Italy’s BRD Golf Grips represent one of the more fun aspects of being a chronicler for MyGolfSpy. And that’s stumbling across, quite by accident, a small company with an interesting story.
BRD Grips, headquartered in Florence, Italy, is all about la famiglia. It’s a family business but the mover, shaker and chief spokesman is Alessandro Guazzini, the 23-year-old figlio numero uno (number one son) of the Guazzini family.
“It’s a start-up, family business,” Guazzini tells MyGolfSpy. “The idea was mine and we created this all together and everybody is doing a different activity.”
And while the actual grips made by BRD are interesting, the story of how those grips came to be is just as fascinating. So, crack open some vino or pour yourself a shot or two of grappa and let’s dive in. It’s a story dall’Italia, con amore. (That’s “from Italy, with love.”)
Under The Tuscan Sun
Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region and is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance. Since being established by the Romans, it’s been ruled by the like of Charlemagne, the Medici family and Napoleon. Florence is famous for its art and its chianti. Da Vinci began his career there and Michelangelo’s statue of David resides there.
And, most pertinent to today’s story, Florence is the home of BRD Grips.
“We are quite different from the average golf grip company because we don’t launch many models of grips,” says Guazzini. “We are focusing on bringing to the market something which is truly new, not only from the point of view of technology, but also of design.”
Alessandro Guazzini was barely 17 when he brought up to his father the idea of starting a golf grip company. His father apparently found the idea molto bene and BRD Golf Grips was born.
“Something like 90 percent of the businesses in Italy are family businesses,” he says. “It’s really common. My parents, my brother, my cousins—we all work together.”
The company launched its first grip in 2017. The B-1 is a full cord grip and isn’t particularly groundbreaking. But once that was introduced, the family started working on its pet project, the double-layer X-1.
BRD Grips: Una Presa Per Mazze da Golf
You’ve no doubt seen grips that look vaguely like the BRD X-1. At first glance, it resembles those novelty grips with a transparent outer layer and a corporate or team logo underneath. But in this case, looks like is nowhere near same as.
“We wanted a grip to be really tacky and to also provide good shock absorption,” says Guazzini. “Young players are working on ball speed and creating power. We wanted to create a grip to help that and deliver shock absorption.”
Guazzini and his father worked on the design with their Asian manufacturers to develop the BRD X-1. It took time and several iterations to perfect the dual-polymer technology so it would work with high swing speeds.
“We went through a lot of prototypes because it wasn’t easy to make,” he explains. “It’s hard to build a double-layer grip because the two layers wouldn’t stay together. We tried different materials, different combinations and different designs. Some were too soft. Some were too hard.”
After 20 or so prototypes, the Gauzzinis found the right mix. I was still skeptical until my driver needed regripping last summer. The BRD X-1, however, turned out to be a bit of a unicorn. It’s firm yet tacky and offers feedback along with shock absorption. It may be the only grip I’ve ever tried that actually feels like it’s gripping you back.
The X-1 can be installed with air or with grip tape and solvent. The graphics may be an acquired taste, however. It’s definitely a European vibe and I’m sure some might find it objectionable. But after two, maybe three, swings, the large BRD logo fades into the background.
Especially if you enjoy the sensazione.
Coming to America
North America is the largest golf market in the world. And it can be the toughest to crack. It’s generally noted that American golfers are open-minded and willing to try anything new, as long as their fathers and grandfathers tried it first. Gauzzini, however, finds the market to be the complete opposite.
“The U.S. market seems more open than the European market in accepting alternative products,” he insists. “The U.S. is more open-minded and less traditional.”
The BRD strategy is to focus on young golfers, those between 17 and 35, who are serious about their game.
“We call that segment the innovation-oriented golfer,” says Gauzzini. “Those golfers are less attached to tradition and want to try something new to develop more performance.”
And having a 23-year-old as the face of the company certainly doesn’t hurt.
“We are trying to bring an idea of innovation and new technologies,” he says. “So being young maybe helps.”
BRD’s strategy is to start marketing to college teams in the western U.S. and eventually work its way east. Washington-based Craig Patterson Golf is BRD’s North American distributor.
BRD Golf Grips: Price vs Value
At $15.99 per grip, the BRD X-1 isn’t cheap. And even though it looks like those cheap novelty grips, it certainly isn’t the same.
“The trend seems that golf is going through innovation in all parts of the industry,” says Gauzzini. “But we didn’t see the same with golf grips. So we saw a gap and decided to fill it with the X-1 grip.”
Gauzzini is still a student, studying languages and economics. So he does understand that price makes a statement.
“It’s one of the highest-priced in the industry,” he acknowledges. “We have two layers and we have a unique polymer. It’s not just a normal rubber grip.
“We put a lot of effort into our marketing and into the partnerships we’re trying to develop with young players and college teams. BRD Grips is a startup dedicated to innovation. We don’t have as many products as other brands but the technology has to be high enough for us. I hope the product we put out delivers that.”
BRD will be adding new sizes, textures and designs to the X-1 platform. And they’re working on a putter grip which Guazzini says will provide measurable performance benefits. Whether those claims are youthful naivete or, in fact, real, remains to be seen and you can be sure that MyGolfSpy will try to separate fact from fiction.
