Return of the Mack – Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Wedges

Return of the Mack – Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Wedges

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Written By: Tony Covey

If you follow Callaway Golf on Facebook or Twitter, today’s announcement of the Mack Daddy 2 wedge is basically old news. Sure, you’re probably getting the details for the first time, but the pics…the most important part of any club release…Callaway has been posting those for a while now, so chances are the existence of the Mack Daddy 2 wedge isn’t coming as a complete surprise.

Big Grooves To Fill

Roger Cleveland’s name is on a lot of wedges. There’s well…that other golf company, and then there’s the work he’s done since he joined Callaway. The dude has got a serious rep in the wedge game. He’s a legend.

He’s not alone. Callaway’s Mack Daddy grooves, they’ve got a rep of their own, and while I’m all for nostalgia, Callaway’s got no business recycling the name, if it can’t live up to the original.

Arguably the greatest chewer of the golf ball in the history of once-legal wedges, Callaway’s original Mack Daddy grooves are so fierce the company still uses them to test golf ball durability.

Will the sequel be half as mean?

Technical Blah Blah Blah

“Tour Tested Design with more spin and versatility from everywhere”. – Callaway’s One-Liner  for the Mack Daddy 2

With the new Mack Daddy 2 lineup, it’s all about options. Callaway offered a standard grind and a C-Grind for a number of years, but for the Mack Daddy they’re offering a Phil Mickelson-inspired U-Grind as well.

“Golfers ask their lob wedges to perform a lot of different shots so it’s important to design these wedges to be extremely forgiving and versatile,and that’s what we’ve done with these new grooves and the added custom grind options. The MD2’s will be a must for the golfer who wants to perform to his or her best in the toughest of conditions.” – Roger Cleveland

The Standard Grind – Well…relatively ordinary. There’s visible curvature (radius) to the leading edge, but it’s not as extreme as some other designs. There is some heel relief as well, but it’s a grind best suited for firmer conditions and the guy who keeps the wedge face square at address.

C-Grind -By now familiar to many of you, the versatile C-Grind features visible heel and toe relief. The design is well suited for a variety of conditions and players who frequently open up the face as it helps the leading edge sit closer to the ground on those type of shots.

U-Grind – According to Callaway, the Phil Mickelson-inspired U-Grind  increases dynamic bounce (actual bounce at impact) without increasing static bounce.  It has a concave sole, and the tightest radius of the 3 grinds. As you’d expect from a Mickelson-inspired wedge, there’s plenty of versatility to play a variety of shots. Callaway didn’t provide any samples of the U-grind, so I can’t really comment on the design or its functionality. Frankly, I’m a little bitter about it.

Specifications

As they’ve done over the past several iterations of their wedges, Callaway is offering the MD2 in both low glare Satin Chrome, and the awesome Slate finished that first appeared in the X Forged Jaws CC wedge. Like the Vintage finish available in the original X Forged wedge, the Slate finish will wear and rust over time.

Retail price for both finishes is $119.00

While Callaway is billing the Mac Daddy 2 as being inspired by the original X Forged, it’s definitely a more modern take on the classic tear drop shape. It’s more rounded than some may like, and the face is definitely taller than those found on the classic wedges of yore. Who else misses yore?

It’s a bit odd when you’re looking at it without the context of a golf ball in front of it, but for better or worse, it’s what more and more wedges look like these days. I don’t love it, but I don’t exactly get a vote either.

Getting the Mojo Back

Ever the since the USGA spoiled the fun and put limits on grooves, the OEMs have been trying to find ways to get their mojo (for our purposes, mojo means spin) back.

The first go around for Callaway and others basically involved adding more grooves and packing them tighter together. It worked, but only a little.

The latest trend in the industry is to add additional face milling, or micro grooves, with the idea that they can help rev up the RPMs. Cleveland is doing it, Nike is doing it, Wilson is doing it, you get the point…everybody is doing it, and with the Mack Daddy 2 wedge, Callaway is joining the micro groove party.

