Could new grips lower your scoring?
Over 80% of players do not regrip their clubs every year. So, should we be changing our golf grips more often and would new grips give us a boost in performance?
What causes golf grips to wear out?
We all know using our grips will wear them out over time, but heat, cold, sweat, and dirt can all make this happen much quicker than we expect. Another massive thing that affects wear is UV and sunlight. The more your grips are out in the sun, the quicker they will start to wear away.
What type of grip you use will also affect how quickly it wears. Corded grips do tend to last slightly longer than rubber or synthetic alternatives. If you are old school and prefer a leather grip, these are likely to wear out the quickest.
How much do worn golf grips affect performance?
Golf Pride wanted to know just how much using worn grips affected golfers’ performance. To find out, they got a test group of golfers, aged 24-40, with handicaps below five to take part in a study.
All participants used an identical set of three standard-length (37”) Titleist-fitted irons with Project X shafts and a singular MB-fitted iron head. Each shaft had a different Golf Pride Tour Velvet standard-size grip fitted – one new grip, and two exposed to ultraviolet (UVA/B) light.
The two UVA/B exposed grips (UV1 and UV2) were placed in a QLab QUV Accelerated Weather Tester chamber for eight hours and 24 hours, respectively. Tests were conducted in the Fitting Studio at Golf Pride headquarters in Pinehurst, USA. Participants hit ten shots with each grip into a simulator on an artificial turf surface, and a TrackMan 4 launch monitor was used to collect the performance data.
So what were the results?
Players taking part in the study found that their average ball speed (average: 121.6 mph) increased by 1.3mph, and the average carry length (average: 168.6 yards) increased by 2.3 yards with the designated test club.
The face impact location of the UV2 grip compared to the new grip showed a dispersion increase of 11% and 10% on the x-axis and y-axis, respectively. This demonstrates the possible slippage or rotation of the UV2 grip in the player’s hands during their swing.
What can we take from this?
You would probably fork out on a new driver if someone promised you a 10% increase in dispersion and a few more yards of carry distance. So why aren’t we willing to get these types of gains by upgrading our grips? Perhaps it is because we simply don’t realise the disadvantage of having grips that are worn down.
If you can get these types of improvements vs. grips that have been exposed to sunlight for 24 hours, imagine what results you could get vs. grips, you have been using for over a year in heat, cold, getting dirty and worn from grip pressure, as well as the added UV! This is a really interesting study and is certainly going to be making me check my grips more often!
How to tell if your grips are worn
Generally, the first sign of worn grips is when the grips start to feel glossy or smoother to touch and visually start to look shiny. You may also notice that your grips feel firmer than they should be.
If you play MCC or MCC Plus4 style grips that feature different colours of paint fill, a clear sign of grip wear is when that paint starts to disappear or discolour.
If you start to notice that the rubber or cord in your golf grips is starting to crumble, your grips are overdue for a change. Golfers often notice extreme wear where grip pressure is stronger, such as where their thumbs are placed on the top half of the grip.
The Golf Pride line-up
Going to replace your grips? I’ve collated a list of the full Golf Pride line-up from firmest to softest so you know which to try next.
Golf Pride Z Grip
The firmest grip in Golf Pride’s line-up. It also comes with an align option which helps golfers get consistent hand placement. It also has a heavy cord texture for moisture management.
Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord
The most widely used grip among tour players. The tight weave cotton twill pattern means this is still one of golf prides firmest grips.
Golf Pride MMC
A hybrid grip that fuses the best of rubber and corded grips. The upper section is made from brushed cotton cord, this is from and great in all weather conditions. The lower section is performance rubber for feel and responsiveness.
Golf Pride Tour Velvet
The most widely used grip among tour players. The rubber blend compound has a non-slip surface pattern for maximum playability.
Golf Pride VDR
The VDR is specifically designed for increase traction and excellent all weather performance. This is achieved through three depths of grip texture. This precision-cut, variable depth texture combines with shock reducing rubber to protect your wrists on off centre strikes.
Golf Pride Tour Wrap 2G
This is a one-piece simulated wrap grip. It combines the looks and feel of luxury leather with the durability and performance of high-tech rubber.
Golf Pride Tour Wrap Microsuede
Tour Wrap technology in a unique microsuede material. This is a proprietary finish that delivers a soft feel but also provides exceptional traction in wet weather conditions.
Golf Pride CP2 Pro
Perfect if you like a soft tacky feel. An internal control core stabiliser reduces torque while the top wrap later delivers comfort. The bottom of the grip is larger, equivalent to four extra layers of tape. This encourages even grip pressure across both hands.
Golf Pride CPX
The newest addition to Golf Pride’s range is also the softest, offering the most comfort and reduced vibrations.
How often do you change your golf club grips, and do you notice a jump in performance? Let me know on twitter.
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