Natural Gut…why is it important?
Natural gut is just that, a natural intestinal fiber, usually from cattle, that is processed into probably the best tennis racquet string you can use. The primary reason is the “dynamic stiffness” of this marvelous material.
Dynamic stiffness is the way a string reacts to impact. Natural gut has about the lowest dynamic stiffness which means it continues to “stretch” as the ball makes contact. This “stretch” mitigates the shock associated with impact and creates a very comfortable ball impact.
If you have an arm issue, and can’t take a few months off the game, it is necessary to use natural gut for at least two (2) stringing cycles. If it is that good why not use it all the time, you may ask? One answer is that natural gut is expensive! You should expect to pay $65.00 or more for a quality natural gut string installed in your racquet. And, natural gut is sensitive to nicks and scrapes more so that some synthetic materials.
All things considered, natural gut will play better longer than almost any other string material. But, how do you quantify “better”? It is easy to quantify “time” because the string is either broken or has lost too much tension to be useful!
There are several manufacturers of natural gut strings. The most recognizable is Babolat who has been making natural gut strings for tennis racquets for over 135 years! Others are Pacific, Bow Brand, BDE, and, I am sure some others that I am not familiar with. I mention this because I am in the process of evaluating a natural gut string from a manufacturer in Poland. I do all the lab tests and stringing evaluations before I know the price of the product, so, I am not influenced by cost. I have evaluated many natural gut strings and most of them, other than the brands I a mentioned earlier, are not very good for any number of reasons.
The Polish product has several good characteristics. I have strung it in a Babolat Pure Drive GT racquet and will begin some hitting tests.
In summary, if you have an arm issue or simply want the best string for your racquet you need to try natural gut. Racquet Quest has several models from Babolat in stock at all times. Most players prefer natural color but Babolat does make a black version. Natural gut comes in three (3) gauges: 15L, thicker gauge, 16, “normal” gauge, and 17, the best gauge for maximum “feel”. I invite you to give natural gut a try the next time you need string.
You can discover more about strings at the membership site www.gssalliance.com