Top Flite Gamer Tour

Yesterday I reviewed the Chrome Soft. I really like the ball but at the same time I also struggle paying $40 for a dozen balls. I am always looking for a mid priced urethane ball. I loved the E5 from Bridgestone. It could be found for about $25 a dozen. Well this year Bridgestone decided to make a terrible decision and cut the E5 in favor of a new version of the E6. Ever since then I have been looking for an inexpensive urethane ball. Well at Golf Galaxy I found the Top Flite Gamer Tour. Its a Urethane covered golf ball and at $35 for 2 dozen I had to take a chance.

Putter

The sound off the putter with this ball is slightly clickier than the Chrome Soft. The Chrome Soft may be too quiet for some folks. The Top Flite is great if you want some noise but without a click this is a good option. The most important aspect of feel is the sound. This is a great feeling ball as well. It isnt as soft as I like but it is still a great feeling ball. The ball rolled true and consistent.

Wedge

I was very curious on how this ball would perform around the green. The price of this ball had me believing that this was going to under perform especially compared to the Chrome Soft and the V1x. It did everything I threw at it and it performed admirably. I could have it run out or stop on a dime. Trajectory was easy to control. I could hit it high or low and do either one with any amount of spin. I made a couple chips as well. The ball had a nice click when struck with the wedge. It was another middle ground between the V1x and the Chrome Soft. So far on the putting green and chipping green it was a solid ball.

Irons

No surprises with the ball. It flew on a nice high flight. It landed soft as well. Again I am not a big fan of the ball tha lands and zips back 15 feet. The Gamer Tour was within 1-3 feet of its ball mark every time. I couldnt believe it. I also loved the sound the ball made off my irons. It was a nice moosh. I could always tell when I hit it well. It made that beautiful noise and flew out quick. It was addicting. It didnt sound and feel like most budget balls. I didnt really gain or lose much distance with the ball.

Driver

This was my favorite part of this ball. The ball had a piercing trajectory. I played in heavy wind and it cut right through it. Hitting into the wind the ball can balloon. This can making a cut a slice or make you hit the ball 200 yards. With this ball it never did that. In fact one of the best drives of my life came with this ball. No wind behind me and a tight fairway. I ripped the drive. After walking to my ball the guy I was playing with asked me “Is that your ball?” I said yes and all he said was “Holy Shit”. I pulled out my range finder and tried to shoot the tee box marker. The range finder read 318. I didnt believe it. I shot it again. 318. I shook my head and continued on. I took the ball out with the Chrome Soft and Pro V1x. It continually out drove the Pro V1x by 10 yards. The Chrome Soft and the Gamer Tour were neck to neck. The Gamer Tour would beat it occasionaly by 5 yards. The gamer tour though was noticeably straighter than the Chrome Soft. The sound off the driver was solid. It was loud but not ear blistering loud. I loved it.

Conclusion

I couldnt believe how great this ball performed for the price. At 2 dozen for $35 you cant beat this ball. I have been trying to find some negatives to put in this review but I really am struggling. The durability isnt as good as the Chrome Soft but its nothing I can be concerned about.  The only real negative I can think of is the packaging. It is so frustrating. I couldnt get the damn sleeves out of the box. I was having to stick my whole hand into the box but was still struggling. They are in there snug. I destroyed the boxes to just get them out. You can see it in my pictures. In the end it doesnt matter. If you are like me and want an inexpensive Urethane ball I think we have found it.

Callaway Chrome Soft 2017

One of my favorite golf balls on the market is the Callaway Supersoft. I love how soft it feels and also the actual performance of the ball. The only thing that is missing is the urethane cover. Whenever I would play it all I could say was “This would be perfect if it had a urethane cover”. The solution to my problem was the Callaway Chrome Soft. Normally $40 for a dozen golf balls is out of the question but I got these as a package with a nice discount golf book. I will be reviewing the 2017 model with the Truvis (Soccer ball) pattern.

 

Putter

The first thing I have always been told to do with a new golf ball is see how it feels off the putter. I took these out to the putting green and gave it a go. The first thing that I noticed was the Truvis pattern. It does make the ball look like a soccer ball. Its a unique look. I can see how some would find it distracting but to me it was kind of cool. After a couple of strokes I noticed a few things. First thing I noticed was how quiet it was. I dont like a clicky sound when I putt. I prefer a much more muted sound so right away I like the ball. Now when talking about the sound feel comes next. This ball is very soft. It is very mushy feeling. I know this is all in my head but you can almost feel the ball compress on the putter face. Again I really liked how this felt. I also felt the ball rolled true and consistent. I didnt feel the ball flew off the face or died too early.

