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Sweating the Details

How proper sweat management can help you lose strokes this summer

Golf Tip: How proper sweat management can help you lose strokes this summer

A common misconception in golf is that a windless summer day makes for easy playing conditions.  While this may be true on paper, it’s not always the case for many golfers who struggle to keep their hands dry.  If you are anything like me, you actually might play some of your worst golf in the hot humid conditions!  However, as I found out this past year, it doesn’t have to be this way and you and your sweaty hands can take advantage of good weather too.

For me, all of my previous best rounds of golf were in bad weather conditions (cold, wind, rain). I just couldn’t understand why my golf game struggled on days where I should be tearing up the golf course.  Last August it finally clicked for me: I have sweaty hands and they are holding me back from posting good scores on good weather days.  From that point on, I really focused on managing my sweat.  And, unsurprisingly, I became a totally different golfer in warm weather.  Not only did I have my best season statistically, but it was my best season by nearly five strokes off my average.

Not only was I saving strokes, but I was saving gloves (I used to go through a glove in two rounds, now I can play with the same glove for a month without it going bad), and I was having fun.  Golf is fun when you can swing confidently and freely.  I wasn’t struggling to hold onto the club and I became a far better back-nine golfer, which in turn made me consistently better.

We’ve had a pretty temperate spring up until this point, but it won’t be long until things start heating up.  In preparation for the “dog days of summer”, I’d like to share with you the sweat management techniques that really made a huge difference in my game, and hopefully it will help you too!

Tip #1: Wash your hands on the course often.

Running some cold water from a water cooler over your hands really helps a lot with keeping your hands tacky.  Not only keeps your hand’s temperature low, but also washes away the sweat and dirt that keeps you from having a confident grip.  If there aren’t many water coolers, keep an extra water bottle or two.  Also carry an extra, clean towel (the micro-fiber ones in the shop work really well) and make sure they are dry before you put your glove back on.  This seems like a common-sense thing to do, but consciously making sure your hands are cool and clean is really important.

Tip #2: Get a grip (that’s right for you).

If you have sweaty hands, you need to get a grip that specializes in moisture control.  All my life I played only Golf Pride Multi-Compound grips.  I now play the Winn Dri-Tac grips.  They are designed for rain and actually work better with a little moisture.  Also, try going up a size.  I’m a cadet medium-large, with emphasis on my stubby cadet fingers.  Normally, a standard grip would be recommended for my hand size, yet I’ve had great success moving to the mid-sized grips.  A bigger grip stabilizes your hands, which is perfect for someone with a loose grip.  It’s the same mentality behind using a Super Stroke grip for your putter, so if you feel like your hands are the problem in your swing, get a larger grip for more stability.

Tip #3: Hand Antiperspirant.

I cannot stress this enough, antiperspirant for your hands is a game changer.  I bought a small bottle of DryHands last August that I use it every day (and has lasted to this day!).  Honestly is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made as a golfer, and it actually works better than you think.  This product keeps your hands bone-dry.  Wash your hands, put a few drops on, and it dries in seconds.  It lasts the entire round, but I typically reapply at the turn.  Also, it is recommended that you run some cold water periodically over your hands throughout the round (follow Tip #1!).  It refreshes the antiperspirant’s effects because your hands still get dirty throughout the round.

Tip #4: Preserve your gloves!

Now, this won’t keep your hands dry, but it may save you money.  Keep the original packaging you buy your gloves in, including the plastic.  After a round, I always put my glove back in its package.  It has always been recommended to do this, but it will actually improve the lifespan of your gloves.

In conclusion, a focus on sweat management may be the best fix for you this summer.  New waterproof grips, hand antiperspirant, and running cool water now and then was my key to success.  A good grip is essential to good golf, as it leads to confident swings.  Confident swings lead to consistently lower scores and more fun.  Don’t let sweaty hands keep you from having your best golf this summer!

By Andrew Barbin, Jr.