10 Pro Golfers Who Don’t Wear Gloves and the Interesting Reasons Why

The doubts and dilemmas regarding wearing gloves among golfers have always been a topic of discussion. Should I wear two, one, or none? That’s the question that always lingers in a golfer’s mind. Depending on the playing conditions and various scenarios, golfers have to decide whether to wear a glove or not. For instance, when putting a ball, most golfers prefer not to wear a glove. Additionally, when weather conditions make gripping the club difficult, wearing gloves becomes beneficial. Apart from this, your childhood preferences while learning the sport and the teacher’s influence also play a key role when it comes to deciding whether to wear gloves in golf.

However, some pro golfers, irrespective of playing conditions and scenarios, prefer not to wear gloves at all. They have simply removed gloves from their game and golf bag. In this post, we will look at these pro golfers and explore the various reasons why they don’t wear gloves. We will gain insight into their perspective on this topic.


A look into “No Gloves” Golf History:

Before we jump into the main topic, let’s look at some facts and historical incidents closely related to golf gloves and their use:

  • Although professional golf started in the early 19th century, the use of gloves was not prevalent during those days.
  • The use of gloves became prominent during the 1930s and took several decades for golfers to get used to it.
  • Until the 1950s, there were many golfers who played golf without gloves out of habit.
  • Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, and Moe Norman are three legendary golfers who, throughout their playing days, played without gloves and were quite consistent with their performances over the years.
  • When it comes to striking the ball, both Ben Hogan and Moe Norman are considered among the finest to have that skill, and certainly, not using gloves has played its part in it.


1. Lucas Glover

Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

American golfer Lucas Glover turned pro in 2001 and has been playing on the PGA Tour since then. He won the U.S. Open in 2009, which is the highlight of his career so far. The win was considered surprising because Glover was ranked 71st in the Official World Golf Ranking at the time, and his previous appearances in the U.S. Open had not been remarkable.

I just never used one, never grew up with one.” – Lucas Glover (Source)

Glover is known as the “no-glove guy” of professional golf. During the early days of golf training, especially in their teenage years, coaches and trainers encourage players to wear gloves to protect their fingers and hands from potential bruises and cuts. However, Glover preferred playing without gloves as he found it difficult to get a better feel of the club’s grip.

For many golfers like Glover, the “feel” of the club is an important aspect of the game.


2. Fred Couples

Tom Britt/Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, most decisions related to wearing gloves in golf are influenced by childhood preferences and the impact of coaches. Fred Couples’s decision not to play with gloves is also associated with influences from his childhood. During that time, Couples’s parents found it difficult to frequently replace his golf gloves. Couples used to play and practice almost every day, causing his gloves to wear out quickly. As a result, his parents had to cut back on the expenditure on gloves, and Couples had no choice but to play without them.

My parents said, ‘listen we can’t afford to keep buying you $8 golf gloves’. So I just stopped wearing them.” – Fred Couples (source)

When you are someone like Couples who doesn’t like wearing gloves, it becomes important to keep the grips in the best condition, especially when putting. Couples and his caddie wipe down his grips during the game after almost every shot.


3. Victor Perez

Victor Perez is a professional golfer from France who turned pro in 2015. Along with playing on the PGA Tour, he also competes in European tours. So far in his pro career, he has won several titles on both the European and French tours.

Perez is a left-hander who plays golf right-handed. Unlike Glover and Couples, Perez was not inclined to play without a golf glove during the early days of his training. On the contrary, he used a golf glove until his college golf days and later decided not to wear one. Because he is left-handed but plays right-handed, he found it difficult to release his left arm during his swing, leading to a “chicken wing” position. A chicken wing position occurs when a golfer cannot fully extend or release his arm, resulting in a less efficient swing.

I’m lefty playing righty, and I’ve always tend to chicken wing a bit my shots and never really let my left arm release.” – said Victor Perez in an interview with the YouTube channel PING.

Perez developed a tendency to chicken wing his shots. To counter this, and on the suggestion of his coach who has coached him for over 15 years, he decided to swing without wearing a glove. This allowed Perez to get a better feel for the grip and an idea of the amount of pressure he needed to apply on the club. It enabled the arm movement Perez was looking for when swinging the club and also provided better grip and control.


4. Bob Estes

For golfer Bob Estes, precision in hitting the ball where he intends to is of utmost importance. Estes is naturally a good player when it comes to putting or managing the golf course. To achieve the required precision, having a solid grip is important, which he derived from playing glove-less.

Bob Estes turned pro in 1988, and since 1991, he has been playing golf without wearing gloves. For more than 17 years, Estes continued playing without gloves in his professional career.

That being said, Estes has never been afraid of experimenting with gloves in his pro career. Although he never used them in competition, he has always kept a pair with him during his games. During his practice sessions and various drills, he has conducted several experiments playing with gloves. For Estes, the sliding of fingers after wearing a glove never gave him the needed confidence to swing, hence he played most of his career without gloves.


