Grip It and Rip It with Confidence

Finding the proper grip and grip sizing

When a golfer picks up a golf club for the first time, where does their very first impression come from? Unbelievably, it comes from the grip. The grip is the only part of the golf club a player contacts which provides them with that one ambiguous element in golf known as "feel." 

Nothing is worse than the feeling of a worn or slick grip. Yet a high percentage of golfers simply ignore the grip as being a factor in the performance of the club. If a grip is worn, the golfer’s hands will tend to slip as the club is being swung, which can cost the player valuable strokes. Golf club grips are made of materials that age and wear over time. They naturally degrade from exposure to heat and sunlight as well as the dirt and oils from your hands. While proper cleaning can prolong the life of a grip, there is only so long the grip can last.

Avid golfers will routinely re-grip their clubs at the beginning of each year to ensure they are maximizing their potential, while others will elect to re-grip every 2 or 3 years based on their frequency of play. At the time a customer is considering re-gripping, you might as well perform one of the basic fitting tasks – finding the proper grip and grip sizing.

Long before we can select the grip style, we must know what size to use and see if that size is available in the style we want or if can be created based on the butt diameter of the shaft. At this point we are going to assume you have at least a basic understanding of how to install a grip.

Let me first say there is more to grip sizing than meets the eye. Let us face it, most golfers could care a less what size comes already equipped on their golf clubs. Even if they re-grip their own clubs or have someone else re-grip them, they will usually accept the fact if they are a man they will get men’s standard size or any woman that walks through the door automatically gets ladies standard size. After all, it is a “standard”. 

 I also bet the majority of the 20 some million golfers in the United States don’t know that grips come in different sizes, or it is possible to size the grip to the comfort of their hands even though they see an array of assorted sizes of golf gloves available at their local golf course or off-course retailer. For those who are aware that custom grip sizes can be made on their golf clubs; they do not know what size it best for them. They may have experimented with a grip labeled midsize or jumbo, but that might be the extent of it.

Lamkin golf grip display with 8 grips on cut off shaftsLamkin golf grip display with 8 grips on cut off shafts

Grip selection and sizing should primarily come down to a matter of personal preference as to what feels most comfortable for the individual golfer. The right sized, firmness and textured grip does ensure added consistency as well as confidence in the clubs they play.

Therefore, I would strongly encourage custom clubmaking shops or club fitters to have an assortment of demo grips installed onto shaft butts and well labeled for this very reason whether for their re-gripping and re-shafting services or as part of any new club build.

A note about the grip’s effect on ball flight

A grip’s effect on ball flight can either help or hinder consistency and accuracy. It is as simple as that. The more often a player can keep his or her hands in the same place on the club during the swing, the more consistent the player’s shots will be and the more accurate they will be at the same time. However, any hand repositioning during the swing will lead to poor results and may also be a reason a player may complain that the club does not feel quite “right.”

What might happen when the grip is too small for a player? The player will feel that they must hold the club very firmly to secure it in their hands more than they should. As a result, this will lead to tension in the arms, inhibiting a full release and potentially compromising distance. Plus, if the player re-grips the club during the swing, this will change the position of the face relative to the target. On one shot, the face may be open; on the very next it may be closed. In any event, inconsistency is the result. Over the years, a misconception developed in fitting circles that a grip that was too small for a player caused him to hook the ball or at least hit it left of target as the smaller grip promoted excessive hand action.

Another common misconception involves too large of a grip. It was said that this will prevent the player from releasing his hands, leading to pushes or slices. Again, this is not always the case in actual play. Much in the manner of a grip that is too small, a grip that is oversized for the player will cause misdirected shots in a random pattern. A golf club grip must be sized so that the player will not tend to reposition his hands during the swing. It cannot be either too large or too small; in those cases, both distance and accuracy potentially suffer.

Properly measuring grip size

Even those doing simplest form of fitting (such as re-gripping or even re-shafting) will need to understand how to properly size grips. If you see a grip is built up on a club in the player’s bag, they like the feel of, you will want to know by how much so you can duplicate it in the other clubs. You must have the means to accurately measure the grip size.

I can tell you understanding grip sizing charts can be one of the daunting tasks for clubmakers to comprehend and the reason we will devote several pages in the text for this topic. I honestly believe the problem for most clubmakers lies with converting decimals and fractions because they are not necessarily something that people use on a day in and day out basis.

When you measure the grip, it is a little bit different from measuring the bare shaft. For one, most grips will taper. That is why grip sizing charts reference a point, which is exactly 2” down from the edge of the grip cap. You also need to measure the sides of the grip and not the top and bottom. Why? Well, the grip could have a rib or reminder. We will go over it when we talk about assorted styles. In those cases, the grip will be raised along the bottom side of the grip and will measure larger than on the sides. So, always make it a habit of always measuring on the sides.

The other issue with a grip is that it is not rigid, but rather flexible to provide some comfort. As a result, when you contact the caliper’s arms you only just make sure they touch the grip’s outer surface. Avoid squeezing otherwise your reading will be smaller than it is supposed to be.

If you look at the calipers on this picture, what is the reading? For starters, we cannot see the one-inch mark, so the butt end is smaller than that. Remember the caliper is subdivided in tenths of an inch and we can see the caliper is near nine tenths of an inch (0.9”).

