PLAYING WITH … GOLF PRIDE ALIGN GRIPS
Cost: $26.99 (standard, fitted); $28.99 (midsize, fitted). Tested by: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap 9.4)
Jimmy Emanuel equipped his clubs for a round with the new Align Grips from Golf Pride. And he still hasn’t taken them off …
MODELS PLAYED: Golf Pride MCC Plus4 ALIGN and MCC ALIGN FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The MCC design offers a nice blend of feel, performance and looks. The addition of the new Align red rib didn’t look or feel like much before the grip was installed but once on the club it was noticeably raised and easily felt when gripping the club. HOW IT PERFORMED: As a round grip user I was surprised to learn that one in three Golf Pride users on Tour favoured a ribbed grip. While ribbed grips were good enough for Ben Hogan and the offer of grip consistency should appeal to every golfer, my experience fitting grips for over 10 years is that round versions are far more popular with average players. My time with the Align grips leads me to believe that more players, particularly beginners, would benefit greatly using these grips.
Golf Pride developed Align technology to offer ribbed grip users a more pronounced ridge. Having experimented with other ribbed grips in the past the Align does just that without feeling too firm or uncomfortable.
The large reminder increased my ability to grip the club consistently and even improved my grip, as it was instantly obvious if the grip was too far in the fingers or palms. And the added point of reference when setting up unquestionably improved my ability to square the clubface to my target at address. This was most noticeable with my irons, where I felt I hit more shots on line than I have in some time.
The downside of ribbed grips for me, and with the Align, was in the shorter clubs when opening the clubface around the green. While I struggled personally I could see this in reverse for other players, offering a simple guide when setting up to a bunker shot for example.
The Align’s other disadvantage is the rib will be out of place when an adjustable wood is changed. But Golf Pride offers the same grips without Align technology meaning players can blend reminders with non-reminders in the exact same texture and even colour.
The MCC’s general performance was as expected of such a popular grip, offering a mix of soft comfort and stability. While the benefits of the Align technology mean the grips aren’t coming off my clubs just yet with the Plus4 my preferred option over the standard MCC Align version.