Fresh out of the plastic you’ll immediately notice the wedges have an almost sandpaper-like texture. That’s the micro grooves. Callaway’s explanation is that they basically condition the face to add roughness after the micro grooves wear off…and they most definitely do wear off.

Take a look at the before and then the after photo of the 56° wedge I spent some time with out on the range. After less than 50 balls, the majority half swings, there is visible wear to the micro grooves. The texture is disappearing…quickly. They’re definitely not designed to last forever.

Different Grooves for Different Lofts

You might recall that when Mizuno released their MP-T11 wedge one of the features that different lofts utilized different groove patterns. It makes plenty of sense…higher lofted wedges are used differently than lower lofted ones, and Mizuno found that what works for higher lofted clubs isn’t ideal for lower lofted ones, and vice versa.

Apparently the Callaway R&D team found some truth in the logic as they’ve done something similar with the Mack Daddy 2 wedges.

Lofts of 56° and above have what Callaway is calling a 5V groove. It’s 29% larger than the 20V groove found on the previous wedge. All of this works out to a wedge that Callaway says provides 25% more spin on full shots.

If you’re wondering about the find print, here it is:

*5V groove found in 56*, 58*,60*64* wedges, 25% more spin claim based on full shots hit out of the rough compared to 2011 Callaway Forged Wedge – The fine print made not-so-fine

The lower lofted wedges have smaller grooves which are designed to not produce quite as much spin on their own. Clubhead speed and loft take care of that.

Just Tell Me If They Spin

As the wedge guys work to get their mojo (again, spin) back, new groove technology is a part of nearly every new wedge release. 5V, micro grooves, it all sounds pretty cool, but ultimately golfers only care about one thing:

Does the damn thing spin? – What Every Golfer Wants to Know

In-between thunderstorms I took the FlightScope and a bag of Callaway HEX Black balls out to the range. I set up at 50 yards (basically a half sand wedge) away from the flag and hit several shots with the Callaway MD2, my gamer, and a 2013 model from a competitor.

Before we look at the data, please be advised, this is hardly a full and comprehensive review. I just hit a few (dozen) balls to quickly see how the new wedge compares to a couple of others. Shots were hit from what most would describe as light, uneven, and wet rough. I didn’t take any full swings (not interested in losing a bag full of HEX Blacks to the range attendants), and didn’t plug the data into our formulas that decide what we keep and what we spit out. I simply grabbed the 5 highest spinning shots I hit with each wedge.

As you can see, the Callaway MD2′s spin numbers are probably well within the margin of error given the small sampling. Just an FYI, that 11° of axis tilt with Competitor #1 is likely the result of a severe outlier, so don’t read anything into that number.

Competitor 2 is actually my gamer. It’s about a year old, and while it has conforming grooves, it doesn’t have any of this fancy new-fangled groove technology. You can probably chalk up the extra distance and tighter dispersion to familiarity and comfort.

It’s worth noting that the best shots (cleanest contact)  produce noticeably higher spin rates with each wedge, but FlightScope’s software reports that the MD2 produced the most consistent spin of the bunch, and that’s no insignificant detail.

While most of enjoy watching a ball hop once and stop dead, or even suck back several yards, what really matters with a wedge is consistency. You want something that’s going to produce similar results with every swing. Inside of 100 yards, I don’t want any surprises.

Is the Callaway MD2 Wedge a Winner?

Honestly, I haven’t spent enough time with it to reach any definitive conclusions. Aesthetics are what they are. If you love them, great. If you don’t, fine. I will say that once I started hitting shots, I didn’t really notice the looks of any of the 3; including my own which I’d otherwise tell you is a beautiful wedge.

Feel is on par with the other 2 forged wedges I tested (and that’s damn good) and I found it relatively easy to consistently hit (or almost hit) my target distance. When it comes to wedges, consistency matters above all else. Please believe that.

