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Technology is a big part of golf. Each year equipment companies find ways to improve their products in part with its help. Drivers get the majority of attention in the game for a number of reasons. However, technology is present in every aspect and especially when it comes to how players feel. “People don’t think much about grips or the technology involved,” commented Brandon Sowell, Global Sales and Marketing Manager for Eaton’s Golf Grip Division. “Grips are as important to clubs as tires are to a car. It’s the only piece of equipment that is connected to the club. If you don’t have the right grip or size it can mean the difference between a good or bad shot.”

The company debuted a new commercial spot on the Golf Channel Monday evening during Feherty and Michael Breed's The Fix shows for its Niion grips. Golf Pride has used color as an attention getter with the product, which has become a familiar theme in golf lately. “Color has become a popular application in driver heads, shafts and golf balls. Grips are a natural extension,” said Sowell. “Our Niion line has the most extensive colors to choose from. In general, color skews to a younger player. The guy who wears white pants or belt is the player that will be attracted to the Niion line of grips. It’s a fashion statement. There is a little of it being used by the Original Equipment Manufacturers, but many of them don’t want it to be too polarizing. They want the focus on the driver head so it hasn’t been super aggressive.” For those players that enjoy making bold statements on course through their apparel choices, for example, its something that could easily morph into their equipment, specifically in the grips they play.

Grips have also advanced in the way they are made thanks to the help of technology. “We have progressed with multi-material grip construction much like we see multi-layer golf ball constructions are now prevalent. We can make the upper portion of the grip firm for the top hand that typically is the strongest hold on the club. The bottom portion of the grip is softer to fine tune feel for a player,” Sowell explained. “The upper hand also incorporates moisture wicking properties for a dual performance feature. Feel is a subjective thing. The elite level (professional worldwide tours) may not like the cosmetics but the grip has to feel good in their hands. We see a wide variety of usage on Tour based on personal preferences,” he said. “It has to feel right to provide confidence for the best shot possible.”

Sowell said March is the biggest retail month of the year historically for re-gripping clubs in part due to the start of a new season. “It requires the least investment in your equipment and gives it a fresh look and feel,” he said. Sowell said recreational players are advised to re-grip their clubs once a year if they play 30 rounds or less. “Just like tires on a car there are performance factors for making a change. Swing speeds, whether they are 90-120 mph, are similar to tires gripping in making a turn. There is wear and tear that eventually builds up. UV exposure, heat and oil from our hands are some of things that can make a grip begin to deteriorate,” explained Sowell. For avid players (40+ rounds a year) he recommends changing grips twice a year. “Tour players will get fresh grips if they play three weeks in a row. They play a lot of rounds, four in a tournament plus a pro-am as well as practice round, which can easily add up to six rounds in a given week. Plus they put in extensive range time on top of that. They take critical care in order to maintain consistency in their set and maintain a fresh feel for ultimate performance and confidence.”

 

As the golf season waits for many in the United States, ready to shed old man winter for a few cracks at old man par, a new set of grips could be just the touch to get the year started on the right foot. “The guy who hasn’t done it in three or four years is always amazed. The worn, slick grips they’ve been using have been a slow gradual process maybe a bit like gaining weight,” said Sowell. The nice part is putting a new set of grips in play takes a lot less time and isn’t nearly as painful as trying to lose those unwanted pounds!