Quite why I've built three sets of rods with cork handles that featured short cork 'cones' in front of the reel seat over the last few weeks is probably coincidence. Maybe the look has grown on me because of this, but I'm liking it.
For most rods the foregrip serves no practical function. Certainly when using a fixed spool reel.
On thicker diameter blanks there's not much scope for fitting a winding check (as per photo on the right), but on slimmer blanks a fine aluminium check is an option.