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
PING decided to make their presence known on the USGA conforming list this morning. We are seeing our first look at the brand new PING driver, the G400.
The G400 will also come in 3 different models just like the G series did. We have the LST, the SFT and the G400. The LAST is for a more penetrating ball flight. The SFT is the draw based higher flying driver and the G400 is the middle of the road driver.
The last model used a strategically placed weight to accomplish these ball flight goals. The new model has instead used tungsten to provide the needed weight. They have also added what looks to be a weight in the back to help pull the Center of Gravity back to increase forgiveness. If you don’t like the turbulators on the crown I am afraid I have some bad news, they appear to be staying.
Usually when things hit the USGA list they tend to be put into play pretty quickly so we very well could be seeing these on tour this week at the US Open
Well demo day at the merchandise show is over and some of the stuff out there is starting to flow out of Orlando. It doesnt seem there was anything too earth shattering. Dont get me wrong we have some new stuff and there were a couple of surprises but nothing overly crazy.
We start off with one of the most basic parts of the club. Golf Pride is coming out with a revised version of the MCC Plus4 grip. It is named the MCC Plus4 Align. They have added a rib to the backside of the grip. This allows the player to put their hands on the club better and more consistently. Basically they added a rib to a grip. This isnt anything crazy or earth shattering. Companies have been doing this for years. That being said things had moved to no rib in the grip so it is nice to see that option coming back.
Im a big fan of using technology out on the course. Thats why when I saw a tent for VPAR that said “Now you know when each shot counts” I looked it up and saw it was an app that allowed you to have live leader boards with your friends. You could have a tournament and it would track your scores and display them like a leader board at a professional tournament. This would let you know the score you would need to win the tournament. Its a good way to give you and your friends. It also has stat tracking and GPS rangefinder capabilities. Its pretty nifty. I downloaded it and will let you know what I think next time I’m out on the course.
Probably the coolest thing I saw in all the pictures today was the Skycaddie LINX GT again I am a huge fan of technology and love what it can do for your average golfer. Tour players have access to caddies who can give them precise numbers to bunkers,hazards,front of green, middle of green, and back of green. The pros also have very specific ways of tracking how far they hit each club. The Skycaddie Linx GT allows you to do both of these things in one. It is a GPS range finder that will give you all of the important distances you may need. Thats super useful. Knowing its 135 to clear the water is more useful than not knowing at all. This could save you a stroke or 2 out there. That would be cool enough but it wouldnt be ground breaking. Thats been around a while. Where this is different is they have incorporated shot tracking. It comes with sensors that you stick in the grip of the clubs. When you hit the club it registers the shot. When you drive to your next shot it calculates the distance you traveled and tells you how far you hit the ball. Its always useful to know how far you hit each club. The results may not be what you want to see but if you use that information correctly it can make a difference. Its $349.99. Id love to get it out on the course and do some reviews but it may be a little too rich for my blood.
I am a big fan of getting kids into the game. Its the only way we will keep the game alive in the future. If you have a child who is showing some interest in the game and needs some clubs youd be hard pressed to find something better than the US Kids Golf sets. They sell clubs by height not age. That to me is a big selling point. It is also affordable and high quality.
I dont have anything to say about the Epon AF Tour. I just needed an excuse to put this club up. Its gorgeous.
Tomorrow could be a huge day. Taylormade and Tiger Woods have an announcement. Some people are saying Tiger will be announcing that he is playing Taylormade clubs. Others are saying Tiger is buying a majority stake in Taylormade. Stay tuned for info!
This past week was a pretty crazy week in the golf equipment world. I wrote about Hogan firing all of their employees and reorganizing. Callaway also told everyone their poorly kept secret. They have a new driver and it is Epic. Finally we got a look at what Ping is releasing as their newest iron.
In a couple of weeks the biggest equipment event of the year takes place in Florida, The PGA Merchandise Show. With it being such a big deal I decided to give you a nice preview of what to expect.
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Around 8 AM news started to flow out of Ft Worth, TX that Ben Hogan had fired all their employees and were going to be closing up shop. This was very sad news to me. I have a set of PTx irons in the bag. I will admit they are very expensive but they are a very good club. The people seemed to truly care about what they were trying to do. I can go through some of the problems that the company faced but that could take a little bit of time (Possibly part of a podcast episode)
Later in the day Hogan seemed to try and do a little damage control. They issued a statement that basically said that they were not closing but they were restructuring. Getting rid of everyone seems to be a pretty dang serious restructuring.
