The Most Popular Drivers of 2015 Secret CG Locations

The Most Popular Drivers of 2015 Secret CG Locations

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Written By: Tony Covey

Yesterday we gave you a primer on driver Center of Gravity; what it is and why it matters. Whether you know it or not, CG location probably influenced your last driver purchase.

Today we’re going to take things a step further. We’re going to step away from the marketing, the buzzwords, and the catch phrases. We’re going to show you reality. We’re going to show you the actual center of gravity locations for 19 of most popular drivers of 2015.

Whose CG is the lowest? Whose CG is the farthest back? Whose CG locations are so high they’re nearly off the chart?

Does anyone actually offer low spin with forgiveness?

We have the answers.

Our first chart will provide you with a better understanding of relative CG between clubs. Our second chart is not to be missed. It pulls everything we’ve discussed the last two days together, and provides the best illustration of why the top drivers of 2015 perform the way they do.

The Fine Print

Before we get to our dynamic charts, it’s important to understand that although heads were measured according to USGA standards, tolerances (both in measurement and in manufacturing) come into play. The tolerance for our measurements is approximately .7mm. To account for this we represent CG using large dots rather than a smaller absolute point.

Where the dots are touching or in close proximity to one another, it’s reasonable to assume the heads offer similar performance.

These are CG measurements only. While CG placement is the foundation of driver performance, as you’re aware, loft and shaft selection also contribute to overall driver performance.

Finally, although we’ve blown these charts up to make them a bit easier to read, every last one of the CG locations represented is within that tiny little 14mm x 12mm box we discussed yesterday.

Here’s our graphic from our previous article to remind you how CG location impacts driver performance (left is front, right is back).

CG Location Relative to Face Center

This chart shows the CG locations of 19 different drivers relative to the center of the face.

To isolate a given head, simply select it from the list on the left hand side. You can select multiple drivers using the dropdown list. Individual models are color coded.

Movable weight/adjustable CG drivers have multiple dots associated with each head to reflect the CG location for the various weight positions. Hovering over a dot will reveal the driver model and weight configuration.

The x-axis represent distance in millimeters from the driver face (a value of -36, for example, represents a CG location 36mm from the face). Basically, the face would be to the right of the chart.

Observations
  • Mizuno’s JPX-850 has the lowest CG of any driver sampled
  • TaylorMade’s AeroBurner offers the most forward CG
  • Callaway Big Bertha driver with gravity core up have the highest CG
  • PING’s G30 has the most rearward CG location
  • Among the adjustable CG drivers, it’s interesting to note which models offer the most significant CG movement

The Neutral Axis

golf-geeks-neutral-axis

Still with me? Let’s kick the geek speak up a notch.

As illustrated by the image above, the neutral axis is an imaginary line running perpendicular to the center of a lofted driver face. Before you can ask, let me tell you why that matters.

As the center of gravity moves closer to the neutral axis you get less gearing (twisting) and a more efficient transfer of energy. It’s your basic ball go far argument. As with everything else in our CG discussion, the distance from the CG to the neutral axis (or GG NA is it’s called for short) is measured in millimeters, but as we learned yesterday, those millimeters matter.

#Team_____ vs. #Team_____

As you would imagine, each golf company has its own unique CG philosophy. TaylorMade, for example, believes a low forward CG is best, while Ping is a strong proponent of rear (and also low) CG positions. Sometimes there’s a legitimate argument to be made for a given company’s philosophy, and sometimes – and this shouldn’t come as a shock – the publicly stated philosophy is developed to justify a technology that perhaps isn’t quite as compelling as we’re supposed to believe it is.

It’s also important that you understand that because of where reality dictates the CG has to be, and the front-heavy nature of a driver, it’s much easier to move the CG forward than it is to move it backwards. The farther you move CG backwards, the harder it is to keep it close to the neutral axis.

Simply put…low and forward is relatively easy to achieve. Low and back is hard, which is why you don’t see many true low/back designs.

loft-vs-cg

Allowed 5 seconds of honesty and the suspension of the immutable laws of physics most R&D guys will tell you that the farthest point away from the face, and close or on the neutral axis is the ideal CG location. But like I said, putting it there is literally impossible.

So as a substitute for perfection, golf companies strive for the best we can do. Variations of the phrase low spin with forgiveness have been tossed around quite a bit this season. So keep that in the forefront of your mind as you consider the next chart.

A comparatively rear CG location near the neutral axis is the only way to truly achieve low spin with forgiveness.

