One’s Golf Grip Sizing Process: A Pretty Good Indication of One’s Brain Size

As I work toward some of the most important statements to be made in this particular entry regarding one’s golf grip sizing process, which is one of the most basic and at the same time most critical processes in best fitting any given golf club to one, I will need to make some qualifying statements leading up to that.  While some of these statements might be considered a review of sorts of my past material, they might nevertheless be presented from somewhat different perspectives and/or in different orders here than previously presented.  As such they might still come across as somewhat new and should help further fortify the learning of these principles in a sound and lasting manner.

First I shall review what the expression “fitting a golf club to one’s golf swing” should be taken as with respect to fitting a club.  With all of the garbage regularly strewn about in the clubfitting industry regarding this expression, let me be quite clear that this particular expression should be treated in its literal sense.  This means determining one’s base or reference golf swing and then determining a value of any given swing-affecting golf club specification such that the essential quality of one’s base swing is reproduced as precisely as possible.  The term “essential quality” (until I might define this term more specifically) is just a little more subjective in that the nature of a golf swing in the normal course of playing golf generally results in one constantly changing one’s address posture and/or swing plane due to various golf club lengths and/or terrain conditions as just a couple of examples.  As such, these particular elements cannot really be considered as part of the essential quality of one’s golf swing performance.  (I will specifically note here that even when repeatedly using the same club and swinging from level ground, different postures and/or swing planes can be implemented [drastically if desired] and yet what is termed the essential quality of one’s golf swing here will still remain unchanged).  The essential quality of one’s golf swing should be thought of broadly as the overall quality of one’s swing coordination.  As a stand-alone definition and while it can be broken down further into smaller elements, the essential quality of one’s golf swing should at least for now be considered as the overall coordination property of one’s base or reference swing.  (Within this context, however, the term will frequently be applied as a relative measure of one’s swing performance when using any given value of any given golf club specification compared with one’s base reference golf swing performance).

Other elements in play here that I have taught include that one’s base or reference golf swing to which any part of a golf club is to be fit should always, without exception, be fundamentally performed in a limb-only manner.  (I make a special provision here for anyone that might think one is not performing a limb-only swing if placing an object of any sort within one’s hands for example that will not result in a notable change to the essential quality of one’s swing performance compared with being in a totally limb-only state.  This is still considered limb-only swinging).  One’s limb-only swing performance can be gauged through one’s internal swing feel as defined earlier or any number of external gauges including but not limited to the watchful eye of a qualified individual or a computer-implemented device(s).  I will further add that fitting a golf club to one’s swing as bounded here does not mean changing any part of one’s base golf swing.  That is not fitting a golf club to one’s swing.  That could be changing or attempting to change one’s base golf swing performance to try to achieve a certain golf ball travel or launch monitor result as examples (commonly to the complete exclusion of the quality and/or concern of one’s actual golf swing performance), but it is certainly not fitting a golf club to one’s golf swing.

As a case in point, if it is truly shown that one’s base golf swing performance has an out-to-in swing path of two degrees, then the best fit of any given golf club specification to one’s golf swing will have one reproducing that out-to-in swing path of two degrees and not swinging right down the target line.  Despite this swing path that is (supposedly) less than perfect, one’s best overall swing speed and control (feasibly resulting in better overall play) will be achieved in skillfully fitting the specification’s value to one’s base swing existing at the time of the fitting over attempting to change one’s base swing.  (As I have noted previously, some club specifications do not generally affect one’s direct golf swing performance and the values of such specifications might subsequently be altered to alter one’s ball travel results if desired without altering one’s base swing performance).  But fitting to one’s golf swing directly is fitting to one’s golf swing directly.  It is a totally different skill than fitting a golf club in any other manner, with a completely different priority than ball travel result or launch monitor fitting as just two examples, and if one does not know how to fit a golf club directly to one’s golf swing then one simply does not have the skill.

And when for instance it comes to a golfer that is already capable of swinging down the target line, one that is not capable of fitting a golf club or any given club specification to the golfer will certainly not be able to provide a best clubfit for the golfer.  (Given the actual easiness of a golf swing relative to most other traditional athletic activities, most golfers are fully capable of swinging reasonably effectively down an intended target line with their base golf swings, with most results to the contrary commonly occurring because the golf clubs these golfers are originally tested with are poorly fit to their base golf swings to begin with.  This is one of the fundamental reasons behind the principle of always determining one’s base golf swing performance in a limb-only manner, so that no ill-fitting and/or ill-constructed golf clubs are present when making a determination of one’s true current base golf swing performance).  These are some of the fundamental elements required to really fit a golf club directly to one’s golf swing and they need to be learned well.  It is extremely important to define these elements appropriately given the extremely large number of golfers and even so-called professional clubfitters that define fitting a golf club to one’s golf swing differently than this as will be seen right now.

Starting with this information, I will now divide golf club fitting into three different and rather broad general methods here, noting at the start that depending upon whom one is listening to, every one of these methods are frequently referred to as fitting a golf club “to one’s golf swing.”  But as I have essentially defined the expression above this is simply not true and in the end it tends to be another expression that the golf industry (and more specifically the clubfitting trade) disseminates rather flatulently so as to relieve itself from becoming a more accountable entity overall.  The first of these general methods is truly fitting a golf club directly to one’s base golf swing as related above.  Now perhaps some isolated wording changes and/or additions might help better distinguish this particular method from others.  For example, a word such as base, basis, core, essential, or foundational might without fail be added before ‘golf swing’ and inextricably linked to one’s limb-only golf swing performance such that the expression might become fitting a golf club “to one’s base golf swing.”  Base is the way I have generally defined it to date, however some people already use this particular word and by it really mean determining one’s swing performance using one’s present golf club(s) as a base of reference.  So I cannot say with certainty at this instant whether this would be the expression I would ultimately settle on if contemplating it more.

