Its once again the dog days of summer. The time of year where everyone takes a few weeks or hell even a few months off. This rings true for our friends on the equipment world as well.
Its new wedge time!
That’s true for everyone except Mizuno. 2 weeks ago we got the official word that Mizuno was releasing their new MP-18 irons. I was so excited I dedicated almost an entire podcast to them. The day after the podcast hit the “airwaves” Mizuno decided to surprise us with some new wedges. The S18 wedge is a step forward for Mizuno. The most obvious change is in the design of the wedge. Like most Mizuno products, the past few years have seen a very “aggressive” aesthetic from Mizuno. Mizuno clearly decided to go back to its classic conservative approach. The S18 is no different. They toned down some of the lines, making the club look cleaner.
Under the hood their have been some tweaks, the biggest of all being the use of boron. Mizuno says it doesnt affect the feel and makes the club stronger. The biggest benefit you will see is in the longevity of the wedge. Its nice when a company wants you to use their stuff longer. Experts tell you to replace wedges every year but that can get expensive so its nice to see a company want a club to last longer.
New Mizuno Driver?
Later in the week an interesting picture popped up on instagram. It looked to be a Mizuno driver. It looked a lot like a JPX driver. The person who first spotted this is based in Singapore. We know that the Asian market gets clubs that we here in the states dont so it may not be a US release. With that being said I still wanted to bring it up. When first looking at it you cant help but notice the beautiful blue crown. Its is a nice signature color and in person it looks great. I really hope that this driver fixed the sound issues in their last release. The driver performed very well but it was louder than anything else I hit. I normally say I can get over sound but that may have been the exception to the rule.
The other noticeable part of the club is all the crazy adjustment possibilities. Its going to take a damn slide rule and compass to figure out how to get it situated. I think there are 4 ways to adjust that thing. Its going to be very confusing. We have learned over the years that when you change loft you change face angle. Then were going to have sliding weights to adjust for face angle. Then a weight to adjust launch then one to help with spin. Finally, one to help with cooking dinner. It can all be too much.
Overall its been a good week if you’re a fan of Mizuno. In the last 2 weeks you have gotten new irons, wedges,and drivers. When these hit the shelves Ill be sure to give them a swing and let you know what I think!
I have been slowly upgrading the equipment I use for the podcast. Today you get yet another podcast in as many weeks. The past two weeks have been pretty exciting. I decided to take some time and show you some of the new exciting releases from Cleveland and Mizuno!
I hadnt planned on a review of these grips this early on. It was going great early on. I enjoyed everything about these grips. The colors were great and the feel was great.
A sign of trouble
A couple of weeks ago I noticed the grips were feeling a little slick. A couple of quick wipes with a damp towel and they seemed to regain their tackiness. It was great. I made a note to write up how quickly they got slick but I was going to give them credit for being easy cleaning. They did a great job of holding up to the humidity and not getting slick in damp hands.
You cant be serious!
It was June 10th when I had the grips installed. I couldnt get over how awesome they looked on the Hogans. I wasnt thrilled about having to get new grips because I really liked the No1 grips I had on them before. Those grips came on a preowned set of shafts but still lasted me a year. I spent 2 weeks deciding on a grip. I had it down to 2 grips and I decided to go with the S- Tech.
Today I reached my breaking point with the grips. On my 8 iron I noticed the grip felt a little weird. I looked down at my glove to see if it had torn. There wasnt anything weird on the glove. When I looked at the grip, I was amazed that the grip had already started to show some major wear. It was shocking . It hadnt even been 2 months and the grips had a big wear spot right under my thumb. I understand grips wear out. Honestly I do. I dont expect them to last years. I know they wont. Grips should be able to handle my meager practice and playing schedule. I only practice twice a week and hit around 50 balls. Hell the last 2 weeks Ive been under the weather and havent been out much. Its absurd. I expected better from a brand like Superstroke. If this isnt a one off they should remove these grips from the market.
At this point I have to give the grips a failing grade. I would be upset if a cheap knock off grip didnt last 2 months let alone a major manufacturers grip.
