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Arthritis sufferers can still play golf but rarely without some concessions to the affliction. There are two main types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. Both cause swelling in the joints along with pain and stiffness.
Arthritis causes the cartilage that protect your bones to break down. There is no cure, only treatments to reduce the symptoms.
The pain, swelling, and redness caused by arthritis can make it difficult to play golf. This is especially true if arthritis strikes your hands. And arthritis in the hands and fingers can make gripping the club more difficult.
Change Your Actual Hand Grip
Changing the way you grip the club could make a difference. Traditionally, golf instructors have preferred the overlapping grip (sometimes called the Vardon Grip for Harry Vardon, who popularized it). In the overlapping grip, the pinky of your top hand overlaps the bottom hand.
Perhaps the two greatest players ever, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, used the interlocking grip. In this grip, the bottom finger of the top hand interlocks with the top finger of the bottom hand.
Arthritis sufferers might find some relief with the ten-finger, or baseball grip. All ten fingers are on the club in this grip. Since arthritis can affect your ability to grip the club, this choice could help with that.
Golf Grips For Arthritis
Aside from the way your grip the club and medical treatments, a piece of golf equipment might also help arthritis sufferers. That piece of equipment is the grip material of a club.
Golf club grips come in a variety of styles. Each of these could affect golfers with arthritis in the hands in different ways.
Regularly changing the grips on your clubs is something that should be done every year or so. If you need to make a change due to arthritis, chances are decent that change was due anyway.
There are five main aspects of golf grips you need to consider. Let’s take a look at each and how they might affect your game.
You may find that oversize grips will help you with arthritis, as it offers the chance to apply less pressure when swinging the club. There is always a tradeoff, as oversize grips can lead to a slice. It is entirely possible you will have to adjust your swing anyway to alleviate the pain from arthritis, so be aware.
Other grip sizes are standard, undersize, and midsize. You may be able to find something in between by adding extra layers of the tape that goes between the shaft and the grip.
Choosing the correct grip size can play a surprisingly large role in your score. It may be the most overlooked part of any player’s equipment choices.
There are any number of different textures you can get in a grip. While the textures may vary they all are intended for the same purpose, to keep the club from slipping in your hands. This will be discussed further later in this article, but arthritic golfers may do better with a heavily textured surface.
Many professional golfers use firmer grips, as dictated by their higher swing speeds and the stability they produce. Even if you are an excellent golfer, arthritis will likely mean you will do better with softer grips.
Some golf grips are made with a round or symmetrical design. Many players prefer the “ripped” design, which is a ridge that runs in a line down the grip. This ridge is there to assist you in gripping the club correctly. As for arthritic golfers, this will likely come down to personal preference.
This will likely be the most important decision you will make as far as your grips are concerned. This decision is so crucial, it seems wise to go more in-depth on each of the materials available to golfers.
This used to be a common material used for golf grips. You rarely see it any longer. Leather grips were wrapped around the shaft instead of the one-piece slide-on grips you see today. You can still find leather grips but they have become a specialty item. Believe it or not, some professionals have taken to using kangaroo leather grips.
These grips are super soft and provide great feel. They may not have the stickiness you need if you have arthritis.
In place of leather are certain composite grips. These might be made of some combination of synthetic materials that, like leather, are very soft. They have a similar drawback to leather grips in that wet weather or sweaty hands can make them very slippery. For that reason, these may not be the best choice for golfers with arthritic hands and fingers.
Rubber grips are easier to manufacture and offers a great feel as if it contains an adhesive. These properties make rubber grips the most common material you will find. This could be the best choice for arthritic hands as they provide a decent combination of feel and stability. They may not be the No. 1 choice.
Corded grips have a cord of varying material threaded through the grip. Even in humid or rainy weather, corded grips retain their tremendous traction, more so than any other type of grip. There is a downside.
Corded grips are also notoriously abrasive on your hands. Unlike the super-soft leather grips where some players don’t even wear a glove, you may want to wear gloves on both hands when playing corded grips.
You could find these grips to be too abrasive, even when wearing gloves. If so, find another style that suits you best, whether that be rubber or other material.
Here are some of the best grips on the market for arthritic golfers.
Lamkin Arthritic Grips
Lamkin is a well-known name in golf grips. This is Lamkin’s entry specifically designed for arthritic hands.
These grips have what the company calls a “nibbed” texture and comes in midsize only. They say this allows the golfer to comfortably grip the club with lighter pressure.
Reviewers online seem to agree.
Majek Jumbo Pro Velvet
As the name suggests, this is an oversized grip. They are a 1/8-inch grips, larger than most oversize grips, earning the “jumbo” designation. Made from a rubber blend compound engineered at UCLA, these grips are designed using a computer to produce a non-slip surface.
Karma Arthritic Grips
These grips retain the larger size of the Majek set above but at a lighter weight. The rubber grip has a textured surface to help prevent slippage.
Some golfers may find a need to add tape to increase the size of the grips.
Wedge Guys MM
While not made specifically for arthritic golfers, these grips are corded and come in five different colors. These are high quality grips, with the corded material being cotton. That could mean less wear and tear on your hands than some corded grips.
These grips combine the corded grip for the upper hand with a rubber surface for the lower hand, a great combination of control and feel.
Being corded grips, they are great for all weather conditions. The only downside is that only come in standard size. If you want a larger size, you will need to add layers of tape.
Tacki-Mac Arthritic #27
Another oversize grip made specifically for arthritic golfers. The name tells you what they want you to know about these grips. Made from a sticky rubber compound, these are an affordable option containing grips for all the clubs in your bag aside from the putter.
Golf Pride MCC Plus4
Golf Pride is the industry leader in grips and you will be hard-pressed to find better quality than the MCC Plus4. Tour players love these grips but that does not mean the average player cannot benefit from them.
The Plus4 in the name refers to the hybrid design, with the bottom half of the grip containing an extra four layers of tape. This gives both a soft feel and lighter grip pressure that arthritic golfers may find appealing.
As you can see, you have a large variety of grips to choose from. As for a recommendation, that depends on your needs.
For those on a budget, the Majek Jumbo Pro Velvet could be the right choice.
If you want a corded grip, Wedge Guys MM is the grip for you.
If price is no object, then Golf Pride’s MCC Plus4 is the clear winner.
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