CG Location Relative to the Neutral Axis (CG NA) & MOI

As with the first chart, you can sort our CG NA/MOI chart by club model. We’ve also added the ability to filter clubs by proximity to the neutral axis and MOI.

Please Note: Because MOI is represented by a positive number, the driver face would be to the left of the chart.

Observations

  • In the previous chart we saw that the center of gravity for the majority of drivers is located below the center of the face, but none of the drivers measured has a CG on or below the neutral axis.
  • With some weight positions less than 1mm from the neutral axis, Mizuno’s JPX-850 has the lowest CG of any driver measured, and likely the lowest CG of any driver on the mainstream market.
  • The CG of Ping’s G30 is the farthest back of any tested, only Ping and Cobra offer drivers which can reasonably be described as offering low/back CG, and only Ping, Cobra, Titleist, Adams, and possibly Nike can be described as offering above average forgiveness.
  • Ping’s G30 LS and Cobra’s FLY-Z+ achieve low(ish) spin with above average forgiveness.
  • All of Nike’s current offerings can be considered high CG.
  • Most manufacturers offer a sort of linear progression between models. In many cases you can connect (or nearly connect) all of a given manufacturer’s offerings with a single straight line. I would suggest that this is the best indicator of a given company’s CG philosophy relative to an entire product line
  • The difference in CG location between FLY-Z+ weight forward and FLY-Z+ weight back, as well as Big Bertha Gravity Core Up vs. Gravity Core down is substantial, while CG movement between the various positions of the Mizuno JPX-850 is minimal.

Surprises

So, did anything here surprise you? Are there some manufacturers that aren’t exactly where they say they are? We think so.

I’d also be curious to know if you’ve observed something similar to what I have. Do you favor drivers with similar CG placements or are your preferences all over the map?

Want More from the Golf Geeks?

What other topics would you like to have our Golf Geeks tackle and simplify? Let us know.

MyGolfSpy

Survey Results – What’s In YOUR Bag (Drivers and Fairway Woods)

Survey Results – What’s In YOUR Bag (Drivers and Fairway Woods)

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What’s In YOUR Bag?

A few weeks ago we asked you to tell us about the equipment in your bag. We already know what the pros play (because the brands they rep bombard us with press releases weekly), but what about the average golfer…or at least the average MyGolfSpy reader?

Golf equipment is a business, we get that. Certainly most of us would play just about anything if we were compensated for our trouble. We’re not, which is why we think it’s much more interesting to hear about the equipment you’ve spent your hard-earned money on.

It’s pay to play vs. paid to play.

Before we get to the first round of results, there are a few things to keep in the back of your minds. By the letter, the average MyGolfSpy reader does not fully represent the average golfer.

We believe our readers are more likely to:

  • Be gearheads, possibly even obsessed with golf equipment (we think that’s a good thing)
  • Be custom fit for his equipment
  • Replace equipment more frequently, and therefore your equipment will be, on average, newer than the gear of the golfing population as a whole
  • Play smaller or niche brands. Apart from the guys taken-in by Warrior Golf, you’re less likely to be brandwashed.
  • Be more familiar with emerging equipment trends

So with all of that out of the way, let’s get to the results.

Drivers

WITB-q1
Not surprisingly, TaylorMade leads our field with a 25.06% share. PING, Titleist, and Callaway are reasonably tightly grouped between 15.43% and 18.53%. After the 4 at the top, it’s a pretty steep drop-off to Cobra at 9.85% and another steep slide to to Nike at 5.48%.

We’re showing you only those companies with at least a 1% share of your bags. Excluding the Other option, the sum total of the remaining brands is 3.25%. That places Other between Adams (2.72%) and Nike.

Notables listed under Other: KZG, Nakshima, Nickent, Bobby Jones, Sinister, Bombtech, Geek, and I don’t carry a driver.

WITB-q2

On average, golfers replace their drivers once every 3.7 years. I’d wager the average MyGolfSpy reader replaces his driver at a measurably higher rate.

39.81% of you are gaming drivers that are less than 1 year old, while 68.53% of you are playing drivers 2 years old or less.

On the other end of the spectrum, 8.30% of you are playing a driver that’s 4-years old or older.

I’d be curious to know why those guys haven’t upgraded. Are you comfortable with what you have? Is it cost? Is it the perception that USGA limits mean drivers can’t get any better?

 

WITB-Q3

Two observations here. 1) According to the previous chart, somebody is lying. Either that or 2) a bunch of you have already bought new drivers this year. Essentially, 40% of you either will or might buy a new driver this year. That’s a sizable chunk (huge actually), and no doubt some manufacturers believe an even newer model may provide all the enticement you need to pull the trigger.

Fairway Woods

WITB-Q6

Of little surprise, only the order of Top 5 changes. TaylorMade remains on top, but likely off the strength of the X(2) Hot, Callaway (21.85%) leaps ahead of both Ping(14.98%) and Titleist (16.56%). Two companies reasonably well-known for their fairway woods, Adams (9.19%) and Tour Edge (6.11%),  pull ahead of Nike (5.16%).

It may be interesting to some that while Nike’s percent share  is similar between drivers and fairways, it falls from 6 to 8 by rank.

Companies not shown account for a sum total of 1.95% of fairways in your bag. That number fits between Wishon (1.22%) and Wilson (1.67%)

Notables listed under Other: Dynacraft, Orlimar, Sonartec, XXIO, Yamaha, Harvey Penick, and I don’t carry one.

WITB-Q7

Compare this chart with the same chart for the driver category. The number of you with new fairway woods in your bag (21.79%) is nearly half as few as those with new drivers in the bag. Not surprisingly, the percentage of fairway woods older than 4 years (18.62%) is significantly higher than it is in the driver category.

While we don’t have the exact numbers, we know that golfers buy new fairway woods with less frequency than they do new drivers. Your responses suggest that a healthy percentage of you bought at least one new fairway wood within the last 1 to 3 years. That more or less brings us to the edge of the RocketBallz/XHot era when, for a brief window, fairway woods were sexy again.

Also of note, 3.42% of you don’t carry a fairway wood at all.

WITB-Q8

A full 64% of you report that you have no plans to buy a new fairway wood these. Obviously plans are subject to change (especially if you break something or what you have now stops working), but what you’ve told us suggests that consumer purchase cycles for fairway woods may be leveling off, or perhaps even returning to pre-RBZ levels.

Fairway woods aren’t the it club anymore, and could be on the verge of regaining their status as a barely-necessary evil, particularly among average to high handicap golfers.

On a more positive note, 9.42% of you told us you are planning to buy a new fairway wood this season, while 26.58 say you might.

Aftermarket Shafts

WITB-Q4

I suppose we shouldn’t find this surprising given what we know about our readership, but nevertheless, I do.

At a club with roughly 300 members I can count on one hand the number of guys I’ve played with who have something other than stock in their drivers. Even among the best players, the percentages are almost certainly lower in the real world than they are with gearheads such as ourselves.

More than 45% (46.53%) of you told us that you play an aftermarket shaft in your driver. Even here, I would have guessed 30%…tops.

It would interesting to better understand the split between those of you who were fit (and stick to a single shaft), and those of you who are compulsive dabblers.

 

WITB-Q5

It can be argued that when golf companies run out of ideas, they simply re-invent old ones. That which was once called the 2-wood has evolved into the Mini Driver.

TaylorMade introduced the first of the new breed last year with the SLDR S Mini. That was followed by this season’s AeroBurner Mini, which will soon be followed by Callaway’s Big Bertha Mini, and eventually, I suspect, other Mini-like clubs.

As of this moment, more than 55% of you are telling us you are not interested in the category, while another 5.69% of you told us you’re unfamiliar with the category entirely. I’d be willing to wager that both of those numbers will have changed substantially by this time next year.

TaylorMade hasn’t done any significant marketing around either of its Mini products (it’s little more than a word of mouth club at this point), but I suspect once competition hits shelves we’ll hear quite a bit more about the benefits of the various Minis, and that  should pique curiosity.

More to Come

We’ll be posting your responses in the hybrid, iron, wedge, and putter categories in the coming weeks.

 

MyGolfSpy

How This Tiny Thing Can Make A Huge Difference In Your Next Driver

How This Tiny Thing Can Make A Huge Difference In Your Next Driver

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You care about your driver’s center of gravity. You may not realize it yet, but you do.

I will concede that this sort of science-y stuff can be a little bit boring, and it certainly hasn’t helped my cause any that the golf companies have tossed the phrase center of gravity around so much that it’s basically lost all meaning (while at the same time losing your interest).

But bear with me guys, keep your eyes open and read on, this CG stuff…it’s really interesting. And it’s not interesting because I said so, it’s interesting because, whether you know it or not, it’s a large part of the reason why you’re playing the driver you’re playing today.

So what exactly is Center of Gravity, and why exactly do I think it’s so damn important? Let’s get to it.

CG Defined

Center of Gravity (CG or CoG) is the point at which all of the weight of an object appears to be concentrated. An object can be balanced on a small flat point placed directly beneath its center of gravity.