Last week some rumors started flowing on Golfwrx that Cobra had some stuff coming down the pipe. The only thing we thought could be changing is the Super Game Improvement Max line.
We found out earlier this week that it was actually the Max line Little did we know the Max line was going to be changing this much. Cobra made some serious changes especially in the looks department.
For the slower swinger
The club hits a very obvious market. Cobra says the club is for the older players who doesnt have the ability or speed they had at one point. Any player that wants a Super Game Improvement club will benefit from these. With that being said, Cobra is aiming at the senior market. This is pretty obvious considering most of the club testing was done at The Villages in Florida. (This is where I add in that The Villages is crazy. Check out these links: https://goo.gl/6KeVte https://goo.gl/SDowxv)
Making it look more premium
The new looks are certainly an upgrade. One of my major beefs with the Max line was the fact it look kind of cheap. The blue paint looked cheap. It looked like a terrible Walmart club. The club honestly looks like a nice Japanese club. The new gold accents really add to the look. The weight is blended perfectly. It is a seperate part of the sole but its incorporated seamlessly. The gold writing is a pretty nice .I cant wait to see it in person. Hopefully the gold paint and lettering doesnt look cheap.
Listening to their customers
Cobra has done a great job of listening to their customers while keeping the original purpose of the club intact. Cobra knew a ton of people wouldnt even touch the Max because of the offset. This year they decided to offer it with offset and a straight hosel. Like I said earlier, Cobra knows their market on this club is a slow swinger. To help increase speed Cobra installed a light weight 50- gram shaft. The research from Cobra also showed that most people prefer a midsize degree. They also have research that shows grip size doesnt affect the ball flight. I disagree, but what do I know? They put a midsize grip on the club stock so be aware.
Cobra is extending this line all the way throughout the bag. You can grab a driver, fairway wood, hybrid and irons. You can even grab the irons in single length. If you are interested in the single length but dont think you have the swing speed or want the added iron offset now is the chance to get it.
Its been a long while since I posted a new podcast but today that changes. I havent been very happy with the quality and I hope this is a little better. Feedback is wanted so please let me know what you think. I cant thank you enough!
Cleveland posted a teaser picture on their twitter a few days ago of a new wedge that they are releasing in September. You couldnt see much in the picture but the assumption was that the release is a wedge .Srixon has taken over for Cleveland in the irons and woods while they have kept the Cleveland name on the wedges and putters.
A Game Changer
This new wedge is really aiming at changing the wedge game. They are making a wedge that has a cavity. I know you are probably thinking “Robert your PING Glide wedges have a cavity. Wait, Didnt Cleveland release a wedge with a cavity?” Yes they did but this isnt a small cavity like those clubs this is going to be a wedge with a large sole. Cleveland is asking the question “If you play game improvement irons why are you playing a blade wedge?” I think this is a fairly good question. I love the idea of making a wedge that has a cavity. You get the benefits of the wedge and the cavity back. The Rotex face is going to give you that spin you get from the wedge while giving you the forgiveness you probably also want on your wedges.
Would I use it?
In my set I have a random gap wedge that was given to me by my father in law before he passed away. I play this club for a few reasons. When I use my blade wedges I honestly get a little flippy with my hands. This causes me to hit the ball very high and end up short a lot of times. If I get handsy with my cavity back I will blade it over the green. This really makes me drive the ball. The cavity gives me the confidence the ball will get in the air and wont need my help. The wide sole also lets me use it around the green as a chipper. When I am ready to hit a bump and run this is the club I use. I dont get fancy. I dont open it to hit a flop shot or anything else
It does have its problems though
Now I like this as a gap wedge. I couldnt imagine using this as a lob wedge or even really a sand wedge. My 54 and 58 degree wedges get used for multiple types of shots. Sometime I like opening up the face and hitting a flop shot. Too much bounce will hinder the ability to do that. The cavity will get in the way as well.
Will it work?
The question then becomes will this be successful? I have to say I dont think it will in year one. This is is a border line radical idea. The people who buy them will love them but I dont imagine many people will buy them in year one. People will begin playing with the guys who bought them early and see how cool they are. Then year two and three sales will increase. I hope Cleveland sticks with these for a few years. I think these can really help golfers.
