2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver – Show Me The Data!

2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver – Show Me The Data!

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As you know, we collect mountains of data during each and every one of our club tests. When it comes to winners, and I suppose losers too, that data is the judge, jury, and on occasion, executioner. Data is what drives our process. Data is the thing that separates us. Data is part of what makes us who we are.

We are datacratic.

We don’t convene panels to decide what technology is actually innovative.

The data tells us what’s real and what isn’t.
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Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.
We don’t have retail experts to tell us what consumers will be buying.

We already have a pretty good idea what’s going to sell.

We look past all of the marketing, and the buzzwords. We’re not influenced by cartoons, or puppets, or anything else the manufacturers come up with to try and sell you their latest club…the one that’s sooooo much better than the one they released 6 months ago.

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We don’t reward noise. We reward performance.

We have our data, and because we think the process should be transparent, you have our data too.

Here it is.

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We give you several key metrics for each of our testers and all 23 clubs in our test. Distance, ball speed, launch angle, spin rates…here it is for you and anyone else to see. Sort it, filter it. Dig deep…or don’t. It’s totally up to you.

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This is Barely the Beginning

Our approach is not without its critics. Some of what we’ve heard is fair and reasoned, and we appreciate that. Some of it is little more than the misinformed and misguided ramblings of overzealous fanboys. And we appreciate that too (who doesn’t love a good laugh?).

All of it (the good, the bad, and the we’re-loosing-faith-in-humanity ugly) drives to take what we’ve done and make it better. It doesn’t matter if you love our process, or hate it, I promise you this is barely the beginning of what we have planned.

Wait until you see what we have in store for 2015.

Full 2014 Most Wanted Driver Coverage

:: Coming Soon – MyGolfSpy’s 2014 Most Wanted Driver Test
:: 2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver – It’s Go Time
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Distance Awards
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Accuracy Awards
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Overall Winners
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Tester’s Pick
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Beyond the Data
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – The Data 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Top 10 Green Reading Myths Exposed

Top 10 Green Reading Myths Exposed

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(By Peter Brown, Level 2 AimPoint Instructor)

How do you read greens?

Do you have a specific methodology that you follow? Is that methodology sound, or do you find your putting relies a lot on hit and hope? Are your reads shaky? Don’t worry. You are not alone.

One of the reasons that golfers struggle so much on the green is that there is a whole bunch of bad information out there about how a putt will behave on the green.

Regrettably, the myths of green reading are many.

GreenReadingMyths1

This list was compiled recently with the help of several top instructors (PGA and LPGA), a former PGA tour player, a golf course architect, and college coaches. Each responded with their favorite myth or misconception. Each was then ranked in order of mentions.

You may have seen or heard of these methods but, how valid are they?

10. Just feel it in

A golfer just looks at the ball and the cup and immediately “knows” how to aim the putt and get it in the hole.

GreenReadingMyths3

I hear all the time that, “I’m a feel putter.” What does that really mean? Do you just stare at the hole until a Zen-like state of clarity shows you the way? Are you hallucinating the green line and disconnecting from your body as you swing the club?

Instructors felt that many feel putters actually manipulate the putter in order to get the ball on their intended line. Look at it this way, if you are a true feel putter, why do you spend all that time on the practice green grooving the perfect stroke? I think that saying that you are a “feel putter” actually means that you have no real system for putting and that each putt is a guess about line and speed.

Some putts do go in, validating your feel. When a putt doesn’t go in, you just felt it wrong, as opposed to hitting it on a poor line with awful pace.

 

9. Plumb bob

Your putter is now an engineers leveling device. You hold it vertical, aligning it with the hole and the green, and this tells you the amount and direction of break.

Just type it in to YouTube and hundreds of different variations come up. It seems that the bottom line is that dangling your putter only gives you a small amount of info and potentially misses a lot more than it provides. Think about the simple physics of this technique. First, is your putter really balanced to start with? Will the unbalanced weight of the putter head take all of your reads left?

Even if your putter is perfectly balanced, your “bob” is only potentially accurate for break on the spot you are standing on. Once the ball leaves that spot, the how can the read pick up the breaks between you and the hole? Maybe you need multiple “bobs” along the path, and some calculus to engineer the reads all together.

 

8. Seeing the putt from all sides

Golfers will read the putt from all directions, looking above, below, and to the sides of the line to see where the putt will break.

Golfers spend lots of time walking around the hole looking for a breakpoint the ball may never cross. Imagine driving through Brooklyn, just to figure out the driving directions through Manhattan.

Did your buddy just put out a cigar on the other side of the green? Do you need to move that ash before you make your read?

Your ball is only going to roll over part of the green on it’s way to the hole. You don’t need to look at the putt from every angle. Above, below, and from a side? I’m actually OK with these looks, but you really don’t need more. I can only imagine the time it takes to read from all directions. Your buddies will be putting you on the clock, perhaps while humming the Final Jeopardy music as well.

 

7. Born with “IT”

Some golfers are just born with a natural ability to read greens. They don’t practice, or have a specific system, they are just physically and mentally more adept from birth.

kidsputting

Could it really be that the ability to read the greens was given to you at birth and can’t be learned?

This means that most of us can’t read putts as well as those born with the gift; we missed out on the green reading gene. Maybe we will be more genetically suited to bowling or darts. According to several studies including the book “The Talent Code” any skill can be learned if practiced effectively.

This myth sounds to me like it originated with a crappy putter who was making excuses. “I don’t putt as well as she does, but I wasn’t born with ‘it’ like she was.”

 

6. Last 5 feet of the putt is by far the most important.

You only need to really read the last five feet of a putt because that’s where the ball is going the slowest, and breaking the most.

Like a lot of these myths, this one is based on sound physics…coupled with insanity. The ball will break more as it nears the cup and slows, but the last time I checked, my ball has to roll over the entire distance of the putt to make it to the hole. It’s not like it hovers, then lands at the five foot point.

What about this scenario? You have a twenty-foot putt with two bowls between you and the hole. How can reading only the last five feet possibly be a good plan? Do you forget about the break at fifteen feet and the break at ten feet? If you send that ball off in the wrong direction on the first break, how will it possibly be on line at five feet? You need to read the whole putt.

 

5. Grain

Grain refers to the direction of the growing grass. The “grain read” takes into account the direction the ball will go as it interacts with the turf. The assumption is that grain always grows in the direction of the setting sun.

Those who rely heavily on grain for reads are thinking that the direction of the grass impacts putt direction more than gravity. Top agronomists agree that for the most part grass grows with direction of slope, not with the setting sun. So when putting on surfaces, yes grain will affect speed, but not direction. If you putt at the wrong speed, that can impact the break the ball takes, but the reality is you got the pace wrong.

Up grain, or down grain really is another way to say up hill or down hill. It’s gravity, not grass.

 

4. Bodies of water

Balls will always roll toward large bodies of water, because those large bodies of water are always downhill.

Running Y Ranch 5

Do lakes, creeks, and oceans cause ball to break towards them? Maybe, but only if the body of water is actually downhill from your ball’s position.

Our golf course architect laughed at this one and his statement was “we design greens to move water off the surface of the green, but not always in the direction of the closest body of water.” He went on to state that they sometimes adjust the putting surface away from a close by body because it may be better for play. Our balls do not know where water is, although they always do seem to find it when we play.

 

3. Apex putting

Aim the ball at the highest point that the ball will roll across, and then it will roll down hill toward the hole.

 

Apex is reading the putt by aiming at the highest point the ball will roll across. If we use apex it will always be too low or hit too hard. Our former PGA tour player commented that if we hit it on this line we forget about the initial break. Forgetting about any break that the ball will roll across does not seem like a formula for accuracy.

As I said before, your ball must roll across all of the grass to reach the hole, unless, of course, you chip it while on the green, but only Tiger can get away with that.

 

2. Spider Man or Yoga reading

Getting lower to the ground makes it easier to see the line of the putt.

