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1925 was a heck of a long time ago.  Fitzgerald published “The Great Gatsby,” Lou Gehrig started his legendary consecutive game streak,  the Mt. Rushmore museum was dedicated and Elver Lamkin wrapped his first leather grip.

 

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Lamkin, of course, belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of grip manufacturers - either as George Washington or Teddy Roosevelt. And if you're talking legendary streaks, you could say Lamkin is the Iron Horse (or even the Cal Ripkin) of grip makers.  90 years later Lamkin is still getting it done, and it's still All In The Family. 

 

There's perhaps not a more iconic grip in golf than the Lamkin Crossline. If you're reading this you've probably swung a club or two in your time and it's more than likely one of them had a Lamkin grip. 2015 marks the 90th anniversary of Lamkin Golf a company that has truly stood the test of time and continues to look towards the future.

 

Today's five question's is with a man truly proud of his family name, Lamkin's President and CEO, Bob Lamkin.

 

 

5 Questions

 

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90 years in business is a pretty epic accomplishment, especially for a family business. How has keeping it “all in the family” kept Lamkin going? What are the keys to your longevity?

 

Well, that's really simple… our family name is on every grip we make so we are exceptionally critical of how our product is developed and manufactured.  That has always been a very strong motivator for Lamkin to make the best performing, longest lasting and highest quality grips in the business.  It's a real source of pride for our family.

 

As for our longevity, and this is also very much a part of keeping it in the family, the company has transformed itself with each new generation.  My grandfather started by making leather wrap grips in his garage.  He was a true pioneer at the time because no one else was making grips for golf clubs.  Then, my father led another crucial transformation for the company when we started using rubber materials in our grips.  For a leather grip company, this was a very risky and bold change, but he kept the company moving forward.  Again, with each generation, the company has experienced a sort of ‘rebirth'.

 

Another key to our success is that we pride ourselves on being good listeners.  We very much want to know what our customers need and want, and will go to great lengths to ensure that Lamkin is their grip of choice.

 

 

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Seriously though, is playing the wrong size grip really killing us and what's worse,  too big or too small?

 

I think that might be an overstatement, but I do believe that playing the wrong size grip absolutely impacts a player's performance.  And, more importantly, it may be affecting their overall enjoyment of the game… and they don't even know it!  There are so many women, for instance, using the stock undersize grips installed on most women's clubs, but a big percentage of those players don't necessarily have ‘undersize' hands and they should be using a standard size grip.  Very often, playing with the wrong size grip will force a golfer to use too much grip pressure to compensate for their poorly fit grip.

 

One is not worse than the other (too big or too small).  Typically, I tell golfers that are slicing to use a smaller grip so they can increase their hand action.  And, for golfers that are hooking, I recommend using a larger grip to slow their hands down.

 

I also believe that grip sizing isn't a perfect science.  We recommend using hand measurements as a starting point.  After that, it's important that every golfer finds the grip that feels most comfortable and allows the ideal light-pressure grip.

 

 

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What challenges do you face today that you didn't have to deal with 25 or even 50 years ago?

 

The rate of product innovation has accelerated to a mind-blowing pace over the last 15 or so years.  There seems to be this unspoken rule that a revolutionary, ‘game-changing' product needs to be launched every few months, every year at the latest.  At Lamkin, we rely on a continuous improvement model to ensure we're producing the most functional, innovative and durable grips available, and that certainly has helped the brand maintain its leadership position.

 

 

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How have the recent financial issues within the Golf Industry affected the grip business? What does it take to keep a golf business ‘in the black' in the current environment?

 

Historically, even during the most ‘challenging' dips in the golf industry, Lamkin has been fairly well insulated from market volatility.  When golfers aren't buying as many clubs, for whatever reason, they tend to invest more in regripping.  And, when they are buying more clubs, we benefit from supplying premium manufacturers with the grips to put on those clubs.

 

As for staying ‘in the black', we are a bottom-line driven company and keep a very sharp eye on spending to ensure we stay profitable.   More importantly, though, we work very closely with our customers.  Whether they are purchasing a million grips or a single grip, we never lose sight of the fact that they are the most important contributor to our success and longevity.  Exceeding their expectations has been and will always be our top priority. 

 

 

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What makes a good grip? What is the biggest innovation in golf grips over the past 90 years? Any secrets you can let us in on as to the future of the golf grip?

 

A good grip: There's really no magic formula because different golfers like different types of grips.  One golfer may love the feeling of a cord grip, another golfer might hate the feeling of cord.  It's incredibly subjective and individualized.  In the end, if a golfer plays more comfortably, confidently and consistently with their grip, then it's a good grip.

