OK, so wearing the Bionic Glove won't make you Col. Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man, but it can make those aching hands feel invincible. I live in Arizona where the heat is dry but intense and your hands sweat. A lot. All that sweat running down your arms, all that wiping of the brow, it leaves my hands wet and ruins gloves after a couple rounds. So I've learned to play without gloves for sake of not buying them by the dozen. However, I miss the extra grip that gloves provide and will use them in milder weather.
Enter the Bionic Glove, a glove designed not only to provide extra gripping power with plenty of comfort, but also provides some padding in certain places on the underside of the hand and finger area ostensibly to aid those with arthritis.
Let's take a look at Bionic technology and how it can help your game. The Bionic Glove combats hand characteristics that interfere with game play. Originally designed for Hockey before being adapted for golf, a leading orthopedic hand surgeon scientifically designed the Bionic glove to aid the anatomical form and function of a golfer's hand. Bionic Gloves claim to enhance comfort, provide more confidence, and improve control. They are the first gloves to earn the Ease-of-Use Commendation by the Arthritis Foundation. Bionic Glove also claims that their gloves will:
- Eliminate natural interference. Hand position and grip is an essential component to the golfer's swing. And unfortunately, the anatomical nature of the hand causes a variety of problems that interfere with performance. The Bionic golf glove is scientifically designed to even the playing field.
- Create an even hand surface which leads to a better grip. The bony peaks of the hand create an uneven surface when gripping the club. Golfers tend to naturally grip the club harder to even out the surface, fatiguing the hand and causing inconsistent shot and inaccuracy. The strategically placed relief zone padding instantly evens the surface.
- Improve game play. The result of Bionic technology is better accuracy with each shot. Greater grip strength. Custom fit for natural movement. Enhanced club control. Less hand fatigue. And superior resistance to seasonal wear and tear adding long-term value.
Look and Feel
Upon first inspection there doesn't appear to be much difference in this glove to many others but when you feel the palm and try it on for the first time, you will notice the differences. The gloves ergonomics do offer a comfortable, correct fit and helps natural problems of the hand when gripping the club. Strategically placed relief pads on the thumb, fingers, and palm protects against blisters and calluses by reducing pressure and friction. There are three layers of padding to promote increased grip strength, torque strength and pinch strength which claim to result in more control and straighter shots. Unfortunately, I didn't notice much gains in those areas.
Washing the Bionic Glove enhances durability and maintains suppleness of leather and caring for your Bionic Glove is easy since it is safe for hand and machine washing. The company recommends that you wash the glove with the Velcro tab secured tightly to avoid snagging with other garments. I washed mine once just to see how it would react to water and was surprised that it help up rather well in the wash and after drying was still in pretty good shape. However, keep in mind to air dry only!
Tested and confirmed. Bionic gloves reduce the pain and limitations of arthritis. Tested and independently researched, users with arthritis performed tasks better and with less pain wearing Bionic gloves compared to bare handed. Grip strength was improved, pinch force was improved, and comfort was ensured. Power without pain is a beautiful thing.
Users were instructed to grip an instrument called a dynamometer as tightly as possible without experiencing excessive discomfort.
Both left and right hands were tested first without wearing Bionic gloves and then while wearing Bionic gloves. Average Grip Strength On average, users were able to exert 16% greater force, as measured by the hand dynamometer, while wearing Bionic gloves than with their bare hands.
Three pinch types were utilized for this assessment. Users were instructed to pinch the gauge as tightly as possible without experiencing excessive discomfort.
For the tip pinch (the thumb tip to the index fingertip), users were instructed to place their index finger below the gauge and their thumb on top of the gauge. For the key pinch (the thumb pad to the side of index finger), users were instructed to place the lateral aspect of the middle phalanx of their index finger on the bottom of the gauge and their thumb on the top of the gauge.
For the Palmer pinch, users were asked to place their thumb on the top of the gauge and the pads of their index and middle fingers on the bottom of the gauge. Both left and right hands were tested first without wearing Bionic gloves and then while wearing Bionic gloves. Average Pinch Force On average, users were able to exert 25% greater tip pinch force, 12% greater key pinch force, and 47% greater palmar pinch (the thumb pad to the index and middle finger pads) force, as measured by the pinch gauge, while wearing Bionic gloves than with their bare hands.
Three knobs were utilized for this assessment. Users were instructed to turn each knob in a clockwise (CW) direction as much as possible without experiencing excessive discomfort.
Users were instructed to turn each knob in the counter-clockwise (CCW) direction as well. The small metal knob (0.5") was designed to be operated by the pads of the thumb and index fingers. The small plastic knurled knob (1") was designed to be operated by the pad of the thumb and the lateral aspect of the middle phalanx of the index finger.
The palm grip was designed to be operated by the palm with the fingers curled around the knob. Both left and right hands were tested first without wearing Bionic gloves and then while wearing Bionic gloves. Average Torque On average, users were able to exert 47% greater torque on the metal knob, 38% greater torque on the plastic knurled knob, and 28% greater torque on the palm grip, as measured by the torque meter, while wearing Bionic gloves than with their bare hands.
There is a catch: the Bionic Golf Glove is not legal for everyone to use. As of January 26, 2006 the USGA says that it will permit the use of Bionic Gloves in USGA sanctioned events for players with arthritis of the hands. So the USGA has placed the Bionic Golf Glove on a list of Equipment Permitted Conditionally for Medical Reasons. Full details can be read here, and the original story can be found here at The Sand Trap.
Bionic gloves can be purchased for $24.95. The price isn't too much considering the comfort and durability. Also consider that the FootJoy gloves retail for $22.
If you're still not sold, Bionic Glove offers a 30-Day No-Risk Guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with your Bionic Glove product, you will receive a complete refund, minus shipping and handling costs, or exchange no questions asked! Please call 1-877-5-BIONIC (1-877-524-6642) and one of their friendly customer service representatives will give you a return authorization number and instructions for sending back your glove.
The durability has been a lot better with this glove but I'm yet to test in in 110° Arizona heat and sweat. I also don't have arthritis so I can't use the technically use the glove for tournament play, I'm also too cheap to spend more than $20 for a glove that may or may not last me more than a few rounds. So for now I'll stick to my roughed up cord grips and callused hands.