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Talking counterbalancing with Steve Boccieri and Tom Stickney

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Could counterbalancing be the next technology major OEMs market? Steve Boccieri of Boccieri Golf thinks so. “The next frontier is counterbalancing,” he boldly declared.

Boccieri, the inventor of the Heavy Putter a decade ago, admittedly has a vested interest in the resurgence of counterbalancing taking over the market. His company recently released the Secret Grip: a (nearly) standard grip with a weight in the butt end. The Secret Grip, at 92 grams, is about 40 grams heavier than a traditional grip, such as the Golf Pride Tour Velvet, which  is 50 grams. Thus far, the grip has been well-received both on Tour and by the general public.

Boccieri Golf Secret Grip - Red, White and Blue 2

Although the numbers have likely increased, Boccieri Golf’s website states:

“Over 3,000 golfers have tested the Secret Grip, with 97 percent preferring it to a conventional grip.
Golf Labs conducted an independent test of the Secret Grip and found 87 percent of golfers, using a 6-iron, increased their ball speed, the leading factor in distance.”

Boccieri indicated that counterbalancing has been popular for years, stating that Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus both counterweighted their clubs.

Boccieri reports that Secret Grips can be found in every major OEMs’ tour van right now and that players are requesting the grips. Already on Tour, the following players (among many others) are using the Secret Grip or counterbalancing their clubs: Sergio Garcia, J.B. Holmes, Retief Goosen, Bo Van Pelt, Rory Sabbatini, Ernie Els, and Ryan Moore.

The next step for Boccieri: offering the Secret Grip in more styles, such as the ribbed reminder version Thomas Bjorn has requested. Presently, the company is working with Lamkin to give golfers more Secret Grip options.

At the retail level, the Secret Grip has been well received. And at the Boccieri facility, the company offered golfers who purchased at least six Secret Grips the following deal: try the grips for 30 days. If you aren’t satisfied, we’ll regrip your clubs with the grips of your choosing for free. More than 90 percent of golfers stuck with the Secret Grips. Thus, according to Bocccieri, “the consumer is accepting the product.” Here’s a look at the Secret Grip specs and options.

Boccieri Golf Secret Grip Full Length

Secret Grip Original: $12.99

  • Injection molded tungsten cap
  • Heavier rubber compound
  • 92-gram total weight
  • 1-inch longer than standard grip
  • Built-up lower hand
  • Sizes: Standard or Midsize
  • Styles: Multi-direction pattern and cord
  • Colors: Black, Red, White or Blue

Boccieri Golf Secret Grip Putter Grip - Classic 2

Secret Grip Putter: $19.99

  • Injection molded tungsten cap
  • Heavier rubber compound
  • Sizes: Classic, Midsize or Jumbo
  • Colors: Black or Black/Green
  • Weights: 100 grams, 155 grams or 165 grams
  • Note: Black is only available in Midsize

So, what are the benefits of counterbalancing a club?

According to Boccieri, “When you raise the balance point you make the club more efficient.” Beyond that, Boccieri claims that counterbalancing a club (and using the Secret Grip in particular):

  • Creates a better plane on the takeaway
  • Allows the hands to set more quickly
  • Allows for a smoother transition
  • Helps a golfer “hold the angle” longer
  • Contributes to a fuller extension

Using the Secret Putter Grip:

  • Contributes to overall stroke stability
  • Quiets the hands during the stroke
  • Facilitates a pendulum stroke

Offering his own take, Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Tom Stickney II indicated that counterbalancing a club makes the head feel lighter.

Stickney, who counterweights his wedges and putter, believes that the demise of backweighting over the past couple of decades is mostly a function of the fact that OEMs didn’t want to add to the cost of the golf club and decided instead to market other technologies.

In search for comparative advantages, he sees the return of counterbalancing as a real possibility. He believes further that the recent popularity of counterbalanced putters could lead to a spillover of the technology into other club types.

Stickney’s only cautions: Adding weight to the end of the club increases static weight and decreases swingweight. Further counterbalancing a club may make it was to release more quickly, particularly in the woods, which promotes a draw.

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37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. steve parrott

    Sep 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    A much easier and cheaper way to counterbalance is to add a carriage bolt(about 10-15 cents each a any hardware store)to the grip end of the shaft. Then re-grip with your favorite grip. The bolts come in different lengths (longer is heavier) and the head of the bolt is nearly the same size as the outside diameter of the shaft. The rounded end of the bolt does not cause any issues with the re-grip. The new grip installed will hold the bolt in place so no wiggles or rattles. I’ve even experimented with adding lead tape wrapped around the bolt to increase the weight. Very simple, very cheap and very easy to install.

