Golf Grip Styles: Are You Being Ribbed Regarding Your Clubs?

I realize that when I discuss golf grips or golf grip styles sometimes I am referring to the way one holds onto or takes hold of a golf grip and at other times I am referring to the characteristics or construction of a physical golf grip, one of the main components of a golf club. And these are two entirely different elements that I frequently use the same words for. Well to date I have not figured out a good way that I really like in which one can upon a quick glance readily distinguish which I am referring to. So I begin here by announcing that the above title refers to the physical construction of a component golf grip and a feature known as a “rib,” which many golf grips have and many others do not. Having said that, however, I will also during this examination be referring to the “other” golf grip or golf grip style, that of how one holds onto or takes hold of a golf club, mostly as a function of component golf grips that are and are not “ribbed.” Hopefully I will clearly distinguish between them during this analysis.

So I will get right to it with the hope that the length of this particular entry will not match the length of my immediately prior entry. Given the time frame involved the formulation of that entry was brutal at least for me, and perhaps for anyone reading through it as well. Anyway, as briefly started above, a golf grip rib is a feature of golf grip construction that some grips have and some grips do not that in general terms comprises a slightly raised bump that runs along a good portion of the length of a golf grip, from essentially its grip cap downward and running parallel to the golf shaft (when such a grip is installed on a golf shaft well). This rib is traditionally located along the underside of the golf grip such that if one takes hold of a golf club in a normal manner the rib will traditionally be facing the ground side as opposed to the sky side. As such, ribbed golf grips are by design not intended to be perfectly round. As a greatly exaggerated exemplification just for initial illustrative purposes, a ribbed golf grip might be thought of as a triangle instead of round, with one of its flat surfaces facing upward (the approximate area where one’s thumbs are placed when holding onto a golf grip/club) and one of its pointed edges facing downward (where one’s fingers generally reside) when holding onto a golf grip/club in a traditional manner. I am honestly not absolutely certain whether there are specific rules governing the size, shape, and/or placement of such a rib, but there may be.

I will be discussing ribs here under the assumption that golf grips could always be made sufficiently round if desired and that any rib is employed strictly for a strategic playing purpose(s) of some sort. In other words, if early molded golf grip production techniques were such that getting dependably and consistently round golf grips might have been an issue and struggle for example and the implementation of a rib was deemed a good idea originally to help golfers hold onto grips/clubs more consistently for that particular reason (which is possible), that potential circumstance is beyond the scope of my knowledge and this particular posting. Again, the assumption here is that golf grips could always be made acceptably round and acceptably in all other ways also for the purpose of playing excellent golf and that ribs are or are not employed strictly for strategic playing purposes beyond this foundational assumption.

Ribbed and round golf grip configurations and any arguments for or against either have certainly gone through phases over time. Decades ago the majority of all so-called professional golf grip models had ribs molded directly into them upon manufacturing, with grip models not having ribs in them sometimes being considered inferior and/or grip designs that were less effective. In fact, in referencing various grip core sizes that I have discussed previously and that can generally be distinguished by codes often found close inside the open-ended mouth (bottom) end of golf grips, most golf grips were ribbed and were indicated as such by the “absence” of any additional coding after the core size numbering. Round grips, which were rarer, generally had an additional of the letter “R” located after the core size numbering. I know this might be confusing, but that is just the way it was. I note here that I have briefly come across various information indicating that this “system” has changed some in recent years but I am not intimately familiar with exactly how, and each grip manufacturer may have its own particular system anyway, so due diligence research in this area is suggested for anyone that will be purchasing and/or working with component golf grips.

It used to be for decades from essentially the time molded rubber-type golf grips really came into their own that playing with ribbed golf grips was more prominent and popular among golfers as a whole than playing with round grips. Even for the many golfers still using leather grips during one of golf’s many transition periods where rubber-type grips eventually overtook an earlier predominance of leather grips, rubber-type “underlistings” that were installed on shafts before leather strips were subsequently wrapped around them commonly came in ribbed models so the final leather grip construction would be of a ribbed configuration also. In more recent times, however, there seems to have been somewhat of a reversal, with more round grips being produced and used and in some instances ribbed grips now being considered more of an inferior style of golf grip. Some (but not all) of this reversal has been influenced by the increasing popularity of adjustable golf clubs, where such a club’s shaft can be mechanically removed and reinstalled in the clubhead in different alignments in order to alter one or more golf club specification values and be played with as such.