Next, we look at the dial indicator. It is reading just beyond zero. So, the decimal reading is 0.901,” but for the grip sizing charts 0.900” will be close enough. In fact, if you can accurately measure to the nearest 1/10 of an inch, you’ll be fine.

measuring golf shaft butt diameter with calipersmeasuring golf shaft butt diameter with calipers

Common grip sizes

What are some common grip sizes? The five basic sizes are junior, ladies (undersize), men’s (standard), midsize and jumbo. However, when we start to talk about the grip sizing charts, we will not be discussing junior sizes. But let us start with men standard size first. If we measure down 2” below the edge of the grip cap on a grip installed onto a shaft, the size should measure roughly 0.900”. The charts do not work on the bare, uninstalled grips, only on gripped clubs.

For ladies standard size – again measuring 2” below the grip cap, then the decimal reading on our caliper should measure approximately 0.850”.  In some cases, this is referred to as simply undersized as that is the gender-neutral nomenclature.

The leads us to the next two grip sizes – midsize and jumbo. OK, this is where it gets a little tricky, so let me explain. When a grip manufacturer offers a midsize grip, they are talking about a grip that is larger than the same model in the standard size. If a company offers a jumbo grip, it is much larger than the standard men’s model and larger than the midsize of the same model. 

But that is all we can take away from the descriptive nomenclature because the entire grip industry has not standardized grip sizing down to an exact science. For example, Winn has a popular model called the Excel RF midsize and it has been around for a decade. If you dig deep enough into the product literature from Winn, you will find this grip is +1/32” over their men’s standard sized version. Yet if you look at the midsize golf grips in any other of their models, they list them at +1/16” over men’s standard.

grip size engraved on the butt caps of golf gripsgrip size engraved on the butt caps of golf grips

Now we need to conduct a little refresher course in math here. What are the size differences between 1/32” and 1/16”? If you have your calculator handy divide 1 by 32.  The calculator will read 0.03125.  Remember, this is above men’s standard. What did we say was men’s standard size? It was 0.900.”  So, a +1/32” men’s grip should measure 0.93125 or 0.931” for short by rounding up.

Next, divide 1 by 16.  The calculator will now read 0.0625.  If we add this to the 0.900” which is the men’s standard, we now have 0.9625 or 0.963” by rounding up. Most of you have no trouble understanding that 0.932” is different from 0.963.” Plus, you know that 0.963” is larger.

That is how we convert the fractions into a decimal equivalent. Luckily, we have charts for our reference. All you need to do is be able to measure the grip accurately with your caliper. Let us take a moment to look at the chart that references the decimal equivalent to the various grip sizes. You are thinking, boy, there are a lot of them. But there are only half that get used the most. The last four in the chart are specific to JumboMax golf grips.

We have our men’s and ladies standard size listed in bold. But look at the two highlighted entries. You will see there is some overlap as a Ladies +1/64” is essentially the same grip size as a Men’s -1/32”.  This may come in handy later when we start to look at the master grip sizing chart when we go to figure out how to create each of these sizes.

Golf Grip Size Chart: 2” Below the Grip Cap

Grip Size Decimal Reading
Ladies -1/32" 0.819”
Ladies -1/64" 0.834”
Ladies Standard 0.850”
Ladies +1/64" 0.866”
Ladies +1/32" 0.881”
Men's -1/32" 0.869”
Men's -1/64" 0.884”
Men's Standard 0.900”
Men's +1/64" 0.916”
Men's +1/32" 0.931”
Men's +3/64" 0.947”
Men's +1/16" 0.962”
Men's +3/32" 0.998”
Men’s +1/8” 1.025”
Men’s +1/4” 1.150"
Men’s +5/16” 1.213"
Men’s +11/32” 1.244"
Men’s +3/8” 1.275"

Creating custom grip sizes

How do you create different grip sizes? Well, we first need to know what the core size of the grip is, and the diameter of the shaft butt we are installing the grip onto. The inside of the grip is known as the core. It is the core to which the grip tape adheres holding the grip onto the shaft. The manufacturing mandrel over which the grip is produced dictates the core size which corresponds to a specific shaft diameter for which it is designed to fit and make a standard size grip. The three most common grip core sizes are 56, 58, and 60.  These correspond to shaft butt diameters of 0.560", 0.580" and 0.600".

 Often grips manufactured who offer a men’s and ladies versions of the same grip will have a separate letter designation, such as M (for Men), L (for Ladies) and J (for Junior) in front of the core size. This is done to differentiate the grip size. For example, a Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip may have an M58 or L58 inside the mouth. On the exterior, both look identical, but the ladies version has a smaller outside diameter, even though both have an inside core of .580”. Many imported grips will have the core size imprinted inside the mouth or lip of the grip, but not for gender. Therefore, it will be important to label the grips carefully once they come in from your supplier. 

core size imprinted inside the mouth of a golf gripcore size imprinted inside the mouth of a golf grip

So, let us look closely at the master chart for calculating the size, plus any notes on how to make the grip larger by putting on masking tape or smaller by stretching the grip down. The most common sizes you will encounter are a shaft with a butt diameter of 0.600” and a grip core with the same size. Not coincidently, this happens to be a men’s standard size. This is assuming of course that the grip is already not a midsized, oversized, or jumbo version to start.

Standard sizing is achieved without adding any additional tape to the shaft. I should state this first. One wrap of double-side tape is already factored into the sizing on this chart. So, this is a given. Some of the most popular men’s grips are available in both 58 and 60 core options. It is now becoming more common to see a 58 grip on a 600 butt diameter.  If you look at the chart, you will see that this effectively makes the grip size +1/64” over men’s standard. This is why it is important when re-gripping, to make sure to check the core size from the mouth of the grip you just removed.

