Returning to NO1: The NO1 50 PRO
By Dave Wolfe
It’s not often that I get to revisit the reviews that I write for mygolfspy. It’s not that I don’t find myself infinitely entertaining; it’s more that the constant creation of more golf product by golf companies demands more of a moving-forward approach.
Today, I bring you the new NO1 50 PRO grip, which naturally draws me back to when I last reviewed NO1 grips in 2011. How crazy is it that 2011 now seems like a long time ago? I have this feeling that golf-equipment years may actually be shorter than dog years. Golf equipment just zooms along.
For reference, consider that 2011 was the year of the Callaway RAZR Hawk and the appropriately named TaylorMade R11.
Anyway, I first took the NO1 Model 48 grips through the paces back in 2011. You can read the whole review HERE, but here are the high points:
- I went with the red with white accents to match the other colors on my Callaway RAZR X irons…
- RAZR X irons …6 sets ago
- Top scores for looks
- Top scores for feel and playability
- Deductions for cost and longevity
Basically, while I loved the feel of the grips, they were already starting to show finger wear after not that many rounds of golf. At $16 a pop, they need to last longer.
NO1 50 PRO: Less Color, More Stature
So here we are, a couple of years later, taking a look at a new grip from NO1, the NO1 50 PRO.
The company line about this new NO1 is that the new proprietary elastomer compound features a more firmer and solid feel while maintaining the signature sticky and tacky touch of the 50 series.
So if I am reading this right, the 50 PRO keeps the tack and feel of the 50, while increasing the firmness, and possibly resiliency. Sounds like a winning combination.
Testing the NO1 50 PRO
For reference, I had the grips professionally installed on my PING i25 irons and woods, built up 1/32” (+2 wraps).
I like to call the stealth color scheme None More Black Black. I bring up color first because these are only as of now available in black with black accents. Sure, black will go with every club in the market, but NO1 has so many great colors in their other grips that it’s a bit sad that these are only available in black. Maybe it’s a “for now” situation, with other colors on the horizion.
Regardless of my peacock-like preferences, these do look cool in their simplicity. These are all business, and the black on black is subtle and sexy.
Feel and Play
I was a bit surprised at how the surface openings flared out when the grips were installed. I’m not totally sure that this shows up in the photos, but the edges of the grip had puffer fish-like action when installed.
Really Dave, grips get larger when you install them? That’s not really what I am saying.
Instead, the holes really seem to fan out when you install them. The overall effect is that you feel more surface contact with the grip, but there is more space as well, contributing to the soft feel. I would describe the gripping sensation as a soft roughness. Maybe a rough softness.
These grips replaced a set of Golf Pride NDMCs and as such, I was expecting an overall feeling of squish when I took them to the course. The NO1 50 PROs are definitely softer than the NDMCs, but there is no squish.
I hesitate to say that the grip molds to your hand, because that sounds like it’s soft, but it does feel like it molds to your hand. Maybe I’ll say that it interfaces with your hands. That doesn’t imply squish.
It’s difficult to explain a tactile experience through text, but let me see if I can’t give you a better explanation. Much as I enjoy playing NDMC gripped clubs, there is never any question that the firm NDMC is part of the club. With the NO1 50 PRO, the grip really interfaces with my hands, blurring the boundary with hands and club shaft.
The softness of the elastomer allows your hands to become one with the grip. It sounds like a cheesy PR line, but that’s the best that I can do describing it.
What’s cool also is that when you hit the ball, you retain the softness in the hands, yet really feel that 30% firmer construction with impact. I have found that some really soft grips trade comfort for control, flexing and compressing too much to effectively strike the ball. Now while I will never claim to be the most effective, or even under control, ball striker, the NO1 50 PRO grips allowed me to feel in control and connected to the club throughout the swing.
Also, being as I play in lovely dry California, my hands definitely welcomed the increased cushion on fat shots from the hardpan.
Pricing and Durability
So here is the spot when the other NO1 review went a bit critical. I don’t mind paying a premium price for a premium product. Quality often comes with a price to match. My gripe with the NO1 48 was that they showed, what I thought, was excessive wear, making their replacement more frequent, and thus upping the overall cost to play them.
Well, the NO1 50 PRO will still set you back $16/grip, but with these, my reservations about construction and longevity have vanished. One month, and 5+ rounds and range time in, and I have no doubts about longevity. These grips look essentially the same today as they did when installed. I don’t see any of the finger tears that I did with the 48’s. They have no apparent wear spots at all.
They did get dusty and dirty from play, but soap and water took care of that, restoring a deep level of tackiness.
I’m likely belaboring this point, but these are so much more resilient than the other NO1s that I played.
NO1 is so close to Dave’s NO1
I love these grips. Perhaps that’s not the most objective statement, but it’s true. How about this statement?
I don’t want to do any more grip reviews this year because I do not want to take these off of my clubs.
I can’t think of a bolder endorsement for the NO1 50 PRO. The only thing that I would like to see is NO1 expand their awesome color palate into the 50 PRO line. If these were available in purple or violet, I would probably order them by the case.
For More information, visit the NO1 WEBSITE.