jumbos aren’t only for ham hands. A cadet speaks out

Oh to be one of the blessed with giant paws! I’d be able to palm a basketball, play piano like Rachmaninoff, be a valued possession receiver on my flag football team, and women everywhere would (correctly) assume I was well endowed. Alas I am but a M/L Cadet who must take solace in the ease I have in getting my hand inside a tube of Pringles. Thankfully with golf I can be fairly certain that larger hand size has no correlation to better performance. Jack Nicklaus being Exhibit A and me being Exhibit B (sub 5 handicap yall!). But the question that still needs to be better answered is what impact grip size has; regardless of one’s hand size.

The conventional club professional grip fitting wisdom is that in left hand, the correct grip will leave a small gap between tip of middle finger and thumb pad. But what is this based on and is there any research that tested what happens when that gap is smaller or significantly larger?? (IF RESEARCH EXISTS PLEASE DO NOT SHARE, I WOULD LIKE A SAFE SPACE TO CONTINUE VAMPING) I bet no such research exists! With my limited resources here at TTAF, I’ve spent the the 2020 season testing out Jumbo grips and have come to the conclusion that average hand sized individuals would benefit from gaming them.

Take it from the great Bryson DeChambeau who once said, “The oversized grip has been a big part of my success. The idea that I can have more area on the grip to hold the club makes it the number one reason I used it as an amateur and now as a professional.” He also went on to say something about how in comparison to tennis rackets or baseball bats, the handle size is typically much larger than golf and he questioned why that would be. Control of the bat/racket is equally vital as it is to a golfer and his club, so maybe a larger grip made that easier – not harder. That’s the general gist.

Personally my reasons for exploring the world of BBGs was slightly different. First, I thought I would have a better hold on the club if my left thumb was able to get more comfortably flat on the grip and reduce a feeling of strain in the base of that joint. Second, I wanted to reduce my overall grip pressure and I believe a larger grip helps with that, perhaps because it is easier to hold. Lastly, I wasn’t opposed to the conventional wisdom that a larger grip made it harder to hook.

In my testing throughout the 2020 season, I’ve found that last objective (reduced hooking), or propensity to leave shots right a bunch of crap. You can still hook the shit out of a ball with a large grip, and I don’t think size alone really makes that much of a difference. The bigger challenge is to fight the idea that you will have to work much harder to close the face and not block everything right but it’s more something you just get used to. Eventually it just becomes normal, or as as normal as standard grips ever felt.

The positives to playing with mongos were those first 2 things I mentioned (the reduced strain in left thumb, generally more comfortable handle) but also I found the heavier weight of several jumbo offerings provided a counterweighted feeling that I really liked, especially with my wedges. People write about Sergio and Jack Nicklaus using counterweighting (25 gram plugs and lead tape under the grip), but using a Jumbo grip makes getting it much easier.

Where I’ve struggled is in finding the perfect one. The following is a run down of all that I tested. I did have some biases; mostly that Winn, Pure and Tacky Mac grips are terrible, full cord grips make golf miserable, Lamkins are fine but uninspired and that Golf Pride generally makes great stuff. To my credit, I did try one Winn and one Lamkin but none from Avon, Pure or Tacky Mac. None of these biases may be fair and for that I apologize! Without further ado, please read my observations below.

Golf Pride CP2 Jumbo – rating 8 out of 10

Advantages:

  • Soft but not too soft. Just right!
  • Provides excellent grip in most conditions
  • Does not seem to show wear, even after thousands of balls hit
  • Feel is similar to that of using a standard grip, not overly muted or strange

Disadvantages:

  • Just ok in rain, below average on really hot days
  • End cap seems to destroy golf gloves
  • Decent size, wish it were a bit bigger

Specs:

  • Weight: 80 grams
  • Thickness: + 1/8″ over standard

Winn Excel Oversize – Rating 1 out of 10

Advantages:

  • This grip feels soft and squishy and gives the impression of being easy on the hands

Disadvantages:

  • Too soft; club feels like it twists with faster swing speeds
  • Very squishy in high heat
  • Feeling is a little muted and rather hard, even on center face hits
  • Too light, not big enough

Specs:

  • Weight: 47 grams
  • Thickness: +1/8″ over standard

JumboMax UltraLite XL Size – rating 1 out of 10

Advantages:

  • Good feel, soft but not too firm
  • Provides excellent grip in most conditions
  • Expect this to hold up well over time

Disadvantages:

  • Made all types of shots feel completely awful. Even on good strikes, everything felt like I was hitting rocks. Completely disappointing and no idea how Bryson uses these
  • XL Size is massive, too much mass for average sized hands

Specs:

  • Weight: 51 grams
  • Thickness: + 3/8″ over standard

Lamkin Crossline Jumbo – Rating 6 out of 10

Advantages:

  • Provides excellent grip in all conditions
  • Seems durable
  • Feel is good

Disadvantages:

  • Too firm and hard on hands (cord blows)
  • Too small

Specs:

  • Weight: 78 grams
  • Thickness: 1/8″ over standard (seems smaller than that though)

JumboMax Tour Series XL – rating 3 out of 10

Advantages:

  • Good feel, soft but not too firm
  • Provides excellent grip in most conditions
  • Expect this to hold up well over time
  • Good weight

Disadvantages:

  • Not as bad as the UltraLite but I so surprised at the dead feel. Again the feeling that golf balls are rocks
  • XL Size is too big for average hands

Specs:

  • Weight: 120 Grams
  • Thickness: + 3/8″ over standard

JumboMax Tour Series M – rating 2 out of 10

Advantages:

  • Good feel, soft but not too firm
  • Provides excellent grip in most conditions
  • Expect this to hold up well over time
  • Good weight, perfect size

Disadvantages:

  • Again the feeling that golf balls are turned into rocks

Specs:

  • Weight: 105 Grams
  • Thickness: + 5/16″ over standard

Golf Pride MCC Plus 4 Jumbo – rating 8 out of 10

Advantages:

  • A little firm but very good
  • Provides excellent grip in most conditions
  • Excellent feel on all types of shots

Disadvantages:

  • Previous experience with the MCC tells me durability is not terrific, but good enough for 1 season of heavy play
  • Feel a bit hard in cold weather
  • Decent size, wish it were a bit bigger. Good weight

Specs:

  • Weight: 82 grams
  • Thickness: 1/8″ over standard

Summary

The winner I suppose is the Golf Pride MCC Plus 4 Jumbo. I’d probably have it installed with 3 wraps to give it a touch more beef. Must say I’m a bit hesitant to make it the overall champion having been burned by poor durability by MCC grips in the past. That said, I do like to get fresh grips each season and I think most clubs wouldn’t need more than that. Driver and wedges might need 2x a year however.

I’d like to give a shout out to Carol at Grips4Less.com. She really is an amazing resource and their selection is pretty great. I feel badly trashing some of her offerings, specifically the JumboMax stuff, but I promise that was not my intention. If the ratings at Grips4Less are to be believed, it’s possible I’m way off base!! But I felt what I felt, and by that I mean JumboMax grips made impact feel like complete garbage.

I’m aware that the heavier grips I appreciated would likely throw off the swing weights. Having used a grip that was 20 grams heavier than standard all season, I think it’s another thing people are reading into too much. The difference is minor and you’d simply adjust.

There are other jumbos I’d still like to try! One is the JumboMax STR8 Tech Medium Size and the other is the Iomic Sticky Jumbo. Having had a bad experience with the JumboMax grips I’m hesitant to waste more money and expect a different result, but I like the look of the STR8! Regarding Iomic grips, I’ve always wanted to give them a shot but was turned off by price. Their Sticky Jumbo seems a little light at 65 grams, and could possibly be a little slick in wet conditions. The other issue is that Japanese grips tend to be slightly smaller than standard, so I was told their Jumbo might end up being slightly smaller than a Golf Pride midsize.

Thank you for going with me on this journey. The quest for the ultimate grip continues!

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