Wedges

The most important part of a golf ball to me is the greenside control. The part of my game I could use some help on is hitting Greens In Regulation. Chips and short pitches are something I work a lot on. My philosophy is if you are going to miss greens be able to get up and down for par. I threw this ball down with 2 other brands. One a Top Flite Gamer Tour (review tomorrow) and a Pro V1X. I hit a bunch of chips with each ball and the Callaway performed the best out of any of them. When I would want it to run out, the ball would run out. When I would want it to check up it would check up as well. Anything you could want in greenside performance from a golf ball is present.

Irons

With the irons the ball flew on a nice mid height flight. The same softness was present. I hit all of my irons the same distance as any other ball I have played. I took all 3 of the balls I mentioned earlier out on the course and it performed up to par with the Pro V1X and the Gamer Tour. Im not a player who likes to have the ball zip back 15 feet. I want the ball to hop and stop. This ball was never far from its pitch mark. Another plus mark for this golf ball.

Driver

This is where I may have a few issues with the ball. The ball was extremely soft off the driver. I didnt lose any distance but the ball didnt fly exactly how I like it. In my opinion it flew just a little too high. I also seemed to have a problem with this ball staying straight. Now I fully admit that is partly the result of the Indian. But I do question if because the ball spun more. I also have to question if the higher ball flight cause the ball to be in the air longer if it gives it more time to make a right or left handed turn. With that being said it killed the Pro V1X in distance. Im talking 5-10 yards. Thats the difference between a 7 or 8 iron.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for something that feels soft but gives you that nice tour urethance cover then this is going to be a great ball for you. If youre the type of guy who doesnt care what kind of ball he plays and just needs something cheap then you may not buy this one. Are these better than other tour level balls? In my opnion, yes. Its my new favorite tour ball. Is it worth $40? Absolutely.

Stitch Leather Headcovers

I think the thing that makes a bag look bad ass is the head covers. I always wanted a cool set of head covers. I asked my wife to make me some, I tried to make my own, and I had asked one of my wife’s friends to do it. I could never get it done. About 5 months ago Stitch offered up a grab bag. I bought 6 leather head covers for 50 dollars. You didn’t get to select what you got. You got what they gave you.

Through some trading I managed to get a color combo I wanted. My initial thoughts on the head covers was how good they looked. The colors popped and looked great. The other thing that caught my attention was how solid they seemed. The seams were very thick as well. The next thing I wanted to check was how well they fit on the clubs. The driver fits perfectly. Its snug but not overly difficult to use on the course. Nothing is worse than the guy who sits on the tee box trying to put his head cover back on but can’t figure it out. The 3 wood and Hybrid cover honestly fit a little loose for my liking. They stay on but it isn’t nearly as snug as the driver one which I would prefer. Maybe if I played a bigger 3 wood and hybrid it would fit better but I don’t. The most important part is the fact they don’t fall off. I can deal with it being loose.

Besides looking awesome the head cover functions as a means of protection. They protect the driver head from dings and scratches but they also protect the shaft from damage. A head cover that is too short doesn’t protect the shaft and a head cover that is too long clogs up the bag and can look sloppy. These are perfect. They hit right at the top of the bag . No other clubs can hit the shaft and that’s exactly what I wanted. They look good and they do their job perfectly.

After 5 months of them protecting my clubs I want to talk about how they have held up. Stitch uses leather for their head covers and they do not skimp on it. Sometimes with very cheap leather it has a plastic feel to it. These do not have that feeling. They haven’t lost that soft feeling in the past months and they feel like they are just breaking in. It reminds me of a nice baseball glove. They have some small scrapes but it looks like worn in leather not damage. I honestly feel these will be with me for a long time. One thing is the fact they need to be cleaned .The problem is I have no idea how to clean them. I’ll take suggestions if you got ’em I don’t see any stitches that could pop. The stitches that could pop are all covered by some very thick piping. Sometimes you pay a little bit extra for something you know will last you forever. This is one of those situations.

Essentially they look great, do their job perfectly, and have a good build. The quality is there. They are worth every penny. Especially if you get in on their grab bag deal. I don’t normally advocate for spending money on something like this but I got to say this is an incredible product. If you are looking to give you bag a nice classic look with a quality product give the Stitch head covers a spin.

SKLZ Perfect Plane

A few months ago I decided to grab a new training aid. As I have said many times before my putting is terrible so I decided I needed a putting aid. I was walking around PGA Superstore when I saw this gem.

