Teacher’s Comments: It does seem to me as though I’m hitting it straighter and longer.
My golfing season follows a predictable pattern. After a long winter’s layoff, I struggle through the spring, find my game in the summer, hurt my back, recover, play stellar golf though the fall and then the snow files. Then the layoff …
This spring, in spite of terrible weather and limited playing time, I feel as though I”m several weeks ahead of my usual schedule. I’m hitting drives that are long (for me) and straight (for anyone). Iron play is very solid—I’m hitting mid season distances.
So here’s what hasn’t changed: ball, clubheads, shafts, shoes. What has: grips
To start the year, I’ve switched to a set of Secret Grips that were sent to me for review. These grips, from Boccieri Golf—the Heavy Putter guys—look and feel like a regular basic rubber grip, but have a 17 gram tungsten cap on the end. The rubber compound is also 40% heavier than equivalent grips.
The claim is that the backweighting helps improve swing mechanics, including:
promoting a better on-plane takeaway
helping set hands more quickly
encouraging a smoother transition
holding the angle of retention longer
squaring the face at impact
promoting full extension through impact
resulting in a more balanced finish
Backweighting actually not a new idea. Jack Nicklaus—not incidentally a spokesman for Secret Grip—apparently used to do it “back in the day” with his own clubs. It is also in keeping with the swing philosophy of “swing the handle,” famously touted by Eddie Merrins.
The principle behind the heavier grip makes a lot of sense to me. Backweighting the club should mean that you’re feeling and swinging the grip more than the clubhead. In doing that, the Secret Grip should make it more likely that your hands will drop into the slot, rather than coming over the top with the now-significantly lighter feeling head. And, since you’re swinging more from the handle, it should be more likely that you hold your release.
Boccieri/Secret Grip claims that 97% of the golfers who use the grip prefer it; that 87% improved their ball speed and; 80% increased their wrist angular release velocity. Those are some pretty impressive numbers. If it was only half true, it still would be impressive.
My sense is that the grips work as advertised. I really do believe that I’m hitting it better than usual. My league average this spring is several shots better than the last two seasons. My long-time partner has commented that I’m hitting it longer and straighter than usual.
I haven’t told him that it is likely in the grips. I prefer to maintain the fiction that I’m practicing more than usual. But since he reads this blog, the secret (grip) is out …
One problem I have with the Secret Grip is the price: $17 a grip. That’s around $10 more than a standard grip. If you change grips ever couple of years, that might not be an issue. If you do on an annual or semi-annual basis, that could get expensive.
If Boccieri could get the price down a couple of bucks that would be great.
On the other hand, $230 (full set) to improve your game might not be such a bad investment.
The grip style also may not appeal to all golfers. If you’re more into a cushioned, Winn style grip, or a cord, or one of the other multi-compound grips, Secret Grip does not have an option for you.
I wonder why Boccieri didn’t devise some sort of plug for the shaft. The weight could sit on the back end of the shaft, with a stem that extends a bit inside. Secure it with a bit of epoxy, and then put a standard grip over the top. Then, if you need/want to change grips, you can. It would be slightly more complicated, but anyone who can grip a club can also epoxy a weight.
I’ll bet that many players would willing to pay a bit more for such a butt plug (heh … did I just write that? I’m going to leave it in) for the reusability and the flexibility to use other grips.
For my part, though, I like the feel of the grips. They are like the Golf Pride and Lamkin models that I have always favored. And if I keep them clean, they should last a couple of seasons.