Whether you actually need your wedges to spin is a topic for another day, but my admittedly brief time with the Callaway MD2 suggests that it’s going to spin as well as you need it to. The Competitor 1 wedge is one we believe offers above average spin on precisely the type of shots I hit, and the new MD2 was right there with it while producing more consistent results.

I actually asked Callaway how close we are to getting back to where we were pre-groove rule. I didn’t get an answer, but my own testing suggests we’re not there yet.

The Mack may have returned, but he’s lost a bit of his bite.

While it’s not a surprise that Mack Daddy 2′s grooves don’t eat urethane like the original, there were enough scuffs on golf balls to make me feel a little bit better about it.

Ultimately we’re reserving judgement (this isn’t a review), but early indications are that the new Callaway MD2 is everything you’d expect from a Roger Cleveland designed wedge; a versatile and consistent performer that offers outstanding feel.

As with every other club in your bag, finding the right fit – which means finding the right grind for your game and the conditions you play it in – will be critical to getting the most out of your wedge.

Get Your Wedgeducation

As part of their efforts to talk directly to the consumer, Callaway has produced series of videos they’re calling “Wedgeducation”. The videos feature Roger Cleveland and Callaway’s Director or Fitting & Instruction, Randy Peterson, and can be seen on www.CallawayGolf.com/wedgeducation. The videos will offer short game tips and provide information on how you can get the most out of your scoring clubs.

More Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Goodness

Callaway MD2 Wedge-2
Callaway MD2 Wedge-6
Callaway MD2 Wedge-10
Callaway MD2 Wedge-11
Callaway MD2 Wedge-13
Callaway MD2 Wedge-14
Callaway MD2 Wedge-15
Callaway MD2 Wedge-16
Callaway MD2 Wedge-17
Callaway MD2 Wedge-18
Callaway MD2 Wedge-20
Callaway-MD2-Wedge-Groove-Wear-1

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Spy Pic – Callaway FT Optiforce Driver

Spy Pic – Callaway FT Optiforce Driver

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Written By: Tony Covey

The war for market share, and I suppose by extension the hearts (and dollars) of the golfing consumer, between TaylorMade and Callaway is heating up.

Get your angry fists ready.

We’ve been hearing rumors about accelerated product launches (which translates to decreased product life-cycles) since this spring’s price wars began.

That driver you bought a month ago…it’s quickly creeping closer towards obsolescence.

Today the first concrete evidence of a new Callaway driver surfaced. The guys at South Florida Golf Magazine posted the below photo of the upcoming Callaway FT Optiforce Driver.

Coming Soon

Callaway filed for the Trademark on the name back on January 30th, and the rumblings are that the new driver is going to be released within the next several weeks.

We’re told that stock shaft offerings for FT Optiforce are the Project X Velocity 43 and Mitsubishi Diamana S+. The FT Optiforce will be available in a 460cc standard model, and what we assume is a 440cc Pro Model.

Retail price is expected to be $399 for the driver, and $229 for the non-adjustable (glued) fairway wood.

At first glace we think the FT Optiforce looks quite a bit like Callaway’s Japanese Market Legacy series (above).

And speaking of the Legacy lineup, recently 3 distinct Legacy models were added to the USGA’s conforming list.

Callaway looks to be cranking out drivers at a rate usually associated with…well…you know who.

But Wait There’s More…

On June 18th Callaway filed for yet another Trademark on the name Big Bertha Alpha. Whether that driver will hit shelves this fall or early next year remains to be seen. I suspect that while Callaway has a plan, they’re certainly reserving the right to change their mind should market conditions (competitor releases) make it in their best interest to get aggressive.

Let’s call this the consequence of success. While TaylorMade still enjoys a comfortable lead in metalwoods market share, it’s obvious that Callaway is going to do everything it possibly can to regain its spot on top of the industry.

Chip Brewer clearly means business.

