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

Six of You Are About to Test a Prototype Fairway Wood

Six of You Are About to Test a Prototype Fairway Wood

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A Unique Opportunity

The opportunity to test a true pre-release prototype golf club doesn’t come along every day. Think about it, how often do average golfers actually get to contribute to the development of a yet to be released club? Consumer testing a golf club well before it’s ready for market…that sort of thing never happens.

Considering how unique of an opportunity this is, we are truly excited to select 6 readers to test a prototype PowerBilt fairway wood.

These 6 guys will be asked to test the Air Foil and provide PowerBilt with feedback that will directly shape the further development of this yet to be released club.

The Chosen Ones

The lucky readers are:

  • Dennis de Frel
  • Scratch Kelly
  • Bill Bamber
  • Trevor Green
  • Marty Neighbour
  • Robert Summers

We’ll be reaching out shortly to confirm specs and go over the testing plan.

Stay Tuned

We are working on proving you with more opportunities to test new gear and contribute to the design of new releases. There is definitely more to come.

In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out on these future opportunities.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Community Review – Bobby Jones Black Driver, Fairway, and Hybrid

Community Review – Bobby Jones Black Driver, Fairway, and Hybrid

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Forward – You Can Be a A Club Tester

by GolfSpy WD

As mentioned in this forum post, we look for testers who are forum members in good standing, who have contributed quality posts in the past, and who are able to take the time it takes to write one of our rigorous community reviews. We keep a list of our active forum members and encourage everyone to post without fear of censorship and we do read everything.

From our pool we selected members wbealsd, mudfish, and txstcatman because of their history contributing to the forums, and because each fits into the Bobby Jones target market. As a quick aside, our community reviews test clubs within the intended market segment for the club. We’re not looking to put blades in the hands of a 36 capper or send someone clubs history shows they won’t like. Beyond that though, our community testers are asked to speak their mind and write exactly what they think of the clubs after careful testing over a four week period.

After we selected our testers and sent their specs to the Bobby Jones rep, Jesse Ortiz, the lead designer for Bobby Jones, contacted us saying he wanted to make sure our testers were properly fit and worked with Graphite Designs to fit each of our testers the best they could via email.

Disclaimer

As is the case with all MyGolfSpy Community Member Testing, the selected golfers are provided with a review template and some general guidelines for testing. Depending on the access of each individual, testing may or may not involve the use of a launch monitor. The procedures and protocols used to collect and analyze data differ significantly from those used in MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Testing. As such, the opinions and views expressed in this review are those of the author and may not reflect the opinions or views of MyGolfspy and its staff.

Bobby Jones Metalwoods Review

Written by: Txstcatman
Photos By:  wbealsd, mudfish, and txstcatman

Letter from Jesse Ortiz

Dear Jose,

Since I use Graphite Design shafts for all of my offerings, I sent your specs to Bill McPherson at GDI for his recommendations for you.  Looking at what you currently are using, he came up with:

Tour AD MT7 – for the driver

GT8 – for the fairway wood

AD Di-85 – for the hybrid

I didn’t have Pure Grips, so I went with Tour Velvets figuring you could change them out. The driver is loud but that is common with cup-face design drivers. Put aside the sound and focus on performance. The drivers & fairway woods are FACE ANGLE adjustable. The hybrid is LIE ANGLE adjustable.

Please feel free to call me with any questions.  My cell is xxx-xxx-xxxx.  Thanks for your time to test these.

Best regards,

Jesse Ortiz

 

bobby-jones-metalwoods-shafts

INTRO

So my unboxing post had a bit of the child-like wonder and awe associated with being selected for such an opportunity.  Afterwards, I started to think about what exactly I knew about the Bobby Jones golf brand.  Aside from watching a movie or two about the man, my only knowledge was from some infomercials about wedges that were on TV a long time ago.  I could tell you that I knew about the little copper medallion used in marking the clubs produced by Bobby Jones Golf, but that is about all I knew.

Thanks to this chance to review a driver, fairway, and hybrid, I am more likely to pay attention to the direction of this brand.  Bobby Jones isn’t a big player in the big box stores, but I don’t think you necessarily have to be in order to be successful.