Over the course of about 5 hours a club company went out of business,didnt go out of business, and was restructuring. It was an interesting ride for sure. Its not everyday a club company lets go of ALL of its workforce and decides to “restructure”. Ill keep you updated on everything I hear. It will be interesting to see what they bust out with at the PGA Merchandise Show.
As I have said in the past, I have worked in golf retail. Like any other retail job it isnt easy. It can be down right infuriating. When I go into the store I try my hardest to remember exactly what I hated about certain customers.
One of my least favorite customers was the guy who came in and blatantly lied about his talents.He would come in and tell me he shot in the 70’s. He would also tell me he could swing his driver 110 MPH,hit it 310, and he hit a power fade. That always sounded good to me. We would need a players driver. We needed a heavier and stiffer shaft to ge tthis going. I would set him up a driver with a nice stout shaft. First swing looks like Bernie from Weekend at Bernies took a swing. He would hit a low shot about 7 feet off the ground. The ball would roll out on the simulator and thats when the stats would pop up. Swing speed of 92. 125 yards carry. Of course his next line was always “I didnt get a hold of that one”. His next shot yielded the same results. At this point my machine was wrong. After 5 more shots he reluctantly would give over the driver. I would change it to a lighter weight regular flex shaft. Results would get better but then I would try to put him in a 10.5 degree head. At this point I was a complete idiot who didnt know what I was talking about. Then he would grab it. Hit it and it would be his best shot ever. If he would have just been honest from the start I could have saved him an hour.
While that guy was bad there was always one guy who was worse. The guy who brought in his kid and let him go wild at the putting green. It is an ability for a destructive 6 year old to find the most expensive putter in the place. Nothing makes me cringe harder than watching a 6 year old grab the new Scotty Cameron off the rack and just go to town on it. Meanwhile the dad is standing in the corner trying out a preowned Ping from 6 years ago. All it takes is one little ding on that $350 to make it useless to a potential buyer. Its not cute and its not funny. Its stupid. I hope he breaks it and you get charged for it. Give him the cheapest putter in the place. Give him some knock off preowned. Dont be an idiot. I know its awesome to get to hit golf clubs while you kid is quiet. I get it. Just next time dont let him grab the super expensive stuff.
I was walking around a golf store the other day and decided to go through the accessories section. There were so many options. For all the things that you can buy I decided to do a list of my favorite accessories and the brands I prefer.
Just as a side note. I considered putting golf balls on the list. I dont consider golf balls an accessory . They are must haves. In my eyes they are equipment
5) Golf Towel-I know it sounds crazy to put a towel on the top accessories but it is essential here in Texas. In July and August sweating is a guarantee. The towel is useful to dry your hands and to wipe sweat away and stop it from getting in your eyes. I also use my towel to clean my clubs between shots. Get the towel wet and wipe the clubs down. Clean clubs are better performing clubs! As far as my towel, I currently have an Odyssey towel hanging off my bag. I like it a lot and would recommend it to anyone. I have also seen a lot of people with the Club Glove waffle towel. I have felt the Club Glove in the store and I have to say it may be my next towel purchase.
4) Golf Tees– Air has less resistance than dirt so why not tee it up on every hole? Personally I dont tee up my 3 wood because I hit it way too high when I do and lose distance. That of course isnt the point here. The point is you will need tees. I dont think it really matters what tee you use. With that being said I use the Martini tee. I reviewed it in an earlier post. Its big and bright and easy to find after hitting. I kept my Martini tees for a year before I finally starting to lose them. It sucks but Ill be getting more soon!
