Cord Golf Grips vs. Non-Cord

As the title implies: what's the difference between Cord golf grips and non-cord grips?

There are a few differences, so we'll go over that... but why stop there?

Let's find out things like:

  • the physical differences
  • performance differences of cord golf grips vs. non-cord grips
  • how different they are to install (if you're a DIY-er)

And maybe some more!

Cord golf grips vs. non-cord: the physical differences

Take a look at these two images:

Lamkin Players Cord Golf GripCord Golf Grips vs. Non-Cord 3
Lamkin Comfort Plus GripCord Golf Grips vs. Non-Cord 4

Info from Worldwide Golf Shops:

Inspired by Tour players, the new Players Cord is a less aggressive, smoother full-cord grip with a subtle hand alignment feature.

Info from Worldwide Golf Shops:

An ultra-comfortable alternative to polyurethane grips, the Comfort PLUS is made of a proprietary rubber compound that is both appealingly soft and incredibly durable. 

Click the pics to be taken to Worldwide Golf Shop's sale pages for more info on these grips!

As you can see, the cord grip has cotton strings running throughout a body made of rubber.  It's really nothing fancy, but creates (in many cases) a very rough-feeling grip that allows you to hold on to it better.

On the flip side, the non-cord grip is promoted as "soft", at least compared to many cord styles.  It's made of rubber, similar to the cord version, but it's a softer proprietary blend.

But it doesn't stop there.  Non-cord grips can be made of rubber, leather, synthetics (Winn, for example, calls it a "polymer"), or even cork.

Can customization be king?

As far as the physical differences go, with cord grips there's only one basic style: rubber with cotton inlays.  The rubber can be different colors, which does help make for some customization options.

For the non-cord grips, the physical differences are vast.  You can find them in almost any color or combination of colors.  You can find them in soft, firm (there are some that claim to be as firm as cord, like the Iomic 2.3's), or anywhere in-between.

Combined with the equally vast array of ferrule options, you can damn-near go full bore on tricking out your golf clubs!

Are there performance differences between cord and non-cord golf grips?

In a sense, no.  A grip is just a grip, just like a shaft is just a shaft and a head is just a head.

On their own, they don't do anything.  But how do you react to it?

That's where the real performance differences come in.  Consider this:

  • A grip that's too rough for your hands will just flat-out hurt to use.
  • A grip that's too soft can cause you to put the dreaded "death grip" on it
  • Either of these issues can cause both distance and accuracy issues

I've talked about the differences between the different types of grips before, so I won't go too deep into it here.

Just know that there isn't a correct answer.  Whatever you choose, be it a cord grip, a non-cord grip, or something else, what feels best to you is what's going to be best.

After that, you want to make sure the size of the grip is such that it fits in your hands comfortably.

In this article about oversize grips, I show you the chart I use to fit for grips if you, as a customer, are unable to physically hold a grip.  It's pretty useful.  As a bonus, since it came from my mentor Tom Wishon, you can be assured it's pretty accurate, as well.

Installation differences, cord golf grips vs. non-cord style

Non-cord grips vary in difficulty.

Your standard rubber grips are pretty easy.  Just lay the tape, apply the solvent, and push it on.  I show you how in this putter building How To post.

Rubber's pretty pliable, so it's fairly easy to deal with.

Some non-cord grips, like leather, can be a little more difficult.  Many, like the GripMaster leather wrap, are more like the Winn style nowadays.  They just slip on; no underlisting or wrapping of strips.

What I mean is, wrap-style grips, like Winn (see the example below), used to come in four pieces:

  • the actual grip, laid out in a long strip
  • the "underlisting"; it looked like a super-thin grip
  • the grip cap, used to hold the grip in place where the "mouth" was
  • the butt cap, used to keep the grip in place at the back end

You'd slide the grip cap on, lay the tape, apply the solvent, slip the underlisting on, wrap the grip, slip the grip cap over the top of the grip, the slide the butt cap on.

What a pain in the ass, right?

Thankfully, those types of grips are all built before installation, so they're basically just slip-on style, like rubber grips.  But beware: if you're not careful, you can separate the wraps and ruin the grip. 

Yes, I've done this before... not with an expensive leather grip, thankfully!  Have you ever installed grips?  Any nightmare scenarios you'd care to share?

What makes cord different?

Cord, because of the cotton strips, can be harder to slide on.

You also have to really make sure the grip slides on all the way.  With most non-cord grips, you can set the grip next to the shaft, mark it, and get to work.  If you use enough solvent, it should be no problem setting it to the right length.

With cord grips, you gotta put in a little extra elbow grease to insure the "mouth" of the grip gets to where it should be, and that the whole grip stretches properly.

It helps if you have some kind of caliper, like this:

Cord Golf Grips vs. Non-Cord 5Cord Golf Grips vs. Non-Cord 6

This chart will show you where at, on a caliper, you need to be for the desired length.  Pay more attention to the "B" and "D" marks.

For example, if you're after a "standard" size with a cord grip, at the "B" mark, it should read .900", while at the "D" mark, it should read .807".

cord golf grip vs. non-cord- sizing them correctly

If it's larger, there's more stretching you need to do.  If it's thinner, you need to bring it back some.

What's you're favorite grip style?

Do you have a preference?  Is it cord or non-cord?  Why?  

Let me know in the comments!

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