Go ahead, name the most neglected piece of equipment in your golf bag. If you've been playing with the same set of clubs for years, the answer is likely your grips — the one part of the club you touch on every shot.
The average TOUR player replaces their grips every six weeks to two months, but when it comes to the casual golfer, the length of time between regrips can range from a couple of years to never replacing them.
"There's a group of players that recognizes that having new grips put on annually is really important," said Bruce Miller, Golf Pride's vice president of marketing. "But the bottom line is the majority of people out there do not. Considering how much time you spending handling the grip, it doesn't make sense to neglect a key part of the club."
How important is a new set of grips? Golf Pride did a study a few years ago that showed a set of well-worn, two-year-old grips can cost a golfer 3-4 shots per round. While that number likely varies based on the golfer and rounds logged each season, there's clearly a benefit to using a set of fresh grips.
"It's like tires or windshield wiper blades — they are going wear out over time with continual use." Miller said. "Similar to those products, people always seem to recognize they need new grips at the most inopportune time, like when you're playing in the rain and can barely hang on to them."
Heat, dirt, and oils from your hands play a major role in the natural degradation of the grip. As the grip starts to wear down, bad habits start to creep in that can lead to poor shots and a lack of confidence on the course.
"You have to be able to hang on to that club," Miller said. "That gets down to proper fundamentals, like not squeezing the grip really tight, which is something a player instinctively does when his grips are worn out."
Unlike the high cost that comes with replacing a set of irons, it's fairly inexpensive to put new grips on your clubs. The average cost ranges from $70-$130 (for 13 grips) depending on the model you choose.
The frequency with which a golfer should regrip their clubs is ultimately determined by how often they play or practice. The average usage for a set of grips is 40 rounds (one practice session counts as one round), which means golfers who play regularly should be doing a yearly replacement.
"We're not saying players need to re-grip every year, but if they play 40 rounds in a season, they need to change out their grips," said Miller.
The best time to regrip is at the beginning of the season when your clubs have been sitting in storage for the last few months. Similar to a new set of clubs, golfers have the ability to choose from a variety of grip options based on their moisture management, feedback and surface texture preferences.
In other words, you don't have to stick with the same grip just because it came on your last off-the-rack club purchase.
So which grip is right for you? Here's a look at some of the most popular models in Golf Pride's current lineup.
The most popular version on TOUR is Golf Pride's Tour Velvet, which combines a rubber-blend compound with a computer-designed, non-slip surface pattern to maximize playability and comfort. It's also known as the grip model upon which many club manufacturers base their designs.
Along with coming in a rubber blend, the Tour Velvet is also available in a 360-degree version that allows for a consistent appearance regardless of shaft orientation on adjustable drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids.
The Tour Velvet BTC Cord comes standard with Brushed Cotton Technology (BCT) for all-weather performance, while the Tour Velvet Super Tack features and advanced new material formulation that delivers significant tack and increases surface coverage by 33 percent.
Victory and Victory Cord
Developed in the 1950's, the iconic green grip with the "GRIP RITE SWING RITE" design was a bag staple for years and was used by professionals to record more than 100 major championship wins.
While the company decided to phase out the Victory line for newer models, like Tour Velvet and New Decade MultiCompound, the grip always retained a cult following in golf circles.
The demand for the grip was so great, in fact, that Golf Pride decided to release a limited edition "Tour Issued" version of the Victory and Victory Cord. Molded from the same cavities Golf Pride currently uses to manufacture grips for some of the world’s best players, Victory still features a cork blend in the rubber compound that gives it a tacky feel for better traction.
The old "GRIP RITE SWING RITE" design pattern also remains on the front and assists golfers with a proper hand position on the grip. Originally designed for amateurs, professionals took a liking to the design as well over the years.
New Decade MultiCompound
New Decade MultiCompound, Golf Pride's second most popular grip, is currently used by Rory McIlroy and is designed with Golf Pride’s exclusive BCT cord for all-weather control in the top half; the bottom half features a high-performance rubber that offers feel and responsiveness.
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.
Unveiled at last year's PGA Merchandise Show, the MCC Plus4 builds on the success of the popular MutiCompoud that's been around since 2004 and has remained virtually unchanged during that time.
The MultiCompound look and feel remain a staple of the new MCC Plus4 grip, but some noticeable changes were made for the first time in a decade — especially in the lower hand.
"The main technology difference in this grip is the taper profile around the lower hand," Miller said. "It's a larger lower hand and we did that because we started to look at what we were sending to TOUR and what technicians were doing with it and noticed a lot of tape was being used to build it up in certain areas that were centered around the lower hand."
The data helped Golf Pride make one significant change, increasing the size of the lower portion of the grip. It's now 4.6 percent larger in diameter to give golfers the same feel they would typically get with extra grip tape.
The grip still has two different diameters in the upper and lower portion, but the sandbar texture in the lower portion was replaced with a softer marble texture that's less aggressive than the previous version.
CP2 Pro and CP2 wrap
For players that prefer a softer grip with minimal feedback, the all-rubber CP2 Pro has a tacky feel with built-in control thanks to Golf Pride's Control Core Technology that reduces torque by 41 percent through a 2.5" inner core stabilizer.
Unveiled in 2014, the CP2 was the fastest Golf Pride grip to ever win a major championship when Kenny Perry captured the Champions Tour's Region Traditions with the wrap model.
Designed through TOUR and consumer feedback, Golf Pride's full cord Z-Grip is the company's firmest cord grip available, combining two layers of texturing for feedback and control.
The "Z" shaped texture pattern winds around the grip for control, while the cord offers the highest level of moisture management in lineup.