The SKLZ Perfect Plane is a putting aid that teaches you the correct stroke path, proper acceleration, and how to square the club face. It has 8 tee holes drilled where you put tees so that you practice going from tee to tee. This helps ingrain the correct back swing and follow through. It gives you a tactile feed back when you hit the tees. It also is a hard plastic so when you putter is on it you can hear it as well.

When I pulled this out of the box it wasnt hard to figure out. There were no pieces to put together. There was only the training aid and some tees. The first thing I noticed was the size. It was by no means tiny. It was long and wide. Were talking probably 18 inches long and a good 8 or 9 inches wide. I wish it were a bit smaller. If it cant be smaller for training purposes maybe make it collapsible. There was no way I was putting this in my bag and taking it with me to practice. This leads to my next point. Its pretty heavy. Im not saying it weighs 15 pounds or anything but between the size and weight it wasnt something I could bring to the practice green as an afterthought. I would have had to actively think about it to bring it with me.  I wish it would have been smaller or collapsible.

With all of that said I can see how this may help some people. If I felt my stroke was off just a little I could grab it and put my putter on it. If I could hear the scraping noise I knew the putter was on plane. I cant say it transformed my putting though. I tried using it but didnt feel different. Putts wernt rolling better. Using it also just proved to be a pain in the ass. Making sure the ball was the right distance from the board and in the middle was too much. If I used the board it was usually with out a ball. I took it to the putting green after a couple of range sessions. This showed the problems with this product again. I had to take my bag back to the car, grab my putter, grab the board, walk back to the green, set it up and then finally practice. Again if I could fold this up and put it in my bag it would be 100X better. The portability problem led me to hardly use it. I tried using it on my putting carpet but when you used it with the tees it would move. If it had some way for me to attach it to my putting carpet it would have worked. Maybe some velcro?

All in all its a quality build. The plastic is thick and heavy. It feels very durable. The problem with that is it makes it very big and heavy. The lack of portability makes it a pain to use on a putting green. The fact you cant bolt it down when its not on a grass surface makes it hard to use indoors as well.  It wasnt the product for me but that doesnt mean it was bad. If you are not concerned with the portability or are more willing to use it, it is a solid putting plane.

Are we getting new Odyssey Putters?

The PGA Tour is in San Antonio this week. This isnt anything crazy except for the fact that Golfwrx caught some new Odyssey putters. This included a 2w and something that looks a lot like the putter Rory is using. We also saw some new finishes for the Oworks putters. On some of these putters they have removed the Versa finish and gone to an all black finish. Lets look at some of the pieces that are really generating some buzz

The one that has been generating the most buzz is the “Rory Protoype”. This is the 3T. Its a smaller mallet with a white line down the middle. When Nike dropped clubs Rory ran back to his trusty Scotty. As soon as Callaway released these Oworks putters he dropped his safety blanket and immediately went to the new technology. I really like the look of the putter and really hope it comes to retail. I would like to see how I do with it. The Oworks putters do roll the ball well.

The 2w is another putter getting a lot of attention. It can be hard to tell the difference between an Odyssey 1 and Odyssey 2. The 1 model has rounder bumpers and softer lines than the 2. In the past they have taken the 1 model made it wider. This creates a higher MOI which prevents less twisting when you dont hit it in the middle of the face. For a couple of years people have been asking to get the sharper lines of the 2 model in the wide version. Looks like those people are getting their wish. I personally will skip out on this one. I am not a blade guy so this one isnt for me.

The final one catching my eye was the 2m CS. THis is a Triangular shaped putter head with a center shaft. Anyone who knows me knows i need all the help in the world when I have my putter in my hand. This looks to give quite a bit of forgiveness and stability. I have also found a love recently for center shafted putters. They really help me create a straight back and straight through swing. Plus who knows if the triangle could help me. I will literally try anything to help me on the green.

Now the question is if these will come to retail. I hope they do. I am excited to see how well they work and how well they sell. I constantly see huge inventories of Odyssey putters at my local stores so I am curious to see if stores bring in additional inventory or if this will become an almost custom only situation.

Some new club news!

On a random Wednesday we had some releases by club companies that we wernt really expecting. Cobra released a heritage line.That happens to match up with this weeks tournament the…RBC Heritage. The other big news came from the LPGA tour where world number one Lydia Ko has been showing off her new putter from PXG, the Bat Attack.

