Welcome to Play Smart, a column to help you play smarter and better golf from Game Improvement Editor Luke Kerr-Dineen (Who you can follow on Twitter here).
I’ve always found it funny that golfers have exactly one connection to the club we’re swinging on: through the fist. However, as important as our control over our overall well-being is in golf, we don’t talk about it as often as we should.
However, the fist technique goes ahead whether you’re paying attention or not. The innovations are most evident in the putting greens, where companies not only change textures and weights, but have more freedom to change the shape of the paddle grip. One of the newest names at the forefront of this is Garsen Grips, which was used last week by two Tour winners: Brooke Henderson at the Amundi Evian and Tony Finau at the 3M Open. Henderson used a non-tapered quad version, while Finau used the “Ultimate” version.
Different shapes can do different things to the head stroke based on how mobile your arms and wrists are. Garsen handles come in a few shapes, but all handles are designed around the same theory: to sit more in the palm of your hands, so your hands are more gripping on each side of the handle. This has the effect of rotating each of your arms outward, bending your shoulders more at your side and locking them in place.
The company itself has some science to support the benefits for golfers. A study of 23 average handicappers 12.7 golfers using the Quintic Advanced Putter System as they hit several different courses found that compared to a standard grip, the Garsen grip:
- Help golfers hit the ball more by increasing the angle of attack (0.8° vs. 0.14° for a normal grip).
- This change imported more top spin on the ball, reducing lateral spin by 30 percent and reducing slip by 40 percent.
The study also found that because the grip placed the knuckles of the arms more tightly to the side, this resulted in fewer deflections across the board, particularly in the face angle, which decreased by half a degree.
Obviously, if golf has taught us anything, it’s that there is no silver bullet to solve all our problems, but if nothing else, it’s an interesting idea from Garsen, and one with a growing number of proof points behind it.