Golf Grip Sizing Chart by Grip Core & Shaft Butt

Core Shaft Butt Diameter Standard Shaft Butt +1/64" +1/32" +1/16" +1/8"
M58 0.580" 0 2 4 9 18
M58 0.600" * 0 2 6 15
M58 0.620" N/P * ** 3 12
M60 0.580" 3 5 7 12 21
M60 0.600" 0 2 4 9 18
M60 0.620" * 0 2 6 15
L56 0.560" 0 2 4 9 18
L56 0.580" * 0 2 6 15
L56 0.600" N/P * 0 3 12
L58 0.560" 3 5 7 12 21
L58 0.580" 0 2 4 9 18
L58 0.600" * 0 2 6 15

*Grip must be stretched approximately 3/4” longer over its length to reduce the diameter and create this size.

** Grip must be stretched approximately 3/8” longer over its length to reduce the diameter and create this size.

N/P - Not possible to achieve this grip size with stated grip core and shaft butt combination.

NOTE: In all cases it is assumed that a single layer of 2-way grip tape is used, masking thickness = .0035”.

Let us say the person likes the grip size on his current club. It happened to be a 580 grip on a .600” butt diameter. But all you have is 600 core size grips.  Do not worry, this will not be a problem. Look at the chart for a second and it will tell you that you will need two layers of masking or build up tape to achieve the +1/64” size.

Have you noticed that the different core sized grips of the same model weigh differently? Let us use the example of the Men’s standard version of the Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip. The 580 core size weighs 52 grams, while the same Tour Velvet grip in 600 weighs 50 grams.  

Remember a 58 core grip is installed on a .580” shaft will be the same size as a 60 core size grip installed on a .600” shaft.  Even though these grips are not the same weight, they will produce installed sizes that are the same size. This is because more material will be required around the core on the smaller 580 core grip to achieve the men’s standard size. 

The core or inside diameter of a 580 grip will be smaller, but the actual grip material will be slightly thicker. A larger core sized grip will require less actual grip material to achieve its finished size due to the amount of space the core occupies. Therefore, the larger the core, the lighter the grip when discussing grips of the same pattern. 

Not only is the weight different, but this is also the reason using a 580 grip onto a 600 butt will result into a larger size because it has to stretch over the shaft’s larger diameter butt end.  Remember this is the equivalent if we take a 600 core grip on a 600 shaft with 2 additional layers of masking or build up tape.  Most people in this circumstance will understand that the grip is going to stretch over the large butt end to expand it.

Build-up tape

During this discussion of the tapes used in re-gripping, we use industry averages for the tape dimensions. If you use a tape purchased at your local store, be aware that it may or may not be the same thickness as the tape in our examples, which is ordinary masking tape.

I have heard of clubmakers using all sorts of tape for their build up. They might have found some special tape locally that was cheap and worked well in their shop for several years. I have run across duct tape and lead tape when re-gripping too. The latter was more for weighting rather than sizing. So, do not be surprised at what you might find underneath a grip once you start to do a lot of golf club repairs.

You can use calipers to determine the thickness of the build-up tape you are using. Start out by measuring the shaft butt with calipers before installing any tape. For example, let us say it is 0.600.”  Next install one layer of build-up tape and re-measure the shaft diameter in the previous position. Now measures 0.607” or 0.007” larger. You will need to divide it in two to gauge the tape thickness since the tape wraps around the whole shaft.

Most masking tapes used to build up grips will have a thickness of .0035", like in our example. Each layer of buildup tape applied to the shaft will add approximately 1.5g and will decrease the swing weight by approximately one-third point. If three layers of buildup tape are applied, the swingweight will be reduced by 1 point.  

Using our previous example of the Men’s standard version of the Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip, the 580 core size weighed 52 grams. The same Tour Velvet grip in 600 weighs 50 grams and with the 2 wraps of tape to create the same thickness now weighs a combined 53g.  In this case there is not any significant weight advantage by choosing between the two grip core sizes.

We saw that each layer of tape will increase the diameter of the shaft butt 0.007" and not 0.0035" because the tape is wrapped around the shaft as it is installed. Masking tape for grip build-up can be purchased in various widths. The use of 2" tape is preferred as the tape is applied lengthwise on the shaft making the application less time consuming. Again, keep in mind if your build-up tape is thicker or thinner than our example, you will need to calculate each scenario and create your own table.

Under-sizing golf grips

Let us go back to the grip sizing table to discuss a couple more things before we get started. If you see a single asterisk in the chart, this means that you will need to stretch the grip ¾” longer than you would normally stretch the grip. This can be a little tricky if you have never had to do this before. The best advice I can give is to make sure your double-sided grip tape is cut and placed on the shaft ¾” longer than normal. If you normally use 10 1/2” of tape from the butt end, then use 11 1/4” of tape. 

When you install the grip, you will want to pull the grip evenly down to that point and hold it for a second or two. The rubber may not want to stretch that far so you may need to wrap some masking tape at the bottom of the grip and on the shaft, so it does not creep back up the shaft. Synthetic two-piece grips will not be able to be stretched, only rubber grips. 

You may think a grip that has been stretched down will look a little strange too. I had one customer who had very small hands. He used to stretch the grip down at least 2” further down the shaft than what was considered normal. This is the way he liked his grips as it felt comfortable to him – after all that is what custom fitting is all about. The funny part was whenever he sold his clubs, he would have to re-grip them as the longer-than-normal grips would raise a red flag to someone.

