Why do some golfers take off their golf glove to putt – part two?

ben crenshaw

“Everyone wants to be known as a great striker of the ball for some reason. Nobody wants to be called a lucky, one-putting s.o.b.”Gary Player

By Ian Hardie

In the post Why do some golfers take off their golf glove to putt? I talked about a question that I was asked by a golfer who I had been helping to improve their game with a series of golf lessons

It was a question which had obviously been on their mind for a while

Apart from the odd comments I’d heard about various golfers over the years – as to whether they did or didn’t – I’m pretty sure that’s the first time a golfer has actually asked me that question which was:

‘Why do some golfers take off their golf glove to putt?’

Like a lot of the questions I get about the game of golf – I was unable to give the golfer a simple answer – purely because whether or not a golfer keeps their golf glove on to putt is something that I have always believed is an extremely personal choice that almost every golfer makes and in my experience actually depends on a number of different factors

Well that’s what I used to think about that……………but now I’m not so sure it’s right

This change of opinion has come about as the more that I have looked in to why a golfer would actually keep their golf glove on to putt – the more I am finding reasons that it’s a darn good idea to do so

Which is great as questioning ‘what we all know’ – is exactly the purpose of Golf Habits

I think that one of the main problems I have had over the years with not being able to answer that question in a simpler fashion is that with the exception of Jack Nicklaus – The best male golfer ever (so far)

Almost every other golfer that I can think of that has been known as a great putter

Such as Ben Crenshaw (that’s him putting in the image at the top of this post) Gary Player, Bobby Locke (considered by some to be possibly the best putter that the game of golf has ever seen), Greg Norman and Tiger Woods – always took their glove off when putting

When you then go on to add in the great golfers that took their glove off to putt most of the time which includes such greats as Seve Ballesteros and Arnold Palmer

Then add in the odd golfer that didn’t wear a glove for any shot – like Fred couples

It seems like there should be an overwhelming reason to take the glove off while putting

Especially when you factor in that according to Wikipedia – your fingers have some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the body which are the biggest source of tactile feedback and have the greatest positioning capability of any part of the body

Which is why most people associate the sense of touch with their hands as opposed to other parts of the body

Interestingly, like other paired organs that humans have such as eyes, feet and legs

Each hand is dominantly controlled by the opposing brain hemisphere – which is something I’m going to come back to later on

With virtually every golfer in the world telling you that the main reason that they take their golf glove off to putt being that ‘they can feel the putt better’ – the idea of keeping a layer of leather or synthetic material on your hand while putting – doesn’t make sense at all

As logically it must lead to a reduced amount of tactile feedback that your hand could give your brain while putting and make it harder for your brain to direct that hand while putting

Which would seem like the final answer to the question

As most golfers will tell you that it’s good to be able to ‘feel the putter in their hands’ but then you would be forgetting that one of the reasons that I think Jack Nicklaus kept his golf glove on while putting – was that he would have been able to use less grip pressure to control the putter by doing so

Less grip pressure to a golfer is an extremely useful thing as I wrote about recently on the post How tight should you grip the golf club when driving?

Combine that idea with these things that I wrote about in the post Putting 101:

“The positioning of the hands on the grip is not as important as you might think

How you put both hands on and whether fingers are linked or whatever is not the main or even much of a determining factor in good putting

However what you are trying to do with the way you grip it is

Form a triangle

This is the critical part.

Your hands on the grip combined with your arms and shoulders

Need to form a solid triangle which is the only thing that moves during the putt.

In doing this you are taking control of the putter away from the small muscles of the wrists

And giving it to your large, powerful shoulder and upper back muscles.

These muscles are not prone to quick movement like the wrists as they are some 16 times larger

Which means they will move in a slower and more controlled fashion

Giving you far more control over the putter than someone putting using their hands or wrists”

I want you to read that bit above again and think about it all for a minute or two

Would you rather have your hand on the putter gripping it with a little tension, sending lots of messages to your brain about how it feels and having the small muscles of your wrists controlling your putt or would it be better to have less tension and feedback going from your hand to your brain with your large, powerful shoulder and upper back muscles controlling your putting for you?

We might be getting closer to the answer as to exactly what is the best thing to do is

Which will be coming in the post ‘Why do some golfers take off their golf glove to putt – part three?’

Until then

Play well

 

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