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.”)

A closeup of BRD golf grips

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.”

a view of BRD golf grips

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.

the BRD X-1 golf grip

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.

a closeup of the BRD X-1 golf grip

“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.”

Several BRD X-1 Golf Grips

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.”

a close up of the BRD X-1 golf 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.”

Final Thoughts

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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