GRIPPING THE HICKORY GOLF CLUB
This page is intended to deal with regripping for 20th century wood shaft clubs.
The one "replica" that became available in the recent past is a wrap-on rubber grip. Rubberized linen wrap-on grips were very popular in Great Britain in the last 40 years of the hickory era. I have used, but have discontinued using, the synthetic leather looking wrap grip made by Winn Golf, even though it might in some ways replicate the rubberized linen grips of the period. They are generally not considered 'in the spirit' of the period game. If you plan on playing in formal hickory events you will want to check the rules to see if they are allowed. I find the leather wrap grips to be better.
I have been playing wood shafted clubs for about 20 years, exclusively for about 17 years, and have done so in all kinds of conditions. Unless they are waterproofed, most leather grips will become unusable after getting wet. For the serious hickory player, waterproofed or water resistant grips are to be considered essential. Lexol used regularly on your "new" or original smooth leather grips will help keep them tacky and resistant to moisture. You should clean original smooth (not suede) leather grips with a leather cleaning product before you try to soften them with a leather conditioner such as Lexol. The cleaning and conditioning will help in the removal of original grips if you plan to rewrap them or salvage them for use on other clubs that need an original type of grip.
I recommend using friction tape as an underlisting material for building up and shaping the grips on 20th century clubs. It is very easy to use to get the listing built up to the right thickness and taper before you wrap the grip material on. Using friction tape as a listing material is also authentic to the period as many of the original grips I have removed have had friction tape used as the listing material.
A dial caliper is very helpful in matching the grip build-up on a set
of clubs. Be aware that as you build up the thickness of the grips, the swing wieght will be reduced. In period reference material it has been stated that they tried to keep the grips as small as possible so that they would have the maximum club head feel.
Grip cutting guide for calf skin hides;
On a historical note:
In an original catalog for the St. Andrews Golf Co., they had a surprising range of offerings. They were offering grips made of Calfskin, Pigskin, and Rubber. All the grips were offered as strips to be wrapped on, except for one sewn leather version of a slip-on grip. The calfskin and pigskin grips were offered in Black, Red, Violet, Green and Brown colors. I have seen some very bright colored grips on the clubs that I have obtained. The origional color can sometmes be found under an overlap in the leather, were it might not have been worn or faded away. Other clubs have considerable color left in the original grips, as they must not have seen much play and/or were well taken care of.