It’s Just the Beginning

This spring’s discounts have reiterated the fact that price drops can move product. In fact the only thing that can move product better than a price drop is new product.

Despite all the grumblings about “new drivers every 2 weeks”, the reality is that consumers are willing to replace, upgrade, or otherwise change their drivers with regularity. If I’m a golf company in a hyper-competitive market I’m going to keep releasing drivers so long as my pipeline is long enough to do so.

The consumer will always buy.

Regardless of what you might believe, it’s actually been a while since we actually saw a golf company release 3 or 4 distinct models in a single season, but you better get used to it, those days are about to return.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

SEP122009

SEP122009

golf instruction video

Image by colemama

Normally Saturday mornings are ideal times to find games going on around town, but the rainy conditions kept some away from play. It looks like the golfers and the basketball players are a much hardier group than those tennis players! 😉 Wonder if there’s a universal motivator that keeps some out of the rain and others apathetic towards the weather when pursuing a fun activity?

Daniel Pink (author of highly recommended reading, A Whole New Mind) on TED video describes the value of intrinsic motivation and how business models’ emphasis on extrinsic motivation are outdated and inaccurate. The power of intrinsic motivation is certainly not new – it’s been a long-desired goal for our students in learning. Instead, schools (like businesses), have turned to external motivators (grades, scholarship promises, and other rewards) to guide student education. So, now have we ‘created a monster’? Are students limiting their time and energy to just doing the minimal as tied to the external standard? Just the other day, a 11th grader who admittedly doesn’t read well asked me why our HS Library doesn’t do "Reading Counts" as that is the program that motivated her to read in middle school…Did this incentive model really serve the purpose of learning? Are our teachers losing opportunities for helping students develop a ‘love for learning’ when they must focus on standardized assessments and packaged programmed instruction? Will we find a way to focus on intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, motivating factors in the future?

This photograph compilation is a response to Carol Van Hook’s "Game is On" 365 Flickr Challenge for September 2009 . Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club & Gulfview Middle School, Naples, FL

The ParMates Experience

The ParMates Experience

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This past week, I boarded a jet plane and headed Southwest to Las Vegas, Nevada. It seems like each time I arrive in the desert, there is always something new. A new luxury resort, a new show, or another well thought-out way to leave a guy with less money in his pocket when he boards his return flight home.

Whenever I am in town I have certain spots that I like to get to each time I visit. But just the same, I make it a point to try something new that I haven’t done in the past. This trip, that something new was an evening round of golf with a ParMate, at the Royal Links Golf Club.

What is a ParMate?

In the most simplistic terms, a ParMate is a female caddy. But, this is Las Vegas, and nothing is simple and everything is beautiful; much like the reflection I see in the mirror. A ParMate is a female caddy that is a professional model trained to do everything a typical caddy would except, carry your bag.

The caddy’s are models from the Henderson, Nevada, based Platinum Modeling Agency who work in partnership with Walters Golf. Walters Golf manages three golf courses in the Las Vegas area: Bali Hai (right on the strip near Mandalay Bay), Royal Links, and Desert Pines. Guests at any of the three Walters Golf properties can hire a ParMate for their round of golf. A ParMate really has only one goal and that is to provide you with one of the most enjoyable and memorable rounds of golf you’ve ever played.

What a ParMate is NOT

“It’s not what you think”. –SpyZinger’s Wife

A stripper, your date for the night, your buddies date for the night, your next wife, or…you get the point. When I told my wife about this program, the first thing I said was, “It’s not what you think.” They are professionals – beautiful professionals who know their golf courses inside and out.

Enough talk Zinger, tell me, what was it like?


I pulled up to the gates of the Royal Links Golf Club and was “buzzed” in by the attendant. I met Charles Bombard, General Manager, who treated me better than the staff at my home course back in the land of sky blue waters. I headed out for the practice facility which was well appointed with plenty of targets and was well cared for.

Like my complexion, I was hitting them pure. About 15 minutes before my tee time, Katie, my assigned ParMate, arrived and introduced herself to me. My introductions are always the same with people I meet in the industry:

“I’m SPY ZINGER, the best looking guy in golf.” –Spy Zinger (the best looking guy in golf)

Since it was 110 degrees, I hit a minimal amount of balls and asked, “Are you ready for this?” She grabbed my bag filled with Callaway, and went to work.

If it’s not evident already, Katie is obviously an attractive human being. There is no need to get into the details of her attractiveness, nor mine for that matter, as the photographs speak for themselves. That aside, I have to admit, standing on the first tee of Royal Links, I did not know what to expect.

Was this going to be analogous to taking the hostess of a nightclub out for a round of golf with me? Would I be able to concentrate on golf?

Does she think I am just a toolbox in a pink shirt?

She walked up on to the tee box, pulled my driver and started giving me the wind direction, yardages to hazards, and recommendations for shot placement. I didn’t have time to think anymore. Attractiveness aside, she was for real, and adrenaline got the best of me. To this day, I have no idea what happened, but I landed the tee ball in the green side bunker of the 339 yard par four first.

In the name of X-Forged, this was going to be a good day.

The ParMate Katie Experience

After the first hole, Katie said when the temperatures get up to 110, ParMates can take their shirts off. Well, I mean, they can wear less than they started with, by way of a tank top.

Let me tell you a little about about Katie. She is a first class professional with a graduate degree and an interest in sports psychology. From the practice tee to the final putt on 18, she made me feel as comfortable as I ever have been on the golf course. She has got to have one of the best personalities in the desert which made the experience of the round at Royal Links sincerely enjoyable.

Everything you would expect from a professional caddy Katie provided. Wind direction, hazard yardages, yardages to the front and back of the greens as well as to the flag. She cleaned my clubs after each shot, read greens with remarkable accuracy, filled divots, cleaned my balls (settle down)…the list continues. Literally, everything you would expect a caddy to do, she did.

In fact, Katie has actually caddied on the men’s professional mini-tours. To my pleasant surprise, she was the real deal in every way. It just was not what I was expecting, but the girl could caddy. I can’t tell you how helpful it was for someone to line up each putt and tell me where to aim, and how much it was going to break. She did it with remarkable consistency and accuracy. Katie can play as well, and after a few holes, I demanded that she hit some tee shots.

Not only can she caddy, but the girl has some game.

But this is only half of her job. In addition to providing exceptional caddy service, she’s also an ambassador of fun. She makes the round enjoyable by conversing as if you were friends for years. Katie provided fun facts about Royal Links and it’s unique holes, recommendations for night life, and kept the round interesting between shots. As a guest from out of town, I could not have had a more enjoyable experience on a golf course.

Royal Links

The Royal Links Golf Club is a unique course in that it is designed to reflect some of the most famous holes in golf found in the British Isles. The layout is inspired by a variety of historic golf holes from The Open Championship venues over the years. Some of the holes are taken right from St. Andrews, Royal Troon, Carnoustie, and Royal Birkdale, to name a few. Royal Links has their rendition of the “Road Hole”, “Postage Stamp”, and realistic bunkering you would expect to find on the authentic courses.

I’ve never played across the pond, and do not have vivid recollection of specific holes that I’ve seen on T.V. However, I can tell you that Walters Golf did a fine job in creating a challenging links-style layout in the middle of the desert. Granted, it’s not next to the ocean, and weather conditions are far from “British.” Nonetheless, it offers something I do not really have the opportunity to play at home in Minneapolis. I found the course conditions to be remarkable given the drastic Vegas temperatures. The lone drawback remains the location. It’s about a 20 minute drive from The Strip.

The Conclusive Details

Although pricing seems to vary by the time of day, you can expect to pay around $100 to play Royal Links this time of year. The ParMates service will run $225 per caddy, which does not include gratuity. The recommended tip for this service is between $100-300. For a foursome, after your greens fee, you could generally expect to pay around $100 a guy for the caddy and tip.

Is this worth the cost?

Well, you’re in Las Vegas, and nothing is cheap. If there is one town in America you can charge a little bit more for something you won’t find at home, this is it. You are paying for about 5 hours of an individual’s time and services. The decision is one you will have to make but I can tell you this, I did not leave thinking there was something missing from the experience. In fact, as I have mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised at the level of professionalism, golf knowledge, and entertainment that was packed into the experience. I sincerely enjoyed it.

The ParMates Service was better than expected and I would do it again, next time I come to town.

ParMates/Royal Links Gallery

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Katie Says Hi to the MyGolfSpy Readers

Find ParMates

:: Website: (www.royallinksgolfclub.com)

:: Social Media: Twitter (@parmates) and Facebook

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

First Look! Luke Donald’s New Putter*

First Look! Luke Donald’s New Putter*

Post image for First Look!  Luke Donald’s New Putter*

(Written by Dave Wolfe)

Did that title say that Luke Donald has a new putter?  What?!?  Has Luke dropped the Odyssey #7 that currently has him 20th on tour in putting?

What’s with these top tier pro’s changing gear so that they can compete for spots in the middle of the pack?

Seriously Dave, did Luke Donald change putters?

Well…  No, Luke did not change putters.  I’ll admit it that I used a sensational headline to grab your interest.  In my defense, I did put an asterisk there, which gives me license to write anything I want and disclaim it later.  It’s like when you tell someone that their newborn baby is ugly, but say “just kidding” right after.  “Just Kidding” shows that you are a joker, not a jerk.

So what is this article really all about if not Luke Donald’s new putter?   Actually, a potential new putter for Luke is exactly what this is all about.

A little ways back, I introduced you to the Mizuno MP A-Series line of putters, speaking volumes about their greatness, only to crush your dreams of ownership by revealing their non-USA distribution at the end of the piece.  I’ll be right up front today.  These Mizuno Line 90 putters are also only available from Mizuno outside of the USA.

This may make you experience feelings of frustration and an inclination to lash out in anger.  Go ahead, it’s justified.  Yell into your monitor, curse my name, Mizuno’s name, shake your fist at the sky, or go outside and tell the damn kids to get off of your lawn.  Do whatever allows you to vent your rage.  Not having access to these putters should anger the putter-phile, because once again, Mizuno has brought a fantastic putter to market.  Regrettably though, not to your market.

Let’s ignore that distribution shortfall and get back to your concerns about Luke Donald changing putters.  Again, Luke Donald is not changing putters, but after spending some time with the Line 90 K-02, I could definitely see it happening at some point.

How great would that be for Mizuno Golf?

Luke Donald, arguably the face of Mizuno Golf, decides to bag a Mizuno putter.  Would that start a putter migration with other staff members?  Would Stacy Lewis, Charles Howell III, and all of the Team JPX Members (did I ever mention that I was a finalist for that contest?) follow Luke’s lead to the land of Line 90?  I could see it happening.  Let’s take a look at a couple of the putters in the Line 90 series and I’ll try to convince you why this could happen.

General Specs:  Mizuno Line 90 Series Putters

  • 1025 Carbon Steel
  • CNC Milled Face
  • Satin Finish
  • Top line alignment bevel
  • Face “Score Lines” to reduce skid and promote true roll
  • Oversize Winn grip
  • Five Head shapes (M-02, S-02, K-02, T-02, & V-02)

 

V-02

Mizuno Line 9004
Mizuno Line 9002
Mizuno Line 9006
Mizuno Line 9005

The Line 90 V-02 is perhaps the best representation of the atypical head shapes found in the Line 90 series.  Is it a blade or a mallet?  Yes, it’s one of those.  Toe hang, facilitated by the plumbers neck, comes in at a blade-like 4:00.  It definitely plays like a wide-body blade more than a traditional mallet, although the geometry and head-weight lean more toward mallet.  Mid-mallet may be the best description as it really represents a transition between the M-02 blade and the true mallet K-02.

 

K-02

Mizuno Line 9012
Mizuno Line 9009
Mizuno Line 9010
Mizuno Line 9013

And here we have my proposed successor to the Donald putter well, the Line 90 K-02.  This beauty is all high-MOI mallet.  Most of the weight is pushed to the perimeter in the K-02’s tapering wings.  There was a time when I would have argued that the Odyssey Sabertooth was the most easily weaponizable putter.  Not any more.  The Line 90 K-02 has the sleek and dangerous lines of an ice axe.  If nothing else, the intimidation factor gained by bagging this putter should reduce the smack taking in your usual playgroup.  Digression aside, the perimeter weighting and face-balance of the Line 90 K-02 should be a welcome fit for anyone who games an Odyssey #7, including you and Luke Donald.

 

General Impressions

Looks

The Line 90 putters do not conform to traditional norms for head shapes.  I wish that I had the whole line to photograph, because the shots on the Mizuno Europe site really do not show everything that is going on.  From the bottom, the M-02 looks like any Ping Anser clone, but when you see it at address, that clone thought goes away.  What I really like about these putters is that the strange geometries prove quite functional.  At address, the curves and colors in both the K-02 and the V-02 generate visual flow toward the center of the putter and the putter’s face.  I found this especially true in the K-02.  It’s a relatively large head, but my eye always seemed to rest on a golf ball sized area, centered in the middle of the face.  Note to Mizuno, we need to see more photos on your website.

 

Feel

Like their MP A-Series brethren, the Line 90 putters feel soft and responsive.  The “Score Lines” on the face really put a crisp roll on the ball, while retaining the soft feel that many golfers look for at impact.  Both of the models tested are fairly hefty and mallet-like, but they are not sluggish in the swing.  Balance is excellent; the swing is smooth.  Impact is also characterized by a nice ringing tone.

 

Alignment

Again aping the MP A-Series, the Line 90 putters also feature The Top Line Alignment Bevel.  If you look at the address and the face photos for the putters you can’t help but notice the blue line on the top of the face.  Don’t be alarmed; you are supposed to notice it.  That’s part of the alignment scheme.  Once again, I’ll swipe a quote from the Mizuno product page:

“Research shows that a positive mindset is the most significant factor in how often we hole out – whether that be for amateurs or professionals. The Line 90 project is about creating putters that feel right from the moment you pick them up. The thicker grip, heavier weighting and alternative alignment breed the positive emotions you need to make a more assertive stroke. It’s hard to ignore the results.”
Andy Kikidas – Tour Operations Manager

I don’t know if I agree that good feelings will result in more putts made, but I do think that better alignment systems will lead to more putts made.  Lines parallel to the putting face are definitely one of this year’s design themes.  If you can square these lines to the target line, then you are square to target.  This perpendicular line scheme has been definitively demonstrated by the tour success of Odyssey’s Versa line.  The Line 90 alignment system, although less overt than the Versa, works the same way.  Square the blue lines and fire.

 

In Conclusion

Truth be told, I am feeling guilty for hooking you with the sensationalized, and perhaps misleading headline about Luke Donald switching to a Mizuno Line 90 putter.  In my defense, “Why is Luke Donald not gaming this?” was one of the first thoughts that I had after rolling the K-02.  I know that pros select their equipment for a variety of reasons, with sponsor cash being one of them. I also know that Luke is not getting any money from Odyssey to play their putter, and you know this too because Luke does not show up in any Odyssey advertising.