SpiderRead

Does it make sense to read a putt from ball height? We think that seeing is believing, but we know our eyes can also fool us. Go Google Optical Illusion. We know from experience that how we look at a putt changes how we see the putt. That’s a simple way of saying that the slope looks different from different perspectives.

Degree of perceived break changes as the distance from our eye changes. What this means is that what you see at a belly-low angle is not what you are going to see when you stand up again. If you putt from Spiderman position, this read may actually work for you. However, if you stand to putt, you should probably also stand to read. Plus, most golfers are too old, and too stiff for 30-40 Camilo-esque reads per round?

 

1.  Landmark Pull

All putts will break in the same direction toward a given, likely famous landmark.

PebbleOcean

The Pacific Ocean, Molokai, Indio, Phoenix, or Lake Merced are all interesting golf course landmarks, but THEY DON’T PULL THE BALL TOWARD THEM!

Some of these landmarks may be in the direction of break but most times it’s just a coincidence.  There might be an overall direction toward these landmarks in the course design, but designers again are trying to move water off greens, not trying to flood landmarks. I suppose that if you are totally lost on a read, remembering that on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, all putts break toward Molokai at least gives you something to help your confidence.

Yes, all putts there do break toward Molokai, except for the ones that don’t.

 

So what can you do to read putts correctly?

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First of all, stop listening to the myths. Just because someone says something on TV, it doesn’t make it true. Some of the voices that we hear on TV each week, while entertaining, propagate these myths to unsuspecting golfers. They don’t do it on purpose. The commentators are just passing along what they have heard over the years. If everyone says something, that makes it true, right?

For the full golf swing, I think that we all agree that the flight of a golf ball is all based upon the physics of the swing and the geometries of impact. Though we will claim that trees are magnetic, the reason that your ball went screaming into the pines was 100% math and 0% myth.

When you putt, you are on the same planet that you played your other shots on, and thus that putt must obey the same physical laws. Don’t worry though, at its core, the physics are simple. Just remember this simple rule: balls roll down hills, not up them.

But how will you know how far they will roll and break? You need a putting system based upon solid science and not hearsay/folklore. This is where AimPoint comes in. During a class the instructor will teach you how to gauge break, based upon the speed of the green and the slope of the putt. Do you need to know calculus? Nope, the math is simple and fast even though the reads are based upon sound science and not a bunch of local legends.

You actually probably already know about AimPoint, even if you are not familiar with the name. Have you watched golf on TV? Did you see the green line for putt direction? That was AimPoint. AimPoint is the source of the technology that enabled The Golf Channel to draw the green (or blue) line. Determining the line took gravity and friction into account, not those myths we talked about earlier. Personally, I enjoyed watching the balls follow the line into the cup, or lose the line and miss.

 

 

The great thing about the current AimPoint System is that it is very easy to learn. There is even a new AimPoint Express Read that is extremely simple to learn, and yet also extremely effective on the course. Don’t worry that AimPoint is too complicated. How complicated is your reading system if you need to take all of those ten misconceptions into account with each read?

If you want a better way to read greens and ignore the myths from above, visit your local Aimpoint golf instructor. The AimPoint Instructor will help you #makeeverything or at least give you more putting confidence, knowing that your read is based upon physics, and not your buddy’s off-hand comment.

It’s all about the science baby!

About Peter Brown

As an avid golfer looking to improve his game, Peter took an AimPoint clinic and it changed his whole outlook on green reading. Peter’s background in science allowed him to see the irrefutable physics behind the AimPoint system. Peter was so impressed by the system that he trained to become a Certified AimPoint Instructor and worked with AimPoint Inventor Mark Sweeney to revise and refine the green reading system that is taught today.

Since becoming an instructor Peter has worked with several tom amateurs, average Joes, and PGA Tour hopefuls including Issac Sanchez, winner of Big Break NFL, and Collegiate All-American, John Catlin.

For more information about AimPoint click HERE
Follow Peter Brown on Twitter HERE

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

The Club Report: 2014 Bettinardi Signature Line

The Club Report: 2014 Bettinardi Signature Line

Post image for The Club Report: 2014 Bettinardi Signature Line

By Dave Wolfe

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece questioning the future of the 100% milled putter in the golf marketplace. Some of you agreed that it makes fiscal sense for the large OEM’s to move toward a less expensive production plan for putters in order to maximize profits. Some of you thought that the large companies would likely decrease milled offerings, but the milled putter will remain alive and well in the hands of the smaller shops.

Another group commenters think that I am an idiot for even suggesting that milled putters are going away. I was reading through a UK golf forum that was discussing the article and one of the members even went so far as to call me “daft” for making the suggestion. I’ve been called many things, but never before daft. Thanks for that!

Milled is Alive and Kicking At Bettinardi

At MyGolfSpy, we like to base the statements we make upon data, rather than feelings or biased opinions. As such, we try to look at topics from all sides. There may be fiscal evidence supporting milled decline, but there is also evidence out there supporting the mill’s persistence.

The two Bettinardi Signature Series putters that I have for you today speak volumes for the health of the milled putter marketplace. As a company, Bettinardi makes a strong 100% milled statement throughout their lines.

Today though, we have the 2014 Bettinardi Signature Series. This is the top end, limited edition Bettinardi line. The putters, and the headcovers both show Mr. Bettinardi’s signature. He signs his name on them much like an artist would a painting or sculpture. I don’t know if putters can be art, maybe they can. However, I do know that by signing something, you are absolutely putting your name behind what you have made.

A “signature” product had better be something special.

Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-16

 

What’s special about the Bettinardi Signature Series?

Each year, Bettinardi releases one or two additions to the Signature Series. While the models will definitely vary from year to year, there are a couple of consistent Signature Series features:

DASS

Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-25

DASS is short for Double-Aged Stainless Steel. I believe that the “A” in DASS is actually for annealing, the process of heating and cooling the steel to make it change its physical properties. I’m still a couple of credits away from my degree in metallurgy, but I do know that stainless steel requires a whole lot more heat (1900 °F) to anneal than regular steel, and that the process is longer and with less margin for error. If done right, the annealing process should give you a piece of stainless steel that is softer than it was pre-anneal. If you do it wrong, you get a brittle carbon and chromium mess.

Translation: The Double Aged (annealed) Stainless Steel is softer than traditional stainless steel.

 

Leather Grip

Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-09

OK so crowing about the grip and not the putter may be a bit strange, but the fact that the Signature Series comes gripped with leather grips is significant. The grip is always part of the package. Can you tell me another production line that comes with leather grips? Sure, there are some great vendors out there to add a leather grip after purchase, but having one stock is special. You can order standard or midsized versions of the Gripmaster grip. The midsized grip is definitely midsized, if not a bit larger than expected. Not SuperStroke large, but significantly larger than the standard.

 

Limited Run of 1000

Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-26

We all know that a limited production run can create consumer demand. It’s Marketing 101. Consumers know that quantities are limited, and so they rush to get one before all of whatever is gone. I know that some the limited nature of the Signature Series is marketing, but I also get the feeling that DASS ain’t easy. A complicated, time-consuming production process takes mill time away from the other lines. You can’t spend too much time on these without the other lines suffering, so you make fewer.

Many of us don’t really care about why it’s limited though, we just like that it is limited. Golfers are funny about limited edition gear. Limited edition means that we have gear in the bag not shared by many. Some don’t care about that; some do. Regardless, only 1000 of each head are produced each year, period.

 

Unique Heads

Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-24

As a lover of the putter, I really look forward to new designs. Across the BB, Studio Stock, Queen B, and Signature Series lines, Bettinardi is pretty good about giving us something fresh each season. Plus, if a particular model persists in the line up, like the BB1, each year’s model gets tweaks, separating it from predecessors. We usually get some new finishes as well, but they are always on new heads.

