corkOf all the clubs in the bag putters offer the widest variety of styles, designs and lengths but until recently putter grips had been pretty conventional. With the rise of popularity of oversized grips such as the Super Stroke used by current Masters and U. S. Open champion Jordan Spieth more and more golfers are opting for larger grips on their putters. The theory of the oversized grip is a sound one – taking the hands out of the putting stroke and just using the larger arm and shoulder muscles to make the stroke. Any legit golf instructor will tell their student that is the best way to putt.

But because of the thickness of the grip and thus the hands being further off the shaft a lot of feel gets lost in the transmission of the hit. Putting is all about feel and it is impossible to get proper feedback without feel. Cork Tree grips provide that direct feel along with the benefit of an oversized grip. In an industry drunk on technology where every piece of golf equipment is engineered and manufactured by some computer program now comes a product that is grown on trees and is naturally superior to anything man made. Mother Nature knows best, right?

Cork Tree putter grips come from the cork tree plantation of the Nascimento family in Portugal. From an early age, Nuno Nascimento went with his grandfather to the family cork oak forest learning all the tricks that nature presents. He studied and tested trees to find the best cork bark, and then transformed it into cork products suitable for commercialization.

The company was co-founded by Nascimento and Mark Boggia, an Englishman, who has been a member of the British PGA since 1981. He’s a golf course owner, partner and creator of Asia’s largest indoor golf teaching facilities, managing director of a made-for-TV golf tournament, distributor of golf product and head instructor of the John Jacobs’ Golf Schools. As a youngster, he practiced, played and competed near the very cork forest that’s now become the source of raw material that fuels his business venture.

Cork is 100% natural, feels soft in the hands, and improves its playability well beyond other materials when a golfer’s hands are hot or sweaty — as well as in humid playing conditions. “That means the grip won’t slip in your hands — regardless of how moist your hands are,” says Boggia. “That lets you confidently putt away without any tension in your hands and arms, promoting a more fluid stroke. Once you try it, I know you’ll agree that it feels amazing. Plus, it cleans very easily — dirt wipes away with a wet cloth.”

Cork Tree putter grips are designed and used by championship winning Tour professionals who make their living from playing golf. There are currently more than twenty PGA Tour players using Cork Tree cork leather putter grips including the winner of the recent Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. A multiple major winner on the PGA Tour is also using the Cork Tree putter grip.

Cork’s honeycomb cell structure is key. Each cell is a 14-sided polyhedron filled with air, making it an extremely strong and flexible membrane that’s waterproof and airtight. Cork bark is about 89% air, giving it a low density. But when it’s compressed, air isn’t squeezed out, because the cell membranes won’t release it. So it returns to its original shape when the compression is removed.

The four initial putter grips include the Slim Jim ($29.95), Bandit ($29.95), Gimme ($29.95) and Stumpy ($29.95) models. They’re all extremely durable, absorb impact vibration and are impermeable to water. See all products from The Cork Tree at www.corkputtergrips.com.

by Wayne Mills