Also, a rather straightforward word such as direct or directly that I have routinely used might without fail be used to (hopefully) help distinguish this method from any that use indirect results (like ball travel results that merely infer a connection between such results and the quality of one’s direct swing performance).  To that end, an expression of fitting a golf club “directly to one’s golf swing” might help distinguish this particular method from others, and in applying two aiding words, fitting a golf club “directly to one’s base golf swing” might help distinguish this particular method even more from any others even when discussing this method in a broad manner.

Anyway, the ability to separate one’s direct base golf swing performance from one’s ball travel result effectively and fit a value of any given golf club specification directly to one’s base golf swing is truly the apex of skilled clubfitting ability that one might try to strive for.  I particularly point out here that the last two clubfitting subjects I have discussed (those of golf club face angle and reminder ribs as a function of golf grips), the information contained in this particular entry, and certain information regarding multiple other clubfitting topics also (as well as multiple golf swing performance topics), all contain elements that are just not possible to learn (and therefore not possible to disclose to others) unless and until one’s direct base golf swing performance and ball travel result are effectively separated.  The ability to efficiently determine one’s direct base golf swing performance as an independent element and focus intently on that specific element, along with a disciplined ability to completely ignore the element ball travel result even if only for a limited time (naturally more difficult to do if hitting real golf balls when trying to fit a value of any given golf club specification to one’s “swing”), is one of the foundational skills necessary toward becoming an able clubfitter.

In addition to fitting the value of any given golf club specification directly to one’s base swing being more advanced, detailed, and precise in nature, the ability to differentiate between one’s direct golf swing performance and one’s ball travel result helps one to learn which of the multiple golf club specifications are most important regarding one’s direct swing performance and which are less important (something that cannot be effectually learned if considering one’s swing performance and ball travel result to equate to each other).  And this further leads to learning what the best order of fitting golf club specifications is for obtaining the best overall clubfitting results (different orders of fitting club specifications [particularly if gone through just once and not reevaluating any results after other club specifications are fit] can result in the choosing of a different value for any given golf club specification [sometimes substantially so]).  And the proper ordering of fitting club specifications is crucial and can result in a better overall clubfit for one (even if certain specifications might not be fit that well to one) over utilizing a different, more unskilled order of fitting club specifications.

The second broad method of fitting clubs is by ball travel results.  Now as I have noted previously, certain golf club specifications can affect one’s golf swing performance directly, others primarily affect one’s ball travel results while having essentially no affect on one’s golf swing performance directly (loft is one that immediately comes to mind), and some specifications can affect both.  (This is not really the place to divide individual golf club specifications along these lines.  I have already brought up such differences when discussing certain club specifications individually and I will certainly do so again as warranted when discussing any given club specification more specifically).  To this extent, fitting the values of certain golf club specifications to one by way of ball travel results can also be considered the apex of skilled clubfitting ability.  The problem here (and it is a big problem) is in the plethora of clubfitters that essentially simply group all golf club specifications into one lump to be fit by ball travel results regardless of whether they can be categorized as swing-affecting or ball-travel-affecting specifications, frequently making statements akin to ball travel results being the be all and end all of fitting the value of any golf club specification.

As I have frequently noted, one must seriously question the experience level (particularly performing experience) of anyone stating such a thing, just from a perspective of general performance and equipment fitting without even specifically referring to golf.  Many clubfitters are groupie types that just do not have a lot of personal performing experience in golf and/or any number of other pertinent activities or else they would probably not be making such statements.  Many clubfitters are essentially totally reliant upon book-fed golf swing and/or clubfitting principles, which in this particular case is generally not a good thing as these particular materials regarding the particular game of golf have their own general history to this point of commonly being deficient in various areas of golf swing and/or clubfitting principles).  The plain truth once again is that (with respect to certain critical golf club specifications) ball travel results are nothing more than backward, indirect, and unreliable guesses as to whether one’s actual golf swing performance is good, bad, or somewhere in between, with ball travel results regularly (not just occasionally) providing false (often very false) information regarding the quality of one’s direct golf swing performance.

The method of clubfitting by ball travel results actually routinely alters one’s true base golf swing performance based on one’s ball travel results (or perhaps launch monitor results as substitute for or supplement to ball travel results), yet it is still regularly called fitting a golf club “to one’s golf swing.”  And this is commonly not just an accidental oversight in terminology.  Clubfitters applying this method generally know full well that one’s golf swing is actually being changed in order to achieve a certain ball travel or launch monitor result, and these clubfitters firmly maintain that the definition of fitting a golf club “to one’s golf swing” can include changing (or accommodating) one’s golf swing to achieve a certain ball travel result.  When stated in this manner it sounds like rather poor clubfitting procedure (and it is), yet it is still what many clubfitters believe in.  This is what can happen when using such a broad expression that can be interpreted in multiple ways.  So while I will not do so here, the broad expression of fitting a golf club “to one’s golf swing” as it pertains to this second general clubfitting method that fits according to ball travel results will certainly need some better clarification in the future.  Still, as bad and as fallible as this particular method is for attempting to fit certain golf club specifications directly to one’s base golf swing performance, at least one is still making an effort to clubfit in a dynamic manner where one is actually swinging when attempting to determine one’s best value for any given golf club specification.  While still nowhere near as effective as it might otherwise be and even if one just does not have the skill to effectively separate one’s direct golf swing performance from one’s ball travel (or launch monitor) result for clubfitting purposes and considers these two elements to equate with each other, it is still much preferable over the third general method of clubfitting.

