For the majority of golfers, wearing a golf glove is an essential component to playing the game. From preventing blisters to providing a more secure grip on the golf club, wearing a glove does come with it’s advantages. Having said that, why do golfers only wear one glove if it’s so advantageous? Why not wear a glove on both hands?
Golfers only wear one glove due to the fact that only one hand is primarily responsible for ensuring the grip is firmly secured to the club. The other hand, while important, is mainly used in a supportive role. With a proper grip, it just goes along for the ride. Vijay Singh demonstrates this perfectly as his gloveless hand is barely hanging on to the club at impact.
Keep reading to find out which hand the golfer should wear the glove on as it may surprise you if you’re new the to game.
What Hand Do You Wear A Golf Glove On?
It all depends on if you play right-handed or left-handed. If you play right-handed, you would wear the golf glove on the left hand. If you play left-handed, wear it on the right hand. Most people just coming into the game would think to do the opposite. They would think to wear the glove on the more dominant hand which is the right for a right hander and the left for a left hander. This is not totally false. You would wear the glove on the more dominant hand but it just so happens in golf, the dominant hand is the opposite hand of your handedness.
For a right-handed golfer, gripping the club correctly with the left hand is the foundation for a solid grip. The middle, ring, pinky and sometimes index fingers firmly wrap around the top of the grip to provide a maximum hold on the golf club. The same way as if you were holding an umbrella. Depending on the grip chosen, the index finger may wrap around the grip (overlapping grip) or interlock with the pinky finger (interlocking grip) of the right hand. The thumb is placed on top albeit slightly to the right of center.
The right hand is then placed on in a manner where the palm covers the the thumb of the left hand. If done correctly, the thumb will fit perfectly into the lifeline of the right hand. Unlike the left hand, only the middle and ring fingers are firmly wrapped around the grip. But as I mentioned earlier, the right hand plays more of a supportive role.
For a more detailed breakdown of how to grip a golf club, check out my article: How to Properly Grip a Golf Club.
Why Is A Golf Glove Needed?
The golf glove is needed for a couple reasons. The first reason is for a more secure grip. For someone like me who, especially in the summer months has sweaty hands, a golf glove is a must. Without it, I’d legitimately worry about my grip structure falling apart during my swing. The golf club slipping around in your hands during a swing can lead to some horrific shots and in a worse case scenario, the club flying out of your hands. I know a lot of golf instruction advices to grip the club as if you were holding a bird. My preference is told hold the club a bit more firm…probably an 8 out of 10. Wearing a glove provides an extra level of reassurance when gripping the club this tight.
The second reason many golfers wear gloves is protection from blisters. This kind of ties back to the last point I made about grip pressure. Playing the game with a firmer grip on the club increases the amount of tension on the hands, especially the glove hand. This tension, combined with the constant swinging of the club, inevitably leads to blisters. Playing golf with blisters on the hands is not ideal. If I’m being honest, I do get the occasional blister even while playing with a glove. So I can only imagine how much worse it would be if I played without it.
Pro Golfers Who Wear Two Gloves
You may be asking yourself if one glove provides so much benefit, why not wear gloves on both hands? It all comes down to personal preference. I’ve actually tried wearing two gloves in the past as I come from a baseball background where this was the norm. It wasn’t comfortable for me. Wearing two gloves made it difficult for me to feel where the clubface was during the swing. But I’m just one opinion. Every golfer is different.
While the majority of pro golfers wear only one glove, there are some who wear two. The two most notable are Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey and newcomer to the scene, Aaron Rai. In regards to ball striking, Aaron Rai was a machine in his 2022 rookie season on the PGA Tour. At seasons end, Rai was ranked T23 in overall Ball Striking. This statistic is composed of Total Driving and Greens in Regulation (GIR) where Rai ranked 42nd and 23rd, respectively. He also ranked 16th in Driving Accuracy Percentage hitting the fairway over 67% of time.
So there is at least one example for you of a guy who stripes it wearing two gloves. You’ll never know if it works unless you try it!
Why Do Golfers Take Their Glove Off To Putt?
If you’ve been playing or watching golf for any amount of time, you’ve likely noticed most golfers take their gloves off when putting and sometimes to chip as well. The reason for this is simply for “feel”. Putting, in particular, requires a delicate touch. Removing the glove “barrier” between the hand and the handle of the putter allows for a more intimate relationship, if you will. While we need the golf glove to provide a more secure the grip on full swings, this is simply not the case when putting.
I’ve putted the majority of my life with my glove on. This past year, I started putting with my glove off. Sadly, I can confirm putting without the glove has not made my putting any better.
Like the list of golfers who play with two gloves on, the list of players who putt with their glove on is short. However, when one of the golfers is arguably the greatest golfer of all time, the length of the list becomes irrelevant. The Golden Bear himself, Jack Nicklaus, always putted while wearing a glove. The guy won 18 majors and made countless crucial putts along the way. The most famous putt probably being on the 17th green in the final round of the 1986 Masters. Such a classic call from the legend Verne Lundquist!
Another great player who putts with her glove on is LPGA star Lexi Thompson. Take it with a grain of salt though as putting is definitely the weakest part of Lexi’s game. I think the moral of this story is putt whichever way is comfortable for YOU. Great players have done it both ways with success.
Wearing only one golf glove has been the standard in golf for quite some time. However, just because it’s the standard doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing for you. If you’d like to try wearing two gloves to play, go for it! Same applies if you’d like to play without gloves completely ala Freddie Couples. Golf is the ultimate trial and error sport. If something works, great. If not, you can always revert back to the old way of doing it.