Test Article Equipment: Grips of the PGA Tour

Test Article Equipment: Grips of the PGA Tour

DiMarcoClaw_299x350_0.jpg
Chris DiMarco's claw putting grip.
Monte Isom

The grip is golf’s most profound fundamental.
All of the game’s contradictions — simultaneous
demands for control and release, delicacy and
power — are contained in the hands. Nothing is as
vital, as subtle or as kingdom-unlocking. There
is Zen in the grip.

There’s also a good chance that there’s something wrong with
the way you hold the club. Harvey Penick was a gold mine on the
subject. “If you don’t have a good grip, you don’t want to play
good golf,” he said. And, “I can go on talking about the grip until
it’s too deep for [even] me to understand.”

Plainly, the simple act of holding a club is an art, and hands
that do it well resemble Da Vinci drawings. But there’s bad art too,
even among the best players. LPGA Hall of Famer Judy Rankin
guaranteed herself a hook with a left hand so strong (that is,
with the thumb to the right of center) that it was almost upside
down. David Duval and Paul Azinger close the club face with
similar strangleholds, while Fred Couples flips it open. Snooping
on Tour revealed a few quirks. Todd Hamilton tries to engineer
a fade by having his grips turned a bit to the right. J.L. Lewis
insists on having his compressed exactly a quarter of an inch,
so that they’re 10 1/4″ in length instead of 10 1/2″. Some players
like the thicker rubber of the .580-inch diameter grip; others
prefer the .600s. (We’re talking about the diameter of the hole
at the end of the grip, of course, not the width on the outside,
which is the same for either grip.) They play around with the
tape underneath — buildups under the right hand, for example, or
more wraps to remove the taper. They’re sensitive as surgeons,
some of them, so we asked 10 heirs of Harry Vardon for their
gripping tales.

Check out this gallery of unique grips, including Jesper Parnevik’s choke hold, Chris DiMarco’s trademark claw and Anthony Kim’s magazine-made grip.


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