The Signature line though is where you can look for models that differ from Bettinardi’s other offerings. By”differ” I really mean more unique. My first Signature putter was the Model 2, a wide flange BB1 style blade. It was (is) unlike any other putter out there at the time. Then Bettinardi went 8802 style with the Signature 3. The Sig 5 had a short flow neck, and the Sig 6 was, of course, the 2013 Most Wanted Mallet. The Bettinardi Signature 7 and Bettinardi Signature 8 carry on this tradition of something different. Let’s take a look.

 

Specifications:  2014 Bettinardi Signature Series Seven

Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-18
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-28
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-19
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-27
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-21

  • Weight: 348 grams
  • Material: Double Aged Stainless Steel
  • Finish: Tour Blast
  • Face: Classic Honeycomb
  • Grip: Black Leather Gripmaster (Standard or Midsize)
  • Headcover: Signature Black
  • Dexterity: Right Handed
  • Loft:
  • Lie: 71°
  • Toe Hang: Face Balanced

Let me get one thing out of the way first… WOOHOO FACE BALANCED BLADE!!!!!

Sorry about that, but there are certain things that make me lose my putter-cool. Just be glad it’s not a face-balanced longneck, things would get weird.

Anyway, now that I have wrecked the mood, let’s get to the back-story on this one. The Signature 7 was actually designed by Robert Bettinardi as a tribute to his father Donald. I think it’s very cool to be able to do something like that, call me sentimental, but it gets me.

The Sig 7 is going to be best suited to someone with a straighter putting path. It definitely has a little “plays like a mallet” feel to it. I am sure that is due to a combination of the thicker top line, shorter heel to toe length, and face balanced. This is the Sig I Dig.

Specifications:  2014 Bettinardi Signature Series Eight

Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-01

Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-07
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-04
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-03
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-05

  • Weight: 348 grams
  • Material: Double Aged Stainless Steel
  • Finish: Tour Blast
  • Face: Classic Honeycomb
  • Grip: Black Leather Gripmaster (Standard or Midsize)
  • Headcover: Signature Black
  • Dexterity: Right Handed
  • Loft:
  • Lie: 71°
  • Toe Hang: 1/4 (4:00-4:30-ish)

The Sig 8 doesn’t have the same sentimental story as the Sig 7, but it definitely tells a story. When I first looked at and rolled the Sig 8, I thought it was basically a BB1. The more I rolled it though, the more I realized that it set up, and played differently than the BB1. Confusion lead to exploration, then to revelation. The Signature 8 does have the same heel-toe DNA found in other putters, like the BB!, but the slant neck makes it truly its own entity. The little bit of slant makes the Sig 8 play much differently than a straight plumbers neck.

Those of you who play slant necks can chime in, but I found that I wanted to manipulate my hand position to affect the loft. I know this is because I play non-slanted necks.  The neck on the Sig 8 may not match my stroke, but it will match someone’s stroke. That’s why I love the Signature Series. Little tweaks here and there.

That is the cool thing about the Bettinardi Signature Series. Each year, Bettinardi releases putters that will match some golfers’ games. For those golfers, the limited edition Signature Series putter represents the ultimate putting machine. For certain lucky golfers, the specific Signature putter could be the end game of putter searching. For the rest of us, we can keep looking to next year’s Sig 9 or Sig 10 for that longneck with the 1/8 hang.

Maybe Dave actually is Daft

Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-22

Looking at the Bettinardi Signature Series, I am willing label myself daft regarding my previous gloomy milling portents. These 100% milled putters are amazing, and I will be very surprised if the 1000 999 of each are not long gone by the end of the 2014 season. They may not even last that long. If Bettinardi keeps milling like this though, milled putters are not going away any time soon. These are premium milled putters.

Are they $495 a pop? You bet they are. Is that expensive? You bet it is. You get what you pay for though. The DASS is more costly to work with, but as stainless steel, it is also not prone to environmental alterations (i.e. rust) like carbon steel. That means your investment will last as long as you actually use that headcover. If you are putter obsessed like me, and you find your perfect Signature Series model, spending $495 now may actually save you lots of money in the future. Maybe you will even earn some coin from your buddies on the greens.

Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-17
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-23
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-08
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-14
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-15
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-13
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-11
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-10
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-12
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-02
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-06
Bettinardi 2014 Signature 7_8-20

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver – Beyond the Data

2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver – Beyond the Data

Post image for 2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver – Beyond the Data

As you probably know by now, we rely on data and nothing but to determine our Most Wanted Drivers each season. Data is cool…it provides a really solid indicator of how a driver can be expected to perform for a range of, or even a specific type of golfer(s).

Of course, sometimes it’s interesting to go beyond the data. Does adjustability really matter? Did any drivers suffer because of their looks? What performance issues were actually fitting issues?

Today is for talking about some of the things we encountered during our test for which the numbers don’t necessarily tell the whole story.

Adjustability

If it wasn’t already apparent, this year’s test suggest that adjustability is here to stay (how’s that for stating the obvious). Of the 23 drivers we tested, only the ONOFF (Type D & S), PowerBilt Airforce One DFX, Wilson D100, Tommy Armour TA845, Sinister Agent Orange, Cleveland Altitude, and Krank Formula 5 don’t feature some form of hosel-based adjustability. The Formula 5 and ONOFF Type S do feature interchangeable weights, and both Wilson and Cleveland submitted other models that are adjustable.

Adjustability-1

The days of the glued hosel are almost certainly coming to an end.

What cracks me up is that we still hear from guys who think adjustability is stupid and that if guys would only take more lessons, or “learn to hit the ball” they wouldn’t need the crutch that is the adjustable driver. The fact of the matter is that for some golfers…many probably, the ideal fit (whether your fitting approach is face angle first, or loft first) falls somewhere in the middle of a driver’s adjustable range.

It’s always preferable to have options.

I’ll also add that I’d like to see more (every) company move away from the 4°s of loft in a single head approach currently in use by Tour Edge, Cobra, Nike, and Wilson. Nike is slightly different in that they claim independent adjustability of loft and face angle. For everyone else, without dispute; as loft goes up, the face closes. As loft goes down, the face opens. What we’ve seen time after time in our tests is that, more often than not, golfers can handle relatively minor changes to the face angle without issue, but as you get closer to the extremes of a 4° range (8° and 12° in most cases), extremely closed or open faces can become a real issue.

Callaway Big Bertha-22

So with that in mind, more often than not guys who fit into those 8° and 12° heads will be better off with a stamped loft as opposed to the all-in-one approach. PING’s .25° change is the outlier on the low end of adjustability, but certainly is true to the PING philosophy. What Callaway, TaylorMade and others are doing (~1.5° in either direction) with several differently lofted heads available is extremely effective because of the fitting options the range provides. Assuming a 9°, 10.5°, and 12° head, you have 3 different ways to fit a 10.5° golfer. Square face (10.5°), Open Face (12° delofted), and closed face (9° with loft added).

With no adjustability, limited adjustability, and extreme adjustability,  it’s much harder to dial in optimal (or close to) launch conditions.

Paint

Year after year aesthetics have become less of a talking point. White is basically gone (for now), matte blacks and dark greys are all the range, and between Nike and Cobra, we’re at a point where there are almost no limits. That has paved the way for bold aesthetics like Sinister’s (Agent) Orange, Krank’s neon green, and Callaway’s midnight blue (Big Bertha/Big Bertha Alpha).

Basically anything goes now, and while our testers have been more or less conditioned to look past anything, arguably it’s the greys (PING i25, Wilson FG Tour m3, and even SLDR) that proved the most popular with our guys. That said, there was plenty of love for the visuals provided by Cobra’s BiO CELL and BiO CELL+, and of course, Nike’s VRS Covert 2.0 (still my favorite).

Yonex EZONE XP-2

Other Subjective Stuff

While we don’t grade on it, sound and feel are remain a constant point of discussion among our testers. Based on the feedback I heard, I think the favorites are the Tour Edge XCG7 and ONOFF Type-D. Both PING offerings were highly regarded as was everything from Callaway. Yonex’s I-EZONE TX and Cobra’s BiO CELL also received nearly universally positive feedback.

