Can You Play Golf Without A glove?

If you are thinking about whether you need to wear a glove, knowing that there are some players that wear two gloves, one glove, or no gloves at all, I understand there may be some confusion if you are new to the game.

While it’s not a requirement to play with a glove, the majority of players do use one. It’s more likely you would need to wear a glove in humid conditions where your hands sweat more and can cause you to have less grip on the club, which can affect your golf swing.

There are some players, including a few Professional Golfers, who play without a glove, Fred Couples is the most famous.

In this article we will take a look at the reasons why you would or wouldn’t choose to wear a glove.

Let’s start by saying that I usually do not wear a glove and that’s been the case for over 20 years

I am in the minority, in the groups that I play golf in, as most of the people I play with do use a Glove. In fact off the top of my head I can’t think of another player in my groups that doesn’t use one.

can you play golf without a glove

So why don’t I wear one and should I?

I don’t use one because I feel like I have more feel in my fingers when I am playing a shot. It’s all about feel for me, especially on shorter shots.

To my mind having a good grip is one of the main things you need to get right when you’re trying to play good golf.

You need to be able to take a good grip on the club without squeezing too tightly, but tight enough, say 6 out of 10, to make sure that your hands stay in place throughout the swing.

Having tacky grips on the handle of the club plays a big part in achieving a good grip, and while its important to have good fundamentals to try and achieve a perfect grip.

If you can’t keep your hands on the handle of the club throughout the swing then you’re going to have a few problems.

As soon as they become slippy I know I will start holding the club too tightly, which affects the rest of my swing.

I do replace my grips every season and I always try to keep them tacky.

My mate Roger lets his grips become shiny and on the occasions I’ve picked up his clubs it feels like they will just slip out of my hands.

I have no idea how he manages to play with them, but he’s off 13 so he’s doing OK.

Are Golf Gloves Necessary?

As I’ve already said, wearing a glove is not a requirement to be able to play the game.

However playing without gloves is probably not a good idea for beginners as they often grip the club too tightly and it can result in a few blisters on the thumb and palm.

If you do grip the club too tightly, gloves will protect your hands from blisters, as the club slides up and down your hands, the rubber causes friction which over time can make your hands become a bit beat up.

If you are someone who does grip too tightly then I recommend checking out the article I wrote about getting a perfect grip on the club

Also when you are playing in hot, humid conditions, it is difficult to prevent the club from slipping.

When the grip is slippery, there tends to be more tension in the hands and arms, which is not a good thing.  So wearing a glove can help lead to a more stable, controlled swing.

Our hands are simply not as good as the material used in golf gloves and they can help you get a good grip without having to squeeze too hard. 

If you’re just starting to play golf I would suggest you start off with a glove and see how it feels.

If wearing one works for you that’s great. if it feels uncomfortable, you can then try to play without one. It sometimes take a little while to get used to using them.

Have a go and find out what works for you.

Which Hand Do You wear The Glove On?

You might think that it should be your dominant hand, but it isn’t.

The glove should be worn on the opposite of your dominant hand.

Golfers call it the lead hand – the hand that sits on the top of the grip and leads the club through your swing. 

If you are right-handed, your left hand is your lead hand. For left-handed golfers, it’s their right hand.

The top hand on the golf club is the hand that does most of the work. If you do not wear a glove on the top hand, you may have noticed that this hand can easily slide during your swing. This may cause blisters after playing.

When making a swing, the top hand should remain stable. We put a glove on this hand to avoid sliding and to generate a consistent shot. 

How Often Should you Change Your Golf Glove

Use A Wet Weather Golf Glove in The Rain

There are a few times I do wear a glove and that’s when it’s raining heavily.

When my grips get wet they tend to spin in my hands, and I lose control of my swing, which usually results in a poor shot.

So to combat this I use a Wet Weather Glove, which somehow gives you more grip the wetter it becomes. I use a FootJoy Wet Weather glove which usually costs me around $13-$15

It’s not all plain sailing though, as I found a downside to wearing wet weather gloves, which is trying to take them off and putting them back on between shots, usually with wet hands.

After a while it got so fiddly and took too long that I just left them on for the whole round, which then affects my putting stroke but also makes my hand cold when they’re wet.

Having cold or wet hands also affects my grip as I then can’t feel my fingers when they’re cold. I should be used to it by now as I live in the UK and we get a lot of rain, but it’s still a bit of a pain in the backside.

Why Do Golfers Putt Without A Golf Glove?

Should you keep your glove on when putting?

If you do wear a glove I would recommend taking it off when you get to the green. 

Most golfers who wear a glove will remove it when they are Putting on the green. Putting is all about judging line and pace and it’s much easier to do this when you can feel the club with your hands, as putting is all about feel.

Although I have seen quite a few higher handicap players leave them on all the time. They wear them on the tee, the fairway and the green, perhaps even in the bar.

And meanwhile, you can let your glove breathe a little, which will also improve the durability of the glove. Although I’m not sure there is any real evidence to support that, it just seems to make sense.

There is no right or wrong way. It is, again, a matter of preference.

So whether you take off your glove when you approach the green is up to you. 

You may have heard of Tommy ‘Two-Gloves’ Gainey, a PGA pro who wears two gloves.

In this PGA Tour video, he explains why he wears two and we get to see others who wear one or non, as well as a few different colour options.

Do You Need Two Golf Gloves?

You don’t need two gloves to play with. Most golfers, both beginners, and professionals wear a glove only on one hand. Their lead hand. 

A small number don’t wear them at all, because they prefer to have the maximum feel of the golf swing. An even smaller group of people wear them on both hands.

Wearing two gloves can help you avoid blisters and can be comfortable when playing in cold or wet environments. But one glove, placed on the lead hand, is the norm. 

Most golfers only use one glove because it improves their feel of the grip having one hand free and the other anchored by the glove, which helps with proper contact. 

So as you see, it’s a matter of preference.

As we’ve seen there are players who play with two, one, or no golf gloves at all!

How to Choose The Right Size Of Golf Glove

When buying your golf glove, make sure it feels like a second skin.

When you have it on your hand do the following to see if it’s the right fit for you:

  • Stretch your fingers to make the glove go taught
  • Then use your other hand to try and pinch the material of the glove on the palm of your hand.
  • You shouldn’t be able to grab any of the glove.
  • If you can, then it’s a sign that it’s too big for you.

Gloves that are too big for you are likely to move on your hand during your swing which will ultimately result in poor shots.

Gloves that are too small for you are likely to rip and you’ll have to buy another

It is important to feel completely comfortable while wearing it.

Make sure you have as close to the same feeling that you would have with your bare hands.

How Often Should you Change A Golf Glove?

It depends on how tightly you grip the club, the weather conditions that you play in and how you look after the glove, both on and off the course. If you play regularly, it’s likely you will use at least half a dozen a season, and it’s wise to regularly replace your gloves and keep your grips clean.

Luckily, it’s one of the lesser expensive pieces of golf equipment. You can already buy them for $5 to $15 bucks, depending on the quality you choose. Packs of three are quite common in pro shops and golf stores.

Golf gloves are usually made with carbretta leather or synthetic materials. The leather ones usually cost most but there is usually a big range to choose from in any pro shop or golf store.

Some stores will even help fit you for the correct size 

Most gloves on the market are white. The white models are useful when playing in summer as they tend to get less hot than colored ones. On the other hand, no pun intended, they can become dirty quite quickly.

Therefore, you may want to consider black or coloured gloves 

People do tend to lose their gloves quite often, so remember when you are done with playing, put it back into your bag.

Recap

As we discussed, you are not required to wear a glove. It is all about preference, and what gives you, personally, the best feel to achieve your best result.

If you choose to play without gloves, make sure that you use clean and tacky golf grips.

Without gloves, as a beginner with a tighter grip you might get blisters on your hands after the first few times of playing.

I’d recommend fixing the grip pressure you use, don’t try to strangle your golf grips, about 6 out of 10 grip pressure is fine.

Are you going to follow the example of most professional players, or are you willing to find out what works for you?

The choice is yours!

Happy Golfing

Steve