The PURE Grips Revolution

The PURE Grips Revolution

Post image for The PURE Grips Revolution

Written by: SPY ZINGER

A few months ago I set out to find out more about PURE Grips. I went right to the source and had discussions with their CEO, Wes Brasher, and staff professional, Hank Haney. I had a lot of questions, and they were both tolerant enough to answer them all. I wanted to know what made PURE think they could launch into a market already saturated and go toe-to-toe with the established brands.

What’s different about their grips compared to everything else that is in play today?

Oh, and that blow-on installation method, can’t you do that with any grip?

I got these questions answered, and more…

Based in Mesa, Arizona, PURE Grips are designed and manufactured in the United States. PURE opened its doors in 2009 at a time when material costs were on the rise and other grip companies were moving production to Asia.

The decision to bring PURE to market began as a personal mission for the founders. They grew tired of higher-priced big name grips, which the PURE team felt broke down too quickly and lost their, well, grip—or tack.

“We were tired of paying premium prices for what we thought were grips that were wearing out too quickly and didn’t have the quality properties that we thought they should. We felt like there was a better way to do it, and a better way to do it manufacturing them in the U.S.” – Wes Brasher, Founder and CEO of PURE Grips.

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THE PURE GRIPS DIFFERENCE

Brasher concedes that revolutionary advancements in grip technology are rather unheard of. I mean, at the end of the day and on top of the butt, it’s still a grip on a golf club. So how is PURE Grips differentiated from the rest?

“We are not looking to be too many things. It’s a rubber golf grip. We make a really good one, we make it really cool, and do it in ways that fit the trends in the industry.” – Wes Brasher

PURE Grips utilizes a process called Injection Mold Technology. By design, this process ensures a grip with consistent wall thickness throughout the entire grip.  This even distribution of rubber means no seams. A grip devoid of seams does not have to be sanded or “buffed.” Brasher contends their manufacturing process contributes to grip durability and consistency in feel over time. In other words, it lasts and maintains the like-new feel.

Because there are no seams to finish off, the weight tolerances are among the best in the industry at +/- 1g. PURE Grips are made of 100% rubber. That means, no “fillers” that breakdown over time which diminishes the longevity of the grip. I am getting a hint where the PURE name may have come from.

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BLOW-ON GRIPS?  I’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS!

PURE Grips believes the best way to install a grip on a shaft is to blow them on with an air compressor. Custom club builders and garage hobbyists unite and scoff at this marketing ploy stating, “This isn’t new, been doing this for years.”  Brasher readily acknowledges this and admits that yes, other grips can be blown on too. Well then, what gives?

“Our grips are engineered to stay in place and not move around like other grips might do without tape in the installation process.” – Wes Brasher

Brasher explained you have to look at the manufacturing process to understand why this is an important part of their marketing philosophy. Because of the construction of the grip and their tight tolerances, PURE Grips will not slip or twist once installed.

Because of the seams on competitor’s grips, they are more prone to exploding when removed using compressed air. This is due to the buffing or sanding at the seams. The result is inconsistency in the grips walls, which weakens them at various points. PURE Grips lack those inconsistencies.  Easy on, easy off, with no slippage. That’s PURE.

“We buy our rubber compound in an unvulcanized form, and we inject into a steel piece of tooling that give it its shape and size. We are able to mold our rubber grips seamlessly.” – Wes Brasher

The consumer feedback has been a mixed bag for PURE Grips. Blowing on grips takes about 75% less time, does not require adhesives or solvents, and is just plain easier. But strangely, some people believe it means that’s the only way PURE Grips can be installed. Obviously this isn’t the case at all.

“They can be installed with tape and solvent just like any other grip,” says Brasher. “Our grips, pound for pound, are better grips than you can get anywhere else, with the added benefit of being able to install them with air.”

IF PURE GRIPS ARE THE BEST, WHY AREN’T THEY IN MORE TOUR PLAYERS’ BAGS?

For some consumers tour usage is the only way to validate a product. It’s sad, but increasingly true. People want to play with the same equipment that’s in the bags of touring professionals. Tour representation and sponsorship takes cash—a lot of cash—and that’s something young companies often struggle to afford. Pay for play is easier when the pockets are deeper.

In talking with Brasher, I got the impression that PURE Grips was more about providing a quality product at a fair price to the everyman rather than full-page magazine ads. PURE makes a product for the kind of guy who reads Consumer Reports and MyGolfSpy before making spending his hard-earned money.

Hank Haney, PURE Grips ambassador, has spent a lot of time on tour. I asked him why PURE Grips isn’t in more bags.

“The things that make [PURE Grips] so good and unique are not things that really appeal to the touring pro. When you have someone to change your grips every week and someone cleaning your grips everyday, all the time, the selling points for a tour pro just don’t exist.” – Hank Haney

That actually made a lot of sense to me. If you have a pit crew that changes your grips on command and a caddy that wipes them down on a daily basis, the longevity of a grip as well as a streamlined installation process is a non-factor. A one week-old grip that’s constantly cleaned is always going to feel tacky. So, ease of installation, constant tack, and a one year guarantee for a pro?

Who cares?

For the average golfer with a budget like you and I have to operate under, PURE’s features are much more appealing.

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A KICK-ASS CUSTOM PROGRAM

In addition to the performance benefits noted, PURE Grips has one of the most consumer-friendly custom programs in the grip market. Their options make PURE Grips an economical option for small club manufacturers, or customers that want a custom logo grip.

With a wholesale minimum of only 50 grips, consumers or club companies can have their logo burned into the rubber grip. Personalization for consumers is presently available for 13 grip orders, however, that’s probably going to change in the near future. Later this year, consumers will be able to upload their own artwork or logos right from the PURE Grips Website.

“We set out early on in our life cycle to figure out how to make a high level of customization more reachable on the consumer level,” says Brasher. “But, beyond the consumer, we realized in a lot of the small OEM’s—in the putter space in particular—there are not many user-friendly custom order programs available to them. Minimums are very high, commitments have to be made and dollars up front. It’s difficult for smaller OEM’s to get their name on a quality grip. We’ve been able to take that technology and filter it down to the consumer level at a price that is reasonable to most people.”

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WHAT’S NEXT FOR PURE GRIPS?

About a year ago, PURE launched their DTX grip to compete with popular multi-compound models produced by other manufacturers. At present, the PURE manufacturing process prohibits them from offering a true cord or half cord grip. Brasher said they are looking at ways to embed cord into their grips to satisfy the demands of cord players.

Brasher sums it up by saying, “We made the DTX for that consumer as a proxy to a cord grip. In the future, I expect you’ll see us overcome that limitation in a more direct way. So all of our fans that have been asking about a cord grip, stay tuned. I think that’s in our future and you’ll see us add capabilities that will allow us to add products to the mix to continue to meet needs we are not able to meet in our current line.”

“We are not looking to be too many things. It’s a rubber golf grip. We make a really good one, we make it really cool, and do it in ways that fit the trends in the industry.”

Today, it’s increasingly rare in golf when quality and value collide.  In the age of rapidly turning product cycles, and overseas manufacturing, the focus is on margins and profits.  It’s refreshing to read about a company producing a quality product with tangible performance benefits all at a reasonable price.  The value added customization program is a benefit for those that want things personalized without taking out a small loan.

See the 2014 PURE Grips Line Here

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