How to Know if Wearing Golf Gloves Is Right for You

Buying Guide

A well-fitting golf glove can help add grip and comfort to improve your game. Here's how to find the right Nike gloves to add to your golf bag.

Last updated: 29 March 2022
5 min read
How to Know if Wearing Golf Gloves Is Right for You

While it's not a requirement to wear a golf glove to play the game, a well-fitting golf glove can provide useful performance benefits for golfers—helping each drive go further, keeping your hands from tiring throughout the round, and even offering hints on what's going right (or wrong) with your golf swing. That's why you'll see most professionals wearing a golf glove during pro tours. Here's how a golf glove could improve your game, and how to find the right Nike gloves to add to your bag.

What Are the Benefits of a Golf Glove?

Golf gloves help create more friction between the hand and the club, which allows for better control of the club without the need to squeeze the hands and forearms too tight. When the lead arm (the left arm for right-handed golfers or the right arm for left-handed golfers) has a better grip on the club, it can do more of the work of pulling the club through the swing, instead of the back arm pushing the club through. This way of swinging—with more effort from the lead arm than from the back arm—is likely one of the techniques that makes professional golfers' swings superior, according to a research review on golf injuries from the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

And pulling the club with your lead arm—using your improved grip—can result in more than just better ball striking; it may also result in fewer elbow injuries, according to the scientists in the same journal review. Elbow strain injuries, often caused by gripping the club too tight, are among the most common for amateur golfers.

Three Golf Glove Benefits to Improve Your Game

  1. 1.Further Drives

    In a study from Research in Sports Medicine, scientists found that golfers who wore gloves had faster club speeds and faster ball speeds when swinging a driver, which led to drives that travelled 10 yards further on average. Ten yards may not seem like a lot, but it makes a difference. According to a study in the United States Golf Association's 2020 report Distance Insights, a 15-yard increase in driving distance can shave a stroke off a total score, in part because the length of holes keeps getting longer. Between 2004 and 2018, the length of Par 4 and Par 5 holes increased by about 5 yards on average. So hitting a drive that's 10 yards longer means you're about as close to the pin as you would have been with a shorter drive 20 years ago.

  2. 2.Feedback on Grip and Swing Technique

    The most common place where golf gloves start to wear out is in the heel of the palm. If this begins to happen, it doesn't just mean that the glove is wearing out—it means the golfer's grip is negatively impacting their game, too. That's because a worn-out palm indicates holding the club in the palm, instead of in the fingers. Gripping the club with the fingers gives the wrists more freedom of movement for the swing, which can lead to improved distance and—even more importantly—less chance of slicing or hooking the shot.

  3. 3.Better Feel and Confidence

    If you like the way a glove feels on your hand, don't discount it. Just as changing how you talk to yourself can improve your performance, feeling empowered to perform better with good equipment can help, too. Scientists who study grip technology in sports say that improved grip can lead to improved feel of other equipment—such as the golf club—and the "perceived level of performance". Mental game and mindset matter. Increased confidence can be part of the difference in achieving stroke goals on the scorecard.

One Glove or Two? And on Which Hand?

For almost all golfers on the pro tour, one glove suffices. The single glove is worn on the hand that's on top of your grip. This top hand is responsible for keeping the grip on the club. For right-handed swingers, that's the left hand. For lefties, the glove is worn on the right hand.

How Should a Golf Glove Fit?

Look for a Goldilocks fit—not too loose but not too tight. If the glove is too tight, it will be harder to close the fingers, and there will be pulling at the fingertips. This can be distracting and uncomfortable, and it can get in the way of making the grip on the club more relaxed, which is one of the perks of using a golf glove.

If the glove is too big, the fabric will bunch around the fingers or extend past the fingertips, and may actually make the club feel like it's slipping more than it would with bare hands. Oversized gloves can also lead to rubbing, which can leave hands covered in blisters.

The ideal fit will feel like a second skin. The hand should move freely and comfortably. If you're trying on a glove in a shop, there may be a hand-size fitting chart to check hand size before buying. Consider asking someone at the shop if you can take a few swings with a glove on to check how it feels in action.

How Many Golf Gloves Do You Need?

Some golfers have two different types of gloves—one for warm weather and one for colder weather.

Warmer weather gloves, such as the Nike Tour Classic 4 and the Nike Tech Extreme VII, will usually have lots of holes. These make the gloves breathable, keeping the hands cool and sweat-free. Gloves for colder weather, such as fleece gloves, will help keep the fingers toasty for a great feel on the grip—and will offer more comfort for playing through an early spring or late autumn round.

Originally published: 18 March 2022

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