Many golfers pay close attention to their equipment, but a few small details about their clubs’ grips can easily escape anyone’s notice. For example, the grip is a curved surface, but it’s not uniformly curved. With rare exceptions, a golf grip will contain some ridges or flatter spaces that help golfers hold the club correctly. Additionally, grips may contain small markings, known as alignment marks, to help clubfitters place the grips correctly, so the ridges or flat spots will be in the correct positions when golfers grasp the clubs.
Place a rubber shaft clamp around club’s shaft, a few inches below the grip. Set the clamp into a vise, then tighten the vise. The clubhead must be square relative to the vise, basically perpendicular to the ground. “When you set (the club) into the vise you want to have that face square,” says Chris DeWulf, custom and repair manager at Miles of Golf in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “You don’t want it toed-in or opened up. You want to set it in as square as you can.”
Look for the alignment marks on the new grip before placing it on the club. Different grips contain different alignment marks, but almost all grips have a small notch at the top of the grip and another at the bottom of the grip. Sometimes the logo or company name that runs vertically down the grip also serves as the alignment mark.
Prepare the shaft to receive the grip. The entire grip area, including the hollow end of the shaft, must be covered with double-sided grip tape -- with the backing peeled off -- then an activator such as mineral spirits must be poured over the tape.
Set the grip's alignment marks on top -- the 12 o'clock position as you look straight down the shaft from the grip end -- then push the grip all the way onto the shaft. “The markings, the logos, you want to get them as square as possible (to the clubface), typically at 12 o’clock,” says DeWulf. But if you're placing a ribbed grip on the shaft, the rib should be on the bottom. “The rib sits at 6 o’clock," according to DeWulf. "If it’s at 5 or 7 when you grab it, it can adjust the face angle if you’re not careful.”
Look down the grip toward the clubface, and adjust the alignment marks so they’re square with, or parallel to, the clubface. You have about two minutes to make adjustments before the tape begins sticking to the grip. Remove the club from the vise, set it on the ground in playing position -- holding it in your normal grip -- and double-check the alignment. Make any necessary adjustments.