3) Headcovers– The headcover does more than look pretty in the bag. The purpose of the headcover is 2 fold. First it is there to protect the head of the club it is on. It protects it from other clubs dinging it up and making it ugly. The other reason is to protect the shaft of the club. The graphite shafts are not super durable when hit with other objects. If it is hit too much it will weaken the shaft and cause a break. The other day I saw a club that clearly never had a headcover on it. The shaft was almost worn all the way through. I got a great deal on some Stitch Headcovers. They use real leather and let me tell you they feel great and have only gotten better looking now that they are breaking in
2) Range Finder/ GPS– I found golf just felt easier when I got a range finder. My range finder is super old but it does a good enough job. I prefer a laser but either one works. Know how far it is to the pin or to a hazard is incredibly useful.When playing a course that has water going down the middle of the fairway I like knowing if I can take driver or if I should go back to a hybrid. Its like having my own caddie. Very useful. I use a very very very old Bushnell but I have no opinion on which one to use. As far as a GPS I cant recommend The Grint enough. It is a GPS and a stat tracker all in one
1) Divot Tool– You use it to fix your ball marks. You need one of these. If you dont have one use a tee. Basically I dont care what you use just use it. It takes 10 seconds. Dont be a jerk. Fix your damn ball mark so I can putt on a clean surface. Please god if you get nothing out of this article please watch this video.
The Friday after Thanksgiving my wife was going to have 4 friends at the house to watch the Gilmore Girls reboot on Netflix. The agreement was if she got to do that during the day I was getting to play a nice round of golf. I wasnt going to play some 20 dollar round of golf on a goat track. She told me we had an $80 dollar round in our budget. That kind of budget really opened up my options. From there I decided to play Coyote Ridge in Carrollton
Conditions– This year we have had a pretty warm fall and winter. This has allowed conditions to remain really good for a lot longer. With that being said it was still a late November round. The course wasnt in lush mid-April conditions but the fairways were nice and true. Going into the round I didnt expect a green course and I didnt get one. Again grass was dormant but still played great. The best part of it all was the greens. They rolled perfectly. I recently played a private course in the area and these greens were just as good. The biggest difference was the fact the Par 3 holes looked like hail had hit the green. Jesus people its not difficult to fix a ball mark. This obviously isnt on the course. This falls strictly on the terrible people who dont respect the course enough to repair it.
Layout– The course its self is a well designed par 72 course. It had a good mix of holes. At only one point did I think it was overly tough. It was the 3rd hole. The hole is 210 yards from the middle tees. I also had the wind in my face. They also decided to put the pin in the very back of an extremely deep green. The most direct path to the pin was right over the water as well. If you want my honest opinion thats a bit much for a par 3. Call me crazy but I dont believe I should need a 3 wood from the tee box of a par 3. I was playing with a couple of guys who wernt great and just like you can imagine they both dunked the ball in the water. Multiple times. From that point on our GPS read that we were behind the pace put in place by the course. After that hole there wasnt much more that I thought was unfair. It played fair and true. Hole 17 was probably my favorite hole. It was uphill about 275. If I catch driver well that turns this into a risk reward par 4. I pulled driver and ended up hitting it short and in the bunker that ran along the left side of the fairway.It is a great design for a golf hole. It is reachable but not easy. To me thats a great risk reward par 4. There was a good distribution of hazards. Bunkers were very well placed. There were enough trees to keep it interesting but not so much that any slight mishit ended up lost. The water was also in fair places. I hate when water is in the middle of the fairway just to make you not hit driver. Courses that also throw water in front of a green just to have water are the worst. The elevation on the course had the potential to be great but if I am being honest some of the development has ruined what has probably been very pretty views. You can tell the area is starting to grow and has taken some of the beauty away from the course. That being said its not ugly. Quite the opposite actually. At some points you forget you are in and around houses.
Facilities and Service– The course was great but let me tell you that this is where this course shines. If you are looking for country club service in a public course head to this course. As I popped my trunk and put on my shoes someone came up and asked me if he could take my clubs and load them onto the cart for me. I said sure and off he and my clubs went. When I walked into the clubhouse I probably looked a little confused. There was a nice receptionist asking me if I needed anything and was very nice in pointing the way to the Pro Shop. The pro shop was massive and the staff was very nice. If there was anything you needed from gloves to They were running a special that was a dozen Nike balls for an additional 10 bucks on your round. I obviously agreed to that. I grabbed one of the free yardage books and off I went to find where my clubs were. I made it out and found my clubs right by the driving range. There were range balls already on the range. I grabbed my 8 iron,driver and 58 degree wedge. The range had flags that were very easy to identify and the flags were labeled with the distances perfectly. I shot it with the laser to confirm and it was within one yard every time. The cart girl was also never too far behind when someone needed something. After the round I had an offer to clean my clubs and take them to my car for me. I declined that offer because I like cleaning my own clubs. Its something I enjoy doing so I declined that offer. The service out here is exactly what I imagine a private courase is like.