I know its been a while since I have posted but I promise I have some very good reasons for my absence. Its been a long few weeks but I am back!
Feels good to be out there!
This past Saturday I was able to head out to the course for the first time in a few weeks. Since I hadnt had much practice I cant lie it wasnt my greatest round. I ended up shooting an 86. There were a couple of things going on in the round including some equipment testing.
What was I testing?
The first thing I was testing was a new shaft in my Titleist 913 D3. The D+ was giving me a consistent flight but I always felt like I could squeeze a few more yards out of it. I wanted to try out something that wasnt very expensive so I went with the Prolaunch Red. I had played it in a previous driver and liked it. The shaft tends to launch lower and spin a whole lot less than the D+. The one I bought had an oversized grip installed. The grip was way too large for me but because of my personal life I totally forgot to get a new one installed. I didnt even realize I forgot until I pulled it out on the first tee. My accuracy wasnt the best but the ball flight was better. The lower launch and spin resulted in more distance.
The other item being put to the test was the Cleveland Huntington Beach putter. Mygolfspy.com chose me as one of the testers for the putter. This was my first time out to the course with it so I was much more focused on how things felt and reacted than I was with making putts. Dont get me wrong, I wanted to make the putts but it wasnt the most important thing. Anytime you take a putter out for the first time there are some growing pains getting used to it.
When Ping formally announced the Ping G400 yesterday that meant they were hitting stores yesterday as well. Today I was able to go to the store and actually hit them.
A smaller head
The first thing I noticed was how small the club head was. Ping is known for making big drivers. They are always 460cc and they always feel a lot bigger. This driver is different. The head maxes out at 445cc. It looks smaller and feels smaller. Ping manages to keep the drivers high MOI to give you that forgiveness PING prides its self on while putting it in a smaller package. Overall the driver looks great.The orange isnt bright or anything. It is almost a copper color. There is a lot of visible technology on the head but not any more than the G did. As busy as the crown is it isnt distracting. They did a much better job of integrating the technology and making it look good. The coolest part of the clubs appearance has to be the stock Alta shaft. It changes color. When you look at the club from the side it is an orange/ copper color. Put it in the address position and it turns black. To put it simply its really cool.
Does it perform?
As far as performance goes it performed like a PING driver. I have never got along with PING drivers and this one is no different. I slice PING driver off the earth. It could be the counterbalanced shaft or something. Either way I hit my 913 better. I love PING products except the drivers. One way they improved the club was with the sound. The G was a loud and ugly sounding driver. The G400 produces a beautiful thud on impact. Its a huge improvement. If the sound is what kept you from buying the G try the G400.
I got to take a look at the G400 irons and compare them to the other PING irons. Sadly I didnt get to hit them. They looked good. The black rubber wasnt as obnoxious as I thought it may be. Overall it looked like a G series iron. Not massive but certainly not a small low offset club.
The Callaway Steelhead
A few weeks ago I also wrote about the Steelhead XR Fairway wood. Today as I was walking out I saw they had some demos. They look incredible in person. The demos still had the wrappers on them but I asked if I could hit the 3 wood and off went the wrapper. I topped my first shot with the club. It wasnt the best start. Once I got used to it I began to hit it the same distance as the drivers. Thats right a 3 wood going as far as 2 drivers. I had a small chuckle and decided to grab the 3+. Holy mother of god. I was hitting 255 easy which was about 5 yards further than the drivers. When I pushed it I topped out at 270. I had better launch angle and spin than the drivers while maintaning ball speed. In some cases my ball speed was higher than the drivers. I couldnt believe it. I had to come home and tell the wife that we needed to make sure we had some money set aside for a new 3 wood.
We just finished the half way point of the year and we had some awesome equipment stories but I am really excited to see what the rest of the year brings us. Lets go through what we will see in the next 6 months.
New Ping G400 series
Rumors are floating online that next Monday the new Ping G400 irons and woods will be available for preorder. The woods have shown up on tour so we have seen them in hand. The irons have not shown up officially but a few pictures have leaked out!