That may sound complicated, but it really comes down to balance. Ever balanced anything on the tip of your finger, or as the R&D guys occasionally do, the tip of a pen? The physical point at which an object is perfectly balanced…where it doesn’t tip over one way or another and crash to the floor, that’s its center of gravity.

You might not think that a physics lesson most of learned on playground teeter totter would be relevant to a golf club performance discussion, but not only is it relevant, it’s at the very center of the discussion.

Sorry…won’t happen again.

center-of-gravity-balance

Why CG Location Matters

CG location matters because it heavily influences both performance and feel. How high your driver launches, how low it spins, how it feels, and how it sounds at impact, that all begins with its center of gravity.

Before we dig deeper into the specifics of how CG location impacts both performance and feel, there are a few things we need to make sure everybody understands.

1. It’s Called Center Of Gravity For A Reason.

As you might expect given its label, the center of gravity is always located very near the center of the clubhead. The CG of every driver measured for this series of articles is located within a box that’s 14mm front to back and 12mm top to bottom.

To put that into perspective, we’re talking about a box just a little bigger than your average Micro SD Card. It’s that small.

CG-micro-sd-1

You’ve probably seen some of the marketing/advertising graphics where golf companies claim to move the center of gravity from the extreme rear of the clubhead so far forward that it’s practically pressing against the face.

That’s total nonsense…outright shenanigans. Using our SD card (see the image above) as the example, while those OEM graphics convey a CG shift significantly more impressive than the equivalent of moving the CG from the ‘U’ to the ‘G’, in Samsung, actual reality is much closer to our example than theirs.

The reason it’s called center of gravity is because it’s near the center of the clubhead. Always.

Now that said, the CG location of a driver head has a slight forward bias because:

  • The face is much thicker and heavier than the rest of the body
  • The hosel (and all of its weight) is near the front of the club

2. Your Driver Is Stuck in the Box…Sorry.

We can talk physics and materials all day long, but the reality is that, with what engineers have to work with right now, it’s basically impossible to move center of gravity outside of that 12mm x 14mm box (SD card) we talked about before. Kind of amazing, right? Front CG, back CG…your driver, my driver, the center of gravity is always somewhere within that little box.

golf-geeks-1

3. How Millimeters Make Drivers Go Farther.

Small CG movements within our little box can have a significant impact performance.

Despite having CG locations that are only millimeters apart, a Ping G30 plays very differently from a Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Double Black Diamond. Why? CG location.

For those clubs with movable weight (adjustable CG technology), moving those weights around can alter performance significantly. For confirmation of that statement, try comparing numbers on an R15 with the weights in the middle to an R15 with the weights in the perimeter (MOI) position. Do the same with a FLY-Z+ with the weight in the front compared to the weight in the back. Grab a Callaway Alpha series driver and flip the core. Again…we’re talking about millimeters here, but those millimeters matter.

Changing the CG location changes performance.

4. Moving Mass Doesn’t Always Bring Significant Change.

I know…I just said nearly the opposite, but it’s important to understand that not all adjustable mass systems are created equal. The significance and impact of flipping, sliding, or any other type of CG movement depends on three things:

1. The direction the weight is being moved
2. How much weight is being moved
3. How far the weight is being moved

The more weight you can move over a greater distance, the more the CG will shift. Moving heavy weights over a comparatively small distance, or comparatively light weights over a greater distance doesn’t actually accomplish much.

How Center of Gravity Affects Performance

cg-quads-1

The above chart illustrates how changes in center of gravity impact performance. Here’s a quick summary.

CG Forward

Dynamic Loft: decreases
Spin: decreases
Closure Rate: decreases
MOI: decreases

CG Up

Dynamic Loft: decreases
Spin: increases

CG Back

Dynamic Loft: increases
Spin: increases
Closure Rate: increases
MOI: increases

CG Down

Dynamic Loft: Increases
Spin: Decreases

GeekTalk

Dynamic Loft is the actual loft delivered to the ball at impact.

At equivalent measured lofts, a driver with a back CG will produce more dynamic loft, and therefore launch higher than a driver with a forward CG placement. More loft produces more spin.

Closure Rate or Dynamic Closure Rate is the rate at which the clubhead closes during the downswing. The more forward the CG the slower the closure rate. Clubs with slower closure rates are generally described as being more workable. Back CG designs with faster closure rates are more forgiving, and can help to mitigate a slice.