Conclusion– I would highly recommend this course. Its fun,challenging, and fair. It was well worth the $52. The course was in very good shape especially considering the time of the year. What truly makes this course great is the level of service. It will not be matched anywhere else that is considered a public course. This was a country club course with country club service at a public course price.
The past couple of days Taylormade has been releasing a some teaser pictures for their new driver. The tag line for the new driver is #thatsbetter. This all sounds great and its very intriguing. It would be much more intriguing if pictures of the driver wernt released on 2 of the major golf forums a month ago.
The new driver will be called….wait for it….. The M1 and M2. Thats right. The M1 and M2 were so successful and so good they decided to keep the name for the 2017 season. It has pretty much the same look as this years driver. The crown looks pretty much the same.. It has the 2 color white and carbon fiber head.As far as I can tell they have removed some of the white and added more carbon fiber. Looks like they are changing some of the weighting It looks a lot like a Storm Trooper. It is very distinct and recognizable. I totally see why they would keep the design.
If they kept the same name and kept the same design what could have possibly changed. Well a lot of the changes that have been made are cosmetic. The weight ports have changed on the M1.They made them smaller This probably saves a few grams and allows you to move it around to other parts of the driver. In driver design it seems the biggest goal is to save weight and get it to move around. This is how you can increase distance while maintaining the COR measurement you have to meet to keep the club within the rules. The other big cosmetic change is the use of a new color. The big color last year was gold. I personally really liked the gold. It popped and no one else has that color locked up. This year though they have gone with a neon green. Its is a very very bright green. The color screams gimmicky in my eyes. The volt and blue was gimmicky as well. Classic colors seem to sell. I always say performance sells but if I am being honest, It seems its better to look better. Its tough to show your performance when the customer wont even pick it up.
Well, you can keep following Taylormade on Twitter to see more teasers even though youve already seen the full product. I cant wait to try it. Lets see if its better than this years.
One of my favorite things TV has had on recently is the Golf Channel show Driver vs Driver. If you didnt watch every Tuesday like I did, you missed a doozy. The premise of the show was that Wilson Staff took submission from inventors and engineers from all over the country to design their newest driver.
They narrowed down all the submissions to 11 finalists. In the first two episodes they eliminated 5 and we were left with some of the best of the best. A few were eliminated in the next few episodes. When the show really began to get interesting was when the final 3 drivers were chosen. They took them on trips overseas to see manufacturing and out to Lake Tahoe to have celebrities test it out. From the start I liked the Triton. It seemed like it could be a winner. The pros liked one called the Pivot but the average Joe’s seemed to really like the Triton. The show was very well done. I watched it every week and live tweeted the whole show.
Well the good news was my favorite won. 3 days after the show was over the driver was on the shelves of my local PGA Super Store. I obviously went to hit and have some initial ideas id love so share.
First off its pretty. A lot of people hate it because of the alignment aid on the crown. Me personally I didnt mind it. The inventor says it helps you hit the sweet spot everytime subconsciously. Im not a scientist but I am calling a little bit of crap on that. Its moving at 100+ out of the corner of your eye. I have a hard time believing I will change my swing perfectly to hit the center because of a white line. With that being said, I imagine someone said the same thing about a 2 ball putter.
The sound on this driver has also taken quite a bit of criticism. I hit it myself and watched 3 others hit it. I thought it was a little loud but it wasnt obnoxious. For some reason people dont complain about the G series drivers and it wasnt half as loud.
Now we have the most important question. Does the driver perform? Honestly it does. Does it perform better than a M1 or M2? Does it beat out the XR? I wouldnt say it beats them out significantly but I can see how it might. If you walk into a driver fitting it wont be ruled out quickly. This driver is one of the most customizable in the market. It has multiple sole plates that adjust the COG. This will affect the spin and the launch of the driver. It also has 3 weights that can help fine tune the launch and direction of the ball. The best part of the driver is the shaft options. You can get a very expensive and very good shaft as a stock option. All the research ive done shows it is not a made for shaft. These are true after market shafts.
Just based on my 15 shots on a launch monitor I would have to say dont get scared to try it. I know Wilson Staff may not be the name brand you are expecting but try it youll be surprised. I may have to try to find a way to get it out on a course.