Opinions were mixed on TaylorMade’s SLDR and JetSpeed. Most everything else was generally regarded as more or less average, but the two singled out most often in a negative sort of way were the Krank Formula 5 and Cobra BiO CELL+. The Krank is higher pitched than anything else in the test, while our testers felt that the BiO CELL+ felt overly firm. My own perspective on the latter is that I really wanted it to feel like last year’s Amp Cell Pro (my personal best feeling driver of 2013), and it’s most definitely not that.

Being Different

Last year we discussed drivers that were different enough from the pack that it might have impacted performance. As you may recall, Geek’s No Brainer was noticeably heavier, Wishon’s 919THI significantly shorter, and Wilson’s D100, significantly lighter than anything else in our test.

While Cleveland’s 588 Altitude certainly runs on the lighter side, the weight didn’t cause any issues for our testers. It’s light, but not problematically so.  Wilson’s D100 is a different story. To mitigate the weight factor, we intentionally placed the D100 at the end of a 3 club rotation (tester’s hit 3 shots with 3 different drivers before taking a break while the next guy hits). Hitting at the end of a rotation eliminated most of the issues that we saw last year transitioning from ultralight to normal.

Cleveland 588-3

Yonex’s EZONE XP was also a bit problematic. As you might imagine, the counterweighted design offers a bit of a different feel, so it generally took testers an extra shot or two to adjust to, or away from the XP. That said, it’s a driver I think would do a lot of good for a lot of golfers.

While it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause of any specific performance issue, I think it’s fair to say that both the Wilson D100 and TaylorMade JetSpeed do suffer a bit because of their extra length (both are 46″). Each accounted for a portion of the longest drives we saw in the test, but the length proved difficult to control consistently.

There’s a logic in that for Wilson; the D100 is designed to boost clubhead speed through weight reduction and length. With JetSpeed, it is, in my opinion anyway, an unnecessary distance play. I’ve tested at 46″ and played it at 45.5″, and like it a hell of a lot more at 45.5″.

TaylorMade JetSpeed Driver-6

Being different isn’t always bad. If you look past the SLDR for a moment, you’ll see that two of the drivers that performed best for our high swing speed players also feature the shortest stock length in our tests. Both PING’s i25, and Tour Edge’s XCG7 Beta come stock at 45.25″. As we’ve seen (and any good fitter will tell you), shorter shafts almost always lead to more centered strikes, and more centered strikes lead to more distance.

An interesting side note as far as shaft length goes; TaylorMade measures a bit differently than many other manufacturers. Despite their reputation for stealing distance through longer shafts, TaylorMade woods habitually measure 1/8″ shorter than nearly any competitor’s club with the same spec. So if you look at the actual measured length (sole to butt of grip), our top 3 finishers for high swing speed players (both distance and overall) were outfitted with the 3 shortest shafts in our test (i25 and XCG7 Beta 45.25″, SLDR 45.375″).

TourEdge XCG7-15

I assure you, there’s a lesson in that.

Shafts Matter

While we don’t subscribe to the notion that the shaft is everything (sorry…you can’t tweak launch angle by 4° and shave off 1500RPM simply by changing shafts), having options is almost always a good thing (I think I said that already). Once again, some of the top finishers were those clubs that provided the most options.

The stock shaft options for the PING i25 include 3 different weights (55g, 65g, and 75g), along with two different bend profiles (standard tour). Tour Edge options include “made for” variants of the Fujikura Fuel and Matrix MFS series.

I’ve come to believe that weight is every bit as important (if not more so) than flex, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that in both of those cases, having a 30g range to pull from made a huge difference in properly fitting our testers.

Cobra BiO Cell+ Blue-1

Consider Cobra’s BiO CELL+ for a moment. At the time we kicked off our test (pre-retail), Cobra’s plan was to offer the Matrix 6Q3 (Red Tie) as the stock option. Cobra has since added the Diamana D+ (74g) and Project X PXV Tour (52g) as stock options. While the 6Q3 is a perfectly good shaft (actually, it’s really good for stock), I can promise you we’d have seen better performance for both high and low swing speed players with the other 2 shafts at our disposal.

How much better would Bertha and Bertha ALPHA have done with more options? Would SLDR have performed even better with a 75g shaft option? What about Nike’s Covert 2.0?

Have we told you to get fit recently?

Headed in the Right Direction

And speaking of the Covert 2.0…as we said earlier, while you can make a case for Mizuno’s JPX-EZ, the Nike VRS Covert 2.0 is our choice for the most improved driver. I’ll be the first to admit that my initial read was that changes are purely cosmetic, but apparently there’s something to Nike’s Fly Brace Technology, and that’s reflected in the performance. It’s still shiny. It’s still red. It still has a giant swoosh on the crown. Under the hood, however; this is a very different driver (even if I still don’t love the Kuro Kage TiNI).

Nike VRS Covert 2-11

I just mentioned it…Mizuno’s JPX-EZ is a huge step forward from last year’s JPX-825. Mizuno was able to mostly retain the feel that our testers loved while adding adjustability, with lower spin. There’s still no 8.5° option, but the adjustability helps mitigate that.

With the FG Tour m3, Wilson has shown that it’s capable of creating a driver with the potential to appeal to the “serious golfer” crowd. While the m3 was practically sneaky in stealing the top spot for accuracy among slower swing speed players, this is a driver that everyone enjoyed hitting, and it certainly provides plenty of incentive to take Wilson woods seriously again.

Wilson FG Tour M3-7

The Fit-Limited

While certainly we saw standout performances from clubs that didn’t provide as robust a selection of options as others (ONOFF immediately comes to mind), there are without questions several clubs that potentially could have performed significantly better if we’d had more options at our disposal.

As was the case last year, Wilson doesn’t an offer an X-flex option in the D100. It’s one of the higher spinning drivers in our test anyway, and really wasn’t designed with the 8°, x-flex guy in mind. That said, it still offers an insane amount of fun for guys who just love to hit golf balls.

Yonex’s EZONE XP doesn’t offer an x-flex option, while we also didn’t have a regular flex or higher lofted version of the I-EZONE TX. Both are designed with specific golfers in mind, so practically speaking, it makes sense that they don’t offer a complete range of options with either model.

Yonex EZONE IEZONE TX-4

Like the D100, Tommy Amour’s TA845 also suffered from a limited selection. The TA845 is available in 9.5° and 10.5° only, and only in regular and stiff flex. Again, that’s to be expected given its position as Sports Authority’s house brand. Worth mentioning, for the players that it fit well, performance was on par with nearly everything else in our test. That’s impressive given that the TA845 retails for $149, and occasionally goes on sale for as little as $99.

We absolutely have to talk about the 3 Callaway drivers in our test. There’s not a doubt in my mind that with a few more options at our disposal, all 3 would have performed better.

While the X2 Hot performed reasonable well for us, Callaway was unable to provide a 13.5° (HT) model for testing. Our senior-most tester absolutely crushed the higher lofted model last year, and it’s reasonable to assume similar results this year.

Callaway X2Hot-1a

When the results of our tests got out, a buddy sent me this: “You’ll never convince me there are 20 drivers better than Big Bertha“. He’s probably not wrong.

With Big Bertha we had both 9° and 10.5° models to work with, but as with the X2 Hot, no 13.5°. Once again that certainly impacted the results.  I also believe the 50g shaft isn’t a great fit for some of our testers. It’s unquestionably too light for one of our stiff flex testers, and arguably too light for another. You can make the case that some of our guys almost certainly should have hit Bertha better than they did, in general, I think our guys – if forced to pigeonhole them – are probably more Alpha guys than regular Bertha guys. If you’re a 50g guy – or you’ve got the good sense to get a proper custom fitting, the Callaway Big Bertha is well worth a look.