The use of round grip models on such clubs may be necessary, for if a ribbed grip is installed (assumes that the grip is not totally replaced each time a different shaft alignment is tried on such a club), then the rib on the grip/shaft might be aligned notably differently with respect to the clubface for different shaft positions tried aside from the position the shaft was in when the grip was originally installed (assumes the ribbed grip was installed in perfectly square alignment relative to the clubface when the shaft/club was in its original configuration). That is generally not a good thing. This has somewhat contributed to a different and worse attitude regarding ribbed golf grip styles than in the past. Yet due to what I am about to reveal, there could ultimately be another reversal in attitudes regarding ribbed and round golf grip styles. Another item I will just briefly mention here is that there are various “homemade” ways to either “add” a rib to a round golf grip style or “remove” a rib from a ribbed golf grip style to try to make it round. But this too is beyond the scope of this particular entry and might perhaps be considered for discussion later. While the very basics of golf grip ribs are thoroughly analyzed first to better understand them, I will stay with grip styles and models that are readily available.

(Square grip alignments ideally have a club’s clubface direction directed along a line that is perpendicular to the shaft’s centerline, with the rib of a ribbed grip directed along the centerline of the shaft and located directly underneath the shaft [though typically aligned through some marking(s) on top of the grip (the rib is along the bottom), and assumes that the clubhead is generally pointing upward while the club is in a vise or other satisfactory gripping device]. As an added note here having just previously finished the topic of face angle, the sole design of a golf club’s clubhead is irrelevant with respect to grip installation and alignment and should taken completely out of play. In other words, if a wood-type club has a face angle that is ten degrees open by design (or fit) as an exaggerated example, a ribbed golf grip if used should still fundamentally be installed in a square alignment relative to the clubface without influence from the club’s face angle value and not installed in an alignment that is ten degrees open. This is not to say that both cannot be done at the same time, but these are two totally different elements that need to be independently understood, independently addressed, and which can also be applied independently of each other, not both just automatically done at the same time).

Now the current knowledge regarding a ribbed golf grip can presently be viewed in somewhat of the same manner as golf club face angle that I just discussed. It is not so much that what is currently known about a ribbed golf grip style is comprehended completely incorrectly (as it relates to taking hold of and swinging a golf club effectively). It is more that knowledge regarding a ribbed golf grip style is incomplete to say the least, with a whole other facet of ribbed golf grip understanding missing that has essentially never even been touched on and revealed to date to golfers (and even so-called professional clubfitters). An understanding of this other facet needs to be integrated into a more thorough comprehension of ribbed golf grip basics before one will be able to make a best decision regarding the use of a round or ribbed golf grip under any given circumstance.

So in continuing, this discussion in large part will surround a very common term that has been generally associated with golf grip ribs for as far back as I can remember. This term is “reminder,” with the term rib very frequently being accompanied by this additional term such that the term “reminder rib” is just about as common as the term rib. (I have no idea whatsoever who might have originally come up with this term). But now I shall look more into term reminder rib. In referencing the many times I have stated how broadly and poorly so many terms in golf are typically thrown about so carelessly and often as excuse terms when one does not have sufficient knowledge regarding any given topic, the use of this term just as it is can actually bring about more questions than answers. There is one fairly obvious question in particular that just begs to be asked: the rib is a reminder of exactly what? Now for most people to whom this question might be put to (just staying within the golf industry) and in asking them to be as detailed as possible so as to hopefully avoid some excuse expressions, a cumulative response might typically be formed along the lines of the rib being a physical reminder or guide of how to best place one’s hands on a golf grip when taking hold of a golf club for the purpose of helping one secure one’s most proper, consistent, and/or effective hold on a golf club.

As expanded on a little more here, this is a more complete explanation of what I will call the pretty standard definition for the purpose of a ribbed golf grip that has developed over time. As a more specific derivative of just reminder rib, there is nothing really inherently incorrect with this definition as long as it is understood that it is based on a fundamental belief that the sole (or at least primary) purpose of the rib design is related to how one is supposed to structurally take hold of a golf club. However, as will be seen there are certain details that do not add up correctly regarding that fundamental belief and thus definition. Now I have distinctly noted earlier how many different and more specific definitions can be derived from the single general term of “feel” in golf for instance, with some feel definitions in essence opposing each other when analyzed from certain perspectives. And I have further shown how serious deficiencies in adequately separating, presenting, and/or defining such terms in golf can lead to serious errors and/or misunderstandings. In somewhat similar fashion to face angle where that golf club specification has basically only been half understood in the past essentially due to an utter failure by the clubfitting industry to separate ball travel results and direct golf swing performance instead of ignorantly considering them to be one and the same, there is also a totally separate and different definition that can be applied for the term reminder rib that is nothing like the first definition presented above. This second definition, fundamentally completely missing from golf swing and clubfitting instruction to this point, sheds an entirely different light on the existence and usage of ribbed golf grip styles. And with only the first of these definitions commonly known and applied to this point, it can similarly be stated that ribbed golf grip styles have essentially been only half understood to this point.

Now before disclosing this second definition, I will analyze the workings of the first definition a little more. When it comes to methods of how to take hold of a golf club, hopefully you will recall from the Terrible Twos Syndrome how I separated this into two fundamental methods simply called the developing and developed gripping methods. In the developing method, one will commonly place certain parts of one’s hands onto certain parts of a golf grip and into certain positions in a rather deliberate manner as most anyone would do when trying to learn something thing new or different that has not become second nature or automatic habit to one yet. I hesitate to use a term like beginner here, because even a long-time, successful tour player as one example would essentially go through the same process if wanting to change his/her golf gripping style for whatever reason(s) after becoming very used to something different over a period of time. So developing is not a bad term to use overall, though let it be known that even some very experienced golfers (though I cannot say I have observed a considerable number) will actually perform such a process of taking hold of a golf club their entire lives, even at a level of being a tour player. But at any rate, the developing method of taking hold of a golf club is somewhat synonymous with the method of taking hold of a golf club directed by the first definition given above for reminder rib.

While individual nuances can vary a great deal from person to person, a very broad description of how one might take hold of a golf club in accordance with the first definition of reminder rib above would be to first get a visual bearing of the design of the installed golf grip no matter what the position of the clubface is (even if the grip is misaligned relative to the clubface) to make sure one knows the position of the reminder rib. There is commonly some sort of visual indicator(s) on the front part of the golf grip to indicate this. Then, one will meticulously place one’s hands on the golf grip in a manner such that the rib will be firmly engaged in one’s fingers on the underside of the grip/club. (Even if one has become sufficiently used to the way a reminder rib feels in one’s hands and engages the rib by just memorized feel rather than visually, one’s initial taking hold of the club will still fundamentally require one to initially ignore the position of the clubface until the rib is positioned within one’s hands consistently the same way every time).

Then, and only then, with the rib maintained in the same position within one’s hands, can one turn one’s attention to the clubface and turn the clubface if necessary (and thus one’s hands along with it) to a position one wants to begin one’s swing from. Alternately, one might leave one’s hand positioning in one’s normal or standard positioning and instead swing from that position with the clubface potentially being open or closed some. (The intentional misaligning of ribbed golf grips is implemented by some golfers in an effort to achieve a desired effect(s) as described more below, thus intentionally creating the above situation, but there is a better way in both theory and practice of accomplishing what such golfers are trying to do, which will also be seen further below). As indicated above, such a process of taking hold of a golf club (that is in accordance with the only definition given to this point [above] for reminder rib) is comparable to the developing process of taking hold of a golf club except that the addition of a reminder rib might change one or more priorities regarding what one is specifically looking to accomplish. For example, the rib being in a certain place in the fingers of one’s bottom gripping hand might become a higher priority than where the “V” formed by one’s bottom gripping hand is specifically pointing. Plus differing rib alignments (whether intentional or unintentional) add an additional element not present with round grips.

Now some of this process might seem odd and/or unnecessary, particularly to one that might be a more experienced player and is so used to taking hold of one’s golf clubs it is basically the equivalent of taking hold of one’s eating utensils to eat with. Nevertheless, this is the way a golf grip must essentially be taken hold of according to the definition provided above for reminder rib. Taking hold of golf grip in any other manner would not fundamentally be in accordance with the definition provided, and the definition provided is essentially what the definition of reminder rib has come to be in golf over time. As might perhaps be sensed, when analyzed in this light there are certain things that just do not to add up properly. For instance, while the above definition is essentially the one that is and has been applied for a very long time, the fact is that all told not a lot of golfers (excepting beginners) actually take hold of a golf club in such a manner.

Another issue is the rather limited range in which the above definition can reasonably be applied, and beyond that range, what protocol(s) should be applied and why. As an exaggerated example, consider a ribbed golf grip being installed and aligned on a club at a three or nine o’clock position (I will say intentionally for shotmaking and explanatory purposes) instead of a standard six o’clock position when the clubface is aligned square to the centerline of the shaft. If the above definition and explanation of reminder rib is held to be proper, then one’s hand positions will theoretically be turned ninety degrees one way or the other from what they would be if the grip were installed in a traditional position. While potentially possible (if one is flexible or limber enough), this becomes pretty absurd pretty quickly from a playability standpoint, and one might begin to wonder about a point where one should stop trying to adhere to the above definition and potentially do something else. Is the alignment range limit away from square where adhering to the definition would still provide a playing benefit 45, 20, or 10 degrees or even less? At any such limit the definition would have to be altered. And with such a limited range of beneficial application, one might wonder about this aspect too and whether the definition might be defective at least in part.

These issues are never discussed, yet they would and should be if the above definition for reminder rib is really taken seriously and is not just some more flatulent golfing language that one might have learned through someone else and is just repeating without really having a clue regarding what it really defines. (The alternate process related above where one’s hand positioning is kept the same and instead the clubface alignment is altered at address the amount that the rib alignment deviates from square is of course different from that just described. But what remains consistent is the rather limited range in which rib alignments can be altered in accordance with the above definition before the definition cannot really apply any more and needs alteration, which does not really appear logical).

Still another item that does not make sense with the above definition is the following. I will again admit that history (any history and not just golf history) is not a strength of mine to say the least. But to the best of my knowledge from what I have learned to this point, the first golfers to most notably start utilizing ribs with their golf grips/clubs were not beginners trying to take hold of their golf grips/clubs and feeling they needed some sort of physical reminder rib help because they were too inconsistent at taking hold of their grips/clubs. Rather they were some of the best and most notable tournament players of the day, players that assumably certainly did not need any reminder rib help when it came to taking hold of their golf grips/clubs in an extremely consistent manner. Thus, one or more elements are just not quite right with the above definition of reminder rib and one or more events have taken place since this golf grip feature has become available that have evidently resulted in at least a partially incorrect interpretation(s) of its true purpose, leading to at least a partially incorrect definition that has somehow endured without being more properly represented to this point. This is not to say that the above definition cannot be applied and cannot hold true within a limited range under any given circumstances (as it has already been applied for generations for better or worse and apparently works within a certain context). But it is important at this point to hopefully get a good sense of some of the potential limitations and/or drawbacks of the concept of a golf grip model that has a reminder rib as part of its design and where the purpose of the reminder rib is defined as it is above.

With this information in mind, I now quickly review the first definition as presented above for the purpose of a reminder rib as part of golf grip construction and disclose a totally different second definition, first in extremely simple terms. While its first definition above is fundamentally as a physical reminder of how to position one’s hands on a golf grip/club when taking hold of that grip/club, a second definition in extremely foundational terms is as a physical reminder of the position of a club’s clubface at any point in one’s golf swing that in principle has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s ability (or inability) to take hold of a golf grip/club in a consistently effective manner. This second definition puts a whole different light on what a reminder rib is all about. It leads down a completely different path where certain cause and effect occurrences are in fact complete opposites of that encountered when the first definition of reminder rib is implemented. This second definition is more in line with the purpose and benefit of flat fronts on putter grips, just working on a much larger scale of swinging. Such flat fronts give one a reliable indication of a putter’s clubface alignment (if the grip is aligned well) at any point during one’s putting stroke and is not intended as a guide for how one is supposed to specifically take hold of a putter (as evidenced in large part by the countless different shapes putter grips come in, most all having flat fronts). When implementing this second definition of reminder rib, one would in principle never want to install a ribbed golf grip in any other position than perfectly square to a club’s clubface (just like for a putter). And there is really no need to ever consider anything else as will be better seen in a moment.

For the purpose of continuing this discussion, it is foundationally assumed that even on full swings the dynamics of any golf club as a whole are and should be such that the club’s rib and clubface alignment relationship fundamentally coincides with (at the point of club/ball impact that determines initial ball travel direction) the club’s rib and clubface alignment relationship existing at address (just as they fundamentally coincide for the smallest of golf strokes made). If this does not in essence happen, then that is a different issue to be dealt with that has nothing whatsoever to do with a reminder rib and its alignment on a golf club. (Altering rib alignment should never be done to correct for any other clubfitting deficiencies, as that is the equivalent of implementing a second wrong on top of a first wrong, not conducive to obtaining the best overall results). While this principle of club dynamics could be assumed in connection with the first definition of reminder rib given above also, the distinct differences between the two definitions make this particular principle not really even thought of and considered relevant unless and until the second definition is considered. (This particular paragraph is included simply because its content became relevant in the natural course of what is being discussed here. Having said that, however, the elements in this paragraph are primarily directed to ball travel results fitting in connection with golf grip rib alignment, whereas the remainder of this entry foundationally focuses on direct golf swing performance, a totally different concern. Nevertheless, this paragraph’s content can be excellent reference matter for this and other potential entries in the future).

Now in using the simplest terms I can currently think of, I will from this point forward refer to the first reminder rib definition presented (either definition of which I may further amend in the future) as the “grip reminder” definition and the second as the “clubface reminder” definition. To now give just a little background with respect to the clubface reminder definition, know that golf can be played quite effectively without such clubface reminders and with just plain old round grips (even on putters quite frankly), and this has been admirably proven time and time again by many superb golfers over the history of golf to this point. This is possible mainly because first a golf ball and the primarily flat clubface of a golf club are both clearly within one’s sight up until the very moment one’s swing is begun, and one can basically make any desired adjustments to the clubface through one’s hold on the club’s grip up to that moment. And second is the fact that a golf ball does not move during the entire time one’s golf swing is being made (until club/ball impact is hopefully achieved), thus not requiring any in-swing modifications to a degree where one’s sense of one’s swing and/or equipment might be more easily lost. These are circumstances conducive to being able to play golf well even with plain round golf grips.

