By Dave Wolfe

Are you looking for that last minute golfer gift? Are you snowed in and looking to golf gear fiddle? Do you need a small purchase that will keep you from making that big, impulsive eBay purchase? Maybe it’s time you take a look at your putter grip. You may not realize it, but 2013 was an amazing year for putter grips.

In fact, I think that 2013 could easily be called the Year of the Putter Grip. At first pass, you may think that a putter grip is a silly, and not significant enough to name a whole year after, but I bet you will see what I am talking about if you stay with me.

Think back to the golfing days of yore, like two or three years ago, and you will remember a time when your putter grip options were very limited. There were a few grips to choose from in the club repair part of your shop, but they, for the most part, all had the same shape and same boring black color. Then things started to change.

I remember when the first brightly colored Iomic putter grips came on the scene. Many, myself included, balked at their, at the time, unusually high price, but bought them anyway so we could add color, and a different feel, to our prized putters. Bright colored Iomics immediately became my go to custom putter grip option.

In 2012, we saw SuperStroke go from a small company redesigning a previously not-so-successful large grip to a huge, arguably putter grip paradigm changing beast. SuperStroke grips started showing up more and more on tour, and probably more and more at your home course as well. Jason Dufner showed us that the big grip from SuperStroke was a winner.

Then came 2013. Putter grips have gone wild this year. Established companies have expanded their offerings, while new companies expanded market presence beyond what they could have ever expected. We saw grips in new shapes, various diameters, and various lengths. We saw the traditional materials retained, but materials also expanded into the realms of high tech polymers, natural rubber, specialized leather, and even cork. Even stock grips stepped it up with brighter colors, new geometries, and different textures.

Wilson Staff V2 Grip

We have had a grip’plosion, grip’apalozza, grip’stival, grip’y birthday party, or grip-whatever.

It all comes down to the simple fact that the golfer now has more styles and colors of putter grips to choose from than ever before. This sounds great, in theory, but this much choice can be daunting too. Just think about how many different cans of soup there are at the market. So many choices can make choosing difficult. But that is why we are here today.

What I bring you today is a clearinghouse of 2013 putter grips. A 2013 Putter Grip Annual, if you will. Unlike most other mygolfspy articles, this is not a review. I have asked the companies to share with you the features of their grips that make each unique, and with that knowledge, you can find one that you want to try.

Why no data? Why no scoring of desirability? Basically, many of the aspects of putter grip selection are too subjective. For example, I love the color orange, and I try to select orange grips whenever possible. You hate orange. I like a larger grip because it seems to take my hands out of the swing. You hate the large grip because it wrecks your touch. You see where I am going here? This is why I am writing this in more of an educational vein, as opposed to a competitive one.

Learn what is out there, and try the one that sounds good to you.

Share your thoughts later, of course. I am always curious about what grip ends up on someone’s putter and why.

Additionally, I have asked the companies to respond with their ideas about what the performance issues are when playing with a worn grip, and what the golfer could expect should he or she re-grip with one of the grips.

 

The Putter Grips of 2013

Best Grips

BestGrips1

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Putting is all about confidence. If you don’t think you can make the putt, you won’t. An easy way to build up confidence is repetition of the same stroke. A worn out grip and most grips in general make the same stroke difficult, because the grip is always changing. If you have to re-learn the grip every time you use it, how can you expect to stroke it the same every time?

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

The Major Leaguer is the culmination of knowledge from our decade with leather grips and the experiment in “sport” leathers (made from the same leather used by the big three major sports). What we have is our softest, most reliable leather to date. The Major Leaguer is made from the same leather used to make professional baseball gloves. It’s pre broken in and will only get better with age. In fact, the idea for the Major Leather came after finding a 15 year-old baseball glove in the garage and how well it had aged (the rubber grips it was sitting next to…, now that’s another story).

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

A grip that will enhance your natural stroke, not destroy it with the latest gimmick. Our pistol and d shapes are designed for strokes with arc and without (respectively) and handmade in the USA with the most reliable material you can make a grip out of – age defying genuine leather.

Dave’s Take on Best Grips
Best grips has made a strong showing in the past few years, both in the MyGolfSpy Forum and in the golf industry as a whole. I really like the soft and tacky feel of the Major Leaguer and I like that they make it stitches out and in. Now I just need to see one of these in purple. People play baseball with purple gloves, right?

 

Boccieri Golf

Boccieri Secret Grip2

What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Believe it or not, this is the only grip where a worn grip really doesn’t mean much. In fact I have experience with many Tour players that would never consider changing their putter grip for fear it might change the feel of their putter. Because the stroke is at such a slow velocity the worn aspect doesn’t really come into play with the traction you need to hold onto the club as it does with a swing club.

The major factors to consider when replacing your putter grip is based on the size of the grip and what feels comfortable in your hands. If you can’t place your hands comfortably, it is unlikely you will ever place in them in the same place twice, hence you will never be a consistent putter.

What are the key new features for your 2013- 2014 putter grip(s)?