Lets unpack this news from Cobra. The heritage club is a new release of their F7 driver. Its the exact same driver except they have changed the paint to make the club look like a persimmon driver. I mean it looks as like a persimmon as much as a 460cc driver with moveable weights and adjustable hosel setting will allow. Some people will love this and think its the coolest thing ever. I like the blue version more but to each his own. At least it doesnt seem they are going to jack up the price for this special edition.  The part of this release that intrigues me the most though is the Puma clothing that came out with it. The hat isnt my cup of tea but give me the jacket, khakis, and those brown Ignite shoes. I would wear all of those no questions asked. Another interesting part of this release is how involved Bryson DeChambeau was in the release. There was no Fowler. All of the marketing materials were Bryson. He was at the PGA Superstore for the press conference. He seems to have a lot of influence on Cobra. It will be interesting to see how else he influences the company. He seems to have a completely different style than Rickie. Cobra has a lot of money invested in Rickie but lets see how much Bryson can sway the clothing and club design.

The Bat Attack

Another PXG release is official today. They have released a new putter based on Lydia Ko’s Bat Attack. As you may have guessed it is super expensive and it has a ton of screws. PXG prides it self on having the best R&D department. That makes this particular release interesting. They have essentially taken the Odyssey #7 model and made it shorter and squatier. There really doesnt seem to be anything super special about it. It looks stable but will it be worth the $550 price? Time will tell.

 

For a Wednesday it got fairly busy. I love days like today. Days where we dont expect anything but some one does something cool are exciting. Hopefully we see more of these mid release special editions.

The final brand in the series

In the last 2 posts I have talked about how searching for pre-owned clubs from Cobra and Cleveland can save you a ton of money. You will get a high quality club and save money at the same time!

Today, Im going to give you my own favorite brand to buy used.  That would be Adams. This is another company that created some good products but quickly put out a ton of bad products. The good products couldnt out run the bad. Adams truly became a product your beginners and hacks would use. They focused on boxed sets and super game improvement irons. This led to Adams stepping away from what made them great. What made Adams great was their hybrids. They revolutionized the hybrid. At one point almost every hybrid on tour was an Adams. They were that good. They moved away from players hybrids and started focusing on oversized high launching hybrids. Again they focused too much on the hacker and not enough on the player.

Throughout some of these years they did still create some awesome players clubs but didnt market it. They pushed their game improvement lines and let these great clubs fall to the wayside. Well for you that means a great value on what is regarded some of the best irons,hybrid,and woods ever. I can start with the Adams Pro Gold Forged Irons. From there we moved to the CB Series of irons. Thats the CB1, the CB2, and the CB3. It was a nice forged iron with a black finish. They feel incredible. The biggest problem that faces these irons is the black finish. If you pound a black club into the ground enough that black begins to fade and they look a lot more used than they are. Dont let that scare you away though. They are great. They hybrids are legendary. If you see any of them you should buy it if it is under 40 bucks. The drivers are also legendary. The Speedline line is great. They were low spin heads with a ton of forgiveness. One of my favorite drivers I have owned was my Adams Fast 12 LS. The post Taylormade purchase was great as well. The entire XTD line was amazing.

The list of Adams clubs I have owned is very large and the prices I have got them for is great.

Fast 12 LS-32.50

XTD (current driver)-$35

Speedline Super LS (Current 3 wood)- $22

Pro Black Hybrid (Played it for 3 years)- $1 at goodwill

Idea Tour Prototype Hybrid- $4 at goodwill. I sold it for 15 on eBay

Idea Pro Gold Tour Protoype (Current Hybrid)-$26

Yes! Putter- $4 at Goodwill. I sold it for 25 on eBay.

All I can say is I have walked the walk on these clubs. I have bought them and hell I currently use all Adams woods. They perform just as good as some of the current offerings. When I walked into demo day the Taylormade and Cobra guy saw my driver and both guys sighed. The Taylormade guy goes I dont think I can beat it. Sure enough he couldnt.

This wraps up the series on the brands to look out for when you are buying clubs preowned. I can attest to the value of these brands. I have put all of them in the bag. If it wernt for me getting the Hogan irons from mygolfspy I would currently be playing all Adams woods and Cleveland irons. I had a Cobra driver but it got beat out by the Adams XTD. If I come home having spent more than $100 dollars on a club I will have a lot of explaing to do. I stick with these brands and I tend to be pretty safe! Happy Hunting!

 

Lets continue this series!

Boy the end of the masters was a great one. Big props to Sergio for winning the tournament. It was awesome to see it go into extra holes. I watched every second of it. I love the Masters and it is one of my favorite weekends of the year.

My last post was about saving you some money. It was the first in my series of brands that you can buy on the preowned market for a low price. These brands don’t hold their value for some reason but they perform great. Last post was all about Cobra. This time we explore Cleveland.

