While shopping for flooring recently, the benefits of cork were displayed throughout the home improvement warehouse – and for good reason. For years, cork has been lauded for its soft, forgiving properties. Now, for the same reasons as cork flooring is growing in popularity, the material is now gaining steam in the golf industry.In fact, there are currently more than 20 PGA Tour players using Cork Tree cork leather putter grips – and that caught me by surprise. But after testing the Slim Jim model ($29.95), which closely emulates the current oversized pistol-shaped grip on my putter, I’m a new fan. Listen, when you spend six days a week on the course and on the range, and in between spend countless hours pounding away at a keyboard, comfort is everything.
Cork Tree – the first company to produce golf products in cork leather – was co-founded by Nuno Nascimento and Marc Boggia. From an early age, Nascimento went with his grandfather to the Portuguese family cork oak forest learning all the tricks that nature presents. He studied and tested trees to find the best cork bark, and then transformed it into cork products suitable for commercialization.
The Cork Tree mission is “to maximize performance, increase confidence and ultimately improve putting statistics for every golfer using the Cork Tree putter grip.” Cork Tree also strives to be a contributor to a more eco-friendly world – cork leather offers this while adding functionality, durability and quality.
Today, the Nascimento family continues to sell cork bark to the cork stopper industry from its own 500-hectare cork plantation. Conscious of its hereditary property, the Cork Tree family continues to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing, protecting and maintenance of 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 Leather Rocks
Reading up on the Cork Tree putter grips, these benefits took centre stage: removes tension in hands and arms; enhances distance control; promotes a stable putting stroke; and performs when hands are hot and sweaty. The grips are hypoallergenic and easy to clean, too.Once you grow accustomed to the unique aesthetics of the Cork Tree putter grips, you can relax and let them do the work with the flat stick. My first putts instantly produced softer hands – imperative to a good golf swing. And with me typing more stories than making putts this time of year, sore wrists and fingers are the norm. The Cork Tree putter grip relaxed my hands and deleted a lot of the tension brought on by overwork in front of the screen.
Cork’s honeycomb cell structure is key. 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. So it returns to its original shape when the compression is removed.
I look forward to testing the Cork Tree putter grip once spring finally arrives and I can bring my game outdoors. The four initial putter grips include the Midsize, Feather Light, Parallel and Tour models (all $39.95 US). They’re all extremely durable, absorb any impact vibration and are impermeable to water.