April 07, 2014
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
When Rory McIlroy switched from Titleist to Nike at the end of the 2012 season, he did a complete overhaul of the equipment in his bag, adding Nike woods, irons, wedges, Method 006 prototype putter and 20XI golf ball.
What few realized when he made the move to the Swoosh was that there was one carryover from his Titleist days that stayed in the bag: his Golf Pride New Decade MultiCompound grips.
With the exception of a color change -- McIlroy went from the yellow and black MultiCompound to a white and black version -- the grips remained on the two-time major winner's clubs.
"I think it's a piece of equipment that's often overlooked," McIlroy told PGATOUR.COM last November. "I've been using [the MultiCompound] since, I believe, 2009. Once I found something I liked, I decided to stick with it."
When Golf Pride released MultiCompound in 2004, there was some uncertainty surrounding the grip. With Golf Pride's Tour Velvet and green Victory leading the way, the company was unsure how the grip would be accepted on TOUR.
"We knew the grip was great, but when it comes to TOUR players, it's so difficult to get those guys to change," said Bruce Miller, Golf Pride's vice president of marketing. "When they're used to something, they want to stick with it. It's always a challenge to get them to try new products because most grew up playing a particular grip model."
Despite the uncertainty, it didn't take long for MultiCompound to gain a following on TOUR. According to Darrell Survey, Golf Pride grips are currently used by approximately 80 percent of the players on the PGA TOUR, with roughly 14 percent (11 players) using MultiCompound.
During the 2013 Masters, 12 players in the field used the grip, which was more than any other entire brand played at the major championship.
Prior to its release, two types of grips dominated the marketplace: full cord and all rubber.
Although Golf Pride had released half cord grips that featured cord on the lower hemisphere (back side) of the rubber, it wasn't until MultiCompound was officially launched that hybrid grips -- a blend of cord and rubber that offered improved feel and control with different firmnesses on the upper and lower half of the grip -- became popular.
The top half of the MultiCompound grip is designed with Golf Pride’s exclusive BCT cord for all-weather control; the bottom half features a high-performance rubber that offers feel and responsiveness.
"In the top hand, which is the power hand, it's going to be a little bit firmer. In the lower hand, it's a softer compound for feel," Miller said. "It's not just cord and rubber but different firmnesses of each one of those materials, tuned to what the players were looking for."
Along with the hybrid design, a "sand bar" texture was added to the top and bottom portion of the grip. While the texture pattern blends in with the rest of the design, it serves a purpose, tuning in the firmness of the rubber.
Aside from the new hybrid design, what really made MultiCompound stick out from the onset was the addition of color to the lower half of the grip. The initial offering had black on the top and red rubber on the bottom.
"I think [the color of the grip] helped with the popularity as well," Miller said. "Certainly it helped the grip pop on television, so consumers recognized that the players were using a MultiCompound. There was no question about that."
Since then a wide variety of new colors have been added to the lineup. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the MultiCompound grip, Golf Pride released a New Decade MultiCompound Platinum edition this year that comes in four news colors -- the top portion of this year's grip is grey -- including the coveted green MultiCompound that's released prior to the year's first major.
Branden Grace, who played last year's green MultiCompound grip, requested a set of this year's limited edition green grip and had them added to his clubs at the Shell Houston Open.
"We sold out of the green version before it ever left the plant, so we know the limited edition grip has a following," Miller said. "It's one of those things where we only made so many and people know that. We don't charge a premium for the green MultiCompound, it's just that the scarcity of the product seems to get everyone excited."
Miller even hinted that Golf Pride could release additional limited edition grip offerings in the future.
While Golf Pride has continued to expand the color options for MultiCompound, one thing that hasn't changed is the design. Materials and rubber have been tweaked and improved, but with the success of the grip, Miller said there was no reason to try something else.
"We always evaluate and improve the materials, but that's just a constant tweak that Golf Pride does internally," Miller said. "But the design usually remains unchanged. Once a player gets used to something -- especially a TOUR player -- it's very difficult to pry it out of their hands. We recognize we have a great thing with MultiCompound. There's no point in messing with success."
PGA TOUR SUPERSTORE: Shop for Golf Pride's New Decade MultiCompound