If you believe golf is not rocket science, you are only partially correct. In many respects, golf equipment is as high-tech as the manufacturing of space vehicles. Consider the story of Winn Grips, founded in 1973 by aerospace engineer Dr. Ben Huang. He had formerly worked with Dr. Wernher Von Braun on the development of the Saturn V rocket, which thrust Neal Armstrong to the moon, before establishing the Graduate School of Aeronautical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Later, Huang took his expertise in polymer materials to create tennis, balls, rackets and grips. After a frustrating week at a golf school, where Huang had trouble hanging onto the rubber grips of the clubs, he founded Winn Grips and substituted polymer materials for rubber.
Rubber is the predominant material in golf grips, but Winn pioneered the use of polymer grip materials. According to Winn — the company — its multiple polymer compounds "are significantly more comfortable, tacky and shock absorbing than traditional rubber." Polymers, related to plastics, are found in a range of products that includes car parts, optical equipment and adhesives.
Although there is no firm rule when it comes to grip size, choosing the grip size based on your glove size is widely recommended. If, for example, you wear a men's large glove, a standard or midsize grip is a good starting point. If you wear a ladies' medium glove, an undersize grip may be a good fit.
Types of Grips
Winn offers a range of grips using different materials, textures and levels of firmness. The company website features a grip selector system to help you determine which grips might suit you best. Among the many choices as of the date of publication is the "Excel" line, which is designed for dry weather and uses tacky and soft material. It is made for comfort through maximum shock absorption, and may work especially well for golfers who have arthritis.
In 2010, Golf Digest tested 52 different grips, which were evaluated on playability and feel by golfers with handicaps ranging from 0 to 15. Two Winn grips were rated in the top 10 of the magazine's "Hot List." The Winn PCI TL, a firm grip combining polymers and cord (cotton fabric) and designed for traction in all different weather conditions, was one of only four grips to attain "Gold" status. The WinnLite was awarded a "Silver" designation. When substituted for standard grips, WinnLites reduce the overall weights of clubs, resulting in improved swing speed, launch angle and distance.
A good grip may be the most overlooked factor in the selection of the right golf equipment for your game. According to Golf Digest, a survey of 50 golfers in New York revealed that half of them had never had their clubs re-gripped and that the average grip was 5 years old. If your grips are worn, cracked, smooth or slippery, it's time to replace them. Good grips should last for one or two years.