Iomic and No. 1 focus on U.S. grip market
Monday, January 20, 2014
Iomic and No. 1 golf grips, made by two separate companies in Japan, are extremely popular on the Japanese and Asian professional tours. Now these two grip manufacturers are slowly but steadily gaining recognition in the United States.
Grips from both companies are known for their feel – firm yet tacky.
“Our grips are regarded as the stickiest and tackiest on the market,” said Atsushi Komiyama, media director for No. 1 grips. “They are played by PGA Tour players such as Y.E. Yang and K.J. Choi.”
Iomic, though, isn’t about to get outdone. The company sells four distinct lines of grips with the name Sticky. Those four are Sticky 1.8, Sticky 2.3, Sticky Mid and Sticky Jumbo.
Matt Kuchar has been using the Sticky 2.3 grips on all his clubs except the putter, on which he installed a SuperStroke grip.
So the grips are sticky. This doesn’t mean the grips are soft.
These two companies use a combination of several different elastomers to create a large variety of grips with several different textures. Both the Iomic and No. 1 grips have a reputation for being comfortable and slip-proof at the same.
The X-Evolution is the firmest of the Iomic grips, while the 50 Series is the most popular grip from No. 1 among touring pros.
Full-swing grips from the two companies are expensive, typically selling for about $16 apiece.
Already U.S. putter maker Bob Bettinardi has signed a deal with Iomic to provide custom putter grips to consumers (at a cost of $32 apiece) for Bettinardi putters sold inside and outside the United States.
One element of these grips cannot be argued. The choice of colors is both wide-ranging and spectacular. Just as Japanese golfers flocked to colored golf balls before American golfers, the same thing is happening with brightly colored golf grips. Some of the grips feature intricate, exotic designs and patterns, but most are eye-catching simply because of their fanciful colors.
One design feature being pursued by Iomic and No. 1, as well as some U.S. grip manufacturers, is a new generation of low-torque grips that do not twist during the golf swing. The message here is stability, and Iomic in particular is advertising its grips as “the most consistent grip in golf” with waterproofing, UV resistance and reduced torque.
No. 1 and Iomic have opened U.S. offices in California – No. 1 in Torrance and Iomic in Santa Ana. Both companies offer round and ribbed full-swing grips, along with a variety of putter grips.