Most people associate cork with what they remove from a wine bottle or perhaps what they may have on the soles of their shoes, but who would’ve thought the natural material would work so effectively as a golf club grip? Nuno Nascimento and Marc Boggia, co-founders of The Cork Tree, the world’s first company to produce golf products in what is known as cork leather. Recently The Cork Tree debuted four new putter grips made of cork leather, which the co-founders believe provide an overall user experience that can’t be achieved with any other putter grip material known to man.

Eco-friendly, 100% Natural, Self-replenishing Material.

What is interesting about cork is that it is 100% natural, feels soft in the hands and improves its playability well beyond other materials when a golfer’s hands are hot or sweaty, characteristics that are amplified in humid playing conditions. Key to cork’s ability to push back when moisture is in play is its honeycomb cell structure. Each cell is a 14-sided polyhedron filled with air, making it an extremely strong and flexible membrane that’s waterproof and airtight. Cork bark is about 89% air, giving it a low density, but when it’s compressed, air isn’t squeezed out because the cell membranes won’t release it. Accordingly, it returns to its original shape when the compression is removed.

“It means the grip won’t slip in your hands, regardless of how moist your hands are,” says company co-founder Marc Boggia, a British PGA member. “That lets you confidently putt away without any tension in your hands and arms, promoting a more fluid stroke. Once you try it, I know you’ll agree that it feels amazing. Plus, it cleans very easily — dirt wipes away with a wet cloth.”

An Idea Born From Time Spent in the Family Cork Tree Forest.

Nascimento, from an early age, went with his grandfather to the Portuguese family’s cork oak forest learning all the tricks that nature presented. As an adult—and golfer—the idea struck him that perhaps cork might somehow be a good fit in the golf business. He began studying and testing trees to find the best cork bark, and then transformed it into cork products suitable for commercialization. As a youngster, Boggia, an Englishman and member of the British PGA since 1981, practiced, played and competed near the very cork forest that’s now become the source of raw material that fuels his and his co-founder’s business venture. The Cork Tree’s golf bag was awarded the first place award at the Golf Europe 2013 show in the golf bag category and lead to the launch of the cork putter grips. Check out this video for more info.

Today, the Nascimento family continues to sell cork bark to the cork stopper industry from its own 500 hectares cork plantation. Conscious of its hereditary property, The Cork Tree family continues to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing, protecting and maintaining the properties. Beyond cleaning and fertilizing the cork oak forest, the plantation continues to grow with some 40,000 new cork trees being planted in the past eight years. Cork trees are harvested every nine years and since the process doesn’t harm the tree, the cork bark re-grows.

Gaining More Popularity with Touring Pros.

Cork Tree putter grips are designed and used by championship winning tour professionals who make their living from playing golf, including Liang Wen-Chong, China’s leading male golfer who has 17 career wins, including wins on the European Tour, Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour, and OneAsia Tour. According to the company’s website there are currently more than 40 PGA Tour players using Cork Tree cork leather putter grips including the winner of the recent Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. A four-time major winner on the PGA Tour is also using the Cork Tree putter grip.

Extremely durable, able to absorb any impact vibration and impermeable to water, the grips are worth a closer look. The four originally released putter grips include the Midsize, Feather Light, Parallel and Tour models, each retailing for $39.95. The Slim Jim, Bandit, Gimme and Stumpy, the largest grip in the line, are other options, each retailing for $29.95.

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