 

Biggest Innovation:  Moving from leather to rubber and then to synthetic rubbers.  This was a big game changer and allowed us to improve durability, bring costs down, add new cosmetics and colors and provide a much greater level of ‘feel' consistency from grip to grip.

 

Future of the Golf Grip:  I believe the next big development in grip technology will come in the form of another material advancement.  At Lamkin, we are always researching and testing new, non-endemic materials that will provide golfers with functional performance benefits.

 

 

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Thank you so much again to Bob Lamkin for taking the time to answer these for us.

 

 

Written by:Dan Mann

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Yo #JustPlayBetter


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Awesome Q&A!  Gotta love a 90 year old family business - that's quite an accomplishment.

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What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  Sub 70 639D - 9.5; :cleveland-small: Launcher HB Turbo; :mizuno-small: ST 190 
FW Wood: :tour-edge: Tour Edge EXS 220 - 15*; :mizuno-small: ST 180 14*
Hybrids:  PXG 0311 22
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*;  Lynx VT Stinger - 16*
Irons::wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged; :benhogan-small:PTx Pro, :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; :wilson_staff_small: Progressives (circa 1993)

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CBX -2, :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60; :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model
Putter:   :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8,  :benhogan-small:Baby Ben

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X (2020); :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
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Nice Q&A.  I hope that we will keep getting more like this for other golf industry leaders and players.  Very informative.

 

As for grip size...  several years ago my wife went to oversized grips because of arthritis in her hands.  She hits the ball very straight and the oversized grips really didn't affect her distance or direction.  Last year, I put a slightly smaller grip on her clubs and she likes them for every club but the woods.  Still prefers a larger grip on the driver and 3W.

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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Just got a press release from them. Didn't realize they had "tour players" grips for sale on their shop Lamkin site.

That's pretty unique. Snedeker Ace 3Gen all black, and a full cord Keegan Bradley model as well.

"Glute Activator"

 

*Please accept my contributions of participation and intellectual property sharing as substitute for monetary renumeration.

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Love their grips. Only ones I play are the corded ones. For some reason, I love the fact they are so hard on my hands.

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 Driver:   :callaway-small:  Epic Flash 12 Degree

Wood: :callaway-small:  GBB 3 Wood
Hybrid: :callaway-small: Razr 4 hybriid stiff stock shaft.
Irons: :callaway-small: X2 Hot 4 iron (pro version) 5 iron - Gap Wedge (non pro version).  KBS 120g Shaft stiff cut 1/2  inch bent 1°upright
Wedges: :vokey-small: 52° 56° and 60°.
All grips are Golf pride grips midsized
Putter (lefty):  Odyssey Metal-X #8 34", stock shaft bent 2° Superstroke grip
Golf Balls:   :titelist-small: 2018-9 Pro-V1x and Prov1s
Shoes:  :footjoy-small:  Dryjoy tours

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Love the Larkin corssline. Thanks for the Q and A. These are a great addition.

Ping G410 - set at 12 degrees, fade setting - Fujikura Motore X R flex

Ping G410 5-9 wood

G30 6-PW -  Aerotech FT 500 shafts

SCOR 48,52,56,60

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

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I don't have Lamkin Crossline grips on ALL of my clubs yet, but I will.

 

To me, they're the best fit and longest lasting of all the grips I've tried, which also makes them the best value.

What's In The Bag

Driver :titelist-small:

Titleist 913 D2 10.5* (set to 9.75* / Neutral) 46" Paderson KINETIXX Kevlar Green - R

Fairway Wood

Tom Wishon 949 MC 16.5* Fujikura Speeder 569-A

Hybrid  :cleveland-small: Hibore 22* Aldila VS Proto Blue

Irons  :ping-small: G series 5-P

Wedges :ping-small:Glide 54* SS / 60* TS - SCOR 53*

Putter     :nike-small: Nike Method 001 / P2 Reflex grip 35"

Ball

Master Grip Tour C4

Bag

Datrek DG Lite  

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I love lamkin grips but they discontinued my favorite one last year which made me a little sad :(

Driver:   :callaway-small: Epic 10.5 set to 9.5 w/ Tour AD-DI 44.5

FW:   :cobra-small: F6 baffler set at 16º

Hybrid:  NONE
Irons:   :taylormade-small:  3i 2014 TP CB  4-PW 2011 TP MC w/ TT S400

Wedges:   :nike-small: 52º :nike-small: 56º  :edel-golf-1: 60 º w/ KBS C-Taper XS Soft-stepped

Putter:   :ping-small: Sigma G Tyne 34 inches Gold dot

 

 

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