Commentary: Are Golf Gloves a Help or Hindrance for the Aspiring Student Golfer? Part 4

By Dr. Matthew M. Rosman, GSEE
Director of Biomechanics and Sports Science, The Golfing Machine, LLC

In Part 4 of this series, the discussion will now focus upon:

•    A summary of all the key constructs of this series  
•    Some suggested recommendations for the aspiring student golfer

The purpose of this article series was to explore the usage of a golf glove on the lead hand of the aspiring student golfer and through this exploration evolve a perspective on any and all benefits of use. In addition, the parameters of use or perhaps the choice not to use a golf glove must also be considered.  Many aspiring golfers may have assumed (based upon observation of other golfers in action as well as observing those elite golfers playing at the Tour level) that a golf glove was a part of the "equipment" of necessity for participation.  For these asp ring golfers, the thought of not using a golf glove on the lead hand may in fact seem to be a break from the accepted norms of participation.

However, if these participants were asked why they utilize a golf glove on the lead hand for practice and play, what percentage of respondents would be able to elicit a reply that was based upon relevant objective knowledge based constructs?  What percentage of these participants would only be able to state that they thought it was a mainstream customary practice of use?  How many of these participants might reply reference for justification of use of a golf glove based upon empirical observation of “better players” or Tour Professionals?  

Since, many sources of information from books, to periodicals, to Internet sites, and so on, generally provide information where the lead hand is shown gloved, and/or provide specific reference to a golf glove, it would be difficult not to understand why the aspiring student golfer might assume that usage of a golf glove on the lead hand is strongly “encouraged.”

The following is a synopsis of some of the key points described in this article series.  These summary statements should be considered as it relates to the developmental skill-building progression goals for the aspiring student golfer:

•    The lead hand’s function, relationship, and responsibility for participation in golf stroke execution procedures are quite specific in scope.

•    The golf club handle design serves as a key foundational construct for how grasp may be undertaken.

•    The location of placement of the handle in the lead hand can lawfully change due to specifically chosen and employed G.O.L.F. component variations that might require a movement of the handle from primary finger encirclement to another area of the hand such as the palm.

•    A more functional manner for the lead hand to grasp the golf club handle is with a palmar type grip which utilizes the fingers and the palm as the implement is oriented in an “angled” or oblique manner in the palm*.

•    A more optimal anatomical region of the hand to place the cylindrical golf club handle implement for maximal grasp mechanics runs “generally” within (or in close proximity to) the palmar gutter.*

•    The decision to alter the location of the club’s handle to the lead hand and the angle of the handle to the lead hand must be crafted from an objective scientific position without the golf glove itself serving as a disruption to the required clinical diagnostic process. 
•    Removing the golf glove can provide enhanced sensory “feel” of key specific anatomical lead hand landmarks with the club handle as well as help to better visually locate these important anatomical lead hand landmarks to place the golf club handle in.

•    How the hands grasp the club, in what arrangement to each other, as well as in what orientation to one of the Three Basic Planes (Vertical, Horizontal, or Angled), will either support or hinder all goals associated with the successful, lawful employment of conscious hand manipulation per desired procedure.

•    Educated hands participate in the conscious hand manipulation process. If the lead hand is “concealed” with-in the domain of a leather or leather-like golf glove, the opportunity to incorporate a “scientific golf” approach of study is difficult at best.

•    When the aspiring student golfer begins their personal golf education journey, commencing first with the procedure for lead hand to club education, beginning with a golf glove on, the opportunity to attain the desired neurological sensory “feel” for the grasp alone as well as to accurately replicate key technical elements of static and dynamic alignments is vastly “challenged”.

•    The grasp of the lead hand to the club and the resultant Number Three Accumulator Angle chosen must be calibrated with precision and with a procedural cause and effect basis of operation.

•    Crafting a lead hand to golf club handle grasp must be so designed so that the placement of the club to the lead hand (producing the adjustable Lever Assembly Radius Unit) considers all of the required aspiring student golfer’s goals and objectives for skill building at present and moving forward.

•    Lead hand-to-trailing hand “arrangement” AND lead hand-trailing hand “alignment” orientation to a designated Basic Plane must be carefully engineered.

•    The aspiring student golfer‘s “hand-to-hand” arrangement (10-1) and “hands-to-plane” alignment (10-2) must be calibrated to the stipulated golf ball control goal (10-10).

•    A key in attaining successful coupling of the hands with each other relies upon the union of the lead hand thumb with-in the trailing hand’s palmar gutter zone region.

•    The aft aspect of the lead thumb must be so arranged that it “aligns” to a “line”.

•    A very specific alignment orientation of the lead thumb with-in the trailing hand’s palmar gutter zone region exists when an imaginary straight line is drawn (with-in the trailing hand’s palmar gutter zone region) commencing from the central aspect of the Number One Pressure Point’s anatomical landmark to the central aspect of the Number Three Pressure Point’s anatomical landmark (running generally superiorly-inferiorly in direction, with-in the palmar gutter zone region of the trailing hand).

•    The lead hand thumb’s level of security is greatly bolstered when it is coupled with-in the palmar gutter zone region of the trailing hand.  

•    If the lead hand thumb is not accurately navigated into a precise orientation alignment with-in the trailing hand’s palmar gutter zone region, there is a risk that the plane of the trailing side wrist bend (wrist joint extension as per 4-A-2) will be in misalignment with the pre-selected Number Three Accumulator Angle (10-2-0).

•    An important key in creating an optimal “hand-to-hand” arrangement is to ensure that both “wrists” are in the 4-B-1 Level orientation first before engaging in the coupling process.

We create dynamic and productive lesson optimization for our aspiring student golfers in “educating the hands” when the golf glove is removed from the lead hand.  As we identify landmarks, explain the role of each hand, and differentiate “arrangement” from “alignment", we promote the type of sensory-motor experience that benefits these aspiring student golfers the most.   When we promote a coupling of the hands that focuses on the lead hand thumb with-in the trailing hand’s palmar gutter zone region, and identify that this mechanism of union is distinct in comparison to finger encirclement, there can be a period of great productivity of insight for the aspiring student golfer. Hence, we provide the aspiring student golfer with key role and responsibility education as it relates technical accuracy and execution proficiency.

As these technical functions are utilized in progressions of stroke pattern application, under the watchful observation of an AI, the aspiring student golfer can discriminate the nuances of arrangement, alignment, and coupling to produce a navigated motion that is part of the conscious hand manipulation mechanism defined by Mr. Kelley.

Therefore, the developmental stages for the goal of attaining educated hands may incorporate periods of highly focused attention to the lead hand using specific visual as well as “feel” (sensory-motor) tasks and activities that create a greater attention and appreciation of the role of the lead hand in the employment of a lawful golf stroke.  Designing such periods of attentional focus during the lesson as well as for practice in between lessons will help the aspiring student golfer to fully understand and more successfully evolve the desired educated hands skill-sets that Mr. Kelley stipulates is required for optimum conscious hand manipulation.

As lead hand and trailing hand aptitude improves so will the overall proficiency, fluidity, and the lawful executed flow of the displayed stroke pattern itself.  Thus, there is great benefit to removing the golf glove and creating visual, sensory, and motor attention to both the lead hand and trailing hand as it relates to, educated hands, conscious hand manipulation, and all Line of Compression associated goals and objectives.    
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 *Source consulted for academic purposes regarding prehension classification  characteristics : Kapandji, I.A. The Physiology of the Joints, Volume One: Upper Limb. Edinburgh London Melbourne and New York. Churchill   Livingstone, 1982