Dr. Ben Huang may have helped put the first man on the moon, but, on his own planet, he’s an MVP of sorts in the golf equipment world.
He’s literally helping golfers get a grip on things.
It’s not so hard to imagine that Dr. Huang, the founder of Winn Grips, has made such a difference in the golf equipment design field when you consider that he’s a an aerospace engineer. Yep, a rocket scientist!
“Golf is played by feel and the feel comes from the grip,” said Dr. Huang. “The grip is very, very important. The grip is the only place on the club you are touching.” His use of synthetic polymer, steering away from the traditional cowhide, had already revolutionized tennis grips by the time he swung over to help the golf world, motivated by a week-long experience at a Golf Digest camp in California.
“I wasn’t able to make a smooth swing. I had blisters and so forth,” said Dr. Huang. “So I thought maybe I could invent a better golf grip. My rubber grips were so slippery and uncomfortable that I had to overcompensate by squeezing my grips so hard that I was practically strangling them. I knew I could design a better grip – not just for me, but for all golfers.” The answer was eliminating the use of rubber and ushering in Polymer.
As it turns out, Polymer provides 65% more shock absorption and is 40% more slip resistant – factors which are obviously helpful for golf clubs. Golfers with arthritis have found Winn Grips provide effective relief, thanks largely to the shock dampening.
“The oversize grip is liked by those who have arthritis,” said Dr. Huang. “I get letters from golfers who thank me for prolonging their golf career. They tell me they weren’t able to play … arthritis, their fingers were hurting them and they had pain every time they hit the ball. Nobody hits the sweet spot every time. All that energy transferred to the ball makes it fly long and straight if you hit the sweet spot. But if you miss, the vibration transfers back to the golfer. Our grips can absorb more of the vibration. That is the main benefit.”
The company’s Dri-Tac grips, which have been out for five months, have proven to be a big seller, as well. “It’s the tackiest grip we have ever made,” said Dr. Huang. “It can be played in any weather, even when it’s pouring. It doesn’t absorb any moisture.”
The Winn grips come in many different forms and sizes – undersize (usually for women), standard, midsize and oversize. “We have grips for any kind of golfers,” said Dr. Huang.
Dr. Huang introduced his golf grips at the 1996 PGA show in Las Vegas. Everyone seemed to like the feel, but the consensus was the material was too soft. Now, it’s that soft grip that has helped make it so successful.
In the 1960s, Dr. Huang worked under Dr. Wernher Von Braun to develop the Saturn V rocket, which eventually took Neil Armstrong to the moon. After 10 years off teaching at Georgia Tech, Dr. Huang was eager for new challenges. He followed upon his passion for tennis into the business world. From the manufacturing of tennis balls to racquet string to grips, Dr. Huang honed his expertise in polymer materials.
Along the way, Winn Grips has added Butch Harmon and Natalie Gulbis to their staff, adding some powerful golf-world punch in doing so. In fact our own Traveling Golfer, Director of New Business Development, Phil Madden had the opportunity of a lifetime in meeting Butch Harmon this past January at the PGA Show in Orlando. Butch shared his issues with arthritis in his hands which are very similar to those of Phil’s and so many more golfers as they reach their senior years. Phil has now re-gripped his clubs and is a believer in the Winn Grips.
Dr. Huang may not be an accomplished golfer, but says it isn’t a big deal when you like the game as much as he does. He is proud of the impact Winn Grips has made! “I play once a week. I’m not a very good golfer. But I really enjoy it. It’s a game that gives everyone a good challenge,’” he said. “My hobby is innovation. And I think this company is one of the most innovative companies in golf equipment.”
Learn for yourself why the Winn Grip is best
For more information on Winn Grips visit www.winngrips.com
By TIM BAINES