And this third method is static clubfitting, where one does not swing whatsoever in any way, shape, or form and certain golf club specifications and specification values are chosen based upon certain body measurements one has, like of one’s physical hand size for determining one’s golf grip size and a distance from the ground to usually some part of one’s hand when one stands at attention for determining golf club length.  Why any given individual would participate in any such method of clubfitting is something that only the individual can really answer, whether the individual is a so-called clubfitter or clubfitting educator (Mr. Credulous Clubfitter) or a golfer (Mr. Gullible Golfer).  Some of the more common reasons include but are hardly limited to such methods generally being quicker and/or more convenient (potentially leading to more customers and/or profit), an attempt to clubfit from a distance (mail-order clubfitting) without having to (and commonly without wanting to) put forth the time and/or effort to actually swing and/or observe one swinging, being embarrassed to swing in front of somebody else, actually believing such methods are useful, achieving a “cultural” status of being a clubfitter and/or being clubfit without much real concern for the results, or any combination thereof.

There might potentially be as many different reasons as there are people that utilize such methods.  But there is one absolute constant to forever keep in mind regardless of the reason(s) such clubfitting methods are used.  Static clubfitting of any sort, whether performed by any major golf club manufacturer, any so-called clubfitter regardless of whether considered independent or having some affiliation and regardless of whether having any so-called clubfitting credential(s), oneself, or anybody else, is truly the bottom of the barrel regarding effective clubfitting methods.  This is true regardless of whether one’s direct swing performance, ball travel result, or even one’s physical and/or mental comfort is the highest priority for fitting a value of any given club specification.

Yes, it is true that most clubfitters today will claim that such static methods merely represent “starting points” for determining the values of certain golf club specifications and that dynamic testing should be further done to fine-tune values.  But as I have also previously related, this expression is mostly subterfuge and frequently stated to try to cover up and/or soften the embarrassment many clubfitters might feel (perhaps partially due to my work thus far).  Many of the very same so-called clubfitters and/or clubfitting educators used to practice and/or state that such static clubfitting methods were not just starting points but that the results should basically be utilized without question or thought regarding such devised methods (do not simply take my word for it, but look back to see what many of these same people used to practice and/or state in their earlier work).  The plain truth is that absolutely any golfer picking up absolutely any golf club and actually swinging it will in principle provide a better starting point for determining the golfer’s best value of any given golf club specification than any static clubfitting method ever devised.  Consider one example here of two 5-irons measuring exactly the same length, yet they might easily effectively look and play like their lengths are six inches apart if one of the irons has a considerably larger clubhead style and/or grip size than the other.  This makes a static stand-at-attention clubfitting ruler measurement for one’s iron club length totally absurd even from a “starting point” perspective, and such a measurement may unduly influence one to stay close to that static measurement when it might not even be close to being best for one.

Sadly, static clubfitting methods are still remarkably regularly utilized for determining the values of multiple golf club specifications throughout the clubfitting trade.  Even sadder is that despite many people now claiming such methods are only starting points, the values obtained by such methods are still very commonly considered the final values to be used by a very large number of clubfitters and golfers alike.  A substantial history has been solidly embedded where the results of such static clubfitting methods were in the past basically considered final and not to be questioned.  This mindset essentially continues even among those now using the starting point jargon, as many people still consider static measurements to be pretty authoritative in nature and such people are generally very reluctant to stray from such measurements.  Furthermore, not everybody has jumped on the starting point bandwagon, with some very visible and apparently popular clubfitting entities continuing to tout static clubfitting measurements as being final clubfitting values.  These are not good omens for the clubfitting industry as a whole as long as such methods remain in use at all.  And perhaps the saddest part is that even these bottom-of-the-barrel static clubfitting methods are still somehow considered by a very large number of people to be fitting a golf club “to one’s swing.”

With these things said, I get to the heart of the matter here, which is the fitting of one’s golf grip size.  Perhaps not unexpectedly, one might successfully predict what I am about say in that with few exceptions the fitting of one’s golf grip size is still predominantly performed (and still regularly recommended to be performed by most everybody from so-called clubfitters and clubfitting educators to the grip manufacturers themselves) using a completely static method relative to one swinging.  As I have repeatedly stated in the past, this method is broadly known as the grip-on-a-stick method of fitting one’s golf grip size, detailed earlier but quickly described again here as taking hold of various grip sizes in a non-swinging circumstance and selecting one’s grip size base upon the location(s) of the tips of one’s top-gripping-hand middle fingers relative to the opposing surface of that hand (or a comparable method).  This is a predetermined relationship that is apparently supposed to work well for everyone and I have no idea whatsoever who initially came up with such an idea and the specific relationship that is commonly looked for.  (Comparable methods can be choosing one’s golf grip size based upon the best fitting golf glove size for one’s top gripping hand, taking one or more distance measurements between determined physical points of the same hand, or other possibilities).  As one of the most critical golf club specifications there is, this “traditionalized” method of fitting one’s golf grip size (which virtually everybody participates in) is one of the most foolish and embarrassing methods used by the clubfitting industry that continues to firmly cement this trade’s performance record and reputation as being the worst in all of sports.

