The Cork Tree, the world's first company to produce golf products in cork leather, was co-founded by Nuno Nascimento and Marc Boggia. Nascimento was born into a family with a cork oak forest and learned the business of commercializing the material from his grandfather. Boggia, an Englishman, has been a member of the British PGA since 1981. He's also a golf entrepreneur, course owner, and partner in indoor golf teaching facilities in Asia. The Cork Tree's golf bag was awarded the first place award at the Golf Europe 2013 show in the golf bag category and lead to the launch of the cork putter grips.
Why cork? The company says it's proven to be the perfect complement to leather in a grip. Cork is 100% natural, feels soft in the hands, and proves its playability well beyond other materials when a golfer's hands are hot or sweaty -- as well as in humid playing conditions. "That means the grip won't slip in your hands -- regardless of how moist your hands are," says Boggia. "That lets you confidently putt away without any tension in your hands and arms, promoting a more fluid stroke. Once you try it, I know you'll agree that it feels amazing. Plus, it cleans very easily -- dirt wipes away with a wet cloth."
Cork's honeycomb cell structure is the key. Each cell is a 14-sided polyhedron filled with air, making it an extremely strong and flexible membrane that's waterproof and airtight. Cork bark is about 89% air, giving it a low density. But when it's compressed, air isn't squeezed out, because the cell membranes won't release it. So it returns to its original shape when the compression is removed. I'm no physicist, but I assume that also means moisture isn't sucked back into the material, ergo its utility for sealing wine bottles.
The four initial putter grips include the Midsize, Feather Light, Parallel and Tour models, all selling for $39.95.
Cork Tree says there are currently more than twenty PGA Tour players using Cork Tree cork leather putter grips including the winner of the recent Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. A multiple major winner on the PGA Tour is also using the Cork Tree putter grip.
The Nascimento family continues to sell cork bark to the cork stopper industry from its own 500 hectares cork plantation. Conscious of its hereditary property, The Cork Tree family continues to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing, protecting and maintenance of the properties. Beyond cleaning and fertilizing the cork oak forest, the plantation continues to grow with some 40,000 new cork trees being planted in the past eight years. That's a lot of putter grips.
Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf