If you have been paying attention to professional golf over the last couple of years, you will no doubt have seen a player using a SuperStroke grip.
The thick, oversized design has many of the best players in the world re-gripping their putters. Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth and Jason Dufner are just some of the players to win using a SuperStroke grip in recent months. In total, more than 125 players have used the company's grips on the PGA, European, Web.com and Champions Tours.
Even Tiger Woods was spotted trying one out late last year.
So what makes the grips so popular and how exactly can an oversized grip improve a player's putting stroke? To find out we spoke with Jon Luna, SuperStroke's Marketing Manager, seen here wielding his very-own SuperStroke grip.
Thanks for your time Jon. Whilst we have known about SuperStroke for a while, to many people SuperStroke grips seem to have come from nowhere to being the bags of many of the world's best players. How did it all happen? How did the company start?
The company started in 2006 but was purchased in 2008 by its current owners. Using the patent on parallel grips, the line started off as only having one option and has now expanded to 11 different grips with various colors to choose from. Certainly the last couple of years in particular have been great, with a lot of Tour players switching to a SuperStroke grip.
Most amateur golfers know SuperStroke grips as those "fat" or "oversized" grips. How do you describe your grips, and how are they designed to help the average player?
Our grips are parallel from the top down. Traditional grips taper from the butt cap to the tip, causing most players to have uneven grip pressure between their hands. Parallel grips allow for equal grip pressure, allowing for less tension in the hands. This vastly increases consistency in a players putting stroke.
What differs between SuperStroke grips and other oversized grips on the market?
We feel the fact our grips are patented parallel design gives us an advantage. Putter grips that taper tend to make players inconsistent with the putter face at impact. Our grips have shown to greatly improve consistency, allowing for the putter face to square at impact.
So does you patent enable you to be the only manufacturer with parallel grips?
Yes. As with anything in this industry, companies will try to slightly alter their products to create something like it but we are confident in what we have produced.
What would you say to the skeptics that say SuperStrokes grips limit the feel of a putter?
The biggest thing is “feel” comes from not only vibration but also the ability to manipulate the putter using their hands. Players that try our grip realize how much their hands are eliminated from the stroke but through a little time, they become much more consistent with their putting because of it.
You offer a large variety of widths, what's the performance-difference of the various sizes?
Through a lot of testing over the past few years, we have learned that different size grips allow for different strokes and putters to excel. Each grip has a function. Oversized or larger grips help to enhance the pendulum putting stroke by taking the hands out of the stroke, and work best with putters closer to face-balanced. However there are still players that have natural arc in their strokes. Those players may prefer one of our smaller grips, that allows for more rotation and is usually associated with blade-style putters.
How would you recommend someone chooses the right grip?
Just like with all clubs, your best way is to get fit. Putter fittings include suggestions for putter grip size and/or weight. A good rule of thumb is taking your path and preferences into account when selecting which SuperStroke grip is right for you.
We are currently working on an online fitting guide, that will be on featured on our website soon. It will be a great tool and a good starting point for players looking to get fitted for one of our grips.
How often should a player have to change his/her Superstroke grip?
Our grips are very durable and tend to stay tacky with simple cleaning with warm water and mild soap. Hand oils can cause grips to become slick but just like any grip, a little maintenance goes a long way.
What is your most popular grip? Is it the same on Tour as with amateurs?
The Slim 3.0 is our most popular with both the Tour and at retail. We did just release the new Flatso line and so far, it looks to be extremely popular, as well.
Clearly you've had a great response on Tour. How much does Tour player feedback influence the design of your grips?
A lot. After all they are the best players and putters in the world and are constantly working on ways to improve their putting and their strokes. Many of our changes have been directly because of Tour player feedback. If the best players in the world want something specific because they find it as a benefit, we feel it can help everyone when it comes to our product.
What is the process involved in getting a grip designed, made and tested?
It’s a long process that always includes drawings, samples and testing. That process usually repeats itself a few times before we take it out on Tour for their feedback. Some grips have taken up to 2 years in development.
How closely, if at all, do you work with putter manufacturers?
We have a great relationship most putter manufacturers because we respect what they do. They make wonderful products that help grow the game and hopefully, make putting a little easier. Our goal is to enhance those putters with our grips, therefore we are constantly in touch with all the major brands.
How much do you think SuperStroke benefitted from the recent decision to ban anchoring in putting?
We feel that by the time the ban goes through at the end of next year, we will have an option for everyone looking to putt better. We have produced grips with multiple feels and for multiple styles of putting. Whether you want to try counterbalancing or another alternative style, we know we have technology everyone can benefit from.
Clearly you guys have experienced great success and recognition recently but what's next? Counter-balanced grips? Iron grips? Training aids?
We have some things up our sleeves! 2015 will be a big year for us with a few amazing things coming out. I cannot speak on them yet but you can be sure they will help golfers play better.