The takeaway here is that issues with Big Bertha are almost certainly not about the performance of the club itself.

Of the clubs that many would argue underperformed for us, Big Bertha Alpha is the single most intriguing. Despite only having a 9° head at our disposal it still managed a top 10 finish. I can promise you this; whether it’s SLDR or G25, or anything else that performed well for us, if there’s only one loft available, none of them finish close to where they are. Given what we had to work with, I’d argue that Bertha Alpha overperformed, and that fact alone makes it extremely compelling (even at $499).

Callaway Big Bertha-28

Callaway is now offering a 10.5° head (not available during testing). That alone probably gets into the top 5. When you consider the potential options should Callaway decide to make the 8.5° Pro model available at retail (and I believe they will), what you’re left with is a driver that could challenge the top of our rankings.

As it has been for the last few years, everything in the Callaway lineup is good, but Big Bertha Alpha looks to be special.

It feels a little ridiculous to put our Most Wanted Driver of 2014 on the list of clubs that underperformed based on the available fitting options, but I think the TaylorMade SLDR belongs here as well. Missing (unavailable at the time of testing) from what TaylorMade sent us were a 14° 460cc head and a 10.5° in the 430cc model. With the 12° set at 13.5° our senior/high loft tester was able to produce some of his best numbers to date. He’s a low ball hitter, and generally more loft brings excessive spin. With the 12.5° we saw improvement, with the 14° I’m all but certain we’d have witnessed insanity.

TaylorMade-SLDR-Driver-16

While one tester was able to take full advantage of the SLDR 430, our other higher swing speed players weren’t able to consistently get the ball high enough in the air with the 9° head (even at 10.5°). A couple of huge drives were hit, but on average the 460 provided better initial launch conditions. If we had a 10.5°, or possibly even a 12°, I’m all but certain we’d have seen bigger numbers from SLDR.

The Inexplicable

Perhaps the most puzzling numbers coming out of this test were produced by the Krank Formula 5. Most of you are familiar with Krank’s reputation (and their habit of winning long drive championships), so it would have been surprising to see Krank near the bottom for distance if the results hadn’t mirrored what we saw when we tested Formula 5 as a one-off over the summer.

The bottom line is that, nearly across the board, the Formula 5 produced a higher launch and higher spin than all of the other drivers in our test. For distance, low spin is imperative, so our results our out of character with what’s expected from Krank.

Krank-Formula-5-Driver-12

What’s up with that?

All we have are theories. Some readers have told us that the deeper face simply takes some getting used to. We’ve theorized that there’s something in the design that inherently works better for golfers with strongly positive angle of attack (your basic long drive swing). Without question, the guys who hit the Formula 5 best are the same ones that have positive angles of attack. For the level to negative guys interested in the Formula 5, the answer may come in taking less loft than you would with other drivers.

Also Worth a Mention

For those of you seeking to maximize distance, even if it means paying a fairly severe penalty for mishits, the Sinister Agent Orange is worth a look. It’s another that produced some absolute bombs for our testers (best to best it’s among the longest), but in our testers minds (and it appears the numbers back this up), the Agent Orange is excessively penal on mishits. More than any other driver in the field, our testers commented on the lack of forgiveness – although most said so after pointing out how insanely long it is when it’s hit on the screws.

Agent Orange-5

The Adams XTD, despite a finishing well within our average range was a popular choice among our higher swing speed players. The most compelling story of the XTD is that Adams consistently tests COR during the manufacturing process to ensure that each and every XTD is right up against the USGA limit. With most any other driver manufacturing tolerances can result in some drivers running a little hot, while others run a little slow. With the XTD, you’re guaranteed to be right at .830.

I’m one of the guys who struggled a bit with the XTD. You can file my problems away under Looks Don’t Matter, Except When They Do. While I’m guessing many will find the crown slot off-putting, my issues with the XTD have to do with the total lack of contrast between the crown and the face. Maybe my eyes are just getting old, but the XTD simply just didn’t look right to me at address.

Adams XTD-2

Finally there’s Cobra’s BiO CELL. During the fitting sessions, and even into the first day of testing, guys were producing consistently good (even outstanding) shots with BiO CELL. It was an early favorite among several testers. For whatever reason…maybe it’s day to day swing changes, maybe it’s a byproduct of hitting several different clubs in a single session, BiO CELL didn’t hold up as well as we initially thought it would. Still…our numbers suggest performance in on par with the bulk of what we tested. Needless to say, there’s nothing about BiO CELL that should discourage Cobra fans, or anyone else.

Cobra BIO Cell-7

Full 2014 Most Wanted Driver Coverage

:: Coming Soon – MyGolfSpy’s 2014 Most Wanted Driver Test
:: 2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver – It’s Go Time
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Distance Awards
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Accuracy Awards
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Overall Winners
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Tester’s Pick
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Beyond the Data
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – The Data (Coming Soon)

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

colors associated with golf?

Question by topspin_09: colors associated with golf?

what are all the different tee colors associated with golf and what do they stand for? Also what are the hazard colors.. i.e. water, grounding.. etc.

I have a test in GOLF tomorrow.. unfortunately and need to know these things.. any other fundamental golf thing would be helpful as well.. and especially anything dealing with colored markings!

Thanks 🙂

2014 Most Wanted – Contest Winners Announced

2014 Most Wanted – Contest Winners Announced

Post image for 2014 Most Wanted – Contest Winners Announced

#MYGOLFSPYMOSTWANTED

Before publishing the Most Wanted Driver Test, we ran a contest to coincide with the biggest driver test in golf; the MyGolfSpy Most Wanted Driver Hunt. We asked you to take our Most Wanted poster and place it somewhere for all the world to see and spread the word about the hunt for golf’s Most Wanted Driver. Contestants would then send us a photo of this epic event and we would select the best one.

Read more about it here

 

ONCE AGAIN HERE’S THE PRIZES

1st Place:

The 2014 “Most Wanted” Driver + REWARD MONEY (EDITORS CREATIVE CHOICE FOR WINNER)

2nd Place:

The 2014 “Most Wanted” Driver (RANDOMLY SELECTED WINNER)

Untitled-30

So without further ado here’s our winners!

 

First Place – John Barba @barbajo1 with his Times Square Furries (Twitter Entry)

johnbarbafurries

 John will receive 2014′s Most Wanted Driver as well as the cash reward

 

Second Place – Kent Beach @beach1013 with his Auto Show display (Twitter Entry)

Kentbeach-autoshow

Kent will receive 2014′s Most Wanted Driver

 

*** Winners please send an email to contact (at) mygolfspy.com and we will be in touch regarding claiming your prize.  Thank you once again to everyone who participated and for your continued support of MyGolfSpy. Look for many more of these great contests in the future.

 

And here’s some of our other entries.

andam huckaby tombstone
ChristianHaas-tpcsawgrasslockerroom
Market Chaterwest urinal
rickclaypool-eifel1
rickclaypool-eifel2
Sang Lee Office Chair
Tom Cammalleri parkade
rickpostoffice
adamcortina-pirates

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

2014 Most Wanted Driver – Tester’s Picks

2014 Most Wanted Driver – Tester’s Picks

Post image for 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Tester’s Picks

Don’t worry guys, I’m working on the Beyond the Data post I mentioned last week. It’s going to be the part of the story that can’t be told by the numbers. Why things performed the way they did…club specific details that I think are worth discussing…those sort of things.

And yes…WE WILL BE POSTING THE DATA! Sorry for shouting. Those charts take quite a bit of effort (and time) to pull together, but I’ll get everything posted for you as quickly as we can.

What Did Your Tester’s Love?

It was mentioned several times in the comments/questions, and we actually got the same question from a couple of golf companies too:

What were your tester’s favorite clubs?

Certainly we hear things during the testing process (both good and bad), but given the interest in the subject, I thought it was worth asking our testers which 5 drivers they liked best. As you might expect, there is some correlation between what they hit the best, and what they liked best, but some of the guys certainly had an affinity for something that might not have been near the top of their own list.

I’ve included some small bits of info about each tester. Let us know what else you’d be interested in knowing about these guys, and we’ll look at including it next time around.

A Partially Subjective Look at the Top 5

Before we get to our tester’s pics, one reader asked if I had any thoughts on what the “Best” drivers in our test were. I probably like the word best only slightly more than the golf companies whose drivers didn’t finish on top. So let’s just say that based on what I saw across all of our testers, these are the drivers that separated themselves from the pack. My personal Top 5 is included with everyone else’s.

Prefaced with “assuming a good fit”, these are the clubs I think really stand out, and I’d go so far as to say that the top 3 are, a bit more special still.

TaylorMade SLDR Driver-7

TaylorMade SLDR – I think there’s so much potential in this club, and while proper fitting always matters, I believe the probability of bad fit (mostly related to poor loft selection) is higher than with any other club in this test. SLDR could be the best driver you’ve ever bought, but it risks being the worst. If you’re normally a 10.5° guy, there’s a very real possibility you’ll need the 14° head. Embrace it, and there’s magic to be found in the TaylorMade SLDR.

PING G25 – Even at 8.5°, there are some out there for whom the G25 will simply spin too much, but I believe that’s a minority – and if all other aspects work for you, PING’s custom fitting options should help to mitigate that. The larger footprint may be an issue for some as well. For many others, the PING G25 should prove to be an outstanding blend of distance and forgiveness.

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha – It might seem like a stretch to put our #10 into my opinion-based Top 3, but I believe there is incredible potential in the Alpha. While it didn’t hold up on an average basis, several of the longest drives in our test were hit with the Alpha…and that’s with the limitation of a 9° head. A 10.5° is on the way to retail, and I suspect we’ll see a smaller “Pro” model too before the snow melts here in the Northeast. The only limiting factor (other than the $499 price tag) on this driver right now is the lack of options. That’s going to change, and when it does, Callaway’s Big Bertha Alpha immediately shoots up the list.

Callaway Big Bertha-26

As far as #4 and #5 go, I’m going to say it depends.

Higher swing speed players, or perhaps more accurately, guys who don’t need much help getting the ball in the air and/or who generally benefit from drivers that produce lower than average spin, should definitely be looking at the PING i25 and the Tour Edge XCG7 Beta.

Racing stripes aside, the drivers are fairly similar with respect to how they perform. I’m inclined to give a slight edge to PING because of the breadth of their stock shaft offering (3 different weights and flexes, plus “tour” versions – none of which impact swing weight). The Tour Edge XCG7 Beta offers a variety of shafts as well, and even though they are of the “made for” flavor, performance isn’t too far off from the aftermarket (“real”) versions.

PING i25 Driver-21

For slower swing speed (higher launch/higher spin) guys, the lines are a little less clear to me, but of a very tight group that would also include Cleveland’s 588 Altitude, PowerBilt’s AirForce One, and the Yonex EZONE XP, I’m going to suggest these two:

At $800 the ONOFF Type D probably isn’t going to be at the top of many lists, but since we’re only talking about performance, I’m going to suggest it should be. On the first day of testing it looked like the Type D was going to run away with it for our slower swing speed guys, and while it did come back to the field, it was only slightly so. Even if you don’t want to spend the money; if you can find one near you, it’s definitely worth a demo.

Callaway’s X2 Hot is another that suffered from a small fitting issue (no 12° or 13.5° option available to us), but looking over the numbers, it still performed very well. It was really good last year, and while Alpha and Bertha proper are getting all of Callaway’s attention, it’s really good this year too.

ONOFF-1

But Wait, Here’s More…

Not that you asked for two more, but for those looking for a #4 and #5 option that splits the middle, I’m going to suggest PowerBilt’s AirForce One, and Nike’s VRS Covert 2.0.

As we’ve mentioned countless times, the Nike VRS Covert 2.0 is just a HUGE improvement over the original. Color changes aside, I’ve felt that Nike driver performance has been stagnant since the VR Pro Limited (so good). The Covert 2.0 changes all that. It’s a clear step forward which should help remove any doubt that Nike is finally moving in the right direction.

If Nike’s red isn’t your thing, PowerBilt’s AirForce One DFX comes in matte black. Slower swing speed performance was excellent, and we think there’s more in it than we showed for our higher swing speed guys. Add a very impressive list of stock shafts coupled with some impressive up-charged options as well (Oban Kyoshi anyone?),  and we think this is a driver that deserves your attention.

AFO N7 DFX-1-2

And Now Some Words from Our Testers

As I mentioned, I asked our testers to send their top 5 picks based on whatever criteria that wanted. Basically, these are what they liked best. I’ve included their first names, age (the parenthetical reference), and some basic swing info.

What I think is great about our testing pool is that the majority aren’t “MyGolfSpy Guys”. They’re not obsessive gearheads. They’re not always aware of the new hot club or the new hot shaft. They don’t visit the site daily (some of them may not even believe there is a site). They’re just golfers…regular golfers. How great is that?

As I said, based on your feedback, we’ll look to include even more down the road.

Lou (Gets a steep discount at the movies)

Ping G25 Driver1

Swing Speed: low 80s
Angle of Attack: -5°
Swing Characteristics: Relatively controlled tempo, tendency to shut the face, reducing dynamic loft.

Lou’s Most Wanted Drivers of 2014

Ping G25 – I guess there is a reason why Ping hasn’t come out with a new club to replace the G25 yet – no need to. This one has it all – good looks – good feel and it performs as well if not better than this year’s new models. No fancy colors/graphics – just the basic tool to get the job done. I guess I prefer the more traditional look. This would look better with my lime green shorts/shirt than say the Agent Orange.

Cleveland 588 Altitude – This and the Wilson D100 felt the lightest to me. I felt comfortable with both and felt like I could expect pretty straight hits with them The Cleveland though also provided more distance. I also liked the clean look of the club, but was surprised that it was not adjustable. Maybe it’s my slow swing speed that made these light weights feel easier to swing.

Yonex EZONE XP – I’m not that enamored with the color scheme but the club felt good and was easy to swing. Like the sound it made when I felt I hit a good one.

Callaway Big Bertha – I wasn’t that impressed with this club until the last day. I found this a really nice club to hit. I would have liked more time to play with it. I think with a full fitting it could be the right club for me. I really do like the looks of it.

TaylorMade SLDR – What impressed me about the SLDR was that the gimmick really works. When you move the sliding weight you get a different result. When we moved it from ‘draw’ to ‘straight’ my ball flight changed from left to back to center, and since everything is on the sole when you look down to hit the ball you see nothing other the normal top of the club.

Brian (34)

SLDR430-1

Swing Speed: 118
Angle of Attack: +6°
Swing Characteristics: Strong like bull. Smooth takeaway with aggressive downswing. Puts everything into every swing. Can get wild.

Brian’s Most Wanted Drivers of 2014

Taylor Made SLDR (430) – This club was by far my best. It was the only club in the entire test that consistently helped me with a lower ball flight and this was the hottest face of any driver I have ever tested….in this test or in any test for that matter.  I remember warming up with this club and taking a 3/4 swing and getting 290 yards out of it.  Aesthetically, it’s not my favorite club, but the numbers were so incredible that it really was every other club vying for second.

Ping I25 – This was the best all-around club for me.  The combination of feel, sound, look, and results put this at the very top of my list.  I like the subtle racing stripes without having to be gaudy and look like a hot rod from the ’60s.  I have always had an affinity for the higher pitched sounds off the club face as a way of determining feel and solidity of contact.  The club performed extremely well for me and was a front-runner from the very first time that I hit it.

Adams XTD – This was my biggest surprise.  With all the big names in this competition, I didn’t expect to like this club as much as I did.  It performed extremely well, looked great and was very consistent.  The only real issue I have with the club is the name.  For a sport that has more sexual innuendos than all other sports combined, XTD sounds an awful lot like…well you get the idea.

TaylorMade JetSpeed –  TaylorMade certainly came to compete this year.  Both of their clubs impressed me.  I had some difficulty with accuracy with JetSpeed, but the hot face, that was reminiscent of the 430, put this club near the top of my list.

Tour Edge XCG7 Beta –  This was a club that I had not heard of before the test so I didn’t have any expectations coming into this. The looks and feel are okay at best for me, but I can’t keep it off the list because it performed so well.  This was my 3rd best club in overall results and one that I could conceivably put in my bag.

Joe (60)

Callaway Big Bertha-13

Swing Speed: mid-80s
Angle of Attack: +3°
Swing Characteristics: Smooth tempo, consistently inside to out to path. Closed-face setups often cause problems.

Joe’s Most Wanted Drivers of 2014

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha:  I liked the feel at impact, and the sound when ball came off club head. Controlled ball flight was a plus for my hits.

PowerBilt Air Force One – enjoyed swinging this driver. Swing thought was geared towards hopping on a jet and taking off ! Tried to vision the ball doing the same thing.

TaylorMade JetSpeed – Simple adjustment, easier for the average Joes than some others!

ONOFF Type D – The ball coming off the clubhead sounded great. Easy to hit and looks great. Reminds me of a racecar.

PING G25 – Looked good again and felt as good as the year before. Smooth lines and features.

Tommy Armour TA-845 –  Feels like a club priced 2-3x, more expensive. Reminds me of an old school driver. Good feel, but for me, not as good as my top 4.

Hank (59)

Mizuno JPXEZ-2

Swing Speed: mid-90s
Angle of Attack: -2°
Swing characteristics: Strongly outside to in path. Adds significant dynamic loft at impact, excessive spin.

Hank’s Most Wanted Drivers of 2014 (in no particular order)

Taylor Made SLDR – Liked the adjustability. Consistent even on less than desired contact.

ONOFF Type D – I loved this club from the first day I saw and hit it. Great feel and sound. Hit it well even though there was no adjustability, and felt confident when using it.

Mizuno JPX-EZ  – Good feel and sound. Gave consistent results throughout the testing.

Nike VRS Covert 2.0 – Even with its unorthodox design/look, was easy to hit. Love the stock grip on the club and it even looked good.

Callaway X2 Hot – I’m a big fan of Callaway drivers so no surprise this was one of my favs. Good feel, easy to hit and consistent results throughout testing.

Blake (30)

Adams XTD-1

Swing Speed: 105
Angle of Attack: level (plus or minus)
Swing Characteristics: Controlled tempo, with aggressive downswing. Swing path is slightly inside to out.

Blake’s Most Wanted Drivers of 2014

TaylorMade SLDR (430) – Head and shoulders better than every club in the test, easy adjustability. As a high spin player, I knocked down spin rate 500rpms, consistently 10 yards farther. Love the color of the crown.

Adams XTD– Matrix red tie stock shaft is a nice touch, as is the Iomic grip. Took a little time to get used to the top cavity slot. Ball comes off the face hot.

Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour – Most improved award doesn’t come close to explaining how much better this year’s model is from last. Ball found the fairway more often than not. Miss-hits seemed to stay in play and still had good distance. Biggest critique is the tour wrap grip; awful. I don’t notice the white swoosh on the red crown.

PING i25 – Matte black racing stripes actually look cool at address, and it doesn’t hurt that they also actually help align the ball with the center of the club face.

Cobra BIO CELL+ – My perceptions are based almost solely on looks. It’s the best looking club in the group. The blue might be the best looking club ever made. When you catch this driver the ball seems to go forever.

Tony (Not as young as I once was)

Nike VRS Covert 2-7

Swing Speed: 105 (and apparently declining)
Angle of Attack: -1.5°
Swing Characteristics: Quick tempo, aggressive downswing. Slightly outside to in. I generally hit a fade, but I refuse to embrace it.

My Most Wanted Drivers of 2014

Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour – Aesthetically this was my favorite club last season, and nothing has changed for 2014 (except the driver is just better). I’m not a Kuro Kage guy, so one of these days I need to get around to trying a different shaft or two. All things being equal, Nike’s VRS Covert 2.0 is the driver I want to play.

PING i25 – The shorter than average shaft is probably half the battle for me anyway, but I loved the sound and feel of this driver. Dig the matte gray racing stripe combo thing PING did on the crown too. The i25 is basically everything you’d expect from a PING driver.

TaylorMade SLDR – Played the SLDR most of the fall, so there is some familiarity. It’s very consistent for me from a distance perspective, and while I don’t hit an extremely high number of fairways with anything, my SLDR misses aren’t bad, and more importantly, they’re predictable.

Tour Edge XCG7 Beta – Halfway through my second session I realized that I was falling in love with the Beta. Outstanding feel, “made for” shafts aren’t too watered down, and shot for shot it’s as long as anything. Once again, the shorter shaft didn’t hurt a bit.

Cobra BiO CELL – Dialed in, the BiO CELL+ almost certainly is the better option for my swing, but I like the sound and feel of this model a bit better. It’s closer to last season’s brilliant AMP Cell Pro, than is the +.

Cobra BIO Cell-4

Coming Soon

Be sure to comeback for our Beyond the Data story, and then again next week for the data itself.

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Golf’s Most Wanted – 2014 Cart Bags

Golf’s Most Wanted – 2014 Cart Bags

Post image for Golf’s Most Wanted – 2014 Cart Bags

You’ve figured out what irons you’ll play this year. You probably even know what ball you’re going to play too. But your bag?

Have you even thought about your bag?

You know, that decaying mess of fabric and plastic that holds your precious arsenal.

It’s time to really think about your next cart bag. Do you simply want the most pockets available? That would be the Nike Performance Cart II. But do the numbers really tell the whole story?

Are you a sucker for “full length dividers”? Careful what you wish for. When a company states “full length dividers”, does it mean two, three?  It could mean almost anything, but most likely, it DOES NOT mean 14.

Are you a brand loyalist, or do you simply want the best bag out there? For some of you, those two wonderful ideas may overlap.

This year’s Most Wanted Cart Bag Guide will arm you will the info you need to make an intelligent decision about your next cart bag.

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The Contenders

Callaway Org 14

Callaway
ORG 14
$209

 Callaway Org 15

Callaway
ORG 15
$249

Callaway Org

Callaway
ORG
$189

Exotics Xtreme Cart 2

Exotics
Xtreme Cart 2
$119

Izzo champion

Izzo
Champion
$179

Izzo Locker

Izzo
Locker
$159

Loud Mouth

LoudMouth
Disco Balls Black
$200

Nike M9 Cart II

Nike
Sport Cart II
$139

Nike Performance Cart II

Nike
M9 Cart II
$179

Nike Sport Cart II

Nike
Performance Cart II
$240

Ogio Chamber

OGIO
Chamber
$304

Orlimar psp-cart

Orlimar
PSP+ 14.9
$159

Sun Mountain C130

Sun Mountain
C130
$219

TaylorMade Catalina

TaylorMade
Catalina
$199

TaylorMade Jaggaurnat

TaylorMade
Jaggernaut
$249

Wilson Staff Performance

Wilson Staff
Performance
$199

cart-bags-13

The Metrics:

  • Storage – How many pockets? Is the storage useful, or did the manufacturer throw as many as they could into the bag to run up the numbers? Are they insulated, forward facing, zippered, velour lined, hard shelled, etc.?
  • Dividers – All bags in our guide have 14 or 15 dividers, the deciding factor here – are they full length (by full length, do they actually keep one handle’s grip from entwining another – rubber on rubber action is a fail).
  • Functionality – Forward facing pockets? Easy to maneuver the bag with included handles? Does the insulated pocket actually hold anything? Are you going to be able to easily slide clubs in and out, or do they get hung up on the bag’s innards, or on other clubs?
  • Features – Towel loop, strap tunnel, glove spot, insulated pocket, Velour style pockets, tee holders, torque strap, ball holders, spot for your GPS…

All of the bags in this lineup fit well in a cart, they all stand just fine, so we’ve kept the details focused on what you asked for.

cart-bag-comparison-chart-r

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The Reviews

OGIO Chamber – $304

Ogio-Full-Feature-and-Overall

 

  • Good – 14 Full Length Dividers, actually innovative Silencer system holds clubs in place and keeps them from rattling, a “torque” strap on the back keeps the bag from rotating in the cart, a zipper-less ball pocket, and a hard shell protective pocket for your laser (I just had my laser destroyed by an airline – this would have saved it) This bag has pretty much every feature you want and more.
  • Bad– This bag tips the scales at 9+ pounds. $300 price tag will turn some heads just long enough for eyes to roll.
  • Notes – This is one of the most well thought out bags we’ve seen. Features that other brands haven’t even considered yet OGIO has already built into the Chamber Golf Bag. If you don’t mind the weight and the price tag, this bag is tough to beat.

