I see these on children’s clubs on occasions. Do they work? Are they useful? Do they do more harm than good???
I have never been a fan of these for a number of reasons; the manufacturers make some bold claims in their marketing…
“It helps develop a CORRECT swing”
“9 iron with training grip has a specially moulded grip for the PROPER hand position. This is a great first club for kids as it helps them start playing the game with a GOOD grip and a RESULTING BETTER SWING”
“Specially moulded grip for the PROPER hand positions. It is helpful for developing a CORRECT SWING”
“This golf training grip features special finger moulds that FORCE you to hold the club in the CORRECT position and helps build a PROFESSIONAL LOOKING GRIP”
Correct? Proper? Good grip? Better swing? Force? Professional looking?
None of these words really align with our values on how children learn and engage with a new activity. Undoubtedly adults that put these into children’s hands mean well but could they actually be doing the opposite of what they claim?
Is there such thing as a “correct grip”? NO! There may well be optimum and more effective ways to hold the club but this will always depend on lots of different factors. Obviously the child and their stage of development, the club they are using and the task/shot they are playing.
The same grip for all children? NO! As above I believe that every child is unique so there is no way that one size fits all!
Are we, adults, imposing our way (the “correct” grip) on children? Possibly! I believe that children should be allowed to learn on their terms and in their own time. Adults should be on hand to support the children and offer insight and advice when asked for by the children.
Does it allow for children’s unique and individual development stages? NO! This has to be respected, for so many years children that attend coaching sessions have been told how to hold the club, how to stand to the ball, how to move their body and these grips cement the hold that adults have on children taking charge of their own learning and development.
Do they take into account the size and makeup of each child’s hands? NO! We love the fact that US Kids clubs have different sized/weighted grips on the clubs for the different ages. Yet we would then put a one size fits all training grip on a club! Look at children’s hands and they all look different, but what we cannot see is where their hands are in relation to their development.
Do they make the club too heavy to move? YES! There is more rubber in a moulded grip and that changes the weight and feel of the club. I like children to start with clubs that are as light as possible so they can move it as far and fast as they can – striking the ball as far, high and straight as they possibly can.
Is it stopping children being adaptable? YES! YES! YES! How do they grip down the club to change the way it works? What about if they want to move their hands around the club to hit different shots? It offers them no option to try things and be in charge of how the club works.
One thing that I have always wondered… If they are on one club, often the first club that children use, should they then be on all clubs? These grips are often fitted on an iron but what about a driver and/or a putter??? If we did want the children to have the “correct” grip surely then they should be on all of the child’s clubs?
They are ILLEGAL! Not allowed in competitive play, I know that children starting the game are a LONG way from competing, but why get them started with something that no one is allowed to use further down the line.
Where might it stop?
So many people in the game of golf are looking to assist and help people and coming up with gadgets to further their learning and development, but where will it stop??? If it starts with a moulded grip could it end with this?
Could they ever be useful? Maybe! Very occasionally! If there were a selection of different clubs that the children were given the choice to occasionally use to get a feel of a different way. I could see that possibly working 😉
Before putting these thoughts down I would have said children should NEVER use these moulded grips. After considering a number of angles I would still not choose to use them with children but they could be useful on very limited occasions…
With everything it be useful for some children some of the time but NEVER all children all of the time.