To better illustrate before continuing, one is commonly made to swing and swing and swing in the course of trying to choose the best flexing characteristic(s) of a golf shaft for one.  Yet under the circumstances golf shaft flexing can be considered primarily an “indirect” element when viewed from a perspective that such a characteristic(s) takes place and effect externally to one’s body, in between one’s hands and a golf club’s clubhead.  Such a characteristic(s) is certainly capable of affecting ball travel result, but it should not generally affect the essential quality of one’s direct golf swing performance as represented above.  (This is particularly true in the course of normal playing where every successive swing is commonly made with a different absolute shaft flex to begin with [and add to that different forces of swinging applied to various golf strokes, which also affects shaft flexing], so one better hope that the essential quality of one’s golf swing is not affected by shaft flex [although if repeatedly making the same swing with the exact same club at a driving range for example this discussion could be altered some]).  Again, one commonly swings and swings and swings when the flexing characteristic(s) of a golf shaft is determined for one.

But when it comes to fitting for one’s golf grip size, here is a golf club specification that can be considered a “direct” element in that it is in direct contact with one’s hands during address and swinging.  This can directly affect how one holds onto any given golf club and can directly affect one’s swing speed, control, and/or the essential quality of one’s golf swing in the form of changes to one’s overall swing coordination where one can swing in a completely uncoordinated manner.  While such swing changes can occur at any time when using any golf club having a grip size that is poorly fit to one, such changes can be especially evident when switching to a golf club having a grip size on it that is a poorer fit for one than the grip size on the previous club swung (unlike when absolute shaft flex differs from club to club).  And critical grip size alterations might be unwittingly brought on for example (depending on specific golf shaft design) if altering the tipping of golf shafts possibly due to being fixated on shaft flex while at the same time being oblivious to and ignorant of critical golf grip sizing.  So with respect to one’s direct golf swing performance and stating the following in a broad general manner, shaft flex does not affect the essential quality of one’s golf swing while golf grip size does, yet one’s shaft flex continues to be chosen for one predominantly through swinging and more swinging while one’s grip size continues to be chosen for one predominantly through a completely static method with commonly no thought whatsoever as to actually swinging a golf club in the course of choosing one’s golf grip size.  And yet no one can seem to understand why the clubfitting industry overall has such a poor performance record and reputation and to this day is easily the worst in all of sports.

So in continuing, I recently covered the proper procedures for constructing test golf clubs and testing in the Terrible Twos sequence to help in determining one’s best golf grip size, but I did not elaborate at that time regarding what the most important factor(s) is toward ultimately determining what one’s best golf grip size is out of the various sizes available (this can also include other golf grip sizes capable of being made out of the various sizes available).  I will do some of that right now.  I will start with the fact that despite my very sarcastic approach to the very static grip-on-a-stick method of fitting golf grip size, the physical size of one’s hands actually is an important factor in what one’s best golf grip size ultimately is.

However, whether one fundamentally takes a stronger hold on a club (hands rotated more clockwise around the grip for a right-handed golfer [with one’s top-hand thumb typically considered to be placed into a stronger position when moved and placed further to the right of center]) or a weaker hold on a club is also an extremely important factor in determining one’s best golf grip size.  Commonly, the stronger one’s hand positioning is on a golf grip/club, the larger the golf grip diameter one will need in order to swing one’s best.

And so is whether one takes hold of a golf club using a standard overlapping grip (which generally results in one’s hands being closest together of the three most common styles of taking hold of a golf club), an interlocking grip (which generally results in one’s hands being just a little further apart and generally promotes more hand action when swinging than when using an overlapping grip), or a ten-fingered (baseball) grip (which generally results in one’s hands being furthest apart and generally promotes the most hand action when swinging out of the three most common styles of taking hold of a golf club).  While these differences might seem small at first thought, these three different styles of taking hold of a golf club can easily result in different golf grip sizes being best for one, even if one’s hand positioning is otherwise kept identical among these three different styles of taking hold of a club.  Commonly, the farther apart one’s hand positioning is on a golf grip/club, the larger the golf grip diameter one will need in order to swing one’s best.

And this is still nowhere near the complete story.  One’s overall swing speed is an important factor in determining one’s best golf grip size, as is one’s swing tempo.  And one’s swing plane (flatter or more upright for instance) is an important factor in determining one’s best golf grip size.  And this only addresses some golfer factors.  Then there are golf club factors involved in determining one’s best golf grip size.

I have already noted how with all else being equal on any given golf club, one will generally swing better with increasingly larger golf grip diameters as the club’s shaft weight is made lighter.  (And yet with a wider available range of shaft weights generally continuing due to technological advances, grip manufacturers are generally offering less grip sizes than they have in the past rather than more [but in more colors it seems]).  I have also noted that with all else being equal, as grip weights generally get lighter due to higher-tech materials for example, one will again generally swing better with larger grip diameters.  And one factor I have not yet mentioned is golf club length, where generally the longer any given club is (with all else being equal once again) the larger in diameter one’s grip size will generally need to be and vice versa in order to swing one’s very best.  These elements that are related to golf clubs and club components are also very important factors toward determining one’s best golf grip size.

(For very brief reference here regarding golf club factors and particularly referencing golf shaft design, some shaft designs are such that there is essentially an automatic or built-in overall increase or decrease in shaft diameter along the length of a golf grip when increasing or decreasing club length respectively such that one might still be able to use the same core size grip and yet still inherit an overall increase or decrease in grip size when changing club length.  Other shaft designs do not have such a feature and due diligence is really required in this area.  While not working in the same way, some lighter golf shafts already have increased butt diameters over some heavier shafts and when so using the same core size grip on both will already result in a larger grip diameter on the lighter shaft.  But this might frequently not be the case as shaft design can vary widely).

Every one of these factors and probably some I missed are crucial when it comes to determining one’s best golf grip size for accomplishing one’s best direct golf swing performance (or one’s best ball travel result if one does not have the skill to fit to one’s golf swing directly).  Using a laughable, amateurish clubfitting method like the grip-on-a-stick method of fitting one’s golf grip size by simply gauging one’s physical hand size and with no swinging performed whatever is a method that routinely does not even come close to a so-called starting point for competently determining one’s best golf grip size, one of the most critical golf club specifications there is for being able to obtain one’s best swing speed and control when swinging any given golf club.  The only way to take all of these crucial factors into account is to swing with various grip sizes using a procedure that is competently structured.  Anybody using and/or recommending any form of fitting one’s golf grip size through any method other than that of one actually swinging using various golf grip sizes has absolutely zero respect for one’s golf swing and should be categorically avoided.  Detecting the use and/or recommendation of any other method for fitting one’s golf grip size may be a bright red flag regarding the potential use and/or recommendation of any number of other deficient methods for fitting golf club specifications as well.

One indication of why this continuing ineptness continues to pervade the clubfitting industry comes through the routine observation of how many golfers (from where most so-called clubfitters emanate from) are simply not aware of some of the most basic principles of performance and equipment fitting even on a universal level that can be related to all activities.  One of these principles is that larger grip diameters (assumed of the same grip model and thus also heavier) will generally promote ball travel more to the right (for a right-handed golfer) and smaller grip diameters will generally promote ball travel more to the left.  This is something I learned in no uncertain terms as a mere teen when hitting in baseball and which was further confirmed in participating in multiple other sports and activities as a kid.  (This concept can be more authoritatively confirmed if having sufficient experience without having to depend upon ball travel results that are frequently undependable [not just in golf] and through direct swinging analyses such as the experiences I just disclosed regarding ribbed golf grips).

This is a universal concept, yet one that a large percentage of golfers are simply unaware of (with some people strangely claiming that this universally-proven concept applies to everything else but not their game of golf or even applies oppositely in golf).  Perhaps even more telling is that the nature of golf is such that its overall playing population is generally older than that of most other activities, which might generally be thought of as being a “wiser” population.  But this is anything but true in golf and tends to support one of my earlier statements that a large segment of people that take up golf are people that (figuratively speaking) have never even been let on the playing field in other activities (or have had extremely limited experience at best in other activities for a different reason[s] that might be very legitimate).  But generally in golf if one can pay one can play.

However, this is still far from being able to explaining the present situation comprehensively.  For instance, there are certainly still a considerable number of golfers and/or clubfitters that are quite athletically experienced in numerous activities and quite influential within the game.  These people fully understand how independently raising the clubhead weight of an otherwise unchanged golf club will tend to produce ball travel results more out to the right for a right-handed golfer, and also how independently raising the club’s shaft weight (which generally increases the club’s total weight) will tend to do the same.  Yet even many of these people do not appear to understand and/or believe that increasing one’s grip size (thus in principle increasing its weight) will also tend to produce the same effect in general.  (Oppositely, reducing clubhead weight, shaft weight, or grip diameter/weight will tend to produce ball travel results more to the left).  But under the comprehensive circumstances including that golf club fitting is more involved than the fitting of most other equipment, it is not completely surprising how otherwise experienced people might yet be confused by certain clubfitting elements discussed here.

In order to effectively confirm the cause and effect relationships regarding this particular concept with respect to golf grips (though it can lead to better understandings of other elements as well) and as it applies in golf if desired, testing conditions must be structured competently.  For example, in referencing what I disclosed above about one generally needing a larger golf grip diameter in order to swing one’s best as the material(s) used to construct a golf grip becomes lighter, one cannot mix two different grip models within such testing where one model uses a lighter material(s) in its construction and a larger grip diameter in that model might actually weighs less than a smaller grip diameter in the other model.  There would not be a legitimate frame of reference there, and any such differences do not have to be much to render test results completely invalid.  This might be an element not considered until I revealed the grip sizing information above.  I mean the object of such testing is to firmly learn about a general concept first and certain relationships between one’s golf swing performance and equipment, and in order to learn the fundamentals of this particular concept effectively it is essential that the same golf grip model is initially utilized during any given testing sequence such that a larger grip diameter also amounts to a heavier grip.  (After learning what needs to be initially learned one can change an element if desired and experiment further).

