SO WHEN WAS the last time you bought a new set of grips? And the answer for far too many of us will be when we last bought a new set of clubs. This will certainly cause anyone behind the counter in the Royal Ashdown pro shop to shake his head in a rueful and disconsolate manner.
The reason being that as grips age they start to become smooth and often shiny. Research has shown that old grips can cause anything up to an 11% loss in club speed and distance.
A traditional rubber, or rubber and cord grip that is more effective in wet weather, can be roughed up by using sand paper but should then be scrubbed. ‘If you are playing twice a week then you should certainly wash your grips every two months,’ says Ashdown head professional, Tim Cowley. ‘It does not take long but it really does make a huge difference, helping not only to keep better control of the club but also giving them a much longer life.’
Cleaning grips is dead simple; all you need is a bucket of hot water with some washing up liquid in and a nailbrush. Give the grips a vigorous scrub, rinse off the soap and then dry them on a clean towel. The result should be a grip that feels slightly tacky.
‘If you play a lot then you should seriously think about replacing grips every year,’ says Cowley. ‘If not then the grips should last between two to three years, but how many club golfers do that?’
The answer is very few and our game is the poorer for it. A bigger grip benefits players with larger hands and those who consistently draw or hook the ball. Arthritis sufferers who struggle to hold a smaller grip would also benefit. The converse is also true with smaller hands, those who fade or slice or simply require more clubhead ‘feel’ being best suited for a smaller grip.
The Royal Ashdown pro-shop carries a grip-sizing chart to ensure that your clubs are just the right size for you. Given that many of us pay regularly for lessons in an effort to improve out game what possible excuse can any of us give for not going in there to ensure that we have the right sort of equipment too?