If you see a double asterisk in the chart, this means that you will need to stretch the grip 3/8” longer than you would normally stretch the grip using the same technique I just mentioned. Lastly, if you see an “N/P” as an entry, like in the case with using a 580 grip on a .620” shaft that simply means it is not possible to obtain that size.

Look at some of the layers of tape it will require to make a midsize or jumbo grip. To achieve a midsize or what is generally +1/16” over men’s standard, it will require 9 layers of build-up tape if we use a 600 grip on a 600 shaft.  This requires a lot of work, especially for a full set of clubs! 

Remember the issue with weight as well. A midsized Tour Velvet grip only weighs 53.5g, whereas adding 9 wraps of tape at 1.5g each, will take the 600 core grip that weighs 50g and now turn it into 63.5 grams.

So why not buy the mid-size grip to begin with? For starters one may not be manufactured in the desired pattern or color your customer wants. Usually only popular models are produced in multiple sizes. Secondly, you may have run out of inventory and you customer needs a club for a tournament that day. So, there are a couple of legitimate reasons why this grip sizing chart will come in handy.

Grip’s rate of taper

There is one other explanation that you might have ever thought of and that is the shaft may have a large amount of taper. The thing to remember is someone took the time years ago to establish the standard size charts by using what was the most popular shaft and grip at the time. 

If I am not mistaken, the grip was a 58 core size Golf Pride Green Victory grip installed onto a True Temper Dynamic R-flex taper tip shaft, which has a 580 butt end.

Neither of those products are around to this day, but the grip sizing chart based on those two best-selling products still exists. While the Dynamic shaft is not sold anymore, the Dynamic Gold R300 taper is. If you look at that shaft you will notice that the grip will cover a few steps down the shaft where it becomes smaller.

Since we are only measuring down 2” on the shaft, we probably won’t run into too many problems.  But one time there is when you see shafts with a constant taper design, like the popular Aldila NV series shafts. All these shafts have a constant taper as part of their design although it may not mention it in the product’s description.

If you glance at a component golf catalog or on the shaft manufacturer’s website, you will see that the butt ends on these shafts are between 0.620” - 0.630,” which is much larger than the majority of the shafts on the market.  However, this measurement only applies at the very butt end of the shaft.

Since we rarely play with the full length of a shaft, material will be removed from the butt end. For example, those select Aldila wood shafts are all 46” in length.  Installed into a standard titanium driver at 45”, approximately 2.5” will be removed from the butt end when taking into account the bottom of bore to ground line measurement of the head and the grip cap.  

At this point, the diameter is nearly 0.020” smaller. By the time the grip ends, the shaft underneath the mouth of the grip is 0.550.” We talked so far about measuring 2” down from the butt end of the completed club, which is our common point of reference for grip sizing. Unbelievably, these shafts will actually measure Men’s Standard size.

Not to confuse matters worse, but to explain how the rate of taper affects grip sizing, let us look at the opposite scenario. This occurs when the shaft has a long parallel butt section or one longer than the length of the grip. Another way to state this is the shaft remains the same dimension from the very butt end of the shaft for an extended length. 

taper rate of two different shafts and their dimensionstaper rate of two different shafts and their dimensions

A good example of this was the now-discontinued Apollo Acculite 50 shaft. That shaft has a butt diameter measuring 0.600” and remains that size for 16 inches!  It is common that graphite shafts will have a parallel but section, but they are usually nowhere near that length. Even though those Aldila shafts I mentioned may appear at first to suggest a larger grip size will occur with the same grip installed as compared to the Apollo Acculite 50, it is the rate of taper of the butt end that influences the final grip size along the entire length of the shaft.

Why is this important? Do not assume when you custom fit that you will use the shaft throughout the set. You might use one shaft for the driver, another for the fairways, another for the hybrid and yet another for the irons and wedges. But in the end, you want to have the same final grip sizing, so they feel uniform throughout the set.

Grip sizing under the lower hand

The industry has chosen position "A" of the grip as shown in our diagram to be the reference point for standard grip size measurement. This is roughly the midpoint of the upper hand.  Remember the difference between men and ladies grips is 0.050” or approximately 3/64” difference.

In the diagram, there is a secondary position “B” listed. This is approximately the midpoint of the lower hand and located 6” below the edge of the grip cap. Often grip sizing is a matter of measuring only position “A” with little regards to the size for the lower hand.

Most grips start tapering at the very edge of the butt cap down to the mouth. Based on some of the most common grips available, the tapering between positions “A” and “B” reduce by 0.120.”

diagram of golf grip with men's and women's dimensions under the upper and lower hand positionsdiagram of golf grip with men's and women's dimensions under the upper and lower hand positions

Golf Grip Size Chart: 6” Below the Grip Cap

Grip Size Decimal Reading
Ladies -1/32" 0.699”
Ladies -1/64" 0.714"
Ladies Standard 0.730"
Ladies +1/64" 0.749"
Ladies +1/32" 0.761"
Men's -1/32" 0.749"
Men's -1/64" 0.764"
Men's Standard 0.780"
Men's +1/64" 0.796"
Men's +1/32" 0.811"
Men's +3/64" 0.827"
Men's +1/16" 0.842"
Men's +3/32" 0.878"
Men’s +1/8” 0.905"

Reduced tapered golf grips

It is important to understand that all grips do not taper at the same rate either. There are more grips being produced with a reduced amount of taper. What this does is maintain the diameter for the upper hand but increases the size of the lower hand. The idea behind a proportionally larger lower hand is that it takes some hands out of the swing to promote a later release in the swing. 