Compare this with playing tennis as one example, where a tennis ball is routinely in motion during play. One can basically never take one’s eye off the moving ball or one will commonly be in a lot of trouble, and as a result one’s flat-faced tennis racket has to be prepared for hitting the ball without ever being able to look at the racket for the most part. As such, a flat-sided rectangular grip shape is provided so a player has a physical means of referencing the alignment the racket’s head is facing in precisely and is able to manipulate the grip/racket as such without really needing a visual reference as to what alignment the head of the racket is in under any given circumstances. Without this grip shape attribute, the game of tennis would not really be able to be played in a reasonable manner. But there are certainly different circumstances surrounding the hitting of a motionless golf ball, including as noted that there are distinct visual references available between the ball and clubface up to the moment one’s golf swing is begun and one can take one’s eye off the ball while preparing the club for making a stroke. Due to such circumstances, the game of golf can be played quite effectively with just plain round grips.

Notwithstanding this, contributed to by the wide variety of different terrain shapes that one makes golf swings from (far more varied than encountered when playing tennis for example), and when getting into the finer details most scrupulously regarding repetitive golf swing performance, no one ever really makes the same exact golf swing twice in a human lifetime no matter how it might look on the surface. And to that end, having a physical reference guide or reminder within one’s hands to indicate the alignment of a golf club’s clubface at any point once it is not visually perceptible anymore in the course of one’s golf swing and being able to manipulate the clubface during one’s swing through that physical reminder can be advantageous if implemented skillfully. And the rules regarding golf clubs do permit a reminder rib to be utilized in connection with golf grips.

In continuing from here, the process of taking hold of a golf club in conjunction with the clubface reminder definition has certain elements that are somewhat synonymous with the developed method of taking hold of a golf club. This method of taking hold of a golf club, as I have previously discussed, comes into being when one finally feels one is sufficiently fundamentally used to taking hold of a golf grip/club in an efficient and developed manner that has become second nature or natural, whereas doing the same thing previously felt very unnatural and had to be consciously forced for an undetermined period of time. And one can start taking hold of a golf grip/club automatically in similar fashion to taking hold of one’s eating utensils. To that end, both the clubface reminder definition and developed method of taking hold of a golf grip/club are directed toward the absence of any separate conscious effort regarding how to place one’s hands on the golf grip/club first (whether visually, by physical feel, and/or through any other desired means) before one is able to direct one’s attention to the clubface alignment at address. One can more simply just focus on the clubface alignment and/or any other elements deemed important with one less component (a conscious method of taking hold of the grip/club) to deal with. I note here that with respect the developed method of taking hold of a golf grip/club, the process of taking hold of the grip/club is really unchanged regardless of whether the grip even has a rib or not (but this is not to say that the addition of a rib cannot affect one’s hand positioning on the grip/club, because it certainly can as will be related directly below). This is not the case for the developing method of taking hold of a golf grip/club, where the process of taking hold of the grip/club can be notably different depending on whether the grip is a ribbed or round style.

Despite my directing above that in the end there is no need or reason to align a ribbed golf grip upon installation in any other manner than perfectly square to a club’s clubface in conjunction with the clubface reminder definition, different rib alignments must still be analyzed in order to understand why this is. So in starting this, the clubface reminder definition in principle directs that it is completely irrelevant as to the way a ribbed golf grip is aligned. Even if a ribbed grip is installed and aligned sideways or upside down on a club, the rib is simply used as a physical reference (or reminder) within one’s hands of the physical alignment of the club’s clubface as observed starting at address and for one to do whatever one wants to with once one’s swing begins and the clubface gets out of one’s range of visual perception. There is no directorate or even implication that the rib is supposed to be placed within any specific part(s) of one’s hands when taking hold of the golf grip/club when implementing the clubface reminder definition, but there sure is when implementing the grip reminder definition. This is a major difference between these more particular definitions derived from the broader term reminder rib. In this regard the clubface reminder definition is far less limited in its scope of application pertaining to ribbed golf grips, and this contributes to a sense that it is more proper overall than the grip reminder definition. (The clubface reminder definition does have its limitations as will be seen below, but these limitations are contextually different and not as narrow as those represented above regarding the grip reminder definition).

Now I will back up to just plain round golf grips for a moment and restate here that in general terms, when one implements the developing method of taking hold of a golf club, one will generally place one’s hands on every golf grip/club encountered in the same structured manner and will thus end up with essentially the same hand positioning regardless of whether taking hold of a bare shaft or a jumbo size golf grip. But when one implements the developed method of taking hold of a golf grip/club, one’s hand positioning will generally tend to vary more as a natural cause and effect among different golf grip sizes and one’s hands. Settling into weaker hand positions (counterclockwise as viewed down the shaft centerline from the club’s butt end for a right-handed player) will be common as grips taken hold of become larger in diameter overall and settling into stronger hand positions will be common as grips taken hold of become smaller in diameter overall. Keeping this quick review in mind and in adding the information presented above, now it is time to have a bit of real fun by integrating ribbed golf grips of varying alignments into the equation.

