The weather is perfect, the course is green and you've dusted off the clubs from their winter hibernation. You are now ready to improve upon last year's performance, right?
Well, before you take that first lesson, hit the range or tackle the course - let's be sure you have positioned yourself for the best chance at success. And the one area of preparedness, the most overlooked one of all, is ‟are your clubs ready too?"
That's right. Clubs have to be ready. Not just the lie angles and lofts checked, grooves cleaned or sharpened and the shafts inspected for cracks - but perhaps the most important item, the one area where you physcially connect with the golf club: The grips.
"During the course of a year, most Tour pros will have their clubs regripped 3-4 times," says Brad Redding, PGA Master Professional and a 6-time PGA section Teacher of the Year. "Obviuosly, most amateurs don't need to go that far, but consider at least once a year for most avid players would be recommended."
The importance of the proper feel when gripping the club cannot be overstated, nor can the importance of the role of the grip.
"Sweat, dirt, just normal wear and tear, they all take a toll," says Redding. "If your grip can't stay consistent due to some slippage, your swing can't either. Anything that makes the club slip, just a little, impacts the control you have of the club and the clubface. Your club might slip at any point in the swing, but particularly, it could twist at impact with the ground. Any slight change there will result in a larger variation in your ball flight. Your swing could have been fine but the club's turning may have caused the shot to go offline."
Performance, comfort, confidence are all critical to your score and you are sacrificing all three elements when you arrive at the course without the proper preparation.
As we all know, your round can be memorable for good reasons and bad reasons, all it takes is one shot. Why risk having that one shot (or all your shots) affected by a piece of equipment that would be so easy to correct?
Next week, we'll take a look at how to select the right grip for you.