MOI is often defined as the clubhead’s resistance to twisting. While technically accurate, that leads some to believe MOI plays a greater role in accuracy than it actually does. In perhaps simpler terms, MOI is a protector of ballspeed. The higher the clubhead MOI the more ballspeed, and by extension distance, is preserved on balls struck somewhere other than on the sweet spot.

geektalk

How Center of Gravity Affects Feel

While we can’t put hard numbers to feel the way we can performance, we can make some generalizations about how center of gravity affects feel.

On a comparative basis:

  • Drivers with forward CG locations often feel heavier than those with rear CG placements
  • A forward CG location will cause the shaft to feel stiffer.
  • Because of the effect on closure rate, forward CG drivers may be harder to square, and some golfers will find it difficult to control the club during swing

While it may not be universally true, I suspect that many of you favor clubs with similar CG locations. Whether driven by feel or performance, we like what we like, and whether we know it or not, that starts with CG location.

Details to Come

Check back tomorrow when we bring what we’ve learned today into the real world. We’re going to publish CG locations for several of the most popular drivers on the market this season. Whose drivers have the lowest CG? Who’s really forward? Who’s high and spinny?

We’re about to show you.

MyGolfSpy

Giveaway – Nike Vapor Speed Volt Driver

Giveaway – Nike Vapor Speed Volt Driver

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MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Driver for Accuracy is now available in Volt..and YOU can Win It here!

Some of you still call it neon yellow, but if you’re going to win one, you should probably start calling the color by its proper name.

Say it with me. Volt.

See, that wasn’t so hard.

vapor-speed-volt

The first time Nike Athlete Michelle Wie tests the driver, she asked something along the lines of “Can I get this with a Volt crown?”

What Michelle wants, Michelle gets, and so, in the interest of making Michelle Wie happy (and apparently challenging Callaway for the title of Kings of Really Long Driver Names), born the Nike Vapor Speed High Visibility Volt Edition was.

Michelle Wie got one, and we’re offering you a chance to get one too. One MyGolfSpy reader is going to win a Nike Vapor Speed Volt Edition Driver.

How to Enter

Entering is simply, all you have to do is complete this sentence:

nike-volt-enter

Leave your answer in the comment section below.

Rules and Eligibility

    • Contest ends Friday, June 22nd at 5:00PM Eastern Time
    • Open to all residents of planet earth
    • To be eligible you must be subscribed to the MyGolfSpy Newsletter

    • Winner chosen at random from all eligible entries
    • As always, void where prohibited
MyGolfSpy

Study: Golfer Performance By State

Study: Golfer Performance By State

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How Does Your State Measure Up?

Which state has the best golfers? Which state has the worst?

Today we’re going to take a closer look at how golfer performance compares across state lines. While much of what we found aligns with our expectations, we found a few curiosities as well.

To bring you this information, we’ve partnered with TheGrint, a Golf GPS and Handicap/Stat Tracking service. TheGrint’s massive database provides absolutely incredible insight into the makeup of the golfing population as a whole.

How Data was Mined

Data was captured from TheGrint App and Website.

We used a total sample of 15,000 golfers who:

  • Are part of a USGA Compliant Golf Club
  • Have uploaded at least 5 scores to TheGrint

Abnormal scores (scores with handicap differentials lower than -10 or higher than 45) were removed from an initial sample of over 300,000. While it should be obvious enough, it’s worth mentioning that our data is limited to golfers who track their handicap. It’s also reasonable to assume that data from TheGrint skews towards a more tech-savvy golfer, and that could also suggest a demographic that is, on average, younger than that of the total golfing population as a whole.

To ensure valid sample sizes we’ve limited our graphs to show the top 20 states based on use of TheGrint.

Golfer Performance by State

handicap-by-state-grint-1

This graph shows the average handicap for golfers who live in a given state.

Insights:

  • Not surprisingly, the majority of states with the best golfers are those that experience mild winters. This is likely attributable to golfers having more opportunity to practice and play.
  • What some may find surprising is that Ohio and Minnesota rank high despite the fact that both see a fair amount of snow on an annual basis.
  • Despite warm weather and an abundance of golf courses, Florida ranks only 15th.

avg-scores-grint-1

This graph shows the average recorded score by state.

Insights:

  • While there isn’t a one-to-one correlation, as you’d expect, there is significant overlap between the states with the lowest handicaps and those with the lowest average score.
  • Differences between the two can be attributed to variations in slope ratings and the fact that average score considers all rounds played, while only the best 10 are used for handicapping purposes.

single-digit-player-grint-1

This graph shows the percentage of single digit handicap golfers within each state’s population.

