G.R.I.P. (Golf Research in Play) was founded in 2002 by my friend Rob Blumberg. Rob found a forgotten niche market in the golf club industry and is now designing, manufacturing and selling directly to that niche. G.R.I.P.’s theory is to build “innovative, well-constructed clubs that add to the enjoyment of the game, while not breaking the bank.”
G.R.I.P.’s current lineup includes putters, wedges and hybrid golf clubs. Coming soon to the GRIP lineup will be drivers, fairway woods and irons. When the new items arrive has something to do with Chinese New Year, but it should be some time in April 2007.
I’ve had a chance to play with the Hypersteel 4H hybrid for a while now. Overall I haven’t been a hybrid fan. I’ve found almost all the hybrids I’ve tried harder to hit than my long irons. Maybe it’s that “granny over the top, steep, chicken wing” swing I have.
I was frustrated with the GRIP 4H until a friend gave me some pointers on hitting hybrids. He told me to stop playing it as far forward in my stance and to stop trying to sweep it like a fairway wood. He told me to hit it more like an iron. Those changes, along with making sure I stayed nice and quiet in my body (no lateral movement) did the trick.
When I finally started putting the right swing on this club it performed just like hybrids are supposed to. It flew higher than my long irons and just as far. I found the 4H’s distance to be somewhere between my 3-iron and 4-iron. So the 4H is like a 3.5 iron, only it has a higher trajectory.
GRIP uses what they call “hyper steel” in their hybrids. Hyper steel is a heat-treated, cast steel which is stronger than the steel found in most golf clubs. Hyper steel makes that nice ping noise which gives you feedback on your shots.
The 4H is slightly offset to provide forgiveness and make it easier to hit. Personally I prefer a neutral club face so sometimes I have to be careful not to hook it or pull it since my normal shot is straight or a draw.
I found that my typical ball flight with the 4H is a draw. I’m usually a straight ball or a draw player. So the draw is either my normal shot, a result of a slight offset in the club face, or the current weight setup. The 4H has a movable weight system similar to many clubs out there these days.
There are two weights, a six-gram brass screw and a three-gram aluminum screw. The default configuration is draw enhancing, with the six gram in the heel and the three gram in the toe. I have yet to experiment with switching the weights, but I suspect I’ll end up with the heavier weight in the toe.
Get A Grip
Each GRIP hybrid comes with a very nice ultra-soft, all-weather polyurethane, two-piece grip. I can’t see a brand name on the grip but it’s similar to the soft offerings from Winn, like the V17.
The shaft on the 4H is a uni-flex. In English I suppose that means one size fits all. You see this in wedge shafts too. The specially designed shaft has a mid/low kick point which helps launch the ball higher and more easily. There is low torque in the 4H shaft, providing minimal twisting of the club face at impact and thus helping you hit more accurate shots.
As far as I can gather, there is no steel shaft option. But if you really want steel you could pick up a 4H and have it re-shafted. Even with the expense you’d still be ahead of the game on price versus other hybrids.
I do like to write a paragraph or two about the head cover of clubs if they have one. How irritating is it when you have a poorly designed head cover? How irritating is it when you can’t get the cover off or put it on? No problems with the GRIP 4H head cover. It’s fully functional, easy to put on and remove and perhaps best of all it doesn’t take up too much space in your bag.
On The Course
Once I started putting the correct swing on the 4H it found a home in my bag. I found it really great for those tee shots on long par threes, reaching brutal par fours and getting home in two on par fives.
The feedback with the club is excellent. The club tells you via it’s sound when you’ve made solid contact. Off center shots still travel fairly accurately and far.
My playing partners have all commented on how nice looking the club is as well. The paint is a nice deep sparkle blue.
For $69.95, and as low as around $50 in quantity you can have a hybrid with movable weights and some great performance. For the price of one movable weight version from a big name company, you could buy a whole set of GRIP hybrids.
My beef with hybrids is whether or not you can manufacture shots like you can with less lofted clubs like two, three and four irons. If you’re under a tree and need to punch a low runner, hybrids may have too much loft. If you are playing in very windy conditions and you want to hit “British Open” low punches, the high launch may make that more difficult. But for the “average” player the benefits of a hybrid outweigh those few occasions when that type of shot is needed. Most players need a “go to” club they can get off the tee and into play and a GRIP hybrid would be a great choice.
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GRIP’s Golf Space profile: http://www.thegolfspace.com/gogrip