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!
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.
Its been around 18 months since Titleist released their 716 series irons. Sticking to their 2 year release cycle it was assumed the new irons would make their way to the PGA Tour around this time. Everyone expected the irons to show up on this week and lo and behold here they are! Ian Poluter showed some sneak peaks this past Friday but this week is the “official” debut.
Details are pretty light so far but we are able to make some assumptions based on what we are seeing.
The Titleist game improvement line doesnt look to add too much more technology. It has finally dropped most of the red from previous models. the only red you will see is on the 1. IT does look like they managed to slim it down a little. I am sure it will be a great GI Iron
After years of rumors the AP3 is finally here. Based on the pictures it seems to be a nice combo of the AP1 and AP2. It looks to have a large amount of forgiveness while keeping a slim profile. The big question will be if it is forged or not.
Honestly this has been the crown jewel of the Titleist iron lineup. It is used by Spieth and many many other staffers. There is no way they improved these better than what they had. It was generally regarded as one of if not the best players cavity back irons. I got to say it looks like the C16 is making its way to the retail market
This is the weirdest iron set in the whole Titleist line. Its a hollow iron that looks a little like a blade. It has tungsten on the sole to really lower the COG and make the ball fly higher. The 716 set looked terrible. It was a weird copper brown color on the bottom where the tungsten was. They have greatly improved the look by making the tungsten black. I have only seen these used as a long iron replacement. Id like to try a 9 iron in this and see how they play
Honestly I havent seen much change in this over the 716. If I am being honest I dont really see the need for this set. The AP2 seems to fill the Players Cavity Back. It looks good but again I dont see the point.
A ton of the best players in the world still play blades so Titleist is going ot give them blades. If you were questioning what they look like, they look like blades. Not much technology here. People will say they feel the best. Its tough for me to argue but something about hitting it 10 yards shorter and it hurting when I mishit it isnt fun.
I had some vacation time that expired at the end of the month and rather than lose it I decided to take a couple of half days so I could go play golf. I hit the course and I have to say I played pretty well.
A great day for golf
The weather was perfect. High 80’s with a ton of cloud cover. I know you probably dont want to hear shot by shot analysis of my round. I will say I set a record for most birdies at 6. On the other side I had about 4 double bogeys. I ended up shooting a 9 over 81. Thats right 6 birdies and I shot 9 over. Looking over the scorecard I counted 4 double bogeys. That certaintly doesnt help. As I go through some stats I had either 2 things happen. I missed the fairway or I hit it into the sand. I guess it is time to actually work in the practice bunker. I always say “Why practice in the bunker? Ill just not hit it there”. Well looks like I was wrong and it hurt me today.
I do have to mention one shot I hit today. On a 133 yard par 3, I grabbed my PW and needed to hit a nice smooth cut into the green. I took my swing and right off the club I liked it. It tracked towards the hole perfectly. I saw it land just left of the flag and take a hop to the right. The guy in front of me goes “Oh My God! What a shot!” I drove up to the green and he told me the ball landed left of the hole and literally hopped over the hole. I saw my ball about 3 feet right of the hole. It is the closest I have ever been to a hole in one.
I also have to mention the beautiful course I played today. I make the trek down south to Tangle Ridge golf course in Grand Prairie TX. Having grown up about 10 minutes from this course, I remember my dad playing it as a kid. This was my second time playing the course. The course was in great shape. It helped that I was basically following the maintenance crew on the first four holes. I had freshly cut rough and fairways! The greens rolled true. The best part of the course was the fact the carts had chargers for your phone! One of my favorite things is when a course forces you to use every club in the bag. Tangle Ridge forced me to use just about every club. I hit driver and 3 wood off tee boxes. I had some holes where it was driver then 4 iron and others were driver and a half wedge. The par 3’s made me use different clubs as well. The course really made me think. The prime example of the course making me think was the par 4 6th hole. It is a driveable par 4. The risky play is driver off the tee. The next risky play was hybrid. If I went hybrid I brought a bunker into play. The 3rd play was 3 wood over the bunker. A bad shot put me in the bunker to the right but I still had a good angle into the green. The final and most safe option was to take a 6 iron and lay up between the bunker and water. I decided on 3 wood. I crushed it. The ball went flying right where I aimed. When I drove down to the green I was about 15 yards off the green. Looking back I should have hit driver. That being said. A hole that had me thinking of 4 different options is a fun hole.
Some more ball testing
Finally, I got to test out my 2 ball test sleeve of the TP5 from Taylormade. I hate to say this but its damn good. Good low ball flight. It was a good 3-5 yards further than anything else. It also helped around the greens as well. I plan on putting it through more testing so be on the look out for that!
Another busy day in the world of golf! We have some club news and also some crazy news from the PGA Tour. Lets start with the big time equipment news.
Callaway expands their fairway wood line
We were introduced to a new fairway wood from Callaway. This one is bound to get some feelings of nostalgia going. They are going to bring back a modern version of one of the most popular fairway woods ever, the Steelhead. The company took the shape of the classic Steelhead and put a modern engine under the hood.
They kept the steel face of the original to keep the feel. The face does have all the cup face technology Callaway is known for to increase ball speed. Like a ton of Callaway products the crown will be carbon fiber. They made the crown this light so they could move the Center of Gravity low and forward. A low and forward Center of Gravity helps lower spin to help get every yard possible. In addition to being incredibly light the crown also features the Aerodynamic design that Callaway engineered with Boeing. The sole has the familiar hawkeye design that will look and feel familiar. That sole is very useful in all situations. I had a year where my swing left me and found one of these in a Goodwill bin. It was a perfect mini driver. It helped me play that summer with little frustration. I am actually really excited. The Steelhead will retail for $229.99 and will hit the pro shop 7/14. I know I love equipment but its usually hard to justify the price. This one is actually going to be on my to try and buy list.
The news from the PGA Tour is possibly the most sudden and surprising news from the tour in a long time. Phil Mickelson and his caddie Bones have gone their separate ways. Bones has been on the bag for all of Phils career. They seemed to have a relationship more unique than any other player caddie relationship. They were best friends. Over the past few weeks they seemed to be at odds with each other. It wasnt too severe but it was noticeable. This may have been a chance to save the friendship at the expense of the professional relationship