Insights:

  • Within the Top 20 participating states, Tennessee has the highest percentage of better golfers, while New York has the lowest. I’m at least partially  responsible for the latter.
  • Once again the logical inference is that both ends of the chart are strongly influenced by climate.

As you may recall from our earlier post, only 10% of golfers who track their handicap break 80 on a regular basis, so to find that over 40% of golfers in 3 different states have single digit handicaps is surprising. It’s reasonable to assume that sample size plays a role in the result. TheGrint’s presence in Tennessee and Ohio isn’t as strong as it is in states like New York and California. So while golfers in those states who leverage TheGrint’s robust round tracking capabilities may in fact be above average players, there aren’t enough of them to measurably impact the national averages.

scores-posted-year-grint-1

The following chart shows the number of scores posted per golfer in each state on an annual basis.

Insights:

  • While, as you would likely expect, golfers in warm weather states post more scores annually, the difference in rounds played is not as significant as you might think.
  • The number of scores entered in cold weather states like New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey suggests that golfers in those states make the most of the active golf season.

Coming Soon

Stay tuned. In our next project with TheGrint we’ll take start to take a closer look at some data related to the golf courses themselves.

MyGolfSpy

Callaway To Brand itself “Kings of Speed”

Callaway To Brand itself “Kings of Speed”

Post image for Callaway To Brand itself “Kings of Speed”

Written By: Tony Covey

While Trademark filings generally don’t provide us with absolute specification, or any real technical detail, they can provide us with a kind of blurry insight into upcoming products, and sometimes even a glimpse of how those products will be eventually marketed to the consumer.

Such is the case with some recent applications filed by Callaway Golf.

KINGS of SPEED

KOS-tm

A year and a half ago, in a move clearly borrowed from Howard Stern, Callaway declared itself the Kings of all Distance. Within the continuing spirit of that previous filing, Callaway is poised to declare itself the Kings of Speed.

And some say the golf industry lacks originality. At least Callaway’s products won’t be #madeoffastness.

We can reasonably assume that this Speed thing is related to club speed in the recent tradition of V-Series and XR, or Callaway’s Long Drive team,  and not some predilection inside the company for crystal meth.

I’m also going to assume that Kings of Puffery was already taken.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

Also In Callaway’s Trademark Pipeline…

B16 – It’s hard to decipher much from 3 letters, but my money is on Bertha 16. After releasing two drivers with unconscionably long names (Big Bertha Alpha 815 and Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond), Callaway appears ready to do all of us a favor and keep things a bit more concise for 2016.

Sound Chamber/Sound Core – Callaway has filed Trademark requests for both. We know Callaway loves cores, so why not have sound join gravity in the lineup? This could be as simple as how Callaway describes its latest must-have feature, or it could be a foray into adjustable sound.

Stay tuned

CF16 – I’m guessing a forged iron product. Apex is due for replacement, and an evolution of the X-Forged isn’t out of the question.

Big T – While I’d like to think this is how I’m referred to inside the walls of Callaway Golf (as in “Did you see the crap Big T wrote about us? Didn’t we pay to have him killed?”), Big T could just as easily be a new Tank putter. Of course, it could also just as easily be something totally different.

MD3 Milled / W Grind – These two appear fairly obvious. Big toe-up PM grind notwithstanding, the MD2 wedge is due for replacement, and the logical progression would be to MD3. Why not add a new W-Grind (wide-sole) while we’re at it? Bounce and grind stories are all the rage in wedge-craft right now, so it’s reasonable to assume Callaway would want to join the discussion.

No Guarantees

There are no guarantees Callaway will use all or even any of these. It’s not uncommon for Trademarks to be abandoned, as was the case with a Callaway filing for Torpedo (the underwater golf ball that never was?). There’s even less of a guarantee that I’m right about what all of these will eventually become, but occasionally it’s fun to speculate and spark a discussion.

How will these Trademarks manifest themselves?

This is Callaway, so we probably won’t have to wait long to find out.

MyGolfSpy

In The Ring With The Sun Mountain Combo Cart

In The Ring With The Sun Mountain Combo Cart

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The best thing about having the bag and cart together is that the bag and cart are together.

Written by Dave Wolfe

Every time I see the word combo I think of two things. First to mind is the 90’s coin-op video game Killer Instinct. I don’t know who did the voice work on that game, but I hear his voice in my head every time I read or write the word. Monster Combo! Ultra Comboooooo! Man, Cinder was cheap in that game.

Naturally, the other thing that combo brings to mind is boxing, where combo is short for combination.

