How many times have you heard teaching pros say something to the effect of "grip the club like a bird: tight enough it won't fly away, but not so tight you crush it." Strangling the club is a common problem, and it leads to mechanical flaws, funky tempo and general stress on the hands and wrists.
A new glove on the market, the LeviTee Golf Glove aims to ease your grip with technology, rather than with cute analogies about wildlife.
Technology and Design
The LeviTee Glove features foam pads stitched into the glove, between the fingers. They are about a half inch long and fit snug to the "webbing" between your fingers.
According to the designers, the LeviTee Glove promotes a lighter, looser grip which allows for more swing speed. The Glove is supposed to assist the player with their grip pressure. It accomplishes this by stimulating the fourchettes of the hand, which in turn leaves the golfer's hands feeling better after the round is over.
When I asked a rep from the glove company about the science and physiology behind the design of the glove, he said, "Having those pads between the fingers enables you to NOT put maximum pressure on the club. They almost act as absorbers and take the pressure off the grip. We do not have a scientist telling us this, we base this on feel, which we think is important."
The LeviTee is typically worn on the left hand for a righty, just as a normal glove would be. But the company's rep says that opinions are mixed on whether or not wearing two gloves would double the results.
"We have had tour pros, teaching pros, and many other top golfers chime in on this question and it comes down to an individual's preference," he said. "Some say wear one on both, others say wear one on your off hand. But it comes down to what is comfortable for you. I have tried it every way possible and only feel comfortable with a glove on my left hand and I am a righty."
The major issue with the LeviTee is that it's not approved for play by the USGA, rendering it a training aid limited to use on the driving range.
According to LeviTee, "The USGA has come back to us saying that it is non-conforming, but told us that if there is a medical reason for someone to use the glove, it would be ok. We are working with a hand surgeon and other hand therapists who have been saying the same thing. Our glove is great for people with arthritis and other hand problems."
How a tournament committee would rule on this is unknown, but it's a hurdle for the LeviTee to overcome.
As for the construction of the glove, it's made of cabretta leather on all the surfaces that will come in contact with the club and Lycra on the back of the hand. Overall, it's a pretty standard glove, with the addition of the finger pads designed to control grip pressure. The glove comes in standard sizes, but without the cadet sizing of many other gloves.
According to their website, gettheglove.com, at $19.99, the LeviTee Glove has several benefits, all stemming from a lighter grip on the club. After an extensive review of the glove that included five lengthy sessions on the range and a half-dozen rounds of golf, I can weigh in on each of their claims.
The LeviTee Glove" helps to avoid the "death grip." By doing so, the athlete gets the proper grip pressure and the results will include a straighter and longer ball flight. More distance with less effort.LeviTee Website
My Take: This is a wide-reaching and typical claim made by almost every training aid out there. Hit it longer, hit it straighter. I believe there are a lot of aspects to the golf swing that affect "longer and straighter" but I will admit that I played some of my best golf of the year in the time I was practicing and playing with the LeviTee Glove. Could that be the fact I was simply practicing more in the process of reviewing the glove? Maybe. But the fact is that the glove did lighten my grip, and as a self-confessed strangler of the club, I was impressed by the outcome and I was hitting my irons better than I have in a long time.
As soon as putting on the glove, I noticed that the pads add support to the grip because instead of squeezing your fingers together, you can focus more on the pressure on the grip itself.
I have to agree with their idea that it's less about science and more about a comfort level with that added support between fingers. If nothing else, it lets you feel like you've got a good grip on the club, thus lightening the grip. It also serves as a reminder on each swing to loosen the grip, so whether it's a mental thing, a physiological thing, or a combination, the bottom line is it helped me reduce my grip pressure.
The LeviTee Glove promotes a lighter, looser grip which allows for more swing speed. The Glove will assist the player with their grip pressure.LeviTee Website
My Take: As I mentioned earlier, there's as much a psychological element at work here as a physical one. I knew I was wearing a glove to help my grip pressure. In turn, I was aware of it, thanks to feeling the pads between my fingers. Whether it was physical or mental, my grip lightened while wearing the glove.
The LeviTee Glove is the only glove that stimulates the fourchettes of the hand, a sensitive portion of skin between the fingers. Golfer's hands feel better after the round is over.LeviTee Website
My Take: This is one area where I can certainly credit the glove. Before trying it, I was struggling with pain in my wrists, forearms and elbows. I found that the tired, achy hands I would typically have the day after a long range session or after 18 holes diminished greatly. This was especially noted on a golf trip where I was playing more than usual and day after day. I believe that the lighter grip on the club translated into less stress on the hands, wrists, forearms and elbows.
Tension starts in the hands and the tightness creeps into all the other muscles, inhibiting any real dynamic swing. The LeviTee eliminates the tightness.LeviTee Website
My Take: Again, it's hard to argue with results. The more I played with the glove, the better I played. Now, I'm not going to go so far as say the LeviTee Glove had anything to do with me realizing my shoulder turn was awful, or that I had been taking it away too fast. But I guess that's the key to far-reaching claims and goals, they're hard to prove or disprove.
The LeviTee Glove relieves "arm pump" that is prevalent in other sports namely motocross, waterskiing, and baseball. It is a condition that develops from squeezing to tightly by holding the handlebars, tow-rope, or bat.LeviTee Website
My Take: Sure enough, most of the pain I'd developed from over gripping eased after a few weeks playing primarily with the LeviTee.
In addition to the stated goals of the glove, I have to commend the feel and durability of the LeviTee Glove. I am a glove snob and will only buy high end, typically Titleist's Player's Glove or FootJoy StaSof. First, the LeviTee features a thin, soft cabretta leather, with Lycra on the back of the hand. Playing in the heat of the Northeast summer, the LeviTee held up better than either of my typical gloves in the humidity, not having to be changed out at the turn due to getting soaked (I credit the Lycra for some moisture management) and even after a pretty fair amount of play, the glove still has life in it (although the typical wear marks for me on the thumb, forefinger and heel are nearly worn through). In both comfort and durability, this glove far exceeded my expectations.
If the LeviTee was approved by the USGA for play, I would seriously consider making it my standard glove. But therein lies the biggest drawback for on this $19.99 product.
Bottom line is that the LeviTee Glove succeeds in three primary areas. First, it forced me to lighten my grip, thanks to the mental reminder as well as the physical assist from the between-finger pads. Second, I found that my hands and forearms were less tired and achy after playing with the LeviTee. Third, it accomplished these while offering a good, well crafted, durable and comfortable glove.
Overall, for someone who struggles with grip pressure, this is a product worth trying, but remember that it should be treated as a driving range training aid, since it's yet to get the USGA stamp of approval.