What is your gear telling you? In our latest series, find out what the scuffs and marks on your gear is telling you, and how to fix your game accordingly.
Have you ever wondered what causes a single part of your grip to wear a lot faster than the rest, or looked down at the painted tee marks which are left on the bottom of your driver and wonder what they mean? We're here to help.
In our latest feature, we inspect the abrasian on your golf glove, the marks on the sole of your club, the wear and tear on your golf grip and the wear pattern on the bottom of your wedges. As a result, find out if you are sacrificing control, cutting across the ball, gripping the club too tightly or simply not using a wedge with the right amount of bounce - and learn how to fix these problems.
#1: Is your gear revealing that your grip is costing you control?
Abrasion on your glove indicates your grip is slipping during the swing, and the thumb pad is a notoriously weak point. Signs of wear here reveal you have placed your top hand in a position that cannot support and secure the club, costing you control. Here's what you can do to bring back control – and ensure your gloves last a little longer...
FAULT: 'Long Thumb'
Grip excessively in the palm of your gloved hand and you'll create what we call a 'long thumb'. Without the thumb- forefinger pincer, this hold cannot support the club at the top; the thumb slides up towards the shaft, wearing the glove. Some golfers have a thumb joint that creates this long thumb,so check this before making changes.
FIX: Palm-Finger Blend
Your ideal top hand grip sees the club run more diagonally across the hand, from under the heel of the hand to the index finger's middle knuckle. Fold your fingers around and you'll feel how your thumb pad can apply pressure and stability to the handle. Train this hold by making one-handed swings with the gloved hand; aim to feel solid and set at the top as the body completes its turn..
#2: Does your driver look like the one in our picture below? It's telling you that you cut across the ball..
Wooden tee-pegs are of course painted, and impact can see that paint leave a mark on the sole of your club. With narrower- soled irons, that mark can be a useful indicator of toe or heel strikes; but with the wide-soled driver the streak is often long enough show you exactly the path the club was taking through the ball.
The most common paint mark runs at an angle from the centre of the face towards the toe, indicating a slice path. Trace that angle over an upright tee peg and you can see how the mark was caused by an out-to-in path that cuts across the ball at impact. This is the path that causes slice pain for 85% of club players.
How to fix it
#1: Set Up Check
Straightening out those tee streaks starts with address. Make sure the ball is not too far forward; under your lead shoulder is a good guide. From here ask a friend to check your alignment – feet, hips, knees and shoulders should be parallel to each other and parallel to your ball-target line.
#2: Straighten Your Path
Place a soft object, perhaps a headcover, practice ball bag or even a bottle of water, a foot or so behind the ball, with just enough room for the toe of the club to swing back past it. Go ahead and hit the ball. The simple need to avoid the obstacle on the way down will encourage you to attack the ball from the inside, promoting a more neutral path.
#3: Is your gear telling you that you're gripping the golf club too tightly? Here's how to tell...
Take the three clubs you use the most out of your bag, and examine the grip closely. Do you see any signs of wear?
I don't mean the general shininess that comes with use (ideally the regular player needs to change their grips once a year - see why here)
Look beyond that to see if there are any zones that are actually abraded. It's important you watch out for these, because they are a clear sign you are gripping the club too tightly.
Gripping too tightly spells problems because it creates tension in your hands, wrists and arms. This stops the club hingeing and swinging freely, robbing your action of rhythm, sequencing and ultimately, power.
Top Tip: Glove is blind
Another visual clue to tension is the colour of your knuckles; they need to be the same colour as the rest of your hand, not white. Unfortunately your glove obscures your perception of this, so hit a few drives with it off; just before you take the club away, check the knuckle colour of both hands.
How To Soften Your Grip
Hold your driver in front of you allowing your triceps to soften. Work the head to describe a large letter 'O' in front of you. You should feel both wrists hinge at various points. Slowly speed up; the speed that gets the club moving fastest while retianing control represents ideal grip pressure.
Check Your Grip
It is also possible that grip wear can be caused by gripping incorrectly. If your grip pressure is good but you are still finding signs of wear on the handle seek the advice of your pro on creating a more functional grip. Read all about how to get the perfect golf grip for you
#4: Is your gear revealing you have too much bounce on your wedges? Here's how to tell...
The soles of your wedges are designed to stop the club digging into the turf. With the rear of the sole lower than the leading edge, the club resists biting downwards, making heavy contact less likely.
This design is misleadingly termed bounce, and you can buy wedges with that trailing edge dropped more (larger bounce) or less (lower bounce), to suit your technique and playing conditions. The wear pattern on the sole will tell you if you've got the right amount.
Perfect bounce: You will see a fairly uniform pattern from the leading edge to the middle of the sole.
Too much bounce: The rear of the sole shows signs of wear. You may well also see excessive wear under the heel as the sole's role in the strike is too prominent.
Not enough bounce: Only the area around the leading edge shows any sign of wear. When this is the case, too small an area of the sole is acting against the turf.
SOLE SEARCHING: Reading your wedge sole wear should give you all the information you need either to retain or adjust your wedges. But also, take this guide into account
YOU'LL NEED MORE BOUNCE IF...
➤Your divots are typically deep. It shows a steep angle of attack that needs more bounce for the sole to be employed.
➤ You play on soft, lush courses. These ground conditions and fluffier lies warrant the higher forgiveness of the extra bounce angle.
YOU'LL NEED LESS BOUNCE IF...
➤ Your divots are generally shallow. This reveals a more level angle of attack that means higher sole bounce can cause the club to skip off the ground.
➤ You play on hard, dry courses with tight lies. These conditions can cause wedges with more bounce to skip excessively.