Why wear a golf glove – part three?

golf glove1

“No matter what calamities befall him in everyday life, the true golfer still needs the pressure and inconvenience of four hours of trudging in wind or rain or sleet or sun (or all of them at once), hacking at a white pellet that seems to have a mind of its own and a lousy sense of direction.” – Tom O’Connor

By Ian Hardie

Near the end of the article Why wear a golf glove – part two? I posed a question:

“Would I go as far as saying that wearing a golf glove – can get rid of some of the common problems that golfers have?”

You may recall that my answer was that it certainly won’t make them worse!

This is because a good golf glove (or even two if you feel that’s useful for you) can create a more stable connection for the golfer with the golf clubs grip than is possible with just your bare hands and as you can imagine

A stable connection between the hands and the grip of the golf club is one of the main things that enables a golfer to not only hit good shots but also do that consistently whatever the time of year or weather conditions

You might want to read that bit again just to make sure you have it!

Unfortunately though, just getting a golf glove is not enough – as the stable connection that a golf glove or two will give is only possible if the golfer is using the correct type of golf glove in the situations that call for them

Now, if you have always thought that golf gloves were all basically the same – you might be wondering what I’m talking about there – in which case you will want to really pay attention to what’s coming next

As there are some big differences out there when it comes to the world of golf gloves

Virtually every manufacturer of golf equipment there is offers golf gloves in some form as part of their catalogue and as I do not promote any brands at all on Golf Habits – I have no opinion on whose one is best, cheapest or lasts the longest

Although why you would ever want a long lasting golf glove I’m not sure, as to achieve that would basically negate their entire point

So much like golf gripsgolf balls and your ‘wedges’ – you need to consider all golf gloves a disposable item once they are past their best

And yes, you did read that right – I think ‘wedges’ are disposable – you can read why here

The things that need to be considered when it comes to buying golf gloves are the feel, the fit, any features, the material, the colour and of course the price – let’s start with:

The feel

Traditionally the best golf gloves have been made from something called ‘Cabretta’ which is a soft, fine-grained leather made from the skins of sheep that grow hair rather than wool

It’s quite a bit tougher than other sheepskins which is why it is used for golf gloves but to me that’s not its most important quality – in my experience Cabretta leather gloves actually give the best ‘feel’ of the golf grip in your hands – in fact if you have never put on a leather glove and picked up a golf club

I’d suggest it’s worth doing just to feel the difference over all other gloves

Now of course, that’s just my opinion – well, actually mine and millions of other golfers over the years have held the same opinion as Cabretta leather gloves have been the preference of good golfers for a very long time – an example of one is shown in the image at the top of this article

Even though there has been a massive improvement in the feel qualities of some (but not all) synthetic golf gloves over the years – I still haven’t come across anything as good as Cabretta leather

Now, you might be wondering why any other types of golf glove are made – if these Cabretta leather ones are so good?

Well, there are four basic problems that arise from Cabretta leather gloves:

The most obvious one is price – coming from a fairly rare type of sheep and having to go through a bunch of processes to be made, Cabretta leather gloves are the most expensive form of golf glove that there is which of course means that if you aren’t a Golf Pro that gets them for free

They are pretty much a luxury item and out of reach for a lot of golfers

The second problem is the biggest one to me

Even though they are generally coated with water repellent layers, the reality is that as soon as you wear a Cabretta leather glove in anything more than a sprinkle of rain – it’s pretty much going to end up being slippery to play with – not really ideal for a golf glove!

But the biggest effect arrives the next day (or the one after that if it was really wet) because as the water dries it combines with the natural oils in the leather with the end result being a golf glove that has hardened and lost its pliability

The bottom line after that happens is that you will need another leather glove or as you will read about later on – the smart thing to do is to own special ‘rain gloves’ instead

I’m going to combine the third and the fourth problems – which are Durability and Cold as they aren’t really too bad – just something to be aware of

As Cabretta leather gloves are a fine grained natural leather they simply won’t stand up to as much ‘abrasion’ as some of the newer synthetic materials do – this means that even though they do have a fairly good life-span – they will never last as long as most synthetic gloves do and if you are wondering what part ‘abrasion’ plays in all this

‘Abrasion’ when it comes to golf gloves is caused by movement in your grip while you play your shot – most golfers experience it with a little worn patch down the bottom of the palm of their glove and on the thumb as you can see in this image (which by the way is a synthetic glove with leather thumb and palm pieces)

worn gloveNow before you start to think the obvious thought of “why don’t they just put extra bits of leather on to the Cabretta leather gloves to make them last longer?”

Doing that would reduce the amount of feel available to the golfer

Which leads me to the final problem that arises with Cabretta leather golf gloves – being a pretty thin piece of leather they do absolutely nothing to keep your hands warm and in actual fact they have more of a cooling effect if anything

Now while on most days that’s not really a problem for golfers – there are a couple of times that cooling effect can cause a problem – specifically, early mornings or on a cold day

And before you start thinking “come on Ian it can’t make that much difference”

Studies have shown that when hands and fingers are exposed to cold for any length of time – it can result in impaired hand performance which means reduced tactile sensitivity (feel), reduced tracking performance (that means a lack of control as to where they are going) and reduced grip strength (also something not too useful when it comes to golf)

Take a minute here to think about whether you have experienced this at some point

It may have been an early start or just a chilly day but if you think back, you can probably recognise the effect that your cold hands had on your golf shots in both distance and consistency

The solution to this little problem?

Gloves that not only provide grip but also warm your hands at the same time

Which is something I’m going to take a good look at in “Why wear a golf glove – part four?”

Until then

Play well


Related Posts

Why wear a golf glove?

Why wear a golf glove – part two?

One of golf’s pro secrets

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simply better golf


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