UNLESS you've been hiding on the moon recently, you'll have realised there has been a recent upsurge in SuperStroke putter grips both out on Tour and down the local club.
SuperStroke grips first made headlines back in 2007 when KJ Choi added one to his putter before winning twice in the space of three events at The Memorial Tournament and AT&T National on the PGA Tour.
Today, Super Stroke grips have been used by more than 125 professional golfers on Tour, including the likes of Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia.
What is Super Stroke?
SuperStroke putter grips are oversized grips that essentially take away the tendency for a golfer to squeeze the grip too tightly, while at the same time and most importantly, eliminating any unnecessary wrist action.
In addition, the patented non-tapered grip promotes even grip pressure in both the right and left hands to aid a repeatably smoother and more consistent putting stroke, a more-square putter face at impact, and all-round better feel for distance from long range.
In fact, electromyographic testing of golfers at the Milwaukee School of Engineering found a 32% reduction in grip tension with the Super Stroke in comparison to a conventional smaller putter grip.
For someone who often pulls putts from close range, like myself, the SuperStroke sounded like a great option for my own game right from the get go, particularly given there are 12 different grips to choose from in the current range.
Jumping aboard the user-friendly SuperStroke website, I answered five questions about my putting (average no. of putts per round, typical miss, weakness, putter type and stroke type) and SuperStroke did the rest, kindly informing me that the Slim 3.0 was to become my new best friend.
Landing on my desk several days later, shortly followed by a quick pit stop down the local club for a £2 grip change, it was onto the putting green to test it out.
My initial thought when clasping hands on the grip was just how large it was. Much bigger than it looked on TV and on the pictures. With a diameter of 1.3 inches and 10.5" in length, it was hard to believe I was using a 'Slim' grip, yet saying that, SuperStroke does have an array of thicker designs on the roster.
Dropping four balls down on the surface 6-feet from the cup, I rolled home all four putts.
Assuming this was simply a fluke because I don't hole short putts with that much regularity any more, I dropped all four balls back down in the same position, slid the putter head behind each of them and incredibly sent them all under once more.
Eight out of eight. 100%. Sold.
From there, I then went on to hole seven out of eight from 3-feet, five out of eight from 6-feet, four out of eight from 10-feet, three out of eight from 15-feet, three out of eight from 20-feet, two out of eight with one three-putt from 30-feet, and one out of eight with two three-putts from 40-feet.
Okay I knew the line after hitting putts from the same position - something I wouldn't have an advantage of out on the course - but still, I was more than happy with those results. Most importantly with the putts from long range, with the exception of a trio of three-putts, the majority of my putts were being left within a dustbin lid of the cup.
Spending around an hour on the practice putting green at Hersham Golf Club, I must of hit around 80 putts in total. Throughout my testing, I was feeling a much smoother stroke and far less tension in the hands. I recall pulling a putt - a real weakness in my putting - maybe once or twice, so that was great to see.
With the Slim 3.0, SuperStroke has added a new high-tech PU material to the lightweight foam under listing, featuring CrossTraction technology, for improved feel and tackiness. The exterior did feel very tacky, unlike the cord or rubber I'm normally used to, but particularly comfy and snug in the hands. I had no problem with adapting to it.
In the heat, okay, maybe it will get a little too tacky and a bit sticky with the sweat from hands, but for golf in the UK right now I believe there are no such problems. It will be interesting to see how I get on with it at La Manga later this month.
The biggest benefit of using the SuperStroke Slim 3.0 grip was confidence over the short putts - as indicated by holing my first eight putts from 6-feet. And despite weighing in at a lightweight 55g, the grip was very stable when taking putter head straight-back and straight-through.
Instead of cosying the ball up to the hole and being a little shy with the putter, it was nice to strike more positive and aggressive putts. I was enjoying more of a rocking motion with my shoulders rather a troublesome wristy movement.
I would thoroughly recommend a SuperStroke grip to anyone who is struggling over those must-make putts or to someone who struggles with distance control.
SuperStroke grips aren't the cheapest to purchase at around £30, but let's be honest, that's a much cheaper alternative than buying a new blade or mallet in 2014.