There are even grips that have been or are available with absolutely no taper and even one with reversed taper; that is the diameter of the grip is larger underneath the lower hand as compared to the upper hand. You do not see or hear of very many clubmakers building up under the lower hand. One of the reasons is how golfers choose which grip they want. A golfer may pick out a grip that is installed onto a short shaft and placed in a display unit. They will go, “that one feels good, gimme that one.”

traditional taper, reduced taper and non-tapered golf gripstraditional taper, reduced taper and non-tapered golf grips

How to fit for grip size

There are primarily two ways that clubmakers fit for grips. One is the use of hand sizing charts or an online grip size calculator, which we will use exclusively when static fitting. The other method is far more accurate and that involves having the customer handle different sized display or demo grip samples that have been mounted onto a cut-off shaft butt (or assembled golf clubs).

Static grip fitting

If you do not have demo grips of various sizing or a shop or you are fitting a player over the phone or internet, there are ways to help determine an appropriate grip size. The most popular are grip sizing charts were you may place your hand over a template or by taking a couple of measurements. This is called static fitting. The recommendations are based on average dimensions accumulated over the years.

In the diagram you will see an image of a hand with a couple of these key dimensions. The first one is labeled A. It is the length of your hand from the crease of the wrist to the top of the longest finger. 

The second is labeled B, which is the length of your longest finger taken from the crease of the longest finger to the tip. Why two measurements? That is a good question. The reason is not all golfers have the same proportionality between the length of their longest finger and their hand. Think of it the same way as height-based charts use wrist to floor measurements as a secondary data point to catch situations when a person’s arms are shorter or longer than normal and would warrant a different length club than what their height would normally suggest as we will see in the Length fitting chapter.

diagram of a hand with dimensions for hand size and longest finger for golf grip sizingdiagram of a hand with dimensions for hand size and longest finger for golf grip sizing

It also makes sense that the longer the “A” length, the greater the grip size will be required. But some golfers have proportionally longer or shorter finger lengths. When the B length is proportionally longer than the A length, it might indicate that one needs a little larger grip size. But if the B length is proportionally shorter than the A length, then a slightly smaller grip might be in order.

If we look at the chart for a moment, we see 4 different columns. The first is the traditional grip sizing nomenclature that you will see in modern clubmaking and club fitting books. The second column indicated the outside diameter of the grip located 2” down from the grip cap which is the industry standard. Columns 3 and 4 are the A and B dimensions from the diagram I just told you about. OK, I know I have not been super user friendly by providing nice and even numbers like 8” or 7.5”.  But if you use a good ruler, you should be able to measure to the nearest 16th of an inch which the decimal equivalent is 0.06”.


Grip Size 2" from End Cap
A Dimension
B Dimension
Ladies -1/32" 0.819” 6.29" 2.67"
Ladies -1/64" 0.834" 6.56" 2.79"
Ladies Standard 0.850" 6.85" 2.91"
Ladies +1/64" 0.866" 7.14" 3.04"
Men's -1/32" 0.881" 7.41" 3.15"
Ladies +1/32" 0.869" 7.20" 3.06"
Men's -1/64" 0.884" 7.47" 3.17"
Men's Standard 0.900" 7.76" 3.30"
Men's +1/64" 0.916" 8.05" 3.42"
Men's +1/32" 0.931" 8.32" 3.54"
Men's +3/64" 0.947" 8.61" 3.66"
Men's +1/16" 0.962" 8.89" 3.78"
Men's +3/32" 0.998" 9.54" 4.05"
Men's +1/8" 1.025" 10.03" 4.26"


Let us give an example. If a customer’s A length and measures 7 ¾” and their B length is @ 3.25”, both would indicate to use men’s standard grip sizing.  But let us say your B length was closer to 3 3/16” or 3.19”, it might suggest dropping down a 1/64”. So, it is important that you can obtain accurate measurements as you can. You might hear the term cadet glove size. This might be the case as a cadet glove has a little wider palm and shorter fingers by 2 millimeters or 0.079”.

Using another example, someone has an A length of 7 ¾”, with a B length approaching 3 ½”.  In this case, the player may fit better with a slightly oversized grip which may start out with a men’s standard grip but with some build up tape underneath the double-sided tape as we saw demonstrated in the grip sizing charts.

Please take note, these are not absolute figures listed on this page, but rather baselines when demo grips are unavailable. Let me show you why. This next diagram will show a diagram with two different options of how a right-handed golfer might position a grip in their hand. On the left side demonstrates the classic grip being grasped more in the player’s fingers.

The area shaded represents the part of the hand that will be folded over the grip to secure it. Now imagine for a second that the fingers are longer or shorter than what is pictured. That should give you a good idea why there is a need for smaller or larger grips.

A grip that is sized correctly will have the middle two fingers of the player’s top hand lightly touching the heel pad of that same hand naturally and without manipulation such as excessive squeezing or an extremely light pressure being applied. A grip that may be too large size will not allow the fingers to touch the hand, while a grip that is too small will be evidenced by the player’s fingers digging into the heel.

