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Bob Lamkin on the wrap grip reborn, 90 years of history

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2015 marks the 90th anniversary of Lamkin Golf Grips. The longest-standing gripmaker in the golf industry is fresh off the success of the UTx and R.E.L. grips in 2014 and is poised to unveil something even more exciting in the year ahead.

“The Wrap-Tech is our ‘hero launch’ for 2015,” said Bob Lamkin, third-generation president of the company. “And it’s part of the puzzle when you see the products that are going to be launched in 2015 and beyond.”

According to the president and CEO, “The grip has had rave reviews from everyone. We’re very excited about the initial feedback that we’ve had. That’s resonated through our focus groups, retailers, PGA Tour professionals.”

Wrap-Techunnamed (4)

  • Revolutionary new wrap-style grip with dual surface patterns for superior comfort and grip traction.
  • Made with the patented ACE compound engineered for unmatched tackiness and shock absorption.
  • Exceptionally tacky grip surface in all weather conditions.
  • Slightly softer material ideal for players who prefer not to wear a glove.

UTx

UTx-Blue-Std

  • Proprietary Tri-Layer Technology: Softer ACE foundation for enhanced feel. Moisture-wicking full cord fabric weave. Firmer, incredibly tacky top layer
  • Unmatched performance in all climates and weather conditions.
  • Exceptional torsion control & grip stabililty.
  • Promotes the ideal light pressure grip for longer, more consistent shots.

R.E.L. Ace

REL-ACE-3GEN-Orange-Std

  • Made with super-tacky ACE synthetic rubber.
  • Patented shock-absorbing technology dulls painful vibration without dulling shot feedback.
  • Extremely comfortable grip ideal for a wide range of golfers.
  • Unique surface pattern maximizes surface contact with a golfer’s hands for added control and stability.
  • Golf’s widest assortment of size and color options.

Lamkin’s offering for 2015 will also include stalwarts such as the Crossline, i-Line, and X10.

The CEO of Lamkin Grips was kind enough to talk a little about the family business and what’s ahead for the grip company.

On what’s coming down the pike

You’ll see line extensions on UTx. You’ll see this type of material technology move into the putter grip category. The end goal for us from the consumer perspective: develop products through material surface patterns.

What we’re really centering on in each one of the grip categories is performance. Performance materials, performance surface patterns; the combination of [the two] will increase playability. Performance for me equates into competence.

Golfers who regrip their golf clubs consistently stay within a product category. Instead of trying to convert them, or have them jump ship, what we want to do is have that same Ace material and the performance characteristics in all the product categories, whether it’s a putter grip, or a cord grip, or a wrap grip.

On the purpose of the grip

Get golfers to have a very light grip pressure and have confidence in the material and surface pattern where you don’t think you’re going to slip.

If you’re able to have a secure, tension-free swing from your elbows down, that really is going to be able to help the golfer…help a golfer make a full turn, generate swing speed.

If you’re really choking the grip because you don’t have confidence, it’s really going to impede your ability to freely swing the golf club.

On the company’s 90 years of history

I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve had three generations of evolution in the grip category. We’re the longest established grip company…from 1925 on. I have to applaud my grandfather and my father for instilling the core principle of continuous improvement.

We changed from when all grips were made of leather. My father came in and said we need to be able to offer a rubber material. My grandfather, it took a little while for him to warm up to the idea. We went into cord, and synthetic rubber, and then colors came out.

The dynamic changes from a manufacturing perspective to keep pace and to continue to develop new grips and new materials…a huge undertaking…new materials…new equipment…a constant learning…how to improve and get better…

We’ve brought a team of engineers together to really look at the materials side of the category and improve…with Wrap-Tech and the Ace material compounds.

It’s not just color. It’s not just cosmetic driven. People like the colors, but color doesn’t mean it’s a better product. Through the Ace materials, we’ve been able to combine the cosmetics with the functionality of a new material.

Each generation is a rebirth. It’s like a new company, and that’s been instilled in us through the generations.

We’re a privately held family business. We’re very proud of how much we’ve accomplished. Our management team, we have over 500 employees. It’s a collaborative effort worldwide. [We have a] singular goal: make it better each year.

On the company’s future

We keep bringing better products to market that are hopefully going to help golfers play more consistently or at least enjoy the game more. If we can do that, we’ve achieved our goal.

If you don’t improve, and you don’t keep trying to make the product category better, somebody else will. All we do is make golf grips, so our core focus is on that continuous improvement model in the materials side.

Lamkin indicated the company is doing extensive focus-group research globally to determine the optimal grip characteristics for, say, the United States’ West Coast versus the coast of Scotland.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Golfraven

    Dec 5, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Glad for the comments folks. I was about to try the UTx on my driver first but need something that will last me longer than couple of months. will either stay with the Tour Velvet Cord or try the Golf Pride Multi-Compound Platinum – love the look of Platinum/White.