Similarly and this time referencing what I disclosed above about one generally needing larger grip diameters in order to swing one’s best with one’s best swing speed and control overall as shaft weights become lighter, even when using the same grip model of different core sizes to test for cause and effect relationships regarding different golf grip sizes, one cannot mix lighter and heavier golf shafts within any such testing.  It is essential that the same shaft model be used during any such testing or again there would not be a legitimate frame of reference to work and learn from and the testing will be invalid toward trying to gain a good understanding regarding the concept discussed here.  These relationships might partially negate the advantages of lighter weight golf grips and shafts as technology continues to advance, but not completely and there can still certainly be advantages to using such advanced technologies provided one’s club specifications are competently fit.  In the end, one cannot really expect some magic to be performed by any given golf club above and beyond the swing speed and control that one is fundamentally capable of producing with one’s own golf swing.  As a result of these disclosures, one will hopefully understand how mixing certain elements together will not afford one a reasonable opportunity to personally experience this concept if desired and how testing must be capably structured or one will never be able to learn the concept effectively.

Now when considering both golfer and golf club factors cumulatively with respect to proper golf grip sizing and the various elements of these various factors that have been detailed here, when all is said and done this is really some pretty simple stuff that is not hard to understanding and subsequently apply toward competently fitting for one’s best golf grip size.  This is actually very low-level material that is so extremely basic in nature that it should be regularly taught and learned in the first day or even first hour of any so-called basic clubfitting class.  But nothing even close to this has really been taught to this point to very the best of my knowledge with respect to competent clubfitting basics, simply because these are very foundational elements that never could be and never, ever can be learned by an industry not mandating the actual swinging of golf clubs having various grip sizes in the process of selecting one’s one best golf grip size for any given golf club and instead fits golf grip size using quick, cheap, completely static, and completely fallacious methods.  (This will never be the case for any clubfitting entity associated with the WaggleWeight® or Waggle Weight Wisdom™ name, names that represent the highest level of competent clubfitting knowledge and skill).  This is not exactly a situation that currently promotes (or should promote) any trust toward the clubfitting industry overall and this industry as a whole will continue to accumulate a poor performance record and reputation (there is no other possible outcome as the above is just one of multiple flawed theories and/or practices this industry or trade continues to customarily embrace).  As indicated earlier and excepting these trademarked names, this industry should generally be avoided unless and until it decides to straighten itself out.

Now when ultimately coming to the only intelligent conclusion possible based upon the information presented here that one’s golf grip size must really be fit through the actual swinging of golf clubs in a well-structured testing process (see the Terrible Twos if not already familiar with that procedure), then one can move on to other considerations.  As disclosed above, if one is capable of proficiently determining one’s limb-only base golf swing performance through any of multiple means, then it is the highest order of clubfitting skill to be able to fit one’s golf grip size directly to one’s base golf swing performance.  With all other club specification values being equal and as close to one’s ideal specification values as can be determined at the time (it is possible that testing might have to be redone depending upon if and by how much any other specification values are changed after grip size is initially fit), the grip size is chosen where one’s swing performance best duplicates the essence of one’s limb-only base golf swing performance.  (If no difference in direct swing performance is noted among consecutive grip sizes, then one can proceed in various manners depending upon exactly what test results show.  As brief examples, if one swings well over a range of three consecutive grip sizes [be sure to confirm that one actually swings well with each size], then choosing the size in the middle would seem logical [though one may decide otherwise].  But if one swings well over a range of only two consecutive grip sizes, then one might potentially defer to ball travel results to make a final decision).  There is no better process, as one cannot be fooled nearly as easily by one’s direct golf swing performance as one can be fooled when fundamentally relying upon ball travel results when trying to determine one’s best golf grip size.

But having said that, if one does not have the knowledge and skill to distinctly separate one’s direct golf swing performance from one’s ball travel results, then fitting one’s grip size based on ball travel results will simply have to be done.  This is hardly an ideal situation, but if that is all one knows then that is all one knows.  For instance, any number of other golf club specifications, particularly if not fit well, might promote ball travel results more to the right for a right-handed golfer.  In such cases, going to a smaller diameter golf grip size might help straighten out one’s ball travel results, yet such a selection may be doing nothing more than adding another wrong on top of one or more previous wrongs (similarly to when I discussed face angle) and may end up being a grip size that is substantially different (and poorer for one’s swing) than if one had the skill to fit golf grip size directly to one’s base golf swing performance.  This is one embodiment of what is meant when stating how superficial and deceiving ball travel results can be, whereas one cannot be fooled (at least in the same manner) by one’s direct golf swing performance.  (One might be fooled even by one’s direct golf swing performance under any number of various physical and/or mental conditions that can occur, but generally not as easily [and/or as badly] as one can be fooled by ball travel results).  But again, if one is not capable of fitting for one’s best golf grip size for any given golf club via one’s direct golf swing performance, then fitting via ball travel results will have to suffice as the next best thing.

Beyond fitting for one’s best golf grip size by way of one’s direct base golf swing performance or ball travel results, other methods are sometimes recommended that include but are not limited to fitting golf grip size by comfort or grip pressure.  I have discussed both of these previously but touch on them again here.  First, it is frequently not even specified (particularly regarding the comfort method) as to whether one should attempt such a grip size fitting while being in a static condition or a swinging condition.  But in quickly dismissing any static method as one hopefully should at this point and considering only fitting through swinging, both of these methods are still very dubious.  With respect to how comfortable any given grip size might feel (within one’s hands is presumed), I have noted before that there is a time element involved where one will generally feel uncomfortable for an indeterminate period of time when experiencing anything different from what one is used to (even if it might ultimately be the right thing to do).  So basing golf grip sizing on one’s “immediate” comfort (which is what the comfort method generally implies) is a very poor and “dead-end” premise of fitting one’s golf grip size if ever there was one that might eternally prevent one from learning how to hold onto a golf club in an effective manner and/or choosing the best golf grip size for one’s direct golf swing performance (or even for one’s best ball travel results).

