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What is Genuine Leather? We all see it everyday, a company claims that it only uses "genuine leather" in the manufacturing process of their goods. Of we notice the stamp on our leather goods that state that the item is genuine leather, top-grain leather, or full-grain leather. But what do these stampings actually mean? And is there that a difference between the quality of each leather type. Whether you're buying a golf club head covers, a scorecard holder, or belt, you should know exactly what to look for in your leather: FULL GRAIN LEATHER Considered the most durable, expensive and highest quality grade of real leather is Full Grain. Full Grain is the top layer of the hide, and the only layer to posses the grain appearance. TOP GRAIN LEATHER The second highest quality grade of leather is Top Grain. Top Grain has been split from the top layer of blemished hide, sanded and refinished. Sanding is a common process that tanners use to rid the hide of scars, scrapes and imperfections. GENUINE LEATHER The third highest quality grade is Genuine Leather. Genuine Leather is produced from the layers of hide that remain after the top is split off for the better grades. The surface is usually refinished to resemble a higher grade leather. BONDED LEATHER The fourth quality grade of leather is Bonded. Bonded is referred to as such because it is made from the dust and shavings of other hide layers. These remnants are then collected, glued and pressed together to form a single piece of hide. The hide is then sanded, refinished and often times painted to resemble a piece higher grade leather. But no matter what quality grade, you can be certain that any item made with real leather is made from the hide of an animal, and will produce a durable and long lasting item. Now it's no secret that OEM manufactures in the golf industry almost exclusively use synthetic leather for their golf clubs headcovers, and other "leather" items. The reason for this is purely economical. Synthetic leather is much less expensive than real leather. However, this results in sub-par quality items. SYNTHETIC LEATHER Synthetic Leather is an artificial (man-made) leather. While this leather type may appear to look and feel like real leather, synthetic leather is of much lower quality than real leather. However, it is often used as a substitute for real leather because it is less expensive: POLYURETHANE "PU" LEATHER Polyurethane Leather is made by coating a backing fabric such as cotton, polyester or shredded leather with a flexible polymer and then treating it to look more like animal hide. Polyurethane upholstery is the most realistic imitation of genuine leather, with respect to look and feel. VINYL LEATHER Vinyl upholstery is made from two separate synthetic materials. The fibers of the upholstery are constructed from strong polyester fibers. The fibers are then coated with vinyl, and then melted onto the surface of the fibers, sealing them closed and making a virtually waterproof surface that is still flexible and tough. CONCLUSION Regardless of what material quality is claimed by the manufacturer, or stamped on the item, we hope that this article has provided you with some facts that will make you a better informed consumer. Or, the very least, be better equipped for your next leather purchase. CLICK HERE to view the original article.