So, why do we need a golf glove and what is the best glove to buy for my game?
Many golfers out there today don't even use them, so what is the fuss all about? Surely one is the same as the other. This is not always the case. There are several types of golfing glove on the market, but few people know which one does what or, more importantly, how to even fit one to their hand.
The golf glove is primarily used for grip. With the golf club swinging at 100 miles per hour above your head, the last thing you need is for it to slip out of your hand, or more likely, slip around in your hand and hit a bad shot. Working in an equipment reatiler, the most common question I get asked is, which hand do I have the glove on? The answer is simple. The top hand in your golf swing is the grip hand, this means if you are right handed, you wear a glove on your left. You buy a left handed glove. This is the mistake a lot of people make, they think, "I'm right handed, I need a right handed glove." There are golfers out there who like to wear 2 gloves and that is ok, but sometimes it can cause sliced shots, from the difficulty of turning the hands through the shot when they are covered. The other use for a golf glove is to prevent damage to your hand. Repetative movement of a rubber grip through some peoples hands will cause a callus or a blister to form and the golf glove stops this from happening. If you ever go to the driving range and hit hundreds of balls, you may want to use a glove or the next day could be painful.
The Synthetic glove - Synthetic golf gloves have been around for a while and they are the best glove to buy for somebody who has trouble fitting a glove to their hand. They flex and stretch better than a leather glove, provide good grip and usually last a lot longer than a leather glove. They cost less and work better in poor weather, often some are made with a roughed up feel to them so they perform great in the wet conditions. These are usually called an "all weather" glove.
The leather glove - Leather gloves provide the best feel in a golf glove. They are thinner and feel more like your hand is actually on the grip. They provide excellent grip as well, probably much better than a synthetic glove does. Unfortunately, there are a few draw backs to a leather glove. They wear out quicker because they are thinner, they perform horribly in the wet and after they get wet, won't be usable again in most cases. They cost sometimes double the price of a synthetic glove, but are they worth it? If its all about feel, then yes they are. The Cabretta leather in golf gloves comes from different sheepskin and is softer and more pliable.
The rain glove - This is a newer type of golf glove over recent years and it is made for people who don't mind playing in the rain. A lot of the time it will come in a pair in the packet. These gloves are made of material that gets rough and provides great grip if they get wet. They also have less breathability, so they keep you warm in the cold conditions. Its good to have a pair of these handy in Melbourne winters if you play early mornings in the frost.
To fit your golf glove is very easy. All golf gloves will stretch, so make sure when you try one on for size that it's snug. Don't have it cutting off your circulation, but always remember that it will stretch to fit your hand. Leather will stretch better than synthetic, but both will stretch. An easy way to check size is when you try on the glove, just cup your hand slightly. If there is a big bunching up of the material in the palm, then the glove may be too big for you. This is something you do not want because excess material may seem comfortable, but it will make the glove wear out quicker in time. Length of fingers is another important factor. Some people out there have shorter fingers and suffer from bad fitting gloves always. There is hope for you though, as companies make a glove called the Cadet glove. This means wider in the palm and shorter in the fingers, so look out for them if you have those shorter digits.
The worst thing about a golf glove is the price. So many retail outlets will charge $35-$40 for a quality leather glove and about $25 for a synthetic one. This is highway robbery if you ask me. I have played with golfers that go through a glove every month, so this will cost them a fortune every year just to play. If you are going through a glove a month, then there is an issue with your grip. The excess movement as you swing is causing to much wear and tear on the glove, so see a pro for a lesson. How long should a glove last? Cabretta Leather gloves will usually last a few months and Synthetic gloves from 4 months to 6 months, depending on how much golf you play of course, but if you play once a week those numbers will be correct.
Going through a lot of gloves in a year can be very costly, so if you want my opinion, find a glove you like that is cheap. There are so many different gloves out on the market and some of the cheap ones are fantastic. Yes, the Titleist gloves are great, but who is going to keep paying $40 every time you want one? Not me. Watch out for sales on gloves and go to a retailer that sells them cheap. You should only be paying $12-$19 for a synthetic glove and $20-$30 for a leather. A pair of rain gloves will ususally be no more than $30. I have been buying my gloves through the Golf Clearance Outlet for some years now. They have synthetic gloves for as little as $12 and leather gloves starting at $16. They also do bulk deals, which means that if you buy a few at once, the price will come down dramatically. You could be paying less than $10 for each glove! You really don't need to pay more than that.
Hopefully, that gives you something to think about before you buy your next glove. Consider which glove suits you best and shop a little smarter next time.