In reviewing past clubfitting materials, I first broadly restate what has been newly presented here in Waggle Weight Wisdom™. Starting with the wide reminder rib term and then more specifically defining this term, certain cause and effect occurrences when centering on the more specific grip reminder definition (generally associated more with the developing method of taking hold of a golf grip/club) are complete opposites of when centering on the more specific clubface reminder definition (generally associated more with the developed method of taking hold of a golf grip/club). With this in mind and pointing first to the grip reminder definition as has been defined here, this is essentially the definition (though not generally known as a grip reminder and generally more broadly known as just a reminder rib) that has been most commonly known, taught, and promoted through the years and the one that can be observed in virtually all clubfitting materials published to date that try to properly address this particular topic. But this typical definition is just a one-sided approach that states the rib is fundamentally for the purpose of helping one take a so-called correct and consistent hold on a golf grip/club and secure one’s hands in certain places on the grip/club. This is despite the fact that this definition and its underlying concept appear more geared toward less experienced golfers (and yet many superb golfers also commonly used ribbed grips). A deeper analysis has also revealed other inconsistencies that I have disclosed.

As some golfers and/or clubfitters do indeed practice the intentional misaligning of golf grip ribs to try to achieve a certain effect(s), this practice as proposed by these past clubfitting materials is stated as a very simple one. Firmly in line with the grip reminder definition and the developing method of taking hold of a golf club, it is typically stated that an open rib alignment away from square relative to a club’s clubface (the grip turned counterclockwise from square for a right-handed golfer as viewed down the centerline of the shaft from the club’s butt end) will promote a more open clubface and/or weaker hand positions (generally promoting golf ball travel results more to the right) relative to the rib alignment being in a square condition. And alternately, a closed rib alignment will promote a more closed clubface and/or stronger hand positions (generally promoting golf ball travel results more to the left). These are apparently types of attempts to potentially correct for one’s perceived “swing flaws” and/or “clubfitting flaws” regarding one or more golf club specifications as fit to one. Additionally, such attempts are virtually always geared toward ball travel results, with never any discussion about how one’s direct golf swing performance might be affected by such rib alignment alterations. And all told, these past clubfitting materials and their authors (continuing to this very day) have generally displayed a complete unfamiliarity with regard to a golf grip rib’s purpose as a clubface reminder, neither defining nor analyzing this particular parameter in the least despite the multiple discrepancies I have disclosed here and which have been persistent for a very long time regarding the much more common grip reminder parameter.

But I am certainly capable of addressing the clubface reminder parameter right here, authoritatively stating that when implementing its definition in conjunction with the developed method of taking hold of a golf club, rib alignments versus hand positions when taking hold of golf grips/clubs work in totally the opposite way than that described in the preceding paragraph when discussing the grip reminder parameter. In other words, an open rib alignment relative to a club’s clubface actually promotes taking a stronger overall hand positioning than when the rib alignment is in a square condition and a closed rib alignment promotes taking a weaker overall hand positioning. This is not overly hard to test and learn and two distinct test clubs are not even needed (as is often the case in the Terrible Twos Syndrome) to get a good foundational start. One simply needs a single golf club with a ribbed golf grip installed in a reasonably square alignment to the club’s clubface. First one needs to take hold of the grip/club with the clubface held in a reasonably square alignment (utilizing the developed method of taking hold of the grip/club [which the majority of golfers generally utilize whether they realize it or not]) and obtain a sense of what the size of the grip and one’s hand positions overall are like. Then one only needs to open the clubface (a notable amount initially to get a good initial sense of the concept), which actually closes the club’s rib alignment, and repeat taking hold of the grip/club with the clubface held in that position.

It is typically not difficult to note that the size of the golf grip feels effectively larger and one’s overall hand positioning has naturally moved weaker relative to what it was with the clubface held in a square alignment (this might have to be done a few times if one has never tried it before). Oppositely, if one closes the clubface (thus opening the club’s rib alignment) and repeats taking hold of the grip/club again, it is typically not difficult to note that the size of the golf grip feels effectively smaller and one’s overall hand positioning has naturally moved stronger relative to what is was with the clubface held in a square alignment. (In detailing the cause and effect that takes place regarding the open clubface [closed rib alignment] condition, the rib moves more into the palm of the top gripping hand, making the grip diameter feel effectively larger in that hand, and the rib moves more into the fingers of the bottom gripping hand, making the grip diameter feel effectively smaller in that hand. Both of these circumstances [or each one independently] generally influence one to naturally take a weaker overall hold on a golf grip/club than without this condition being present. For the closed clubface [open rib alignment] condition, the rib moves more into the fingers of the top gripping hand, making the grip diameter feel effectively smaller in that hand, and the rib moves more toward the palm (although generally still in the fingers) of the bottom gripping hand, making the grip diameter feel effectively larger in that hand. And both of those circumstances [or each one independently] generally influence one to naturally take a stronger overall hold on a golf grip/club than without that condition being present).