  2. Jeff

    Dec 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Revolutionary new style grip? For Lamkin, yes. But it’s not revolutionary or new for golf. It’s just an updated version of the Sand Wrap offered by Royal Grips (remember them?) back in 1994. That being said, I’ll probably give them a try.

  3. Steve

    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Wow, I love their new grips. The updated logo and the new wrap seems like a winner.
    Companies don’t make it 90 years by doing the SOS forever. Congratulations to Lamkin. They have been a part of the fabric of the game.

    • Shallowface

      Dec 4, 2014 at 6:35 am

      Seems a lot of us here think the SOS is just fine.

    • Chuck

      Dec 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Lamkin makes dozens of different grip models. If they want to introduce new innovations, I think that’s great. If they want to put a new logo on every new model as it is introduced, there’s nothing wrong with that.

      Just don’t make changes to existing models that are working beautifully and are part of equipment choices that I don’t want to change or re-adapt. And don’t even think of discontinuing a truly classic product like the Crossline.

  4. tom

    Dec 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Hated the feel of the UTx. Ordered my Z545’s with Tour Velvets instead.

  5. FTWPhil

    Dec 3, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Bring back Crossline Black it’s one of our best sellers! Why was the crossline pattern changed on the standard crossline? It is much smaller now.

    • tom

      Dec 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      Agree. Love the Crossline black.

    • Tim

      Dec 4, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Cross line and corded cross line are the most timeless grips, and very reasonably priced as well. Great grips for all weathers, have used them for years and multi compound for years, but the lambkins are about half the price of the golf prides.

  6. No bueno

    Dec 3, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Crossline is the only decent grip in the whole line that lasts any length of time. The rest are too soft and doesn’t last at all.

  7. jonno

    Dec 2, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    all of the ace compound grips wear out too fast, utx lasts like a month on the driver

  8. Dave

    Dec 2, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Have used Lamkin for years. I don’t understand why most of their grips are available only in .580 when most shafts have a butt size of .600. I guess they think everyone needs oversize grips. I’d like to hear the reason for the .580 size.

  9. obo

    Dec 2, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    The UTx are absolute garbage. They didn’t even last a year. Cords break down way to fast and the color will stain your golf glove and bare hand. Back to iomic for this guy.

    • ron

      Dec 3, 2014 at 12:17 am

      iomic is trash

    • CM

      Dec 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      They do wear fast but like the firm tack. I can’t grips to last 5-6 months. No grip last a year with heavy use.

  10. Dbuck

    Dec 2, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I have used Crosslines for several years on virtually everything and am glad they are keeping them in the line.

    I will be trying the Wrap-Tech when it is available.

    • FTWPhil

      Dec 8, 2014 at 10:23 am

      I’m very interested in the wrap grip color options as well. I currently use Golf Pride Tour Wrap blue. The different texture is pretty interesting.

  11. Shallowface

    Dec 2, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I will never understand why they did away with the distinctive Lamkin logo as shown on the grip that’s in the picture of Mr. Lamkin, in favor of a white block letter logo that reminds one of Golf Pride.

    Big fan of the Crossline as well as older products such as the Perma Wrap and the Sure Tac 85th Anniversary grip from 2010. I’ve tried a couple of the ACE products, but didn’t like the feel of them as well as the Crossline.

    The old Sure Tac grips from the 80s were a remarkable product. Wilson used those on some of their Staff irons, and I have found some of those that were still playable after a light sanding and cleaning with soap and water. Incredible for 30 year old grips.

    • Jafar

      Dec 3, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Perhaps money and manufacturing costs.

      A small design change could save millions possibly.

      • Shallowface

        Dec 4, 2014 at 6:31 am

        Don’t see how it could make any difference. The logo is part of the mold, is it not?

    • Chuck

      Dec 4, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      Yes; keep the old logo!

      At the very least, PLEASE keep making the old Crosslines the exact same way, including the old logo.

      I will never understand why it is so hard to get a matching set of grips with options for rib and round. It’s hard enough finding any rib grips anymore.

      I’ll keep buying .580 rib and round Crosslines as long as they keep making them. (Ribs on Driver thru PW, Rounds on GW and SW.)

  12. David Gebhardt PGA

    Dec 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Have used Lamkin for years,love the feel and durability of the Crossline. As a company you have always provided great r&d, but you are missing a growing market. Your wrap has been the best, except – it is righthanded. Try a model reversing the wrap for us lefties.

  13. joey

    Dec 2, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    great article haven’t tried the new lamkins yet have golf pride tour wraps on and they are great

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Mizuno announces new JPX 919 Tour Forged irons are coming August 29 (via cryptic Twitter post)

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While cryptic, it does appear Mizuno is announcing via Twitter that its new JPX 919 Tour irons are coming on 8/29/18. One would have to assume that means they will be launched on 8/29, not actually hitting retail on 8/29, but that remains to be seen.

