Once upon a time in a faraway golf kingdom there was a woman. All days she was watching men playing golf and daydreaming about playing with them. One day she decided to try.
So, the woman went to a local golf master who worked in a local golf store.
The local golf master measured woman’s hight, and he measured woman’s arm length, and he measured woman’s palm size, and he measured her each finger. He asked her to put on a special magic glove and then he asked her to take it off.
The local golf master wrote something down to his old notebook, thought a little, scratched his head and finally gave the woman THAT! Her first golf club! At the edge of the small golf club handle a little bird was sitting.
“Remember” - the local golf master said - “never grip the golf club too strongly, or you will kill the little bird”.
The woman was very happy. She went to the golf course for her first game. She gripped her golf club very gently and swung. The golf club and the little bird flew out of her hands.
She again gripped her golf club, but a little more strongly and swung. The golf club and the little bird flew out of her hands.
Again, and again the woman gripped her golf club a little more and more strongly and swung. Again, and again the golf club and the little bird flew out of her hands.
The woman felt frustrated. The golf club was uncomfortable for her. Her hands were tired.
After all she gripped her golf club even more strongly… and that is how a funny story about the woman turned into a sad story about the murder.
Do you, dear readers, want to know what went wrong? Let’s figure it out!
It so happened, that there are special golf clubs for women with a smaller grip size. It is believed that a grip size directly depends on a palm size, which women usually have smaller than men. Well, it seems to be the right approach. But if you ask a golf player, a coach, or a grip fitter why exactly a smaller palm needs a smaller grip size, you won’t get a clear answer. “That’s the common way, the tradition, a sort of dogma” – that’s what you will hear.
Besides the fact that women’s palms are smaller, their hands are also weaker. For this reason, women have to grip a golf club much tighter concerning their possibilities, while men can let themselves do it with half-power. That is why women’s wrists are almost always tense. And with overtense wrist muscles, hand mobility becomes lower, and as a result the force and accuracy of the impact become lower too.
And getting undersize golf grips, women must grip a golf club even tighter, because the narrower a club grip is the more this club wants to fly away at high speed of the swing. It is because the smaller a grip surface is, the lower the frictional force between the hand and
the grip is. It is nothing but physics!
But here there is a quite reasonable question. Why the hell we honor these “size” traditions if they conflict with physics? Why don’t women try to experiment and take a club with a bigger grip size?
In this way the frictional force between the hand and the grip will be higher, the risk to lose the club during the swing will reduce. It will let women relax their wrist muscles and swing more effectively, which means high speed and long distance. And you, probably, expect that it will save poor little bird’s life. In fact, we have a lot of questions to the bird too, because grip pressure must be different on different phases of a swing. At some point players need to grip the club really strongly. But that is another story.
P.S. No birds were harmed in making this article. We have an ability to measure grip pressure without squeezing the bird.