 In the previous chart at the bottom, you might have seen Men’s + 1/8” listed with an A dimension of just over 10”. You are wonderings beside a few NBA players, who has meat hooks that large? I will tell you far and few between, and yet we sell tons of men’s Jumbo grips despite this fact. This leads me to our next diagram.

diagram of a grip being placed in the finger and in the palm of a handdiagram of a grip being placed in the finger and in the palm of a hand

While most golfers are taught to hold the club primarily in their fingers, in those cases the use of grip sizing charts works reasonably well. However, there are golfers who prefer to hold the grip primarily in the palms of their hands. This gripping style will require a larger grip than would be indicated with the fingers and heel pad test. To show you why, the A and B hand lengths are identical to the diagram on the left. The only difference is that the grip is positioned in the palms rather than the fingers.

Again, notice the shaded area. There is a greater span of the hand that will be folded over the grip to secure it. These players will not only require a larger grip size for their upper hand, but possibly a noticeably larger one for their lower hand as well. Golfers who hold the grip mainly in their palms may prefer grips with reduced taper or none.

Golfers taught a ten-fingered grip, or they have arthritis, which does not allow them the grasp the grip as tightly, may prefer a larger sized grip than what any fitting chart may suggest. Remember that the comfort in the player’s hands is the #1 consideration.

Glove size

Some manufacturers or fitters may use glove size as an indicator for grip sizing. It is important to note that not all glove manufactures use the same sizing, so of the three methods to select a golf grip size would come only if demo grips are unavailable or the person is not able to measure the player’s hand, like a phone fitting or a surprise gift for a loved one.

Glove sizing is often measured differently in that the dimension is taken with a tape measure wrapped around the knuckles of the hand as shown in the next diagram. As a secondary measurement it may take the longest finger in account to see if the cadet sizing or the standard version would be a better fit or it may be the primary method to fit the glove size.

diagram of hand and where measurements are taken to fit for glove sizediagram of hand and where measurements are taken to fit for glove size

Indirectly, the finger length and palm length are derived from average sizing of both men and women much like the outside dimension of golf grips was patterned to fit the hands. Large studies have been conducted by our government to accurately measure about every conceivable dimension to properly cloth our troops or address such issues as industrial design and ergonomics. So, it may be possible to use glove size as a guideline.

The following chart is a very, very general guideline that I would take with a grain of salt and use when you may not have any other resource. It was almost pulled at the last minute for that reason. But there is extremely limited information available on-line or on the glove manufacturer’s websites so hopefully this can help at least one person get fit that otherwise might not.


Fitting Grip Size By Golf Glove Size

Glove Size Grip Size
Ladies Small Ladies -1/64"
Ladies Standard Ladies Standard
Ladies Medium Large Ladies +1/64"
Ladies Large Ladies +1/32"
Men’s X Small Men's -1/32"
Men's Small Men's -1/64"
Men’s Medium Men's Standard
Men’s Medium Large Men's +1/64"
Men’s Large Men's +1/32"
Men’s XL Men's +1/16"
Men’s 2XL Men's +3/32" & up
*Use this chart only as a very general guideline


Fitting with “demo” grips

Club fitters may use the hand sizing charts to at least get a ballpark range from which grip to start with. It might have been one of the items you checked for in the personal interview so you might as well use it. I used to have the customer put his or her palm against mine to give me a relative size. That is, if the player had a hand size equal to mine, I know what grip size I would hand them first. If it were larger, I would move up in size and for smaller hands I would obviously start with a smaller sized grip. You develop a feeling over time. 

This is why I encourage demo grips on display and for fitting. Not only do you want to have an assortment of models to choose from to showcase the various cosmetics or material differences, but also sizes. When I worked in the retail part of the business, we had a wall full of grip samples displayed on chopped off shaft butts where there was a little over 3” of shaft exposed below the grip. Each was clearly labeled with the code and sometimes even size so the customer could self-fit themselves when it got busy. 

Yes, it is that easy. If it feels good in the player’s hands, then chances are they will feel comfortable hitting the club with that same size and style. For clubmaking shops that really want to fit for grip sizing could offer the grips on shafts as part of an interchangeable head and shaft fitting system. Yes, it can be more expensive, but at least the golfer can find out first-hand what grip size does to accuracy, ball flight and that feeling of heft. By simply holding the grip on a cut-off shaft butt, the effect of the grip weight cannot be simulated.

Demo grip tips

If you do have an assortment of grips, make sure to pick a couple that have a reduced amount of taper underneath the lower hand. You may have to consult your component supplier or grip manufacturer as to which models (if any) are available with reduced taper. Since we showed you how to measure the grips, you should be able to tell which of your grips have a standard taper profile and which ones do not. 

You can even take one of your most popular grips and add four layers of masking tape making sure to stagger the layers to avoid forming a step. Make sure to label it. That way, your customers can tell if there is a benefit to having the lower hand built up or not.

You may want to avoid using the label “Ladies” on the grips. If you have one that is pink or something feminine, that will be apparent to the customer. But you may have a man with small hands, and he would go for the grip sample that says undersized rather than ladies.

Also, your lady customers may prefer the feel of a larger grip compared to the ones they had come with their own clubs as they may have long fingers or fingernails. If you have the demos, then your customers will get “hands on” experience they wouldn’t at most golf shops and most likely help their golf score in providing a comfortable relaxed feel or tension free grip on their clubs.

Also, make sure to label the grips clearly and possibly put them in some sort of display for customers to see. At the beginning of the golfing season, clear out discontinued grips, and update with new models. Also check the outer surface of your demo grips to see if they need a good cleaning or replaced with a new, fresh grip to help you sell your services.