We recently spotted a number of new irons on the USGA conforming list, including the JPX919 Tour irons pictured above, JPX919 Forged and JPX919 Hot Metal irons from Mizuno. So it’s likely that the JPX 919 Tour Forged irons won’t be alone in the JPX 919 family when they hit retail.

The JPX 919 Tour iron specifically pictured in the Tweet above seems to be the replacement for Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons that Brooks Koepka used to win this year’s U.S. Open and PGA Championship. Learn more about the original JPX 900 Tour design from Mizuno’s Chris Voshal on our Gear Dive podcast.

Diving a bit deeper into the picture from Mizuno’s Tweet, it appears the JPX919 Tour irons will utilize Mizuno’s familiar Grain Flow forging, and will be made from 1025E; that’s based on the hosel stamping that says “GF Forged HD 1025E.”

Stay tuned for more info from Mizuno.

See what GolfWRX members are saying about the JPX919 Tour irons here.

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USA Stars & Stripes, European Flag Chrome Soft Truvis golf balls arrive

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Getting you in the Ryder Cup spirit a little more than a month from the competition in Paris, Callaway announced Chrome Soft European Truvis golf balls and new Chrome Soft X Truvis Stars & Stripes balls today.

The Carlsbad company is also bringing its popular Chrome Soft Truvis Stars & Stripes balls back to market.

The new European Truvis balls features a European-themed white, blue, and yellow design. Both Chrome Soft Truvis Stars & Stripes balls include a patriotic red, white, and blue pattern.

All models of these made-in-the-USA golf balls will be available at retail August 24th and will sell for $44.99.

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An Interview with T Squared putters, started by a high school golfer

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I’ve coached high school golf for over 15 years, and I thought that I had run out of “firsts.” Then, Anthony Tuber, one of our varsity six, told me that he builds putters. “Sure,” I thought. You purchase the components and assemble putters. Nice hobby to have. “No, coach, I build them from scratch. We have milling machines.” If that doesn’t catch your attention, not much will.

As a coach, you encourage your golfers from a base of experience, but I don’t have any club-making experience! The last time I played around with metal was in middle-school metal shop. In this particular case, the student is the coach, and the golfer is the teacher. I’m now the proud owner of a T Squared putter, and continue to be the proud coach of Anthony Tuber. He might be the next Bob Vokey, or Scotty Cameron, but for now, he is a varsity golfer and high school student. Oh, and he happens to make putters. Rather than write a review that might be perceived as biased, I decided to do a straightforward interview with T Squared Putters. If you want to learn more, visit the company website, or follow them on Twitter and on Instagram.

Question 1: What type of research and field testing did you do, prior to building your first putter?

Prior to making our first putter we bought a bunch of putters to see what we liked and disliked about them. Then we took those putters and tested them to figure out which roll we liked the best. The roll is determined by the weight of the putter the length and the groove pattern. After we completed the testing we drew up a design and shortly after that we had our first prototypes. We then tested those prototypes and they rolled exactly how we wanted. Time went by while we used these first putters but then we really wanted to see the competition. We went to the PGA Merchandise Show and that’s where we found out that we had a superior putter.

Question 2: Is there a style of putter that you like, that perhaps served as inspiration for some of your designs?

We bought and tested dozens of putters but two putters caught our eye and those putters are the Scotty Cameron Squareback and the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Notchback.

Question 3: Can you tell us a bit about the materials/components that you chose for T Squared Putters?

We use American-made 303 stainless steel in all of our putters, but we also we use 6061 aircraft aluminum for the insert on the 713i.

Question 4: How do you balance your responsibilities and commitments, with your T Squared production?

During the school year academics are my number one priority. Over the summer I have been balancing my Tsquared putters work while working on the progression of my golf game. Fortunately I have a team that is very supportive of my vision for T Squared putters.

Question 5: Any chance we will see a mallet-style putter from T Squared?

Yes, we are currently testing other mallet putters to determine the most desirable features for our mallet putter. We are anticipating a prototype soon.

Question 6: Are you a better putter now that you know so much more from the design and production side of putters?

Yes, I have an entirely different perspective when I stand over every putt.

Question 7: How do you get the word out about the quality of your putters?

We have been very active on social media. The golfers that are currently using a Tsquared putter have been spreading the word. We have also been attending local golf tournaments to establish our brand.

Question 8: Do you hope to make a career of this venture, or do you envision it as a step along the path of a 21st-century businessman?

Yes, as golf is my passion I hope to take Tsquared putters to the next level. Golf will always be a part of my life whether it is professionally or recreationally.

Question 9: Finally, what question haven’t we asked, that you wish we would? Ask it and answer it, please.

I haven’t been asked how this process has affected me as a person. As a 17 year old I have a new appreciation for patience, persistence and hard work.

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