As is the case with all categories of golf equipment, new materials and technologies have vastly improved the quality and feel of modern grips, and there now are a number of cord-style grips that feel as soft as velvet models, but with the added tack cord provides. For golfers with sensitive hands, or who simply prefer a soft feel, a buffed, velvet-style grip still is the top choice. In addition, there are grips that feature a combination of durometers (degrees of firmness) in different sections of the grip or in separate layers. These "multi-density" models represent the hot trend in grip design, and they're fantastic.
Finally, if you're one of many who suffer from arthritis or chronic tendonitis, it's a good idea to experiment with a mid- or oversized grip. Most of the major manufacturers now make models that are significantly larger than standard, which can be excellent for reducing pain and hand fatigue.
How To Buy A Grip
David Bass has been a professional clubmaker at Hillandale Golf Club in Durham, N.C., for 28 years. He's the area's utmost expert on getting golfers the right grips for their clubs. His advice: "Each type of grip comes in various sizes and textures. If you have oily skin and sweat while you play, you won't have an easy time holding onto a standard grip. You'll want soft cords. If you have tender and dry hands, go toward a rubber or composition grip, like those from Winn."
Everyone's hands are different, with respect to their finger lengths, shape and size of their palms. Bass suggests you take these traits into consideration as well. "Roll your hand into a circle and find the size of cavity it creates–that will help you determine the right grip size. You want your arms and shoulders to relax. If a grip is too small, it makes tension in your forearms and shoulders. If it's too big, you have to squeeze to hold on to it, and that also creates tension. So fit is the most important criteria."
The contour of the grip–how it gets smaller toward the lower hand–also needs to fit comfortably, according to Bass. "Most good players are __ðfeel' golfers and will want a firmer grip so that they get more response from the club through their hands. Whatever grips you buy–more than anything–make sure all 13 clubs other than the putter have same-sized grips."
|Avon Pro D2x
Most golf instructors believe the upper hand should dominate the golf swing, and the lower hand is essentially just hanging on for the ride. So does Avon, which designed its new Pro D2x to lend firm support on the top region of the grip, while lending a soft grip for the lower hand to prevent it from interfering too much with the swing. Ridges and channels make the Pro D2x a solid all-weather option, and the oversize model is great for those who require a more secure grip.
|Golf Pride Dual Durometer
Golf Pride's Dual Durometer has been one of the most popular over the last two seasons, thanks to its ingenious designs and cord and non-cord models with the velvety feel. But golfers aren't the only ones taking notice. The Arthritis Foundation has bestowed upon the Dual Durometer grips (along with Golf Pride's Whisper models) their Ease of Use commendation for their ability to minimize the painful effects on joints while swinging a golf club. The secret lies in the design, where two layers of synthetic rubber combine for gripping traction and comfort. The inner layer stabilizes the hands, while the outer layer provides excellent traction and a soft feel. The corded version is an excellent choice for golfers who play in wet conditions and prefer a slightly firmer feel with or without a glove. Dual Durometer Lite and Dual Durometer Putter models are also available.
|Golf Pride New Decade MultiCompound
Every golfer is familiar with Golf Pride grips, as they've been around seemingly since the beginning of time. The common belief that Golf Pride offers only traditional grip styles will soon be put to rest by the New Decade MultiCompound model. This innovative grip features a combination design with a velvet-cord section in the upper portion of the grip for firm, all-weather control. The lower portion is made of soft rubber to provide optimal comfort and feel. It's a superb model for golfers who want the best of both worlds.
Innovative colors aside, these grips are actually infused with negative ions to help golfers not only better grip the club, but also relax and concentrate. The unique proprietary material is designed for supreme durability and crack resistance, especially when playing in mixed weather (wet/dry) conditions. These grips are already a sensation in Japan, so it's just a matter of time until the U.S. market heeds notice. Sure, they're a far cry from all-leather, wrap-style grips, but they're right in step with golf's modern focus.
|Karakal X-tack II
The X-tack line from Karakal is designed for all-weather comfort and support by using Karakal's proprietary X Factor process, which is made to preserve the grips' tackiness and comfort in all weather conditions. The X-tack II features a perforated top section (for a firmer top-hand grip) and a smooth velvet pattern bottom section for increased feel and feedback on short-range shots. With each Karakal grip, it's safe to say vibration is a thing of the past, as each grip absorbs unwanted vibration with ease. For players who struggle with any type of arthritic condition or joint pain, a grip with this type of performance benefit is highly recommended, particularly if you tend you play in hot, humid or otherwise wet conditions.
|Lamkin Dual Density Crossline
The Crossline name has become synonymous with Tour-like performance. The Dual Density Crossline is no exception, featuring a firm, torque-resistant underlisting and a soft outer layer produced from a blended multi-material compound that makes for a unique product. This combination is aimed at providing both enhanced tack and feel with the added benefit of shock absorption.
|Lamkin Dual Density Torsion Control
Arguably the most radical and different grip produced in the last 10 years, the Dual Density Torsion Control has a micro screen-like surface texture that's unlike any other grip. Combined with ridges that help better align grip positions, firm up and support the grip, prevent slippage, and combat rain and perspiration, the DDTC has the makings of a Golf Tips Tech Award frontrunner.
The new PTO (Pro Tour Only) is a texture-heavy, technologically rich grip from Sharpro. The upper-corded region is firm for support, and the lower region is designed more for comfort and control. Across both ends of the grip are a series of perforations, including a rugged channel designed to wick away water and debris. The design makes the PTO a high-performance model that offers a secure grip in all weather conditions. Three colors denote sizes: pink for ladies, red for standard and blue for midsize.
The G8 series from Winn Grips are the company's best-looking and best-performing to date. The unique design of the G8 provides a uniform feel despite the fact that they're constructed from multiple materials. Winn's Advanced Integration (AI) technology varies the grip materials in key areas where extra support is needed. This grip is tackier and more durable than previous iterations, and actually absorbs moisture for added tackiness in wet conditions.
|Winn V17-AVS Arrow
Winn's proprietary, high-performance grip material, V17, is said to provide a firm feel and slip-resistant performance for the life of the grip. The V17 material is combined with the company's Advanced Vertical Seam (AVS) construction to form the velvet-style Arrow grip. The AVS construction creates but one vertical seam up the back of the grip. This design offers golfers who don't like the feel of a wrap a solid option in the Winn family of grips. New velvet-like arrow perfs complete this high-tech package. Wrap-style Arrow is also available. Choose between Regular Firm and Extra Firm models.
Grips Take The Hybrid Route
The important thing for recreational golfers to do when choosing a new set of grips is to find the model that best suits their individual needs. Thanks to new technologies there are so many choices available today that's it's critical to find out what you like and also what works for your game. Find the material that feels best and suits your playing conditions. Size and firmness are also extremely important. If you have any problems with your hands, such as arthritis, try some softer grips that are tacky but not too firm. Also, regardless of your hand condition, we strongly recommend you see your local PGA professional to find out what size grip is appropriate for you.
At Winn we've been focusing on advanced technologies for quite some time and have found that advanced integration is the most significant development so far. As is the case with our Xi7 model, we can now combine different patterns and firmnesses of Polymer to provide what we feel is the ultimate in grip performance. With our patented Polymer material and advanced integration technology, we can provide grips that absorb 65-percent more shock than traditional grips as well as 40-percent more slip resistance. This puts a lot less strain on the hand and arms, while still providing plenty of feedback.