Different styles of golf grips

Now that we have fit for size, the next part we want to focus on is style. Please note that if you did fit the player for an undersized, midsize, or jumbo grip, you have far fewer options for your customer. That is why I always evaluate for size before I do style. While it is possible to create some of the sizes with additional build-up tape, remember how much time and effort it will take to create them not to mention how much you need to charge to break even.

You may want to offer assorted styles from the various manufacturers for added variety. Stay abreast of what is popular by looking at ads in the clubmaking catalogs, social media, seen on TV for that split second and even what shows up on the OEM clubs. Golf grips can range quite a bit in cost and various manufacturers may be able to cover all your price points. Have the customer choose the one that feels the most comfortable and is within their budget. 

Rubber and Rubber Composition Grips

Rubber and rubber composition grips have been an industry mainstay for almost 70 years. They are the most common grip in all of golf today. Rubber golf grips are available in the widest range of core sizes of all the different types of grips due to their somewhat elastic properties; they can be made to fit a number of different shaft butt diameters. However, this will definitely have an influence on the finished size of the grip.

Grip manufacturers can vary the color, firmness of a grip and its texture by varying the exact mix of rubber compounds used to make the grip. Rubber grips provide a good traction surface in a variety of playing conditions. They require minimal care and thus can be considered to be the most economical type of grips on the market.  Among the largest manufacturers of rubber grips are Golf Pride and Lamkin to name a few.

I should mention what rubber composition grips are. These are not 100% rubber grips but may have additives like high quality thermoplastic rubber (TPR) and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), which gives the grips a durable, water-resistant and an exceptionally tacky feel. Using TPR or TPE also allows for a wider variety of colors. In your personal interview, you may want to ask the customer if they are allergic to rubber. If so, you may be forced to look at other materials. Tacki Mac produces latex-free golf grips that are non-allergenic.

Cord Grips

Our next style is referred to as cord grips as they have a layer of cloth or linen fibers that protrude through the surface of the grip to improve the traction of the grip’s outer surface. The cord in the grip may be arranged in any number of patterns, including full cord, half cord, and 1/4 cord.  The latter two positions the cord material in the upper half or back of the grip where added traction may be needed most. 

Cord grips are compression molded. Beginning in this process, the fibrous material is pressed into the rubber composition grip surface. Next, a second layer of rubber, known as a "skim" layer, is molded over this initial rubber/fiber matrix. The grips are then sanded to reveal the fiber or cord layers. This process is difficult, thus producing a high percentage of rejects compared to other forms of grips manufactured. 

According to some golfers, cord golf grips provide a superior feel especially in wet or very humid conditions. Plus, these grips will last longer than rubber composition grips. Corded golf grips are more expensive than standard rubber grips but due to their potentially longer life, their overall cost is not appreciably greater.

A note to clubmakers concerning the sizing of cord grips:  due to their lesser elastic properties, they will be more difficult to build-up and install on any butt size shaft other than the one matched to their core size. 

up close view of the corded material in a Karma cord golf gripup close view of the corded material in a Karma cord golf grip

Synthetic Grips

One of the more recent entries in the grip segment of the industry is the use of grips made from synthetic materials such as polyurethane, which is soft to the touch. It differs in that it is synthetic and is available in a number of softness and color variations. Typically, a synthetic strap is applied over a rubber or EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) underlisting to form a slip-on type of grip. Synthetic golf grips itself is two pieces, but when supplied to clubmakers, it is effectively one-piece. Synthetic over-wrap grips are more costly to manufacturer compared to rubber grips and they do tend to wear a bit faster.

SuperStroke synthetic golf gripSuperStroke synthetic golf grip

Improvements to the mouth of the underlisting make these grips no more difficult to install than compared to other slip-on grips. The only disadvantage of this type of grip is creating non-standard sizing. That is since the synthetic strap is wrapped or applied tightly over an underlisting, the grip will resist expanding when subjected to installation over a large butt diameter. Therefore, these grips are sold in pre-sized models. The largest producer of synthetic over-wrap grips is Winn and SuperStroke.

Hybrid Grips

Another recent development in the grip industry is the change in how grips are manufactured. Once slip-on rubber composition grips could only be produced by using a single material throughout. But that has all changed.

Karma hybrid golf gripKarma hybrid golf grip

As a way to differentiate and improve performance characteristics, manufacturers are now incorporating multi-compounds or multi-densities into a single grip.  These “hybrid” grips, start out much the same way as a regular rubber composition grip, yet slightly undersized or with recessed areas. Then a secondary material is applied over the based layer. Often the base layer is firmer for torsion resistance, while the outer layer is softer for added feel.

Many of these hybrid golf grips have special treatments to the outer surface creating a tacky feel for added resistance to slippage. Lastly, these are often the most expensive grips other than leather.

Air Cushioned Grips

Another type of grip that can be purchase is called “air cushioned.” These are designed with vibration dampening in mind; air cushioned golf grips have a unique internal design that allows air to be trapped underneath the grip. In the picture you can see the variegations or ribs as the trapped air acts as a cushion to the player’s hands during the swing. 

cutaway view of the internal ribs of an Avon Air Cushioned gripcutaway view of the internal ribs of an Avon Air Cushioned grip

The most popular air cushioned type of grip is the Avon Chamois. Air cushion grips do tend to wear a bit quicker than other types of rubber grips due to their increased cushioning properties, but easily offset by their comfort. But do not worry, their cost is about the same or even lower than most standard rubber grips.

