I’m quite often shocked by the terrible condition of amateurs’ club grips. Many weekend warriors allow their grips to get smooth as glass, especially on their putters. And then they wonder why they get all “handsy” and push and pull putts.

Recently, new grip materials have been introduced that wear better and longer than rubber and strive to feel as soft and responsive as leather (which really wore down quickly in the days of golfing yore). One of these materials is, rather surprisingly, cork.

As it turns out, cork is amazingly resistant to water, sweat and oils that are secreted from the hands. A new company, Cork Tree, has developed a “cork leather” that has an exquisitely soft, supple feel.

The cork leather is constructed from a layer of cork tree bark hand-sewn over a padded under-layer. Cork Tree offers four grips sizes — The Gimme, The Slim Jim, The Bandit and The Stumpy — which range from traditionally sized to super-oversized. All Cork Tree grips retail for $29.95.

Playing the Cork Tree Stumpy putter grip

My current favorite putter was in need of a new grip — the rubber original was starting to get slick. So I decided to install the Cork Tree Stumpy grip on it. The enormous diameter of The Stumpy (39mm top, 41mm bottom) was quite a change from the original, traditional grip, but it didn’t take long to get used to it. More and more PGA Tour pros are moving to oversized grips to help take their hands and wrists out of their strokes, and I could feel why almost immediately.

I passed the putter around to my playing buddies. The opinions were almost unanimous: “I really like it,” said one. “It just relaxes your hands and arms. You can’t grip it too tightly.”

As for the cork feel, they also all agreed that it was soft and yet solid. My one concern was that the feedback from the putter — which is the best I’ve ever felt from a putter (this is why it’s my current favorite) — was a bit muted by the size and softness of The Stumpy. Cork Tree touts the vibration dampening quality of its putter grips, but on putters, you do want to feel whether the ball is coming off the sweetspot or not.

However, after a short practice session, I learned to discern the location of contact just as well with The Stumpy. And after my second nine holes — in which I ran in four long one-putts in a row — I learned to trust the size and feel completely.

Cork Tree putter grips: The verdict

You might think a cork putter grip is gimmicky, but don’t jump to conclusions. The feel and resiliency of these Cork Tree grips are truly Tour-quality. (More than 20 PGA Tour players use Cork Tree grips.)

If your grips are glassy-smooth and you find yourself yanking and pushing putts, it might not be “the yips;” it might simply be your lousy, old grips. You might want to give Cork Tree putter grips — especially the oversized Stumpy grip — a try.

Article courtesy of World Golf, view original article at http://www.worldgolf.com/golf-equipment/cork-tree-putter-grips-15252.htm

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