5. Jonathan Byrd

Jonathan Byrd has one thing in common with famous golfer Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey – they both hail from the same state, South Carolina. As one would expect, Byrd and Gainey have been in-state rivals for a long time. Gainey is famous for wearing two gloves on the course all the time, while Byrd has had a different relationship with gloves. A few years after turning pro in 2000, Byrd decided to play without gloves.

For some golfers, the feedback and feel they get when playing with bare hands instills more confidence in them. Jonathan Byrd falls into this category. For Byrd, the feedback and feel in his backswing are important aspects of his game, and he achieves that without wearing a glove.

For most of his pro career, with few exceptions, Byrd has remained a no-glove golfer. Like other golfers, Byrd always carries a glove in his bag in case of unforeseen circumstances. Jonathan Byrd has enjoyed a successful career on the PGA Tour, securing five victories to date.


6. Corey Pavin

Flickr user mandj98 / James Marvin Phelps [2], CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Nicknamed “Bulldog,” Corey Pavin is an American golfer who turned pro at the age of 23 in 1982. Since his debut, Pavin has won more than 50 titles across various tours. These victories include over 15 wins on the PGA Tour, highlighted by his US Open championship in 1995.

Apart from his illustrious career, one notable aspect of Pavin’s professional life is his preference for not wearing a golf glove. Born in 1959, Pavin is inclined towards old-school golfing, and his decision not to wear a glove may have been influenced by legendary players like Ben Hogan and Moe Norman.

In the past, players often played and practiced without gloves due to financial constraints, which helped them become accustomed to their playing style, thus eliminating the need for a glove. When you practice with equipment, such as a bar for gymnasts or a racket for tennis players, your body and arms become so trained that the equipment feels like an extension of yourself. The same principle applies to golf and golf clubs. For many players, including Pavin, years of practice make wearing a glove unnecessary as they are used to playing in a certain manner.


7. Arron Oberholser

Golfer Arron Oberholser turned pro in 1998 at the age of 23. Oberholser started playing without gloves at the age of 14. The reason for going “no-glove” had nothing to do with any technical aspect of his game but was more about cutting down on the cost of golf training during those days. Due to his daily training, Oberholser had to spend a lot on grips, and his mother advised him to practice for short periods without gloves and use cord grips.

He started practicing with bare hands, which resulted in some bruises. For a few days, he applied ice to his hands and continued playing without gloves. Eventually, he adapted to the new playing approach and continued with it for years afterward.


8. Robert Streb

Although Robert Streb is well known for his 10-finger grip, similar to what you see in baseball, what makes it unique is that he does it with bare hands, which is a rare sight on the golf course. Streb, who turned pro in 2009, has been a member of the PGA Tour since 2013. 

From a very young age, Streb developed the habit of playing without gloves, and as we all know, a habit picked up by an athlete at a young age becomes a ritual in later years. Although how swinging without gloves has impacted his backswing is immeasurable, his “baseball” grip helps him swing more assertively.


9. Lee Janzen

Dirk DBQ/Fickr.com, CC BY 2.0

Lee Janzen, in his first twelve years as a professional golfer, won the U.S. Open twice within a span of five years. Janzen’s interest in golf came from his parents. At the age of 12, they enrolled him in a sports academy to play both golf and tennis. Over time, Janzen preferred golf over tennis and began practicing it extensively.

Much like Victor Perez, Janzen used to wear gloves during his college golf games. Interestingly, he won his first college tournament without wearing them, which prompted him to continue playing in the same way. For more than two decades, he played without gloves in his professional career. In 2006, however, Janzen decided to start using gloves again. During that period, he was practicing heavily to improve his new swing, which took a toll on his hands due to the extensive number of shots he was taking. To protect his hands from potential injury, Janzen started wearing gloves again. 


10. Rocco Mediate

mrnoy9n @ Flickr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes your playing style and preferences for equipment are influenced by your coach or teacher in your early days of training. As a student, you often try to imitate your coach and how they approach the game. In the case of golfer Rocco Mediate, a similar thing occurred during his childhood training days.

I don’t wear one. My first teacher, Jim Ferree, never used one and I wanted to be like him, so I never did, either.” – Rocco Mediate (source)

Jim Ferree, who played for years on the PGA Tour, was Mediate’s first golf coach. Ferree, a golfer from the “pre-glove” days, was used to playing without wearing a glove. During his childhood, Mediate was greatly influenced by his teacher, and in order to emulate him, he also decided to play without a glove.


Golf is one of those few sports where there is a lot of scope for unorthodox styles in terms of playing and preference for various equipment. The use of gloves is one such preference that completely depends on the comfort of the golfer. All the above-mentioned golfers prioritized their individual needs and requirements and did not concern themselves with various notions and popular opinions regarding wearing gloves.


Also see:

Pro Golfers Who Didn’t Play in College, but Succeeded on the PGA Tour

Pro Golfers Who Elevated Their Game with A Slow Backswing

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