And regarding the grip pressure method, the general consensus among those supporting this method is that one will hold onto a golf grip/club more tightly as grip diameter gets smaller and vice versa, with the best grip size for one to be determined based upon an appropriate grip pressure (however that is defined).  But in addition to previously noting that one’s grip pressure while holding onto a golf grip/club is primarily a matter of ability, where it is not and should not generally be remarkably different on a conscious level regardless of the grip size used, one’s grip pressure is a rather changeable element when analyzed in depth.  It is commonly quite different as particular conditions call for, like during address, during small strokes, during impact in the course of full, hard swings, during varying weather conditions, affected by a grip’s surface texture, and more.  One’s grip pressure while holding onto a golf club is not and should not be considered a constant (this method somewhat implies that it should be without any further specific defining).  One’s grip pressure is typically adjusted on a subconscious level as needed in the course of swinging a golf club.  For these reasons it is not a very effective method of attempting to fit for one’s best golf grip size.  Now these methods can be used if desired for fitting golf grip size, as long as one does not complain afterward that one feels one is not swinging one’s best (as swinging one’s best was not the specific goal) or obtaining one’s best ball travel results (as obtaining one’s best ball travel results was not the specific goal either).  The specific goals of these methods are for one to either play in comfort or for one to play with a determined grip pressure.

As I near a close to this entry, I review one more related element here that I have at least touched on previously.  If one’s golf grip size (along with all other relevant golf club specification values) is fit properly according to the principles disclosed within Waggle Weight Wisdom™, there should never be any need for any backweighting of any sort or any other kind of what I can only term “clubfitting peculiarity” that strays away from the foundational golf club components of a clubhead, shaft, and grip needed for one to swing and golf one’s very best.  Without elaborating on this excessively here, first consider how athletically easy a golf swing truly is to begin with relative to more traditional athletic activities, and this alone should really have one banishing backweighting.  (As implied above, this presumes that clubfitting is otherwise performed competently.  If not, backweighting might help).  Then, it should not take much thought to realize how beneficial it is overall in having a properly sized golf grip for one where the grip’s weight is evenly distributed around the entire span of one’s hands and the grip’s balance (yes, golf grips have balances too) is strategically located in order to help one achieve one’s very best swing speed and control.

Compare this with having a backweight of notable mass (different mass backweights are commonly available and there could be more than one for a single club) located and concentrated in essentially one lump at some point along the grip side of a golf club (commonly but not always within the span of one’s hands).  And consider any possible effect(s) this added element might have on one’s golf swing and/or game (whether good or bad) compared with the above description of having just a properly sized golf grip for one.  Common sense should convince one that if one could swing and play one’s best without a backweight then one should.  And again provided that all of a club’s specifications and specification values, including but not limited to grip size, are fit competently to one, one should not need any such clubfitting peculiarity in order to swing and play one’s best.  If it is shown that one swings better or achieves better ball travel results with any kind of backweighting applied to a golf club (this can apply to any club including a putter, of which putting is the easiest of all golf strokes to learn and make), that is generally a pretty good indication that one or more golf club specification values of the club are not fit to one as well as they could be.  But if one is not able to determine where any other clubfitting deficiencies might be (or one simply does not want to pursue that course), then backweighting can certainly be utilized if it helps one’s golf game.

To make just a few brief summing-up statements here, I begin with the fact that fitting one’s golf grip size through any type of static method whatsoever is literally, and I truly mean literally, dumber and more ignorant than fitting one’s golf shaft flex by having one simply stand on a scale, measuring one’s static total body weight, and determining one’s shaft flex by referencing some developed chart that attempts to link one’s body weight to one’s ideal shaft flex.  This is simply because one’s golf grip size has a far greater impact on the essential quality (overall coordination) of one’s direct golf swing performance than certain other club specifications do, including shaft flex.  And yet one’s golf grip size continues to be “traditionally” fit in a completely static manner while one’s golf shaft flex is routinely fit dynamically.  Thus, the use by one of any static clubfitting method for the fitting of golf grip size does indeed provide a rather good indication of one’s brain size with respect to knowing golf swing and/or clubfitting principles decently.

Properly fitting one’s golf grip size (if capable of fitting this club specification to one’s golf swing directly) is foundational knowledge that needs to be well understood and applied long before one ever gets in front of a launch monitor.  Swinging in front of a launch monitor with any given golf club having a grip size not properly fit to one’s golf swing beforehand can understandably result in considerably inaccurate launch monitor results relative to results under a circumstance of one’s best swinging.  Such inaccurate launch monitor results can then lead to the inaccurate fitting of any number of other golf club specification values hardly limited to shaft flex, weight, and/or length that ultimately may not even be close to a best fit for one.  While the differences in golf grip sizes being discussed here might seem insignificant in certain ways, it has been thoroughly proven over the history of golf to this point what drastic differences in playability there can be for one between even adjacent golf grip sizes, with eight different grip sizes traditionally listed as being potentially noticeable to golfers in general within the small span of just an eighth of an inch in golf grip diameter.