The last two years all Cleveland irons and woods were changed to Srixon, their parent company. Srixon is a wildly popular club brand in the Japanese market . They decided to stop confusing people with their multiple names and put everything under one brand. Part of this was also the fact the Cleveland brand had some bad vibes. This is because if we are being honest Cleveland put out some real garbage golf clubs in the mid-2000’s to 2010’s. Despite putting out some very good golf clubs they could never rebound from the disaster that was the crap they put out. The CG Red and Yellow were widely known as failures. They didn’t feel good and didn’t perform well either. The HiBore driver performed well but it was very loud and a bunch of people wouldn’t buy it. The thing they were best known for,their wedges, became terrible too. The clubs had a cheap look to them and really turned off buyers.

As you know I wouldn’t suggest you go buy terrible clubs. This leads me to the resurgence of Cleveland Golf. In 2011 Cleveland started to make their comeback. The company released a new Launcher driver. They had 3 different weight classes so people could choose which felt best.The also released their best iron in years. The CG16 tour was a great looking and feeling club. Finding a set of these is tough to this day. People who hit them love them and don’t let them go. The next year was what I believe one of the best years a company has come out with. Everything they released that year was incredible. Most of it you can also get VERY cheap. The Cleveland Classic driver is a great low spinning head. Its got a DEEP face. I played it for a while. Its crazy though. This club can be had for around $50 in most places. I would put it up against anything out right now. That year they also released a set of irons that easily makes my top 3 iron sets ever. The Cleveland 588 CB. Its a players cavity back. It is everything you could look for in a golf club. Soft forged feel. Medium top line. Enough to give you some confidence but not too much where you think you will hit it sky high. I can usually find these right around the $200 mark. This is an incredible deal. If these had Titleist stamped on them they would still sell for $500 even after 4 years. If you want to make the move into a forged club without breaking the bank, this is a great choice. That year they also returned to their roots and brought back the 588 wedge. Yet again, this is another club that didnt hold its value but it has everything you could want. I could touch on their classic line of putters as well. They made a putter that if you didnt know any better you would pay $300. It can be found for $30-50. This isnt even mentioning the fact their NEW putters are incredible for the price. A putter that feels great with a quality grip can be yours for $99 brand new. It wont get you the looks that a soctty will but the ball doesnt know any better.

You need to know about Cleveland Golf. Go check them out. A word to the wise. Older Cleveland is good. The Tour Action irons are great but are a dime a dozen. They are regarded as one of the best ever. Old 588 wedges still hold up. As long as the grooves are ok I say play it. Generally speaking if it is a CG series club I avoid it unless it is the CG 16 Tour. Happy Hunting!

Getting the most bang for your buck

Last year I decided to do a series on how to get your equipment on the cheap. I wanted to help you out a little more this year and do a series on the brands to look for when you go out and use my tips. These brands will be the best equipment for the lowest cost.

Today we start with Cobra. Cobra is one of the larger companies in the golf world. This is what makes them so surprising as a company that produces clubs that don’t hold their value. The biggest thing with Cobra golf clubs is the fact they produced some not so great clubs through the years and it scares people away from Cobra. I will say the last 4-5 years Cobra has made some real quality clubs. The rejuvenation of Cobra really began with the Bio-Cell line. The Bio-Cell irons were ok. They didn’t knock anyone away but they most certainly were serviceable. They were just as good as anything else any other manufacturer was putting out.

The tricky part with buying Cobra gear is making sure you don’t see the Cobra name and just buy. Like I said they have really put out some bad stuff. The easy way to tell if it is one of the newer lines is the colors. The moment Cobra brought in Rickie Fowler was the moment they really started pumping out great gear. Before you buy something from Cobra just look up what colors it came in. Can you order it in Orange? If you can, buy it if the price is right.

How do you know if the price is right? There are a ton of great resources. The best one is the PGA Tour Value guide. This uses the sold listings on eBay to tell you about what the clubs will sell for. Another great resource is Golfwrx Classifieds (Also a place to buy clubs). Don’t hesitate to ask questions.

I love newer Cobra golf clubs. They look good and the play even better. Everything they make from their drivers all the way to their wedges are quality. Where you can really get a good deal is in the irons. They don’t hold their value but most people who get them refuse to give them up. You don’t see many used Cobra iron sets. Tomorrow we look at another company that will give you great value in your search for good equipment. Happy Hunting!

Its time for a new Podcast!

Hey everyone! I am sitting in the Boston Logan airport with my wife and I decided now was as good a time as any to post my newest podcast.

 

This one is great! I got to interview Brad from Bradley Putters. He makes Burl wood putters and uses engineering to make the putters perform great and feel great. I wont spoil too much but here you go!