Titleist 918 irons
I previewed these a few weeks ago. We have seen a bunch of pictures but details have been limited. I cant wait to get my hands on them and hit them. They look good and are really going to impress some people.
New Vokey Wedges
I havent seen anything announced or rumored but it feels like the Vokey line is up for a refresh. They just released a limited line of copper plated wedges. They are beautiful and I would love it if they offered some different grinds in that finish.
New Taylormade Irons
When Rory signed with Taylormade he got his own Prototype iron. Its gorgeous. Justin Rose just put his Protos on social media. They look the same except Justin’s are Chrome where as Rorys were a satin finish. I am curious to see if thes emake it to retail or if it will be a tour only special.
The Steelhead line
Callway is releasing the Steelhead line with some modern upgrades. They released Steelhead irons. They are releasing the Fairway wood. I can imagine some people are hoping for a new version of the driver. To be fair they did release it with the V-series but I dont think they advertised it properly. They also released the Bertha mini 1.5. It is close to the Steelhead driver. If they would release the Bertha Mini 1.5 as a Steelhead mini driver and changed the sole a little bit they would have a real winner!
The Taylormade Sale
Lets see what Taylormade does. Will we see their new driver before the year ends? How will the new ownership affect the release cycle. Will they continue to play conservative or will the new owners re-release the reigns a little?
End of the Year Surprise
Every year we get a surprise. Last year it was the single length revolution. What will it be this year? What will happen on tour that will cause all of us to rush out and try it for ourselves? This year has been the year of the spider. Taylormade won all types of tournaments with the new red Spider putter. I see the putter trend continuing. Someone is going to release a putter everyone goes crazy for.
Friday I took yet another half day and decided to hit the links again. This time I texted one of my friends from the First Tee to see if he wanted to play. He said he wanted to but didnt know where. He made some phone calls and we ended up at Firewheel- Bridges course. It was a course I had never played before and boy was I in for a treat.
A Perfectly Manicured Course
The course is regarded as one of the best in the area. The course regualary hosts the North Texas Mid-Am. After a few holes I could easily see why. If you want a fair test of golf this meets the bill. It was long but it wasnt unfair. The par 5’s were reachable in 2 if you wanted. One of the worst things in golf course design is the crazy long par 3 hole. It always feels like a course is trying to add length artificially. Firewheel didnt do this. It did a great job of mixing up the distances on every hole. We played from the tips and managed to use almost every club in the bag. The fairways were cut at a great length as well. Sometimes courses can cut their fairways too close and make it almost more valuable to be in the rough so you can get a nice lie. It was nice to have white sand in the bunkers as well. I didnt hit into one (Which is a good thing) but it made the course look great.
The other reason Firewheel gets so much love around here is the greens. The greens at Firewheel give us an experience in Texas that we dont really get often. It gives us the chance to play on Bentgrass greens. Bentgrass is a cool weather grass that is very popular in the northeast. We cant have it in Texas very often because it burns and dies very quickly. Playing on Bentgrass was a new experience and boy was it awesome. Bentgrass is softer and allows for even more creativity in your short game. I was able to be much more aggressive because the greens would just grab the ball. On longer shots into the green it was fun to watch the ball check quickly. Putting was an absolute treat. Here in Texas you cant cut those bentgrass greens too short or they will die in 30 minutes, because of this the greens were rolling a little slow. Getting the speed down was difficult but once I did, I couldnt have asked for a better experience. The most interesting part of the greens were these fans they had to put on around some of the greens to make sure air was flowing and keeping the greens cool. They also had to have a maintenance guy out there watering the green to make sure it was cool.
Fix your dang ball marks!
Online I see a ton of complaints about ball marks all over the green. Honestly here in Texas it isnt a huge problem. Greens are rarely soft enough to really cause a deep ball mark. Playing on the bent grass greens I was seeing ball marks all over the place. Holy cow people repair your dang ball marks. It makes putting difficult. I always have been a proponent of fixing your ball mark and another but seeing a bent grass green for the first time really made me realize how big of a problem it could be