If you’ve ever watched golf on TV, you would have seen PGA Tour players take off their glove and put it in their back pocket before putting.
Most golfers would agree there’s nothing more satisfying than hitting a green in regulation, and whipping off your glove in preparation of sinking your putt.
As former world No. 1 Greg Norman said: “Happiness is a long walk with a putter”.
But what if you’re someone who likes to keep your glove on throughout the entire round, even when on the greens?
If this is you, you’ve probably watched the pros and thought: Should I really wear a glove while putting?
Whether you wear a golf glove or not while putting is a matter of personal preference. There is no rule stopping you from wearing a glove while putting. In fact, Jack Nicklaus, arguably the greatest golfer to ever play the game, won 18 major tournaments putting with a glove on. If he can do it, you can too.
Personally, I like putting with a glove on. I don’t like taking my glove off and on during a round, so I simply keep it on.
I find wearing a glove while putting helps me to grip the putter better, allowing me to sink more putts.
Other people don’t like the sensation of not being able to feel the club on their bare hand when putting, and believe wearing a glove while making their stroke could ruin their ‘touch’ on the greens.
As I said, it is entirely up to each player to determine what feels best for them, and it’s only one of many elements that contribute to your putting performance – others include grip technique, alignment and how you read the breaks.
Next time you’re practicing on the greens, whether at the course or at home on an indoor putting mat, hit a few putts with and without a glove on and you’ll soon discover what is most comfortable for you.
What is the purpose of a golf glove?
Golf gloves were first introduced in the late 1800s as a way to combat slippery grips, but many of the world’s best players, such as Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones, still did not wear them throughout the 1920s and ’30s. Some of the early models included fingerless and backless designs.
PGA legend Sam Snead began wearing a glove in the 1940s, but they only really began to surge in popularity in the 1960s thanks to a new wave of golfing personalities in Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus – both who would go on to become two of the greatest players of all time.
Since then, golf glove manufacturing has continued to improve and virtually all players on the PGA tour, amateurs and weekend warriors, wear golf gloves during their round.
The main advantage of a golf glove is that it helps you grip the club far better, giving you more control and confidence when making your swing.
Why do golfers not wear two gloves?
The reason most players don’t wear two golf gloves is due to the mechanics of the golf swing. A player’s glove should be worn on his or her lead hand (so, left hand for a right-handed golfer, and vice versa) and this is because the lead arm is responsible for the power and speed in the swing. Naturally, you want this hand to have a strong connection with the club, and a glove helps achieve this.
The trail hand’s role is to guide and control the club face through impact, without being overly tight, so not wearing a glove helps the trail hand avoid gripping the club too tightly, or becoming to dominant during the swing – it also improves a player’s ‘feel’ or ‘touch’.
That said, people can and do play golf while wearing two gloves.
The most famous person to do so would be PGA tour player Tommy ‘Two Gloves’ Gainey who got his nickname by wearing two gloves while playing on the professional circuit.
Gainey is a one-time winner on the PGA tour, showing that you can be successful by wearing two gloves when playing golf.
What hand should you wear your golf glove on?
Your golf glove should go on your lead hand. The lead hand and arm are responsible for generating the upper body power and speed in the golf swing (your legs do the rest), so you want as much grip as possible when holding the club – a golf glove will help you do this.
Your trail hand is responsible for controlling the club face through impact – not wearing a glove on this hand will allow you to ‘feel’ the club better during the swing, and prevent you from gripping it too tightly (which can sometimes lead to hooks).
Are golf gloves supposed to be tight?
According to many golf websites, a golf glove should fit you like a second skin. A glove that is too big can slip around your hand, making it difficult to hold onto the golf club, which could lead to poor shots.
To ensure your glove fits correctly:
- Check that the glove is tight across the palm and fingers, with no loose material.
- You should not have space left in your fingertips. If you do, the glove is too big.
- The velcro strap should only cover about 75 per cent of the tab across the back of your hand.
If you’ve checked all these steps, then you can be confident your golf glove fits you correctly.
Do any pro golfers not use a glove?
Probably the most famous and recognisable pro not to wear a glove during competition is World Golf Hall of Famer Fred Couples. During his time on the PGA tour, Couples won 15 times – including the 1992 Masters – and has since gone on to secure 13 Champions Tour victories without wearing a golf while playing.
Couples, who still remains arguably the coolest player ever to wear a visor, explained why he doesn’t wear a glove during a 2011 interview, where he revealed he instead smears superglue on his thumb to give him extra grip.
“I don’t have any feel with ’em at all,” Couples said.
“No, when I first started, yeah (I would wear one), when I was nine, ten, 11 up in Seattle on (rainy) days like this.
“But then you would try and dry your gloves out, but my mom would not give me – I think it was like seven bucks for a glove every other week in the wintertime.
“So, finally I just stopped wearing them. That’s when I stopped, up in Seattle.
“My thumb, it has superglue all over it. I do get cuts on my thumb. And then now for a long time now I just put superglue on it and I don’t get too many cuts.”
It goes to show that you don’t need to wear a glove to play at the elite level – you just need to practice, practice, practice.
Why do golfers put their glove in their back pocket?
The simple answer is: because it’s convenient. Your back pocket is the perfect place to store your golf glove while you make your putt, and it’s also the easiest place to grab it from again – rather than rummaging around in your bag, or trying to pull it out of your front pocket.
And it also looks the coolest, because it’s what the pros do.
As they say: if you can’t play like a golfer, then you can at least try to look like one.
What type of golf glove should I buy?
The golf glove I personally use when playing and practicing is the Srixon All Weather Glove.
I really like this glove because it is cost effective (you can get it cheap on Amazon) and very durable due to its quality synthetic leather material and reinforced palm. This means it doesn’t wear out too quickly.
The CoolMax fabric lets your hand breathe, and not sweat, meaning you can comfortably keep it on for the entire round if – like me – you don’t like taking your glove off after your first tee shot.
Out of all the gloves I’ve tried, this one is the best in terms of price, durability and comfort.
If you don’t like the Srixon All Weather Glove, here is a list of some of the other top golf gloves available to purchase online:
- TaylorMade Tour Preferred Flex Golf Glove
- Callaway Men’s Dawn Patrol Golf Glove
- FootJoy Men’s WeatherSof Golf Glove
- All-Cabretta Leather Golf Glove
- Titleist Players Men’s Golf Glove
Whichever glove you choose will ultimately come down to your budget and style preference.
Whether or not you wear a glove while putting is entirely up to you.
Some of the greatest golfers of all time have putted both with and without a glove on, so at the end of the day it is entirely a matter of personal preference.
Next time you’re practicing your putting, try wearing a glove – you may find it helps your stroke.