Professional golfers hit thousands of golf balls on the range to hone their games and spending 8 hours a day in between tournaments is a common practice and a necessity to stay at the top. Calluses develop especially on the hand which is not protected by a glove. Not too many pros play without a glove on, but why do golfers tape their fingers?
For pro golfers, their hands are their working and income-generating tools. Just like a surgeon, damaged hands or fingers will prevent him from performing at his best, if not eliminating him from operating.
The left hand will also develop some form of calluses, even though it is protected by a soft leather glove. On the unprotected right hand, is where most of the damage is done.
The perfect golf grip is to have the hands locked together on the shaft, and work in unison. Any changes to the grip will require many hours of practice to ensure everything feels good and so inspire confidence to adapt to the change on the course.
It is a known golfing fact, that any weakness in the grip, will manifest itself when the pressure to perform is at its peak. The back 9 in a Major Tournament, for instance.
Blisters occur when there is friction between the grip and the fingers when a player is holding the club. We all talk about powerful swings and distance and the hands and fingers are the only contact point on the club that must be controlled during the swing.
Most blisters heal naturally within 3 to 7 days, and should they occur, they should not be burst. If they do burst, then the skin should not be torn or cut off for fear of infection.
Any occupation that has repetitive actions with the feet or the hands, will eventually develop some sought of callus. This hardened skin protects the affected area from splitting and bleeding. Besides being painful, splitting of the skin will influence the ability to perform any function at its best.
A solution to the problems is the use of tape. Even stretch plaster will do, if not too bulky on the hands. Professional golfers use a special tape that breathes, stretches, and has self-adhesive for easy application. The tape tears easily and is very soft in texture. It conforms to all the PGA rules and is reasonably priced and should be in all golfer’s bags.
Players may tape certain joints on the fingers for comfort and protection. Tiger Woods is known for taping his right middle finger. Other players like Jordan Spieth have numerous calluses due to his slightly unorthodox right-hand grip. The tape is also applied to any weak cracked areas on the hand or fingers. Grip comfort is paramount to perform.
It is very important when applying the tape not to stretch it too much as this will impede the natural movement of the fingers and hand. Likewise, applying too much pressure will restrict blood flow and cause discomfort.
Stretching the Rules with Tape
The rich prize money on offer during the pro tour events is astounding. No one can deny that the many hours top players put into their game, deserve these rewards.
Many tour pros are trying to break into the top 50 or 100 to obtain entry or invite to some of the richest tournaments during the year.
It has been said that some players have used tape on their hands or fingers to assist them in reproducing the absolute perfect handgrip position on the shaft for each swing. It is an old trick and some of the senior players on the tour use tape rather excessively. Arrows on gloves have also been used.
The problem is, how do you question a player who has spent his life hitting golf balls and competing to make a living. The hands and fingers are subject to constant jarring when interacting with the turf. Damage to the tendons and joints on the hands is a given, so tape would be in order to ensure longevity.
Having said the above, it is undoubtedly a minority of tour players that would risk breaching the rules and ethical side of the golf code. When referring to the social amateur golf club member, the use of tape or plaster to ingrain a tip from a lesson would most probably go unnoticed by his colleagues.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.