I guess my limited-pro-golf-understanding brain just thinks, “If you are not getting paid by Odyssey, and your major sponsor has a putter that meets your specs, why not give it a go?”  My experience with the Mizuno Line 90 putters makes me think that Luke should take a look at them.  He has 19 reasons to improve his putting.  Maybe Luke gaming the Line 90 would also compel Mizuno to bring their excellent putter lines back to the United States, thus turning the putter lover’s anger to elation.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Training Aid Review – Hip Trax Core Laser

Training Aid Review – Hip Trax Core Laser

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By: Matt Saternus

As an instructor, I know that the hips play a huge role in producing a powerful, repeatable golf swing.  The problem is that there are very few training aids that give golfers any feedback on what their hips are doing.  For this reason, I was very excited to see Hip Trax unveiled at the PGA Show this past January (I even gave them one of my PGA Show Awards).  I’ve had Hip Trax now for a couple months and I’m ready to tell you if this is the training aid that will put you on the path to a club championship.

Ease of Use/Set Up – 10 Points

Setting up Hip Trax takes only about a minute.  Clip the laser belt around your waste, lay out the target mat, and set up to it.

To understand what you should be doing with Hip Trax, you need to watch a 10 minute video.  It’s not exactly “The Usual Suspects,” but it gets the point across.  Once you know the basic exercises to do with Hip Trax, you can go back to using the DVD as a coaster.

Score: 8.5/10

Effectiveness – 30 points

Though I have two major reservations, I think that, on the whole, Hip Trax is an effective training aid.

If you watch the training video, you see that all of the different exercises are variations on “Keep the laser on the dotted line.”  If you keep the laser on the line, you are getting your hips to rotate, tilt, and bend correctly (at least according to the manufacturer).  Some of the higher level exercises also incorporate your upper body so that you can work on sequencing your swing properly.  I think that for the average golfer, this can be very informative.

In addition to teaching the golfer the correct movement of the hips, Hip Trax also provides a workout.  Regular use of Hip Trax should improve the strength and flexibility of the golfer’s core which should result in fewer injuries and better performance.

Now, my two reservations:

1) There is no clear direction about how to set up to the ball.  When you watch the video, it asks you to address the ball, then adjust the laser until it hits the target line.  While watching this, I envisioned people taking very unsound address positions and never realizing they have a problem.  I’m aware that Hip Trax cannot necessarily be responsible for bad set up positions (it doesn’t claim to teach set up), but I think some guidance would be helpful since it is well known that proper pelvic position is key to an effective golf swing.

2) Hip Trax can only be used at low speed.  While learning the right movements is important, doing them in slow motion can only take you so far.  As anyone who has tried to change their swing knows, doing something slowly is much easier than doing it at full speed while trying to hit a ball.  Again, Hip Trax does not claim to work at high speed, but if there was a way that it could do so, it would certainly boost its effectiveness.

Score: 25/30

Longevity – 20 points

After the “new toy” shine has worn off, Hip Trax becomes like any other indoor training aid or piece of home gym equipment: if you really want to work and get better, it’s there.  If not, it’s going to gather dust.  Using Hip Trax is easy and convenient, but the results are a lot more fun than the process.

Score: 15/20

Value – 20 points

Hip Trax retails through the Laser Gym website for $199.99, double our “average” training aid price.  While I am willing to accept a slightly higher price for a training aid that’s fairly novel and effective, the high price will likely deter many golfers.

Score: 16/20

The Peanut Gallery – 20 points

The Peanut Gallery was impressed by Hip Trax, largely because it’s so different than most training aids that they have seen before.  Overall, they enjoyed the challenge of trying to keep the laser on the dotted line and found that there were enough different exercises to keep their attention.  While there were not any buyers at the $200 price tag, those who struggle with unorthodox lower body movements did say that they were interested in spending more time with Hip Trax.

Score: 17/20

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think that Hip Trax occupies a fairly unique space in the world of training aid and it does its job well.  While there are a couple improvements I would like to see down the road, I don’t think that should discourage golfers from taking a look at Hip Trax if they are interested in refining their swing while improving their core strength.

Score: 81.5/100

COUPON CODE: MyGolfSpy readers can get 20% off Hip Trax.

Enter code “golfspy”  at checkout.

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