Grips can be very personal to many golfers. To others, they couldn’t care less—whatever’s on the club is fine. BRD is another option in a crowded field. The look might not be for everyone but you can’t say it doesn’t stand out. And as we mentioned, the BRD X-1 is simultaneously soft, firm and tacky while offering sufficient feedback. Im not sure how la famiglia Gauzzini pulled off that trick, but it is unique.
“We are trying to reach golfers who are less attached to tradition and want to try something new to develop more performance,” says Guazzini. “They work on swing speed and ball speed and want to hit the ball farther—all those people who are now working new technologies to develop their skills—those are the golfers we want to appeal to.”
For more information, visit the BRD Golf Grips’ North American website.
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Ring O' Fire1 week ago
Boy howdy. If I were BRD I’d fire the marketing dept, photographer, and /QC folks but quick! Nothing about those grips is enticing to me. I kind of feel sorry for them.
Gerry T1 week ago
It seems that the assumption is an average golfer will jump at the chance to buy a new grip based on the Supergrip model. Those would be too big for my mid-sized hands so I would stick wjth Arccos and other grip names like Lampkin among others. Good luck but with a 40% markup in Canadian funds….I wouldn’t pay $20-25 for a grip that is uncertain to fit me. Maybe he should keep his day job.
Alan1 week ago
Who cares what the Dagon logo looks like if you want some performance pay the price try them out make up your mind then if it don’t work don’t buy it 15 $16 and going to hurt nobody’s
WBN1 week ago
Not much chance here. The price and looks kill it. Some comments say that the logo is a turn off. You can always turn the logo down. I like the Winn Dri Tac tour wrap. Been using them for years.
RT1 week ago
No way would a serious golf use those ! What’s next grips that light up so one can play at night using the grip lights to shine on the ball !!!!
Tim1 week ago
I’d give them a try..I currently use GP Tour velvet 360 mid-sized. If they can assist with accuracy, then I am willing to see if they are as good as they claim! Great article John.
NH Golfer1 week ago
Not a chance. That logo looks horrible and I don’t need THAT on my grips. Minimize logo, then maybe.
Dave Tutelman1 week ago
The article says that “price makes a statement.” And the comments say that appearance makes a statement. How about just plain performance?
It is only a week or so since a discussion of grips in a clubfitter/clubmaker forum about Star Grips. The overwhelming consensus was that they are high quality, long lasting, and head and shoulders above the others in both. I have been using Star Grips on my own clubs exclusively for 20 years now. They almost never need to be replaced, and when they do regripping is way easier than other brands.. (They are made to be used with tapeless installation, blowing them on and off with a small compressor.)
Their feel is softer than most grips but firmer than the deliberately soft grips. Less shock than most, but not “mushy”. And the tack seems to last forever if you just wash them with water and detergent.
They don’t “make statements”. As for garish appearance, they are very plain, just a single color. (Pure Grip is a spinoff of Star, from members of the firm that wanted to “spice up” the appearance of the offering but liked the technology.. As for sending a message with price, that is not part of their marketing; they are priced toward the low end of the market, in spite of exceptional quality and performance.
Nobody is paying me to say this. I don’t even get a discount from Star unless I buy in quantity. It is my opinion, based on years of experience as a clubmaker and a golfer.
Kevin polischuk1 week ago
Unless they are leather and say Gripmaster that will be a hard pass. Interesting write up. Thanks John.
DB1 week ago
No way. That huge logo is awful, I wouldn’t install them if they were free.
Don1 week ago
Way too ugly with that huge logo and the price of $15.99 per grip is a joke. There are plenty of really good grips for less than half that price and they are not so ugly.
Jeff1 week ago
No thx based on looks alone. Not sporting that big logo on my grips.
Joe Parent1 week ago
I have pretty much tried them all. At 70, with very large hands, I have been seeking the “Jumbo Holy Grail” , Didn’t love the Jumbo Max grips, they don’t seem to last that long. Have been using the Golf Pride CP-2 Jumbo wrap with a lot of success. But always looking. Definitely will try if available in Jumbo.
MikeB1 week ago
These look very similar to CADERO grips. I have one of the CADERO grips, bought just to try. 30psi and they go on and off in seconds, nice feel, tacky when dry, those are the pro’s. The only downside is that they are terrible when wet. Kinda like the look, multiple designs and colors, but if considering these, I’d buy one and try it before going all in.
Matt Wiseley1 week ago
I would try them. At 53 years old, getting a grip that takes a little shock off a bad strike couldn’t hurt.
Ryan F1 week ago
Lets get a MGS member test going on these grips! I’d love to give them a try.
Everardo.Golf1 week ago
I don’t mind a little logo up on grips but this is a bit much, maybe if your hands covered it completely. it would be worth a try.
Leon1 week ago
What about installing them upside down, would that hide most, if not all, of the logo? Would they feel the same as logo-up?
Jeff1 week ago
That logo is a complete “no buy” for me. Just too too distracting. Understated these grips are not
Don1 week ago
How are they when wet?