Given the sheer number of factors involved (all extremely important) in properly fitting one’s golf grip size, any one of which can result in a notable difference in one’s best golf grip size on any given golf club, there are simply no shortcuts to actually swinging with various golf grip sizes that will not potentially bring large errors and/or inconsistencies into a process of attempting to fit for one’s best golf grip size, a process that really needs to be void of any such errors and/or inconsistencies regarding a golf club specification so critically important toward one’s golf swing and golfing performance.  I will note from previously that clubfitting when performed competently, even on a rather basic level, is an advanced and more complex task that in its natural form appears to one only after one puts in the time and effort required to develop one’s golf swing and develop sufficient confidence in that swing.  And anybody that thinks competent clubfitting is the “easier” task compared with learning how to hold onto and swing a golf club effectively, including for example that simply gauging one’s physical hand size is an accurate, scientific, and/or shortcut method of determining one’s best golf grip size and that the determined grip size should be used by one regardless of all other golf club elements, is very badly mistaken.  Just look at how many people can swing a golf club effectively and how many people can fit a golf club to one’s golf swing effectively.

Similarly to when discussing the topics of face angle and golf grip ribs recently, I state here that there are yet other elements and perspectives not addressed in this particular entry relevant to and that can be evaluated regarding golf grip size fitting that I will imaginably interject at some future point, but I hope I have at least covered the most important basics to start here and not omitted anything critical (unintentionally) in this regard.  I also state that I am available further in the form of personal and business consultations including for golf swing and clubfitting help.

This entry proves yet more of how deficient past golf club fitting theory and practice materials have been.  And through some of this entry’s content one can also deduce how frequently past golf swing theory and practice materials have been deficient, as golf swing and clubfitting principles certainly have related elements.  After comparing this content against all available past materials concerning golf grip size fitting, I hope one will and ask one to please help further spread word of this recent 02-07-2013 press release.  Spreading word of this press release and/or the existence of Waggle Weight Wisdom™ will help to more quickly alter and/or drive out some of the institutions and/or individuals that have been largely responsible for the current mess that is called the clubfitting industry and more quickly improve the performance and reputation of this particular industry.  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.

At this point I am going to take a needed break from writing this column for an as yet undetermined period of time.  At a new high of 9,900 words for just this particular entry (my first entry was about 600 words back in 2006), for everybody’s welfare I had better take a break.  Part of this break will be spent working on developing other facets of the WaggleWeight® Company that I have had little time for recently partly due to a nearly non-stop developing of entries for Waggle Weight Wisdom™ for close to the last three years now.  At this point I fully intend to continue this column, as the plan for now is to eventually compose a more commercialized book(s) or publication(s) on the subjects discussed that will largely comprise the Waggle Weight Wisdom™ entries essentially as they were first presented, including their original dates of publication for future reference.

To that will be added abundant graphics not available here, certainly comprising some more traditional material but also including much novel, informative, and hopefully entertaining graphics encompassing the many new features including characters I have developed in an ongoing fashion within this column.  Still other material will likely be supplementally added from other work of mine that to date has never been (and in some instances may never be) directly included within Waggle Weight Wisdom™.  But with these very entries being at the very core of a planned more commercialized work(s) in the future, there should be little trouble with motivation for me to pick up where I have left off in the not-too-distant future even if zero readers are present.  Currently, if I am able to read and understand my site’s statistics decently it appears that Waggle Weight Wisdom™ presently might be visited more by people that think it is a pornography site rather than a golf instructional column.  But that is okay for now, as getting this original work published and copyright registered are most important at the outset.

Having said this, however, I will also note the following.  I cannot say that I disagree with absolutely everything done by the golf industry and in particular the clubfitting trade, and the fact is that the number of topics (particularly major topics) I can yet address and that would contain innovative material that corrects and/or completes what has been presented in the past is certainly dwindling.  As such, I am approaching a position where I could probably stop this column here and now, instead adding what would have been new postings directly to a more commercialized work(s), and new material that would need to be added to such a work(s) would not be an extreme amount.  I will further add that at least at the present time I appear to have pretty much come full circle with respect to golf.  I initially took up the game as more of a whim than anything else, took it up more seriously when my desire to play baseball for living ended fairly abruptly and I became a lost soul for a time, decided at some point that I would seriously pursue playing golf for a living, and I did pursue that for decades.  But in losing my desire to do that in recent years, partly due to age but for various other reasons as well, I have found myself becoming less and less interested in the game in general.

I have not yet really watched a single golf hole being played or any other golf-related programming on television this year for all kinds of reasons, and most of what do I see about golf these days is in the form of scandal-sheet or gossip-column headlines about this player or that player.  I do have plans to “play” some golf during my break, but over time even this has become more and more like dreaded “work” for research purposes for the WaggleWeight® Company that is necessary to be done.  From this perspective if I did not have to write another Waggle Weight Wisdom™ article it would be no big loss for me, as I would like to spend more time learning how to draw and paint (I am right-handed at golfing, batting, and throwing yet left-handed at writing, so maybe I have some potential there).  Anyhow, I could potentially be influenced by what if anything develops from here from the seeds I have planted to date with my work.  While currently I do plan to be back, if it happens that I do not come back and this column suddenly disappears, I wish to sincerely thank those who visited, I surely hope they learned something from this work (do not forget to unconditionally avoid any clubfitting entity that utilizes MOI [Moment of Insanity] golf club matching), and I truly wish them all the very best.