What do boxing and video games have to do with Sun Mountain’s combo cart? Indulge me for just a moment…we’re almost there.

In boxing, stringing together punches in combination has the potential to be far more effective than if the punches were thrown separately. Two jabs and a cross as solo shots just don’t do the same damage as a jab-jab-cross combination. If you ever played Mike Tyson’s Punch Out on Nintendo, you understand this. The jabs open the door for a much more devastating cross, thus making the combination more lethal than the sum of three punches thrown individually.

In case it hasn’t been clear what I’ve been driving at, the Sun Mountain Combo Cart is a both-in-one combination of golf bag and pushcart. Does this combination create some one-two punch synergy, or does it fall flat to the metaphorical canvas?

Let’s find out.

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Tale of the Tape: Sun Mountain Combo Cart

  • Weight (empty): 25 pounds
  • Weight (full, as measured): 45 pounds
  • Dimensions: 37”x16”x13”
  • Fourteen-way top
  • Individual, full-length dividers
  • Eight Pockets (including clothing, valuables, and insulated beverage pockets)
  • Three wheels: front folds, sides fold and collapse
  • Folding seat with padded back

The Introductions

The Sun Mountain Combo Cart brings some excellent features to the ring. We expect this, as Sun Mountain has long been one of the big players in the cart game .

Let’s take a closer look at the strengths of the Combo Cart.

All-in-One Construction

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The best thing about having the bag and cart together is that the bag and cart are together. These two pieces were designed together, and so as they should, they fit perfectly together. This is seldom the case when one buys the cart and bag separately.

With the combo, there is no struggle to get the components to play well together. It’s what they were designed to do. Along with that perfect fit comes the total elimination of any issues related to bag slippage or rotation during play. The Combo Cart remains combined and stable…always.

The Price

The retail price of the Sun Mountain Combo Cart is $469.99. Yes, you read that correctly. The Combo cart is $470. Give me a few seconds to explain why that’s a good thing…or at least not as insane as it sounds.

It’s really just simple math. Consider that a new C-130 Cart Bag costs $230, and a new Speed Cart V1 Sport goes for about $210. Purchased separately, a new Sun Mountain bag and cart will run you roughly $440. That puts the pricing for the Combo Cart right about where you would expect it to be. For an extra $30 you’re getting a unit designed to fit perfectly together, that also has some great additional features, which we’ll get to in just a bit.

Obviously, if you only need to a bag or you only need a cart, then the Combo Cart doesn’t make economic sense. If you are looking to replace both, however, the Combo Cart is price competitive. Worth noting, you will have the option to purchase replacement bags down the road. It’s reasonable to assume that the fabric bag will wear out before the metal and plastic cart. When it’s time to replace the bag, you won’t need to spend another $470.

Ease of Folding/Unfolding

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Some carts can be irritatingly complicated to fold, unfold, and re-fold. Not so with the Combo Cart. Flip out and rotate the front wheel, pull one toggle to lower the back wheels, and then flip one lever to release and adjust the handle to the correct height and you’re done. You can also then increase the rear axle length, and thus improve stability by pressing a couple of buttons. Overall, it’s very easy.

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It’s a quick process. I’m typically the last guy to get the gear packed into the trunk after a round. It takes a while to detach the bag, fold the cart, and then drop it all into the trunk. With the Combo Cart, I was actually waiting for my buddies to put their gear away for once. That’s one of the advantages of the all-in-one design. You can fold it up with the bag still attached, and drop it right into your car.

On Course Performance

The Combo Cart is unobtrusive breeze to use on the course. With just a couple of minor issues, the Combo Cart performed its duties so well that I almost forgot that I was using it. That’s not the case with all carts. Nothing adds unnecessary frustration to a round of golf like fighting to keep a bag snug, or constantly realigning a cart that perpetually veers off line.

The cart is easy to push. The console provides ample storage – including a novel take on ball storage. The brake is sufficiently powerful, and the cart is overall very stable both when rolling and when parked.

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The rectangular fourteen-way top provides easy access to your clubs while keeping them apart-enough that they don’t clack together when the cart is rolling. While there isn’t a compartment specifically designed as a putter tube, I would feel confident carrying even my most precious putters in the Combo Cart.

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The bag detaches easily from the cart should you choose to take a riding cart rather than walk. In testing we found that the Combo Cart works just fine on the back of the power cart.

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On Course Issues

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There are a few issues that came up during play, but as you’ll see, most are relatively minor. Sticking with the boxing theme, you might call them standing eight counts. Other issues could be knock-out blows; significant-enough for some to cross the Combo Cart off the short list.