The Secret Grip is the only grip in the industry that instantly counterbalances any putter. This is achieved via a tungsten weight in the butt-end, combined with a rubber compound 40-percent heavier than what is used in standard grips. The added weight raises the putter’s balance point, bringing it closer to the player’s hands to help create a more reliable and repeatable stroke. In addition, raising the total weight of the putter forces the body’s larger, more stable muscles to be used, resulting in increased stability and eliminating wrist breakdown. It features an oversized design with a traditional pistol shape and is available in either black and green or all-black options.

As I mentioned above size of the putter grip is a major factor to consider when considering a replacement. So for 2014 we have added a Jumbo version as well as a Classic version at the request of many Tour players who grew up playing the Pro only style grip. The difference is our Classic version weighs in at 100 grams and it will give the tour player the first opportunity to experience the benefits of Counter Balanced Grip Technology. We are expecting to have a large number of tour player joining the Secret Grip ranks next year.

What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

For the past decade our company has been shouting from the mountain top about the immense benefits of counter-balancing the golf club, an idea that Jack Nicklaus benefitted from throughout his career. With our Heavy Putter lines, and most recently with the Secret Grip, we are proud to be the leaders of the counter-balance crusade within the industry. During 2013, virtually all of the major OEMs took our lead and released some type of counter-weighted putter, although most featured a much lighter and less effective weighting scheme than found in our products. What is beautiful about the Secret Grip is that you can now test this technology without having to buy an entirely new club. The Secret Grip can be installed quickly and easily on equipment from any manufacturer, so players can experience the benefits without giving up a putter they’ve grown accustomed to. We’re just taking what they already like and making it better. Anyone that tries the grip is going to see an immediate increase in control and consistency – two fundamentals necessary to play better golf.

Dave’s Take on The Secret Grip
Some may not agree, but I believe counterbalancing in the putter market will continue to expand. The secret grip is a great option for someone to try out the counterbalanced feel on his or her own putter. You buy the grip for about $25 and try it out. If you like it, great, if not, you are only out a little cash and you didn’t permanently alter your putter.

 

Golf Pride

Golf Pride1

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Same as swinging grips: slippage causing mis-hits and inaccuracies in shot dispersion. Also, a worn putter grip will cause the player to squeeze the grip tighter than normal. This increased tension can result in a lack of touch or feel which are crucial on fast or complex greens.

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

The Players Wrap combines style and touch with its smart look and innovative design. The Tour Tradition’s standard size, all-rubber construction provides increased feel and responsiveness for truer putts. With the larger diameter, the Tour Classic putter keeps the wrist action to a minimum for improved putting accuracy.

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

Increased touch and feel, more solid putts struck in the middle of the putter face (a very important but often under-rated piece in putting).

Dave’s Take on Golf Pride
Golf Pride is one of the big player in the golf grip game, arguably the big player. These putter grips are classic, and likely the place where most golfers will go for re-gripping. The differing shapes are welcome, but I wish that they ventured out a bit more with the color. They have had other colors in the past. I know, I have a yellow one.

 

Iomic

Iomic4

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Feel comes first and slight twisting and moving in your hands while putting the ball with a worn grip. With Iomic putter grips you will never have this problem. Our putter grip stays tacky for as long as you own the grip.

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

100% waterproof, Non fading material, Smooth buttery feel, and Longest lasting material

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

The smooth feeling and longevity of the putter grip.

Dave’s Take on Iomic Grips
As I mentioned before, Iomic grips have been my go to custom putter grip for a few years. Though there are more choices today than before, few others feel as good in my hands as the Iomic Jumbo. Some will really like the addition of the texture in the Absolute X line. If you are looking for color, Iomic really should be on your short list.

 

Lamkin

Lamkin

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

The most common performance issue that comes from playing with a worn grip is the tendency to grip with too much pressure and tension.  Old, worn out grips have lost their surface tack and don’t feel as secure in a golfer’s hands.  Therefore, the player feels the need to grip harder to maintain their connection.  One of the keys to successful putting is using a relaxed, light-pressure grip.  That’s hard to accomplish with an old, slick grip.

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

The E.B.L. Smooth Pistol is made with Lamkin’s patented 3GEN compound, which provides increased surface tack, exceptional durability and unmatched vibration dampening.

The thinner shape of the grip offers increased shot feedback and greater distance control.

A smooth surface enhances the comfortable and tacky feel of the grip.

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

Some of the world’s best putters use a traditional, smaller shaped putter grip, like the EBL Smooth Pistol.  The shape provides exceptional shot feel and control.  The smooth surface of the EBL maximizes the contact area between a golfer’s hands and their putter.  And, the tacky feel of the 3GEN material provides exceptional gripping confidence.

Dave’s Take on Lamkin Grips
These grips have the classic flat-top putter shape and a nice level of tackiness. You should see how grass stuck to them when I was shooting photos. My only gripe is again lack of color options. Lamkin has AMAZING color options in their club grips. The orange and purple are awesome! But for putters, we get red, white, blue, and black. Am I alone on this? Do you want your colors too?

