Martin Hopley

Under Armour have cemented their position as one of the leading golf performance clothing brands. However in their quest for optimum golfing performance Under Armour do not stop there.

Golf can be like war, apparently, as you joust with your foe across an uncompromising landscape. Inspired by ancient Greek athletes, Viking warriors and Roman Legionnaires all biting on bits of leather as they went into battle (I can see the video commercial now), Under Armour have unveiled the ArmourBite Mouthpiece. This is essentially a cut down mouthguard for your mandibles that covers the back 3 teeth on either side to stop the jaw from clenching.

Under Armour BiteWhat the ancients knew, and has been lost in the mists of time until now, is that when we get stressed over a barbarian charging us with a battleaxe, or a side-hill 5-footer on the last for a half, our jaw clenches as part of our natural ‘fight or flight’ defence and this is not good.

This releases the stress hormone cortisol into the body that reduces concentration and increases fatigue. In independent studies, interrupting the natural stress reaction by stopping the jaw from closing not only reduces the amount of cortisol by 49%, but also reduces lactic acid build-up in muscles by 25%, opens the air passage in your throat by 25% and increases endurance by 17%. Ok, I am sold.

Fitting the ArmourBite is easy. You heat it in boiling water and then put it in your mouth when soft to mould over your back teeth and then bite down on it. As an ex-rugby player, it felt oddly familiar having a mouth guard again to play sport, although others found it a little strange.

It did improve my ability to do a passable Marlon Brando impersonation and I managed to wear it all the way round the course without making anyone an offer of a half they could not refuse.

After a few holes I really did not notice it that much, although I did get a more thirsty as I was breathing through my mouth a little more than usual, so take more water on your first trip.

After the round I have to say that my face and jaw felt much more relaxed than they normally do, so again I would have to say it works for me, as it did for the ancients. Anyone for a fight?

The ArmourBite is maybe a hard sell to get your average amateur to cough up £45 for, despite its benefits. It seems most of the golf pro’s tend to use them for training rather than competing, whether on the range or in the gym.

Have Under Armour bitten off more than they can chew? Is the concept too hard for the consumer to swallow at present, similar to Nike’s Maxsight contact lenses?

Time will tell, but if the benefit is seen to be proven on Tour then they might. It was not so long ago that sunglasses and compression tops were considered too out of bounds for most golfers’ tastes.

At least the Romans have done something for us golfers....

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