  2. Jonzy

    Sep 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I got a couple of these 2 years ago when they offered them free thru GG, Dick’s and Edwin Watts and put them on my wedges. I loved them and I feel that I got more accurate with them, but I’m not paying that price per grip. I’ve ended up buying the Tour Lock Pro weight that weighed about the same as the Boccieri one to see if I would get the same result and so far I’m happy with it. Plus, when I regrip, I can re-use the weight.

  3. Mark

    Sep 6, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I just installed The Secret putting grips on a two old Ping Anser and B-60 putters as an experiment. and LOVE them. I’ve become pretty “yippie” as I’ve aged (57) and the counter-balancing has taken my hands significantly out of my stroke. I used a long putter for years, but have regained confidence with the added weights.

    If you suffer from the yips, I’d absolutely give it a try…..not sure on the irons though

  4. Eric

    Sep 6, 2014 at 10:33 am

    So, does counterbalancing promote a draw or a fade??? I am hearing differing opinions on this. Tom, you state at the end of your article that it promotes a draw, but some of the responses are saying the exact opposite……what is the correct answer?

    • Tom Stickney

      Sep 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      It promotes a draw for most people that I’ve seen professionally.

      • Try one

        Sep 7, 2014 at 2:27 am

        Which is not a good way to show that a person like Nicklaus, a perennial cutter of the ball is promoting it. Confusing, to say the very least. The science needs to be explained further.

  5. S

    Sep 6, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Balance Certified is another company who makes counter balance weights for all clubs. They are a bit more expensive but you only have to buy them once which makes the cost negligible.

  6. Try one

    Sep 6, 2014 at 2:58 am

    It’s not for everyone, just like anything else.

    If you’re a hooker of the ball and want to correct it, the counterbalance will work for you nicely.

    But with too much counterbalance, for a lot of people, it also robs them of the traditional swingweighted feeling of the clubhead at the end of the stick, so most people will struggle to fire the club through enough and lose all kinds of speed and control.

    It’s not for everyone. Try one grip on a mid iron that you normally don’t hit very often and see what happens before you do the whole set.

    • Eric

      Sep 6, 2014 at 10:27 am

      I am a bit confused about your statement regarding someone being a hooker of the ball, that counterbalancing will help with that……Stickney specifically states that counterbalancing promotes a draw……..who is correct? Your statement is a direct contradiction of his….

      • Tom Stickney

        Sep 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm

        It depends where the wt is located. Deeper in the grip promotes a fade. Higher a draw

      • Try one

        Sep 7, 2014 at 2:25 am

        Eric,
        I was specifically talking about the Boccieri grip, NOT the other counter-balance weight kits that allow you to move weight down into the shaft more. The Boccieri grip has a fixed 17 gram weight at the very end of the grip (therefore the shaft), in addition to the heavy rubber grip weight total.

        The other aspect of the counter-balance that is not mentioned is the fact that it also makes the shaft play much much stiffer. That probably won’t help people that need a softer, more whippier transition as the counterweight will take that away.

  7. Jason

    Sep 5, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Why shouldn’t I just by the tour lock stuff counterweight system? When these grips are ready to be changed, do I throw the grip and weight away? If I bought the tour lock system , I could make the weight investment once, and choose any grip I want.

  8. Jeffcb

    Sep 5, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    I tried them and what I noticed is that they slow my hands down. I like to hit a draw but with the weights it was harder for me personally to release correctly. Nicklaus hit a fade, Hogan struggled with a hook, both good reasons why back weighting might be beneficial to slow one’s hands. Just wasn’t for me.

  9. Kevin

    Sep 5, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Tom,
    How does the counter weights effect your wedges in trajectory and distance ? Also if one was installed on a driver how may this effect the ball flight ? I tend to create a 3400/3500 spin rate with a driver

    • Tom Stickney

      Sep 5, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      It feels more stable to me personally but that’s only my opinion. I’ve noticed no changes in yardage.

  10. Snowman

    Sep 5, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I rigged a very heavy ~80 gram counter weight into my putter and like it very much. Interested in trying in some other clubs (not 80 grams), but grips are already too expensive in my opinion and I am a dedicated player that regroups at least twice a year. $12 is way high!.. + call it vanity or whatever, I do not want to play a grip that has “Secret Grip” plastered on it. I’ll buy some weights and do it myself.
    Side note: great grip for the price: Lamkin X10, very similar to GP Tour velvet and significantly less expensive.