 

Pure Grips

Pure-4

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Putting is all about feel which is often lost when your Putter grip gets old worn out and slick.

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?  Our PURE Classic Putter grips are for Golfers that prefer a standard size grip with a soft and tacky feel.  The grip molds perfectly into your hands without any harsh or sharp edges and the tackiness gives you confidence over every putt.

Our PURE Classic Midsize Putter Grip is for golfers that prefer a slightly larger putter grip with a soft and tacky feel.  Like the PURE Classic it molds perfectly into your hands without any harsh or sharp edges and the tackiness gives you confidence over every putt.

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?  Both Putter grip designs are made in the USA and carry the same 12 month Guarantee that we offer on our full swing grips.  Golfers should expect a quality Putter grip at a Fair Price.

Dave’s Take on Pure Grips
I’ve been a fan of Pure Grips for a while. Somewhere around MGS there are some reviews that I have written on their club grips. I remember when they added color to those grips, and the colors were amazing. The color on these are impressive, but like their club grips, these are fully functional as well. How nice are the Pure Grips putter grips? Nice enough that companies like Miura and Bettinardi are using them as their stock grips. That, to me, says a lot.

 

Salty Grips

Salty1

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Performance issues include loss of feel for putting, annoying “black stuff” rubbing off on your hands, and not playing your best because you’re not looking your best (your grip looks like crap and/or every other grip that’s out there).

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?  

Key features of our 2013 Salty Grips are that they’re oversized yet light, classic looking, and completely customizable.  The grips are made of natural cork and are lighter than other, similarly sized grips on the market.  Cork serves as an excellent vibration dampener and provides greater feel during the putting stroke.  Engraving of names, initials, corporate and club logos allows everyone to put a personal touch on the club they use most.  From your piece on putters – “Each one of those grips is a little billboard for the company, making golfers more aware of the brand, and awareness, leads to sales.”  We’ll also be adding a new size between our Mid-Plus and Oversize in the next month or two.

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?  

When a golfer adds a Salty Grip to their putter, they can expect greater feedback on putts and more control over their stroke than they’ve previously experienced.  The grip is firm, but not slippery and has a velvety texture that can be refreshed with sandpaper.  The golfer should also expect to be approached regularly on the practice green and course.  People seem to be naturally drawn to Salty Grips and often reach out with questions or just to say they look cool.

Dave’s Take on Salty Grips
I think that I may have been one of the first people to instal a Salty grip. It was an early model that didn’t even have a hole in the butt end. That design element came later, and so has a huge degree of fine tuning. Zinger told us a lot of the Salty story a few weeks back. The cork feel is unique. You can ask Golfspy Tim about his Salty. I don’t see it leaving his putter any time soon.

 

SuperStroke

SuperStroke2

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Worn putter grips, like any golf grip, can cause extra tension during the stroke.  This is especially evident at impact where a player will typically have issues squaring the face.

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

Not only are our grips tacky but firm, we included a texture we refer to as “CrossTraction” technology that adds another dimension to the feel of our grips.  All of these features ensure more confidence with every stroke.

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

Our non-taper technology helps players alleviate unnecessary tension in the wrists and forearms and enhances the pendulum putting stroke.  Players choosing SuperStroke technology will make more putts, regardless of their current playing level.

Dave’s Take on SuperStroke Grips
I don’t need to tell you my take on SuperStroke grips. Their tour performance speaks for itself. The texture change in 2013 was a great addition, as was the MidSlim grip. The Flatso is a different animal all together. The top is flat and wide and will impact your stroke. My only wish for the next incarnation of the grips is that they flip the white and the colored sections. I’d like more color to go with the Super-ness.

 

UST Mamiya

UST Mamaiya2

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

  • Lack of feel and feedback
  • A good putter grip that has tack to it which will allow less grip pressure and that is ideal when you are putting

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

  • Very soft and tacky which improves feel and allows for the proper release of the putter head
  • Embossed pattern providing traction in strategic areas and enhanced control
  • Offered in four sizes (standard, midsize, jumbo and super jumbo)

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

  • Better feel and feedback
  • Less grip pressure allows for the proper release of the putter

Dave’s Take on UST Mamiya Putter Grips
UST Mamiya is a bit of a dark horse in this round-up. They are well known as a shaft company, but the grips are new. Their putter grips are simple in color, just black or white, and basically all made with the same texture pattern. Shapes are very different though. There is a nice size progression from standard to super jumbo, and we are talking super jumbo. The super jumbo grip is in the SuperStroke Fatso diameter category. It may even be a little larger. It still feels light though, 82g for a grip of that size is not too stout. Now let’s talk about some colors and adding one to a FST putter shaft…

 

That’s A Dragon’s Horde of Putter Grips!

I’m not sure if compiling all of these grips in one place has made selecting a new grip easier or more difficult. Do you go with the natural leather Best Grip, or the natural cork Salty? Maybe you are drawn to the vivid colors of Pure Grips and Iomic. Why not go large with Super Stroke, or jumbo with UST Mamiya? Your options are many, and swapping out a grip is a whole lot cheaper than swapping out a putter.