Leather Grips

Once a clubmaking staple, leather grips have declined in popularity, almost to the point of extinction.  Regarded at one time as the finest material available for a golf grip, the decline was due mostly to their high cost and increased amount of labor required for installation. 

Traditionally leather grips were essentially a golf grip made up of several parts.  First a rubber underlisting must be installed on the club. Then a leather strap is hand-wrapped tightly over the underlisting and secured at the lower portion by a plastic or vinyl grip collar. Sometimes a butt cap, locking pin and plastic cap were required on a few models. Special treatments to the outside surface made the leather grip excellent for those who played in warm or humid conditions.

There are only a few manufacturers of leather golf grips worldwide today. Unlike the grips that proceeded them, these leather grips are built using an over-wrap construction, with the leather strap and underlisting comprising only one piece. These leather grips are in the $30 range for a single piece, and this does not factor in any installation charge. Due to this high cost, very few players will request a leather grip, let alone a full set of clubs.

installing a leather grip strap onto a rubber underlistinginstalling a leather grip strap onto a rubber underlisting

Putter Grips

A putter grip is designed to be applied to only one club in the set: the putter. This type of grip is normally produced with a flat area on the front or top that allows a player to position their thumbs, promoting a square hand placement in line perpendicular to the target. Putter grips can be manufactured with any of the materials previously listed. We will go over their fitting aspects in the Putter Fitting chapter.

side view of a putter gripside view of a putter grip

Ribbed Grips

Now that we have gone over the various styles of grip available, there is one other feature you should be aware of. This is related to a grip's core and is called a rib. Once a common practice among rubber grip manufacturers, few grips today are offered with a rib, or also called a “reminder”.  A ribbed golf grip has a noticeably raised area on the back of a grip that golfers use to assist them in gripping the club in a consistent manner. 

In the manufacturing process, a portion of the mandrel is machined flat to produce a flat area of the interior of the grip. However, once installed onto the shaft this creates a raised ridge. You can see a lengthwise as well as cutaway view of the ribbed feature.

It is important to realize that few grips today are "ribbed". Those that are not known as "round" grips. Some manufacturers may denote this inside the grip. For example, the interior of the mouth of the grip may read M60R, with the “R” for round.

cutaway view of a ribbed golf gripcutaway view of a ribbed golf grip

 It is very important to realize there are no standards amongst the various manufacturers on how they label their grips.  It used to be common that Golf Pride would label the inside of the grip M60. By not adding an R afterwards, the clubmaker would know that it was ribbed. Lamkin is another manufacturer who has used this practice. 

Many imported grips would only designate the core only, or at best, the gender and core designation. By not adding an R afterwards it implied from clubmakers that the grip possessed a rib, when in fact the grip was round. 

Golf Pride uses the label X after the gender and core designation for less confusion – for instance “Does R stand for round or ribbed”? For example, it might say M60X, where M is for men’s, 60 or short for 0.600” core and finally X for “ribbed”.  

For other manufactures models, a closer examination will be necessary to determine if the grip is produced with or without a rib. One way of telling is to look through the vent hole of the grip while holding it up to the light. It will be apparent if a flat side is present on the back half of the interior of the grip.

For clubmakers wanting to add a “rib” to a non-ribbed grip should take extra precaution. The Rules of Golf have specific guidelines on the rib. “The maximum and minimum diameters of the cross-section at any point must not differ by more than 0.040 inches (1 mm).”  In addition, the rib must extend to within 3” of the tip of the grip.  Adding a piece of a coat hanger or heavy gauge wire will create a non-conforming golf grip.

Lightweight Grips

More grips are being introduced in lighter weight options. The trend was first started with synthetic grips like the WinnLite series. Even rubber grips are being manufactured using lower density compounds to save considerable weight. In some cases, these grips can weigh half as much as a normal grip (or more when you include some of the putter grips).

The easiest and least expensive way to reduce the club’s overall weight now is with a lightweight grip. This is one of the secrets the name brand manufacturers have in combination with a lighter shaft when making their sub-300g drivers. The point of these grips is toward a reduced overall weight. But be aware that in order for the shafts to flex as they are designed, the swing weights of the clubs may need to be 4 or 5 points higher (or more).  We will get in-depth information about the use of lighter weight grips in the Weight and Weight Distribution chapter.

Counterweighted Grips

We have yet to talk about counterweighting (we will in Chapter 12) and its’ importance for certain golfers. Boccieri Golf named The Secret Grip, possesses a 17g tungsten counterweight pre-installed into the grip. These specialty grips offer yet another fitting option for custom club fitters.

cutaway view of the Boccieri Secret grip with the 17 gram tungsten counterweightcutaway view of the Boccieri Secret grip with the 17 gram tungsten counterweight


As we have seen there are grips made from rubber, rubber compositions synthetic and leather. Grips may be smooth, perforated or lined with cord; they may be round or ribbed, they may be black, white, yellow or a whole host of colors. Grips can cost less than three dollars each or may approach upwards of $40.00, including installation. Grips are also made or in many cases can be altered in size to fit various players’ hand sizes whether they prefer to hold the grip mainly in their fingers or in their palms. The number of grip choices for a player seems limitless and it is up to the club fitter to expose the player to a grip style and size that meets their needs.

Modern Guide to Golf Clubmaking

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