Change Tack

It may be time for new grips. If indeed your grips are losing their, er, grip may we suggest Golf Pride’s latest model.

by Tony Dear

Courtesy Golf Pride

Some of golf’s great inventors are more famous than others. The late Gary Adams who developed the modern metal-headed driver in 1979 remains well-known among golfers of a certain vintage as, of course, does the great Karsten Solheim, pioneer of perimeter-weighted irons and putters and the founder of Ping. Robert Paterson, Coburn Haskell, Rock Ishii, and Dean Snell are revered among golf ball aficionados and George Grant, Harvard’s first African-American professor and the man credited with the modern, ground-piercing, ball-holding tee peg, is a name that many golfers have on the tip of their tongues.

Thomas L. Fawick, a Cleveland, OH-based inventor who created the pneumatic clutch and brake, is mostly forgotten, however, despite most certainly deserving his place at the table. In 1949, the keen golfer who believed rubber would provide a grippier surface than leather, partnered with an Akron factory to produce rubber grips. He named his company ‘Golf Pride’ – a play on a popular motor oil named ‘Gulf Pride’ – and enjoyed some early success before his big breakthrough in 1953 when he produced the game’s first one-piece, slip-on grip.

Club manufacturers soon began using slip-on grips, Tommy Bolt became a brand ambassador and won the 1958 US Open boosting their credibility, and club professionals saved a significant amount of time when replacing grips with Fawick’s design.

My granddad refused to use so abominable a contrivance as a rubber grip decades ago, and hickory golfers like nothing better than rewrapping their clubs’ handles with thin strips of leather. Despite these small pockets of anti-rubber grip sentiment, however, slip-on rubber grips rule the world and a healthy  majority of professionals and elite amateurs – an estimated 80% of them in fact – use Golf Pride, probably the most dominant name in golf equipment.

Owned by energy management company Eaton, Golf Pride opened its Global Innovation Center adjacent to Pinehurst No. 8 in 2019 and added the Retail Lab last summer. The 36,000sqft building welcomes a steady flow of consumers who come for grip fittings and houses corporate offices where ideas for new grips are created and tested.

The company’s latest design is the Tour Tack, a development of the famous Tour Velvet grip first launched in 1995. Offered in limited quantities (they are still available, but check them out soon before it’s too late), the Tour Tack is made with a new dimple pattern and surface texture to ensure a better grip on the club. Engineered to become even tackier in hot conditions, the Tour Tack was introduced late last week in time for summer.

Courtesy Golf Pride

Price – $11 each
Weight – 49.5 grams
Colors – Black

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