  11. steve

    Sep 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Why use the Secret Grip, like said in the article this is nothing new. Why not just add weight to the butt end and use the grip you want

  12. pilot25

    Sep 5, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    $12 per grip!! No thanks unless they last 2 seasons.

  13. Chuck

    Sep 5, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I’m very interested in counterweighting and especially in counterbalanced shafts.

    I appreciate all that Boccieri is doing. As well as other manufacturers and club builders.

    Great to hear the news (new news to me) that Boccieri is working with Lamkin.

    My grip of choice is a .580 Lamkin Crossline; rib version. THAT is why I would never use one of the current Boccieri products; they ARE ALL ROUND GRIPS!

    I have always been mystified why there are so few rib-model grips on the market. Dear OEM’s: among all of your exotic designs, colors, et cetera, just start all of your choices, please, with a rib-versus-round option.

  14. PM

    Sep 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I use the grips now for more than 6 months and I love them. I strike the balls better than before and my putting has improved amazingly. I really can recommend them to everybody.
    You don’t have to live in the US as Boccieri ships them all over the world. Sorry to see so many negative comments from people who not even have tried them. It says more about them than the grips.

  15. nikkyd

    Sep 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I just make my own slugs out of melted down bullets i find in gravel pits. Cheaper,custom and more adjustable (fun too) Pretty boys buy 20$ grips. Good for them! They keep the companies in business!

    • adam

      Sep 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Restate that please: “pretty dumb boys” pay $20/grip. Look for deals and you’ll find them. I paid $57 CAD shipped for 5-pw.

  16. Jeff

    Sep 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Line 1 Resurgent counterbalancing or resurgence of counterbalancing. Not resurgence counterbalance.

  17. Shawn

    Sep 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    $13 for a grip just sounds high. $169 just to regrip is a little steep to me.

  18. PaloAltoPlaya

    Sep 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve tried this grip at my club on a Miura MB001 9 iron- the pro asked me to take a couple swings with it. He didn’t let on anything about the grip I just figured he wanted me to try his new blades. I hit a couple of balls with it and said, no offense but my Mizunos blades feel a hell of a lot better than these Miuras. I then hit the 7 iron with stock Pure grip…yeah that’s more like it.

    You guys getting paid to write favorable articles?!? Uneffinbelievable!

    • Tom Stickney

      Sep 5, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      I get paid zero! They didn’t work for me in my irons thus the reason why I use them only in my wedges.

      • steve

        Sep 5, 2014 at 7:50 pm

        You use different grips in your wedges? I kinda like using the same grip through out.

        • Chuck

          Sep 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm

          I use rib grips in Driver-PW and round grips in my 52-Gap wedge and my 59-Sand/lob wedge.

          Lamkin Crossline ribs/rounds. They match perfectly.

          I do this because I prefer rib grips, but I tilt “open” my 52 occasionally, and my 59 often.

  19. Ed

    Sep 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    This isn’t anything new.. Sergio has been doing this for a while (I know I’ve seen pics on this site even)
    I counter balanced my putter years ago to quiet the hands at takeaway.. same principle here in all clubs I suppose..

    It’s a great idea to bring mainstream but it’s nothing new. Tour pros have known about this for w while..

    • Chuck

      Sep 5, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      I think we all know that, Ed, and that this article specifically acknowledged the practice dating back to “Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.”

      I frankly don’t get your point.

      • steve

        Sep 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm

        Frankly he means you dont need to buy the secret grip to get the job done.

  20. Scooter McGavin

    Sep 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I don’t understand the opening sentence/question. Every major OEM already markets counterbalancing. They all have counterbalanced putters. Ping’s TFC wood shafts are “high balance point”, which is the same general idea as counterbalancing – moving the cg closer to the hands. Only discussing Boccieri the way it’s done here just makes it a Boccieri commercial. Did Boccieri pay for this ad?

  21. Kevin

    Sep 5, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Unfortunately not available in the UK as usual. Tried last year and couldn’t get anyone to post one over.

  22. dot dot

    Sep 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Bocceri website states “97% preferred the secret grip over a conventional grip” Ya, I’m thinking that’s just a wee bit overstated. If they are going to lie at least make it believable.

    • MC

      Sep 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Agreed. I’ve done Secret grips for more than a few customers and 100% have gone away from them.

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Is the R&A coming for drivers?

