Golf grips can make a statement (fashionable or not) and directly impact the result of our shots. Although we think of golf grips as being a solid yet traditional black, manufacturers are now making grips in a variety of designs and colors.
Best Grips (www.BestGrips.com) offers a variety of handmade leather golf grips. Designs range from a traditional black leather, to exotics leathers such as Gator, Ostrich, Rattler and beyond. Maybe the most unique is the gridiron grip which has the look and feel of a replica NFL football. Although Best Grips makes an array of grips from regular grips to putter grips in a multitude of colors, the football looking grip was the grip I chose for testing.
After some communication with Best Grips via email, they were kind enough to send me a sizable care package with four grips, a piece of sample leather with the various embossing/foiling options available for custom orders, a sticker and marketing material
Rubber v.s. Leather –
The last thing I am going to try to do is convince you that leather is the new rubber when it comes to golf grips. However, many of the Best Grips offer average to below average traction (compared to rubber grips) and possibly better comfort. However, rubber grips are likely going to be more durable, tackier and provide better traction due to a texture pattern. The greatest drawback to leather is that it has a tendency to absorb moisture and may feel slimy and price.
Now if we change the conversation strictly to putter grips, I think you will find that leather and rubber putter grips stack up evenly. Ultimately one of the most important elements of putting is feel and a grip with provides comfort, superior feel and control and looks good is going to instill confidence. So with that said, I have no problem shelling out $30-$50 for a grip that no one else has. One note to remember is not to set your putter down dewy grass in the morning as the moisture can make the leather feel slick.
As shown in the pictures, I tested a variety of grips (with focus on the gridiron grip). The grip that offered the best overall performance and most comparable to a rubber grip is the Gridiron (football) grip. Unlike the other Best Golf grips which were relatively smooth, the Gridiron iron grip had a different finish which appeared to be tackier and offer hundreds of little nubs which provided excellent traction and control.
Being brown, the grip didn’t match the bright colored graphite shafts of my driver, fairway wood so I installed it on a black shafted hybrid. The grip looked sharp and classy. It also captivated the audience (my foursome) and was the talk of my round. When swinging, the grip was exceptionally comfortable and didn’t offer any less control than the current Lamkin N-Dur grips I currently use. The feel at impact might be better than rubber.
From a size perspective the gridiron grip measured out 1/32″ bigger in diameter than a traditional tour velvet grip. Having larger hands, I preferred the size and feel once installed.
In the end, there is no such thing as the best grip. Choosing a grip is truly a matter of what fits your hand, what feels most comfortable and what works for you. For many that can range from a wrap style grip to a velvet grip or even a synthetic grip. It should be noted that Best Grips may not appeal to the masses.
Not all the Best Grips are going to provide superior traction so you may want to re-consider re-gripping with Best Grips if the club has a tendency to twist in your hands at impact. The only other drawback here is going to be price. In tough economic times, $16.00/grip (Gridiron grips) are not the most ideal investment considering most rubber grips cost half that installed.
If you want to try a Best Grip and at a discount, they have a factory seconds page with a variety of products at about half of MSRP.
However, if you’re a traditionalist, a hobbyist, a collector or just looking to touch up an old set of clubs your dad or grandpa played with, Best Grips will be the only place you want to consider to bring back that nostalgia to a vintage set of sticks.
Personally, Best Grips will be hearing from me with an order when I build or re-build my next set of golf clubs.
Quality – 10 of 10
Feel/Comfort – 7.5 of 10
Durability – 9 of 10
Innovation – 7 of 10
Value – 8 of 10
Total = 41.5 of 50