First, there are no holes in the console for tees. As I said, it’s a minor thing, but  just a couple of spaces to drop tees into would have been nice.

I’d also welcome a Velcro patch somewhere on the handle/console portion of the cart where I could attach my glove.

A small netted section (like those found on other carts) is handy spot to toss things temporarily without the bother of opening the console. The Combo Cart offers no such thing.

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Though the foot switch works well for engaging the brake (and the brake works well), I would prefer that the brake control be located near the console. It’s just easier to access from up there.

The last minor thing is that the front wheel showed a tendency to scoop up grass clippings as the cart was rolling down the fairway. The roll itself stayed true, but I did gather a sizable pile of clippings in my trunk before I noticed the issue.

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Pockets And Storage

While there are eight pockets, the Combo Cart’s overall storage volume is a little light. To be fair, there is enough room to fit in most of the gear that you need to play golf, but maybe not all of the gear that some of you like to carry.

The side pockets are sleek in design, perhaps a bit too sleek. Blow them out a bit. Make them roomier. One real irritation for me is that the zippers restrict access to some of the pockets. When unzipped, the openings remain narrow such that the teeth of the zipper scrape across the back of your hand when reaching in and out. My hands aren’t huge, and we are not talking drawing blood here, but the scraping sensation is an annoyance.

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The garment pocket is located on the underside of the cart. There are two zippers and you’ll need to get under the console to access them. The pocket offers enough room for your sweater and other oft-not-needed layers, but I’d recommend removing the rain cover to free up some space. Be advised that the garment pocket is not accessible while the cart is folded, and that can complicate pre-round packing as well.

The beverage compartment holds three twelve-ounce cans. While three adult beverages is likely sufficient for most rounds, we’ve all had days where additional insulated space couldn’t hurt. Add any food or an ice pack, the pocket fills-up quickly. This pocket really needs to be bigger.

The Combo Cart creates an aura of leisure on the course. Perpetuating that mystique requires more beverages and snacks than the pocket can hold.

Portability

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While the folding and unfolding ease of the Combo Cart really help with transport, it’s not without its issues.

First, there is the weight. The cart itself weights only 25 pounds, but once I added clubs and other golf junk, the weight jumped to 45 pounds. That’s without beverages.

45 pounds is not too heavy for me to sling into the trunk, but it could be for some. I’m not sure that my avid-golfing mother, for example, could easily transport the Combo Cart, and I would assume that she’s well within the target demographic.

Another issue with portability is that the cart must be carried when folded. While it may look like it rolls like a hand-truck, the folded-under bottom wheel gets in the way. Car to garage transport requires you to either unfold the wheel to roll it, or lug the 45 pounds.

There can also be issues with fitting the cart into my trunk when the clubs are in the bag. For reference, I drive a Honda Accord coupe. It doesn’t have the largest trunk, but I can typically fit a couple of folded carts and bags in it without issue. For the Combo Cart to fit, I need to remove the woods from the bag. This doesn’t take much time, but it does prevent me from simply folding it up and dropping it into the trunk.

If you store your clubs and your cart at your club, these portability problems are non-issues. Hit the locker room, fold out the wheels, and head to the first tee.

The Knock Out Punch

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I’ve purposely saved the best feature of the Combo Cart for last. That feature is the folding seat. I mentioned above that this cart is a leisure machine. The bulk of the credit for that goes to the sweet folding seat. When not in use, it folds up, secured to the bag with a Velcro strap. Unhook that strap though and you now can recline in comfort.

Did the five-some in front of you just decide that all putts must be holed? Drop the seat, pull a cold one out of the beverage pocket and relax. You are playing golf for the fun of it, right? Take a load off.

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The seat rests at a comfortable height, and the bag itself has some built-in padding for your back. It’s significantly better than any other fold down seats I’ve come across. Those are stools. This is a recliner. The seat alone will probably sell a bunch of Combo Carts, and it should.

You can’t help but relax when you flop it down and take a seat. Golf just became fun again.

Sun Mountain Combo Cart: Winner By Split Decision

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While the weight and portability issues raised issues for the third judge, the other two scored the fight in favor of the Combo Cart. The cart is a solid performer on the course, with the addition of the seat making the package even more enticing.

I’d prefer more insulated storage space, so that I could pack more treats to enjoy while sitting, but one can always reload at the turn.

If you are looking to buy a new bag and a new cart this season, consider taking the Sun Mountain Combo Cart for a spin/sit.

MyGolfSpy