The best consistency and maximum range of these causes and effects can only be realized if the rib is aligned square to the clubface when a ribbed grip is installed on any given golf club. To illustrate, a rib aligned at a nine o’clock position relative to a clubface will already basically produce the grip’s maximum effective grip diameter for a right-handed golfer. Opening the clubface from square from that starting rib alignment will in principle not result in any further increase in effective grip size and in theory at least the effective grip size diameter will become smaller regardless of whether the clubface is opened or closed. The opposite effect(s) will occur with a rib aligned at a three o’clock position relative to a clubface. That starting rib alignment already basically produces the grip’s minimum effective grip size, with in theory no place to go but to an increase in effective grip diameter regardless of whether the clubface alignment is opened or closed from square. After getting used to the concept in general, one initial inquiry that might come to mind is whether these relationships will hold true for smaller rib alignment changes away from square. The comprehensive answer to this question is yes, and one had better hope that this is foundationally true. (But anomalies can certainly occur, with countless other conditions also commonly coming into play for any given golf stroke played, particularly as rib alignment changes away from theoretical square become smaller and smaller). If these relationships do not hold true in a generally consistent manner even for small rib alignment variations, then just two of many possibilities are that one might perhaps need some improvement in the way one foundationally takes hold of a golf club, or one or more club specifications might not be a best fit for one.

With this information in mind, one test I have performed multiple times has consisted of the following. With two otherwise identical clubs to swing side by side, the two clubs are gripped with the same model and core size grips, the only difference being that one of the clubs has a round version of the particular grip model and the other has a ribbed version aligned square to the club’s clubface. In starting by swinging for the playing of straight shots, I generally find that both clubs are swung equally well with no notable differences in my swing between the two. Then, however, I (a right-handed player) switch to playing intentional left-to-right shots. I do that in a fairly standard manner by aiming left some and opening the clubface some at address, but beyond that swinging normally. In that testing (focusing on pure swing performance and not ball travel results), swings with the ribbed-gripped club are performed more effectually, with better swinging motions invariably noted than with the round-gripped club (alternating between the two clubs). With the clubfaces of both clubs held comparably open at address, the grip on the ribbed-gripped club feels effectively bigger and I take a little weaker hold on that club (generally beneficial conditions if one wants to play left-to-right shots) with its rib alignment in that position (now to some extent closed). No swing adjustment(s) whatsoever are needed to play the shots, whereas with the round-gripped club (after swinging the club having the effectively larger grip size) I feel like the grip is a little too small for the particular shots trying to be played and my swinging motion becomes uncoordinated when performing those swings compared with swings made with the ribbed-gripped club.

When I go back to playing straight shots again, both clubs are swung equally well again with no remarkable difference in swing coordination between them. But when then switching to playing some right-to-left shots, once again the ribbed-gripped club is clearly swung better. Under that circumstance, I aim right some and close the clubface some at address, resulting in the rib alignment of the grip becoming open (rotated counterclockwise) to some extent. Consequently, the grip feels effectively smaller and my hands hold onto the grip/club in a naturally stronger (rotated clockwise) position (generally beneficial conditions if one wants to play right-to-left shots) than when I hold onto the round-gripped club naturally for playing the same strokes. The result is that with the ribbed-gripped club it is almost like there is an uncontrollable force making me automatically rotate my hands more prominently during my swing around the time of club/ball impact (generally a swing feature that can aid in achieving a right-to-left ball travel result) without even consciously trying. Comparatively speaking, after experiencing that, my swings with the round-gripped club essentially become an uncoordinated mess when playing right-to-left shots. And yet once again, in returning to the playing of straight shots, both clubs are swung equally well with no remarkable difference in swing coordination between them. (In line with what I have disclosed previously, I will actually play quite well with round grips even when playing left-to-right and right-to-left shots with no loss of swing coordination noted unless and until I come across and swing a club that fits my swing even better, and it is only through direct side-by-side testing of various elements in reasonably quick succession where certain differences may be noted, may stay with one even if only for a limited time, and may be learned about effectively).

And the more a club’s clubface is manipulated open or closed at address for various shotmaking purposes, the more the club’s effective grip size will increase or decrease in diameter due to rib alignment changes (generally an advantageous circumstance) through an available range that far exceeds what anyone would ordinarily need for shotmaking purposes. As indicated above, however, these beneficial causes and effects can be diminished or even totally lost for various reasons including but not limited to aligning the rib improperly when installed on the club and/or having one or more golf club specifications on the club that do not fit one sufficiently well including but not limited to grip size. But if understood and applied well, here is a situation where one can actually gain a “double advantage” of using ribbed golf grips. First there is the physical reminder feature of the rib, which in this case serves as a clubface reminder located directly in one’s hands of the position of the club’s clubface for one to manipulate as desired once the clubface leaves one’s range of visual perception when swinging. For this particular feature, where the rib begins in one’s hands at address is irrelevant with respect to the clubface reminder definition being discussed here, as no matter where it begins it still provides a direct physical reference for gauging the alignment of the club’s clubface at any point in one’s swing to make use of as desired. This is wholly different from when applying the grip reminder definition discussed earlier.

And second, in addition to the rib providing one with a physical clubface reminder, positioning the rib in different locations within one’s hands can actually provide one with certain definite shotmaking advantages over using a plain round grip (a fact that is totally contrary to the traditional statement and belief). To make use of this feature, however, it is crucial that the rib be aligned properly. And there is also a major difference here in that the best shotmaking capabilities in conjunction with the clubface reminder definition occur when a club’s grip/rib is consistently installed in the same exact alignment, that being always square to the club’s clubface. When applying the grip reminder definition, though, it is implicated that a club’s grip/rib should be aligned differently with respect to the club’s clubface in order to best achieve various shotmaking capabilities. Thus, the more specific definitions of clubface reminder and grip reminder, even though both are derived from the broader reminder rib term, are really two completely different concepts. Only when both of these concepts and their associated definitions are comprehensively understood can one really make the best decision for oneself regarding the use of ribbed or round golf grips. I will further add that the analysis contained within this particular entry is really only possible through distinctly separating one’s direct golf swing performance and its attributes from one’s ball travel result and its attributes, a protocol that time and time again I have stated as being critical toward best understanding both golf swing principles and clubfitting principles. Once capably done, an analysis such as this is not all that difficult to achieve. Anyone that considers one’s ball travel result to be a dependable indicator of the quality of one’s direct golf swing performance is a complete fool.

Not specifically trying to sway one in either direction with this, but when going through this particular analysis I nevertheless simply cannot help but repeat something I have already said to some degree in the past. This is that if one is not capably skilled at efficiently taking hold of a golf grip/club, no reminder rib is really going to be of any help to one regarding learning how to take hold of a golf grip/club effectively and/or more consistently, and the presence of a reminder rib may even hurt one’s progress at learning how to take hold of a golf grip/club in an efficient and consistent manner.

Now there are many golfers that always have and continue to frown on using ribbed golf grips (I was one of them for a long time when I was less knowledgeable). But their reasons for doing so have commonly been misguided. As stated above, the definition of grip reminder presented here, pretty much being the definition of what the purpose of a rib has traditionally been thought to be, widely presents an undertone that ribbed grips are meant mainly for those not able to correctly and/or consistently take and/or maintain an efficient hold on a golf grip/club. Many more experienced players will avoid ribbed grips for no other reason than this (I did at one time). Others will merely say that they are physically uncomfortable with the feeling of a rib compared with a round grip, and this simple yet very legitimate reason is hard to argue against. But many others, while not claiming they are physically uncomfortable with a rib, will state in no uncertain terms that they consider themselves to be shotmakers and that the rib is actually hurtful toward playing different sorts of shots like those from left to right and right to left (an untruth that has been corrected here via sound evidence). This is another attitude that I am quire familiar with because I have always wanted to be able to play many different types of shots on the golf course, and I also used to believe in this false premise for a long time.

Like it was for me, many such golfers simply repeat things they have observed from others without really knowing any better. And to this point the only analyses that have really been available to repeat have virtually exclusively been those based upon the equivalent of the grip reminder definition presented here, which at best as noted above contains only one side or figuratively half of the available information associated with the broader term of reminder rib. Such golfers (I shall broadly include clubfitters here) almost certainly have never been exposed to a reminder rib analysis such as this one disclosed by Waggle Weight Wisdom™. I have for instance frankly never come across a reminder rib analysis where it was shown that better direct golf swing performance is obtainable using a ribbed grip over a round grip when playing “shotmaker” left-to-right and right-to-left golf shots.

As a final note and similarly to what I stated regarding face angle before this, despite some of the details presented here I am not sure if I can rightfully consider this entry to be anything more than an introduction to this particular topic in order to present and at least originally define certain elements that previously have never been even remotely addressed by anybody to the very best of my knowledge. Briefly, other elements can include that the causes and effects just explained regarding rib alignments pertaining to the clubface reminder definition do not apply to putters for reasons that may or may not be obvious at this time. Then there can be issues when ribbed grips are crookedly aligned relative to a shaft’s centerline, which is not at all uncommon. Certain direct golf swing performance and/or ball travel result tests and considerations still need to be integrated before a comprehensive analysis of this subject can truly be considered complete, and more. So certain reminder rib elements may have to be further expanded on and others newly introduced yet at some future point.

This entry proves yet more of how deficient past golf club fitting theory and practice materials have been. And based on part of its content this entry also partly proves how deficient past golf swing theory and practice materials have been, as golf swing and clubfitting principles certainly have related elements. If this content, when compared against all past materials concerning the reminder rib golf grip/club parameter, is not enough to convince one to help further spread word of this recent 02-07-2013 press release, then perhaps the next topic might. That will contain still other extremely basic yet critical information that golfers and the clubfitting industry need very urgently at this time. Please remember to look for and settle for nothing less than the WaggleWeight® or Waggle Weight Wisdom™ name for the best in golf products and services including golf swing and clubfitting instructional matter, clubfitting products and services, and even golf swing instruction.

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