in the rules.
This flies in the face of some golf purists who claim that pine tar is illegal and has never been allowed in the game.
These opinions exist throughout internet forums and are likely a result of not frequently seeing pine tar on the golf course and vaguely remembering the baseball player, George Brett, being penalized for applying pine tar too high up the bat in an infamous moment in sports history.
The rules are clear, but that doesn’t mean golfers commonly opt for pine tar.
Much more commonly used in today’s game are grip sprays that have been developed to help athletes across many sports.
Is Grip Spray Legal in Golf?
Grip sprays are similarly permitted in rule 4.3b(5) of the Rules of Golf.
Again, the rule pretty broadly allows for golfers to add stickiness to the handle of the club. Where the rules are more concerned about equipment enhancement is in the use of equipment that artificially reduces the skill needed to hit good golf shots and using the equipment in some way besides its intended use.
As sprays abound, and a common product information topic is whether the spray is allowable by USGA rules.
To be safe, look for products with explicit statements regarding legality on the golf course.
When to Use Liquid Grip?
Well, Just like my example above, the conditions on the course make a big difference.
Is it humid? Rainy conditions?
A variety of weather conditions will cause sweaty and uncomfortable hands. But regardless of the condition of the weather, grip is still super important for effective golf play.
Grip Boost Spray for Hands
Sometimes the problem with not getting a good hold on the golf clubs has less to do with the club’s grip, and more with the hands of the golfer.
People’s hands sweat to varying degrees, and for golfers who deal with excessively sweaty hands, maintaining a good grip is best addressed at the root of the issue.
One name infamous name in sports is the liquid grip, Stickum.
Stickum is a product created by Mueller Sports Medicine, and is known by many sports fans as the stuff that the NFL banned due to the advantage it gave receivers in snagging every pass they got their hands on.
Mueller and many other companies make similar products today to help keep hands clean, dry, and even sticky.
Through spraying these sprays directly onto the hand, a player creates a temporary sweat-proof barrier that can be easily washed off after use.
I should note that while we can use sprays on golf gloves, they are typically most successfully used directly on the hand for a more secure grip.
This means that golfers with extra sweaty hands may want to go gloveless with a grip spray applied at the beginning of the round.
Golfers should gradually work towards this solution, as grip sprays will not prevent blisters that can easily form from playing a round of golf without gloves.
How to Make Golf Grips Tacky?
There are several ways to get a more effective grip, including pine tar and grip sprays. But these applications are probably not the first steps a golfer concerned about grip tackiness should take.
Golfers may notice that their golf grips get less tacky over time. One of the primary reasons for this is that the oils in their hands and other residue slowly build up on the grips over time.
Because of this, the easiest and first step a golfer should take is to simply wash their golf grips with soap and water, making sure to properly dry them after cleaning.
Golfers should notice an immediate difference after the grip dries.
Some golfers have noted that they take cleaning wipes with them in their bags to make a quick in-game improvement to their clubs as needed.
If washing the grip doesn’t get it tacky enough, a golfer could gently run a pocket knife over the grip repeatedly or use sandpaper to scrape away the outside layer of the grip. This will expose fresh leather that will make it easier to keep a hold on the club.
Finally, sprays and applications, such as pine tar, can be sprayed or rubbed into golf grips for extra tackiness.
There are many grip applications on the market, so golfers should read customer reviews and perhaps experiment with multiple solutions to find the one that gives them the grip they want.
If a golfer has opted for all the above solutions and can’t improve the situation, perhaps the answer is to buy new grips and work with a golf equipment guru to replace the old ones.
It’s a much cheaper solution than determining to purchase new clubs when the grip is the only real problem.
Getting and keeping the right grip pressure on the golf club throughout the swing is crucial and being able to improve this is even more helpful when it’s perfectly legal to do so.
I will not use it as it can stain your club and gloves, but I may give the clear spray a try.
You should, too!