How often should you change your grips?Every season if you're an avid player—maybe every couple seasons if you clean them regularly. Grips break down due to sunlight, heat, dirt, oil and sweat. There are a myriad of options to choose from, and the differences can be confusing. Eighty-five percent of pros use Golf Pride's Tour Velvet, because it's the hardest and they like to feel as close to the shaft as possible. But it's a sports car compared to a luxury sedan, so it may not appeal to you. The best thing to do is grip a bunch and pick the one that gives you the most confidence. They can be rock-hard like the Tour Velvet, spongy-soft like the Lamkin X-Dry, or anywhere in between. There's even a newcomer that uses Kevlar to help take the sting out your swing.
Once upon a time, leather was the only choice. Of course, some folks still think that none of today's high-tech materials can match its feel. Enter GripMaster, a 100-percent genuine leather grip that is so sticky I still felt it on my fingers long after I put the club back in the bag.
High-swing-speed players often have trouble with synthetic leather coming apart at the seams, but Lamkin solved that problem by stitching rather than gluing the wrap together. The feel of leather, but not quite as tacky.
Golf Pride Whisper Blend
Synthetic leather and rubber
The Whisper Blend is made of dark-blue synthetic leather with a thin, white, knurled-rubber weave, which may improve your grasp. The grip has a supersoft feel and a surface that's almost as sticky as real leather.
Golf Pride New Decade MultiCompound
Golf Pride calls this its breakthrough grip of the year. Why?Because it fuses a hard cord in the upper half (for firm, all-weather control) with soft rubber in the lower (for better feel and responsiveness). It's already very popular with college players—and Colin Montgomerie.
C-Thru Grips from Golf Pride Tour Velvet
C-Thru grips came on the scene in 2001 and are seen mostly on putters. Less-known is the fact that the company also makes two full-swing grips—actually, Golf Pride makes them for C-Thru—clear versions of the Tour Velvet and the seamless rubber Tour Wrap.
Lamkin Dual Density Crossline
This is the latest in grip-construction technology: A hard inner material, which reduces torque, is molded to a softer outer. (Golf Pride's version is called "Dual Durameter.") The Dual Density is a hard grip comparable to the Tour Velvet; it's slightly softer than previous Crosslines.
Winn V17-AVS Arrow
If firm-yet-tacky is what you want, get your hands on these. The Arrow retains its stickiness whether damp or dry. Looks and feels seamless even though it isn't. Available in regular, firm and extra firm.
Silicone and Kevlar
A golf-addicted doctor with a nagging hand injury helped invent this. He found that a layer of Kevlar between thin layers of silicone dampened vibration better than anything on the market. Indeed, I slammed my club repeatedly onto a range mat and never felt a sting.