Monday, September 8, 2014

Golfing Orange - Review of Champ C8 and C1 Grips

C8 Grips
This is a golf product review. In the interests of transparency, I am not paid for this review or given any incentives... other than the product.

The Champ C8 grips caused a bit of amusement at the Greystones GC Pro Shop. I was teased about the colour - bright orange - when I first dropped in four clubs to be regripped. The texture of the grips generated a few comments, too.

The grips got their own back, though, confounding Barry as to how to get them on. In terms of feedback to Champ, that would be my only issue. How come they're difficult to get on? Is it a matter of using a particular technique or piece of kit?

Champ Grips. All You Need To Know

The C8 grips come in 8 colours and they are made of a material that will be familiar with movie-goers and TV police show lovers, as they're made with kevlar. The rationale is to give the grips more... grip.

The official company line is:
The C8 is made from a new optimum feel TPO material infused with Kevlar® for greater torque control and incredible wear resistance. A special tacky compound creates a non slip feel during all weather conditions and an anti shock wrap provides a comfortable feel and excellent shock absorption. A great grip for performance and feel.

The four grips I had were as follows:
  • The three C8 grips went on my old 3 wood (which is rarely used these days), my 4 iron and my 7 iron. 
  • One Medium C1 grip went on my putter. This is a fatter grip than I've ever used but, given it's the one club in my bag I really don't like, I reckoned something different might be what I needed.

Champ C8 Grips Review

Yes, they were bright orange but I rather liked that. It's eye-catching... in a good way. You know that way when you see someone wearing rather 'too colourful' golf clothing or they're dressed head to toe in luminous green... and you think 'He better be one good golfer to be wearing those threads'? That's how I feel with the orange grips. It focuses my mind!

Two points to make:
1. Yes, they have a tacky feel and that means you can use the lightest touch possible and not be concerned about losing your grip. Considering how important that light grip is, this is a huge benefit. I won't deny that it feels a bit odd to start with, but that applies to anything new.

2. The rain benefit is substantial. I wear rain gloves when conditions dictate, but these are not necessary with the C8s. The grip is just as good as in dry conditions. I used the 3 wood numerous times (tee and fairway) for the purpose of this review and ran the grip through wet grass to assess the manufacturer's claims. It is practically unavoidable not to grip a club tighter in wet conditions, but I still felt confident that I wouldn't lose my grip. I've also decided to put that 3 wood back in my bag - somewhere it hasn't been for a couple of years.

The claims on durability I can't vouch for, obviously enough - I'll need to use the grips for some while longer before I can do that.

Any negatives?
Apart from the jibes about the orange colour my only comment is that if you are prone to a tight grip, then the feeling of the C8s can be almost rough on the skin. The upside of that, of course, is that it encourages you to adopt a lighter grip.

Cost & Availability
Price per grip is roughly €13. They are available directly from CHAMP or from their UK distributor.

Champ C1 Putter Grip

As I said above - the most dreaded club in my bag is my putter. I've had a feisty relationship with the blade and, suffice to say, my putter has gone on various unpaid-for aerial trips over the years.

I was not expecting something quite so different with the Champ C1. Nor was I expecting the grip to go on the club as it did. The grip's width is oblong, with the fatter, flatter part of the grip at the front, as visible in the photo below.

I was testing the Medium size grip
Champ's marketing blurb says:
The CHAMP C1 pistol putter grip with the unique radius and flat front design was created to help the golfer experience great feel and touch on the green. All of our C1 range has been made from a supersoft, super lightweight polyurethane material that offers great feel. The diamond and line grip pattern gives extra control in all weather conditions. It’s a true “anti slip” putter grip for all seasons! Offered in three pistol grip sizes small for that traditional look and feel, medium to help reduce wrist action during the putting stroke, and large to help stabilize your putting stroke and minimize wrist movement.

All I can tell you is that the putter felt strange in my hands the first time I held it... but in a good way. The fatter grip is light and soft and 'fits' extremely well. Can I honestly say that my putting improved immediately... actually I can and I was stumped by that. It is much easier/freer to swing the club and my grip is that much lighter. The balance of my putter is right where my hands are. In other words, my 'feel' is considerably better than before.

Maybe I'm using less wrist (as per Champ's claims), but I won't be switching the grip anytime soon - I am very much addicted to it.

Any negatives?
None. None whatsoever.

Cost & Availability

Price for the grip is roughly €16 - €25 depending on size. They are available directly from CHAMP or from their UK distributor and come in Small, Medium and Large.

If your putting is as iffy as mine, then maybe it's time to change the grip and not the putter. Give it a go.

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