It’s spring! It’s time to grab the sticks out of the closet, lace up the golf shoes and head to the course.
But first, how about doing a little maintenance on your equipment? What good is a great set of irons if your hands slip due to poor grips. And it’s pointless to have a good looking pair of shoes only to slide around the course with worn spikes or cleats.
“We recommend that grips be changed every year or every 40 rounds,” says Dan Koehler, director of sales and marketing for Golf Pride Grips, “whichever comes first. Grips are made of materials that age and wear as a function of time and use. Ozone, heat, dust and oils from your hands all age and cause the natural degradation of the grips. Because grips wear slowly over time, golfers often do not realize when grips are worn.”
Offers John Hohman, director of marketing for PrideSports, “Golf grips and cleats are the two points where you make contact to play golf. It’s critical that you have good traction in your hands and on your feet to perform well. Golfers who have been playing with worn grips show immediate improvement in their scores after re-gripping due to improved grip traction and better consistency.”
Hohman agrees that grips should be changed at least once a year, twice or more a year if you play lots of golf.
Pertaining to cleats, he adds, “For optimal traction and comfort, golfers should visually inspect their cleats each time they put their golf shoes on. On average, golfers should change their cleats every 10 rounds. Wear will vary depending upon surface and terrain conditions and worn cleats should always be replaced promptly.”
Says Jess Aversa, marketing manager for Champ Golf, “For optimum performance, we recommend changing spikes every 12 to 15 rounds. However, all Champ spikes come with a patented Visible Wear Indicator that takes all the guess work out of knowing when to change your spikes. When the “C” in the center of the spike turns solid, it’s time to change.”
Kim Doren, marketing/communications director for Lamkin, says that poor grips usually lead to diminished returns on the scorecard.
“If grips are worn out, have become slick or lost traction, have hardened, are leaving dark residue on your glove palm or are cracking, these can all cause you to squeeze tight on the club. This inhibits a complete backswing, slower swing speeds and less consistency.”
The same can be said for cleats, says Aversa.
“If a golf ball is scuffed during play, a golfer will replace it with a new one. Many golfers change the grips on their golf clubs after a few rounds. Golf gloves are replaced almost as frequently as players change their socks. All of these items are replaced when the golfer feels that changing them will improve his or her game. Why not the spikes? Would you drive your car on bald tires? A golfer's footing is the foundation for the all important swing. If there is doubt in the footing, or worse, slippage, the swing will be altered and affect the flight of the ball.”
Doren says it’s important to fit the grip to your hands. Playing with a grip that is too small will cause the clubhead to close prematurely, resulting in a hook. Conversely, a grip that is too large will produce a slice.
Golfers should take into consideration the weather conditions they play in, hand size and the preferred tackiness and firmness when choosing new grips.
“Beyond the proper size, choosing the best grip for you is purely a personal choice. Select the grip that feels best. When a club is in your hands you should feel confident and connected to the clubhead.”
A new development in recent years has been the emergence of hybrid grips. They deliver excellent performance and comfort by blending various materials in a single grip to deliver multiple benefits.
Golf Pride’s New Decade MultiCompound grip, with cord in the upper hand and textured rubber in the lower hand, is a prime example of a good hybrid grip, Koehler says, one that delivers non-slip, wet weather performance combined with comfort.
Pride Sports offers a Widow Maker hybrid grip that combines “The best of both traction and feel,” says Hohman.
Lamkin has a 2TEN oversized putter grip that comes in three sizes and is extremely lightweight--roughly the same as most standard-sized putter grips--allowing golfers to re-grip their putters without worrying about changing the performance characteristics of the club.
SuperStroke Grips, a division of Tiger Shark Golf, offers jumbo putting grips, the SuperStroke Slip-On Series. Two models, the Fatso Lite (1.67 inches in diameter, 85 grams), and the Slim (1.3 inches in diameter, 115 grams), are light weight, with a patented non-taper design and multi-material construction that has made them the most played oversized putter grips on the 2009 PGA Tour, says the company.
Says Tiger Shark president Dean Dingman, “We have saved over 200 grams over the previous SuperStroke Pro line by utilizing a new slip-on technology and a new lightweight under listing and material.”
Cleats have also become ultra high-tech.
Pride Sports’ Softspikes is acknowledged as the top cleat on professional tours, and the company’s Black Widow Tour product is reputed to be the first "self-adjusting" cleat, enabling golfers to custom match their golf cleats to their swing, balance and weight distribution.
Champ’s new Zarma spikes include the solid traction found in all of the company’s spikes with a twist of additional comfort. With a three material composition, Champ Zarma is constructed with an innovative soft cushion layer sandwiched between a durable traction layer and a rigid attachment layer.
Says Aversa, “Champ Zarma is the answer to golfers’ needs, giving perfected traction, strong durability and ultimate comfort. It’s the most comfortable spike coming to market today. “