 Sun Mountain C130 – $219

Sun-Mountain-C130-Runner-Up

  • Good – The bag is almost a steal at $219. FIFTEEN (15) full length dividers and all the features you need. Love the molded handles on the top to help maneuver the bag.
  • Bad – Comparatively small number of pockets. Putter well isn’t fully separate.
  • Notes – With two towel loops, lots of storage, and a 15th slot, you won’t lack for anything with the Sun Mountain C130.

Nike Performance Cart II – $240

Nike-Performance-II-Runner-Up

  • Good – 14 Full Length Dividers, storage for days, plenty of features, but without blowing out the weight (barely over the 6 pound mark) 19 pockets – if you’re a storage addict, the Nike Performance Cart II might be your bag, plus the bag is water resistant!
  • Bad – 6 of the 19 pockets are inside of other pockets (but that’s still 13 external pockets)
  • Notes – 19 pockets! Maybe if they cut back to a reasonable 10 they’d break the 6 pound mark, but who cares, this bag is a workhorse with style. Don’t let the 9.5′ top scare you away, there’s plenty of room for all your clubs.

Wilson Staff Performance – $199

Wilson

  • Good – 14 full-length dividers and the only bag in the guide with external ball storage. Large metal towel loop, and a slanted top to give you better access to your clubs when on the cart.
  • Bad – Not as feature-heavy as some other bags
  • Notes – The Wilson Staff Performance Bag deserves runner-up status. It’s a solid bag, and with just one or two more slightly deeper pockets and maybe an added feature, this bag could take the win. Huge towel loop will let you hang your towel as well as other accessories if you’re a Frogger Brush lover like me.

Callaway ORG 15 – $249

Callaway-Org-15

  • Good – 6 pound contender that carries its weight well. Features, storage, it’s all there in the Callaway ORG 15.
  • Bad – Only 9 full length dividers.
  • Notes – Give us 14 full length dividers and there wouldn’t be anything left to complain about.

Nike M9 Cart II – $179

Nike-M9

  • Good – External putter well for the win, plenty of storage and features
  • Bad – Lack of full length dividers creates a bit of club catching inside the bag.
  • Notes – The Nike M9 Cart II is a total sleeper pick. It has most of the features of more expensive bags. It’s just lacking the full length dividers and with that comes a little bit of sticking when pulling clubs out.

Orlimar PSP+ 14.9 – $159

Orlimar-Best-Under-199

  • Good – Plenty of storage, lots of features, the price is right
  • Bad – Pockets are not as spacious as they could be.
  • Notes – For the price this bag is almost impossible to beat. The Orlimar PSP+ 14.9 has more features than some bags costing an extra Ben Franklin (that’s $100 for those that missed the reference). Everything you “need” in a cart bag is here sans full length dividers.

Callaway ORG 14 – $209

Callaway-Org-14

  • Good – Under 5 pounds with a solid mixture of storage and features, 10 zippered pockets
  • Bad – The lack of full length dividers is the biggest thing holding the ORG 14 back.
  • Notes – The Callaway ORG 14 is on that cusp of brilliance; it just needs more dividers. Other than that, hand this bag to anyone, don’t tell them what’s missing and they’d probably be perfectly happy gaming it.

Tour Edge Exotics Xtreme Cart 2 – $119

Exotics

  • Good – At just $119 how could you go wrong?
  • Bad – Missing a feature or two (ok, four) but….
  • Notes – If you’re budget shopping for a decent cart bag, at a great price, look no further than the Tour Edge Exotics Xtreme. You just found your new bag.

LoudMouth Disco Balls Black Cart Bag – $200

Loud-Mouth

  • Good – 7 zippered pockets all have plenty of storage space in them. Also has an external putter well.
  • Bad – No plastic/rubber lift handles on the top, and not as many pockets as some of you might like. Only 5+1 full length dividers.
  • Notes – Loud, and not particularly striking at the first glance, but when you dig into it, you find that the LoudMouth Disco Ball is a solid bag with features that get lost in the aesthetics. About a year behind on many “modern” features.

TaylorMade Juggernaut – $249

TaylorMade-Juggernaut

  • Good – Huge focus on modern design and storage – and it works within those parameters.
  • Bad – Focus on modern design seems to have forgotten that at $249 many will expect 14 full length dividers.
  • Notes – I may not agree with TaylorMade’s design sense, but they’ve done something different here and that’s to be applauded. This bag is about 95% of what we want. Add more full length dividers, toss in a cart strap tunnel and a glove patch, and the Juggernaut could be a true contender.

TaylorMade Catalina – $199

TaylorMade-Catalina

  • Good – The TaylorMade Catalina is a functional bag, featuring modern design, enough storage for the average guy, and a handle on the front (traditional twist on a modern bag?)
  • Bad – Not enough of anything. Could use more storage, more full length dividers, and more features.
  • Notes – At first I thought TaylorMade was studying up on the decoy effectbut really I think this is a square bag that offers just enough to please TaylorMade fans.

Callaway Chev ORG – $189

Callaway-ORG

  • Good – Under 5 pounds. Ample storage, a couple of pronounced features
  • Bad – Only 3.5 full length dividers, not enough features to wow.
  • Notes – The Callaway ORG is a bag I want to love, but with only 3.5 full length dividers – I’m left wanting more (why include a .5 divider?)

Nike Sport Cart II – $139

Nike-Sport-II

  • Good – Very lightweight bag with plenty of storage, especially when you consider how lightweight it is.
  • Bad – Only three full length dividers. No real handles on top.
  • Notes – I know Nike wanted to create a bag at a more consumer friendly price point, but with the Sport Cart II they sacrificed in areas that matter enough to keep this from being a contender.

Izzo Champion – $179

Izzo-Champion

  • Good – Decent amount of storage
  • Bad – Only 3 full length dividers and limited features
  • Notes – This is a bag that finds itself in a pricing pickle. It has enough going for it that there’s little doubt the Izzo Champion will get the job done, but it’s also expensive enough that most won’t have much of a reason not to consider better options.

Izzo Locker – $159

Izzo-Locker

  • Good – Easy to grab handles, ample storage
  • Bad – The external putter attachment thing is questionable at best. If  you don’t break your putter, it seems likely it will fall off. Clubs bind when being removed, and the putter well divider catches bigger putter grips with ferocity.
  • Notes – I want to like the Izzo Locker, I really do, but it is a let down. It’s enough bag to get the job done, but there’s nothing extraordinary about it. The effort spent on the external putter “mount” should have been directed towards the additional of  real/usable features.

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Share Your Opinions

Now that you’ve had a chance to see what separates this year’s best bags, we’d love to hear what you’ll be gaming this year and why. We know the top bags in this guide will serve you well, and we look forward to hearing which bag wins by your own personal standards.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)