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R&A chief Martin Slumbers has issued a stark message which could bring an end to the likes of Bryson DeChambeau’s recent dismantling of golf courses – and it could also spell big changes for manufacturers.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Slumbers unveiled the areas which the game’s two governing bodies are focusing on to help prevent golf courses being overpowered by today’s professionals, and hinted that significant changes could be on the way for modern driver technology.

“It is too simple just to say change the ball. Way too simple. You can do things with the ball. But it’s the relationship between ball and club which is most important, to me.

 The fundamental change in the golf ball since 1999-2000, with the introduction of ProV1 technology, is the ball spins less. And drivers have been designed so it spins even less, which makes it go further.”

Bryson DeChambeau’s unprecedented length off the tee has been a hot topic of discussion since golf’s restart. While Slumbers hailed the 26-year-old’s “extraordinary” ability to combine that power with accuracy, the R&A chief declared that he would be coming back to the issue to address the current lack of balance between skill and power in the sport.

“Bryson, I’m fascinated by. I’m not sure I can remember another sportsman, in any sport, so fundamentally changing their physical shape. But what is extraordinary is that Bryson isn’t the first one to put on muscle in golf. How he’s able to control the ball, with that extra power, is extraordinary. All credit to him, he’s a true athlete.

But I still come back to the belief that golf is a game of skill. And we believe we need to get this balance of skill and technology right. Once we feel that the industry is stable again, which isn’t going to be tomorrow, because we don’t know what’s going to happen over autumn and winter, we will be coming back to that issue in great seriousness.”

Part one of the R&A and USGA’s Distance Report concluded that the increased gains from the bombers off the tee in the game was “detrimental to the sport”. Per his interview with the Mail, Slumbers reiterated that the desire for a balance between skill and technology would head stage two of the report.

“My view is very much that golf is a game of skill. It’s important to have a balance of skill and technology. We did intend to publish the next stage in March, sending out to manufacturers our specific areas of interest. Specific topics we wanted to evaluate before considering what equipment changes we would – or would not – put in place.

It’s all been put on hold because the world has a lot more to worry about. And we were conscious of the golf industry having the time to recover. But we will bring that topic back – because it does need to be discussed.”

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the optimal equipment strategy for a beginner

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the best equipment-strategies for beginners taking up the sport. WRXer ‘Used2PlayAlot’ asks members what their nuggets of advice would be, and WRXers have been sharing their top tips for beginners in our forums.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • MattGolfs: “Id try to find a used set locally with bag and everything included. As a beginner, you just need to get out and start playing to figure out what you like and dislike equipment-wise IMO.”
  • rkillian: “My brother in law more recently got into the game. I found him a used set on craigslist for $150. My dad is getting back into it as well. He has slowed down and needed some irons that are a little lighter and a newer more forgiving driver. Also found stuff for him on craigslist—$ 120 for irons and a driver. My wife and daughter wanted to have their own clubs when they come play a par 3 with me. Found my wife a used box set on craigslist for $50 and my daughter a little junior set for $20 on the Facebook market place. You should be able to find what someone new to the game needs on craigslist or Facebook.”
  • tomg1969: “I just did this for a friend. I went to eBay and found a nice set of Ping G5 irons for $100. I also picked up two nice, older Adams a12 hybrids for $50, and a Ping driver for $60. I gave him one of my older putters, and old stand bag and a sand wedge. For $210 (Plus the things that I gave him from my “junk pile”) he has a pretty nice and forgiving set up for a beginner.”
  • kmay_: “Yep look on local classifieds, Facebook marketplace etc. A buddy of mine at work wanted to get into playing, so I sold him an old set of irons I had, a stand bag, and an old 3 wood. Found him a driver on Kijiji, he picked up a 60* and a putter and now he’s playing more often than me the bugger. Has an exec course across the street from his house, so he bought a membership there and has been playing a ton. Cheap full set would be the way I would go, get the guy into it and then if he wants to continue playing, he can start putting together a better set with your guidance.”

Entire Thread: “Optimal equipment strategy for a beginner?”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about cult classic irons

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In our forums, our members have been discussing cult classic irons. WRXer ‘pingnewbie’ kicks off the thread with his two choices of Mizuno’s MP-33 irons and Nike’s VR Pro irons, and asks fellow members for their picks.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • ScottsTots: “MP-32’s for me! I think at some point the JPX 900 Tour might hit that status if Koepka runs off a few more majors over his career!”
  • cgasucks: “Obviously the Ping Eye 2s and the 845s.”
  • celebros: “Cleveland TA3 Form Forged.”
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  • jplroper: “Titleist 962 and Tommy Armour 845’s.”

Entire Thread: “Cult classic irons”

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