Although Lamkin as a company has a long and storied history in golf, recent years have brought a renewed emphasis on innovation and evolution. Not only have they re-branded the classic scroll logo into the bold and brazen block letter design, the different lines have taken a bolder life as well. Two years ago the introduction of the UTx changed a lot of things for the company, still one of the most popular grips out there, they showed that comfort and cord could be combined. This year, they are taking on the multi-compound grip in a way we haven’t seen before using both tried and true techniques, as well as all new innovation.
THP was able to spend ample time with the all-new Z5 grips, which were installed on all clubs (sans putter of course) in the bag for the purpose of this review.
Information from Lamkin on the Z5 Grips:
The new Z5 from Lamkin features five distinctive grip zones scientifically engineered to promote proper hand placement and the ideal light-pressure grip with every swing. The grip’s multi-compound foundation is combined with a functional network of textures and patterns to deliver enhanced grip comfort, control, and consistency.
With so much going on from a design perspective, taking a look at the different “zones” that Lamkin uses to break down the Z5 grips makes sense in order to provide a better overall rundown of just what each section aims to accomplish.
Zone 1 and 2 – “An intricate horizontal pattern and cotton cord weave in the upper zones for exceptional traction and slip-free confidence in all weather conditions”
The upper portion of the grip is essentially made up of Lamkin’s extremely popular UTx material. These two sections rest in the region of the grip where the most torsion is created and the need for stability is at its highest. Thanks to the cotton cord, you get the high humidity and high moisture performance benefits that traditional cord and multi-compound users rely on. The big thing however, is the composition of the rubber itself has some give to it which prevents the sandpaper like feeling that can prove too abrasive for many golfers. In hand through all different weather conditions this section proved to be the “engine” of the grip with performance that overcame all conditions.
Zone 3 – “The middle zones of the grip include FingerLock panels designed to secure a golfer’s thumb in a consistent, secure position with every swing.”
When seeing the Z5’s for the first time this is the section that will get the most notice because the “FingerLock” in the center of the grip is different enough in size, shape, and texture to stand out. The purpose is to aid in securing the thumb of the top hand in a consistent manner thanks to the shape and placement. For those whose thumb overlaps past the center-line of the grip, there is nothing to be concerned about as the shape of the panel extends enough horizontally and vertically to still provide a good demarcation point. Though the texture changes, there’s no awkwardness to it in the grip, for this reviewer it honestly had a larger impact as a reminder for grip position than it did in tack/performance.
Zone 4 and 5: “Shallow micro-texture in the bottom zones provide a smoother and more comfortable feel in the non-glove lower hand.”
Although the UTx style texture in the butt of the grip will get most of the initial attention, these two zones in the lower hand are what really differentiates the Z5 from other popular multi-compound grips, because it’s comfortable. Something Lamkin has excelled at in recent years is their use of texture to provide comfort while maintaining performance and it shows here in the Z5. Through the two different “micro-grooves” (more shallow at the bottom, deeper in the section above that) there is a “give” to it which lets the bottom hand settle into the grip. Though it is a softer sensation, it’s important to make it clear there were no torsion issues through the swing, a very good thing to see.
The Z5 grip does what every good multi-compound grip should do by providing ample alignment references through the texture and color changes of the grip, but in terms of the overall feel it’s a different beast altogether. As mentioned in the zone by zone breakdown, there is a level of comfort in the Z5. What stood out most during testing was the amount of feedback still provided to the hands by the grip as well as the resistance to twisting despite the material changes. For this user, this was a multi-compound grip that could actually be played without a glove, and frankly that is a big deal.
In terms of aesthetics, there will be some who feel they missed the mark with the use of the bright white, but there is a rhyme and a reason. In the opinion of this reviewer, that white accent immediately lets the bold Lamkin logo be seen and fits right in with a look that many automatically associate with a multi-compound design. The blue, red, and black color options really stand out next to the white as well, and are solid initial options which we will undoubtedly see expanded upon by the company. A wise move by the company though was making the butt-cap of the grip grey rather than white, which kept it from showing as much wear. Additionally, Lamkin understood that some people like to install their grips logo down, so, the Z5 is actually designed to play softer overall because it’s a more uniform texture that way. This reviewer played the Z5 logo up in all irons and logo down in wedges and it gave a lot of versatility which lent to the different types of swings golfers typically play on those different clubs.
With the Z5, Lamkin has really gone a long way in potentially filling a void within their lineup that has needed to be addressed. Multi-compound grips traditionally have been a love/hate relationship for golfers, love because of the tack/grip that they provide, but hate because of how rough they can be on the hands. The Z5 has bucked that trend though by using multiple textures and materials to find a balance of grip and comfort while not sacrificing durability. As with any grip, they won’t be for everyone, but they are certainly worth a look when it comes time to re-grip.
The Z5 grips are $7.99 each and more information can be found at www.LamkinGrips.com.