Performance

bobby-jones-metalwoods-driver

Driver Performance

  • Accuracy – One of the things that I immediately began thinking about was accuracy with a large head driver.  I haven’t been much of  a fan of 460cc heads, having played the smaller offerings from a couple of OEMs the last few years. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with how accurate this driver is. It took me a few rounds of golf and range sessions to figure things out, but I finally settled in on what seems to be the “-1” setting.  This helped me really straighten out my shots. I now have the confidence to line up on a tee box and make a swing on the ball without having to worry that my alignment or swing path needs to be tweaked.?
  • Distance –  On average, I felt that my good strikes traveled as far as other clubs I’ve hit.  The design of the club allows for some excellent forgiveness on mishits and keeps the ball out there without losing too much on a bad swing. I can say that while it may not be winning any blue ribbons for being the absolute longest driver out there, it certainly is reliable for good overall distance through a round. Compared to my Covert Tour 1.0 with UST Chrome, I’d put the Bobby Jones Black with Tour AD MT 7s up against it in a heartbeat.
  • Trajectory Characteristics – WOW! I love the ball flight I’ve experienced with this driver!  I know part of it is the design of the head, but being paired with the Tour AD MT shaft has been phenomenal. I continuously see a mid-high, boring flight. The ball just seems to rise to a perfect height, then just goes and goes. I’ve only experienced some moderate ballooning when hitting into the wind, but usually that has more to do with a bad swing than anything else.  I don’t think it’s hard to get the ball airborne, nor is it hard to try and keep it low when it’s required.
  • Forgiveness – Forgiveness with this driver is pretty good. I’ve found that bad swings, regardless of the club, are going to yield bad shots. This driver, however, has left me with more playable second shots than other drivers I’ve used. Bad contact on the face might lead to a few yards lost in distance, but nothing that would make a hole more challenging.
  • Control –  I’m not a guy that tries to work the ball left or right on purpose. I grew into the game playing a natural fade.  That being said, I have been able to turn this club over, even in my swing, to produce some small draws, but only every when trying to do so in range sessions. Because hitting left-to-right is my norm, I play that shot during my rounds. Again, it isn’t hard to hit the ball low or high with this club, something that helps in Texas winds!
  • Range vs Course – For some reason, I have a hard time taking my range game to the golf course. I can even show up early for a round and hit on the course’s range and still swing poorly on the first tee. I think I need a course in mental preparation. However, after my last range session and tweaking of the club, I think that I’ll be able to take my swing and confidence easily into my next round. I definitely do hit this driver better on the range. Below is a short monitor session with best shots hit between the Bobby Jones Black with Tour AD MT 7S and my Nike Covert Tour with UST Elements Chrome 7F4T. Overall numbers averaged better with the Bobby Jones driver.

bobby-jones-metalwoods-results

Fairway Performance

  • Accuracy – I hate to admit this has been the hardest club for me to adjust to playing. I’ve never had a 4 wood in the bag before and that shows on the course. After plenty of tinkering with the settings, I’ve finally got it set to where I can expect my typical fade without being off into right field. This fairway hasn’t been the worst I’ve ever hit, and I have a history of not getting along with fairway woods regardless of the brand. That I can hit this in a predictable manner means it might stay in the bag. The “+2″ setting has given me the best results thus far.
  • Distance – Playing a club in this loft range has been hard for me to get used to. Being higher lofted, I knew that I was going to lose a bit of distance compared to a 15* fairway wood. I was surprised to then see that there was little drop off when compared to my R11 fairway. Distance on my current setting is pretty good for where I need this club to go. It’s great off the tee, and excellent on long Par 5s for both getting into striking distance or going at the green. There have been a couple times, however, that I’d wished I’d opted for a 15* model, just to see how much a difference in distance there might be.
  • Trajectory Characteristics – Hitting off the turf is quite easy, as the club glides across the ground and rough. Off the tee, I’ve been able to hit the ball low, but I haven’t felt the need to do so as I could just as easily hit driver in such situations. I will say the trajectory of this club is pretty high, somewhat higher than I am used to playing.
  • Forgiveness – This club, probably more so than the other two, I have found to be consistent with other models on the market. Given the nature of the head size, a mis-hit is going to be bad. Usually due to a bad swing path, I’ll find myself off to the right or having flipped the club over in the process.
  • Control – Again, I’m not a person who tries to work the ball either direction on purpose. I’ve had to adjust the settings on the club just to get a dependable fade, which is perfectly fine for my game. Launch off the tee is dependable with this club!
  • Range vs Course – I have to say that this club has been more dependable, surprisingly, on the course than on the range. I think it’s that I over-complicate things on the range trying to find the right setup, swing path, or tempo whereas on the course I just pull the club out and fire away. I’ve been more comfortable with it in my hands on the course, for sure.

erbv5y

Hybrid Performance

  • Accuracy – Of all three clubs I’ve had a chance to test, this one is by far the easiest to hit straight. I love the head shape; looking down at it inspires confidence and I don’t have any doubts that it’s going long and straight for me. This club is super easy to hit straight guys.
  • Distance – Again, this club is crazy easy to hit straight, and what does that usually equate to?  You got it, distance!  I finally have a club I can count on consistently for that 200-210 yard range that was hard to hit with my 5 wood consistently before being selected to test. I love how the club sounds at impact.
  • Trajectory Characteristics – The AD DI shaft with this head has helped produce nice high ball flights that just go. It’s nice to actually hit a hybrid in the manner with which they were intended. The trajectory definitely helps land the ball softly onto greens. The club head travels through the turf very easily whether in the fairway or rough, making contact predictable off any lie.
  • Forgiveness – This is one club where forgiveness was an afterthought for me. Not because of anything wrong, but just because I felt like I could never mis-hit it. Off the toe, heel, low or high on the face, the ball just keeps going straight for me and with not a whole lot of distance lost. This club will definitely leave you with a smile on your face and wanting to hit it over and over again!
  • Control – Again, something this club does well is elements of control. Off the tee I feel like I can keep it low or hit a towering shot, while off the turf it can provide nice trajectories as well. I’ve been able to hit my typical fade as well as a few draws, both accidentally and on purpose.
  • Range vs Course – I’ve felt that this club is dependable both in practice and in play on the course. Every time it comes out of the bag it feels so easy to put a good swing on. I love that I can trust it to deliver in a pinch on long second shots or recovery shots off bad drives.  Basically… ThisThingWorks.

bobby-jones-metalwoods-headcovers

Performance Notes

As a set, I’ve been very comfortable putting these clubs in play. From the very beginning, I liked the gaps in lofts, and went with the three as my non-iron setup in the bag. I feel that the fairway and hybrid travel through the turf especially well, even in thick rough. It’s easy to make contact with the ball in most lies. The driver is a club I’ve always struggled with for consistency, yet I finally think I have a tool in the bag that can allow for consistency.

Looks

bobby-jones-metalwoods-grip

I love the shape of the fairway and hybrid clubs. The driver looks a bit odd at first, reminding me of the 2009 TM Burner when looking down at it. The odd curvature behind the toe is funky, but easy to get used to.  The graphics on the crown and sole of the clubs are simple, understated, and pretty pleasing given the latest trends of having words and stripes on available clubs. I really liked the “power button” alignment aid as I am a bit geeky about computers. The matte black and red graphics look really good to my eye, and the sole graphics being simple make the club look very streamlined.

After a half dozen rounds and several range sessions, I’d say these clubs wear just as well as any other black faced club on the market. The driver still looks like new, while the fairway and hybrid have shown more wear due to ground contact.

Compared to other brands’ offerings in these club categories, I’d have to say that Bobby Jones Golf is definitely on the right track to providing quality products. The use of Graphite Design shafts is a huge plus, and instills a sense of confidence when putting the clubs in play. I’d definitely say that these clubs are on par, if not better, than others available now in terms of looks. You should definitely take a look at them if the opportunity presents itself.

bobby-jones-metalwoods-heads

Sound and Feel

Both the fairway and hybrid clubs provide a nice, muted “tink” sound that I really enjoy hearing upon impact.  The driver, however, took a little while to get used to.  The best way I could describe it is a comparison to the Nike SQ Sumo drivers.

The Bobby Jones model doesn’t sound nearly as loud as its yellow predecessor, but it still gives me flashbacks to playing little league baseball with metal bats. I definitely saw heads turn my way on the range and even had playing partners comment on the sound during the rounds I played. It passes after a few swings, especially when you catch one really good and just smile when you get to your second shot AFTER everyone else.

The sound really translates to how the ball feels coming off the face. The cup face design provides a lot of spring that can be felt on impact. I will say that shots on different parts of the face of all three clubs sounds pretty consistent, with only the driver providing a really discernible difference in contact areas.

If the driver could sound more like the fairway and hybrid, we’d have the best sounding clubs I’d ever experienced.

bobby-jones-metalwoods-head-shaft

Likelihood of Purchase (LOP)

I would definitely consider a purchase of the hybrid in this set. Being a poor fairway club player, I have a hard time with most 3 and 5 woods. However, if Bobby Jones offered a stronger lofted hybrid I’d consider it in an instant. The driver would be a strong consideration compared to other clubs I’ve tried, only because I’ve experienced how, when set up correctly, it can provide consistent performance.

Subjective Notes

I love the way these clubs look, sound, and feel. Looking at them almost makes me forget that I don’t hit fairways well, or that I struggle with driver consistency. The clubs look the way clubs should, simple in design and graphics, and with the right colors. The fairway and hybrid sound amazing enough to forgive that of the driver, making it easy to put all three clubs into play in the bag.

bobby-jones-metalwoods-headcovers2

Conclusion

As an avid golfer who doesn’t take lessons, doesn’t put any stock into what the wannabe teaching pro hitting balls at the range has to say, and tinkers more than he practices, I finally feel like I’ve received the “golden ticket” to getting my metal play on track. I have enjoyed my time with the clubs thus far, and look forward to their continued use on the course. I think I’m on the right track, and look forward to seeing improved scoring chances with them. I am already used to the sound of the driver, and I suggest to anyone who has a chance to try these clubs to look past that particular aspect of performance, just as Jesse asked us to do.

The Five

  1. Will these clubs go in your bag? Why or why not?  For now, yes. I feel like I have been a bit more consistent with this driver in the bag. The forgiveness is a nice thing to have when I’m on the course and having a bad swing day. I feel that while I’m inconsistent with the fairway, I still hit it better than my other options in that category, so the Bobby Jones will be staying in the bag. The hybrid is a no-brainer for having a permanent place in any bag I set up.
  2. To whom, if anyone, would you recommend these clubs? Why?  I’d recommend these clubs to just about anyone. Traditionalists might not like the head shape on the driver, or the sound it produces. All I can say is to give it a chance. The fairway has a nice look to it that anyone may find appealing, and the hybrid is just a great club. If you’re a high handicap player, consider giving these a go.
  3. How, if at all, did these clubs change your overall impression of Bobby Jones Golf?  These clubs actually have piqued my interest in Bobby Jones Golf. I spent time browsing the company website to learn more information of the brand as a whole. I no longer think of it in terms of old wedge commercials.
  4. What feature would you change or eliminate from the next generation of this model?  There isn’t a whole lot to change about the overall design of these clubs. Paint and graphics are top notch and pretty durable. The sound of the driver is directly related to the face design, but I wonder if some interior weighting choices could be made to help minimize the effect of the design on sound output.
  5. What feature do you really like, and would most like to see continued or evolved in future models?  I do think that there should be some literature provided with the clubs with regards to their adjustability. Having played other adjustable drivers and fairways, I enjoy when there is some kind of pamphlet that verbally and graphically illustrates how to work the clubs changeable features.

For more information visit the Bobby Jones Golf Website.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

SPY PICS! – PING G30 Driver and G30 Fairway

SPY PICS! – PING G30 Driver and G30 Fairway

Post image for SPY PICS! – PING G30 Driver and G30 Fairway

The first pics of PING’s apparently upcoming G30 Driver and Fairway are hitting the virtual airwaves, and damn…this one has an unusual design feature that’s certainly to get you guys talking.

Turbulators – The Most Un-PING Thing PING has ever Done

PING doesn’t do gimmicks right? That’s their rep, and yet it would appear they’re about to release a driver with spikey, horn things on the leading edge of the crown. That’s odd, right? Who ever thought PING would be the first to offer the Rhino driver?

Aignment aid? Who needs ‘em…not when you’ve got Turbulators?

I really can’t say how these Turbulator things came to be, but I can tell you that, according to Wikipedia anyway, horned lizards are indigenous to Arizona so I suppose it’s entirely possible that Marty Jertson and the rest of the PING design crew saw one of those lizards basking on a rock behind their R&D facility, and maybe pulled some inspiration from it.

PING G30-6

It’s hot in Phoenix, and strange things happen to the mind when it overheats.

Is that actually where the Turbulators came from? I doubt it, but it’s what I can give you right now.

Did I mention the Turbulators?

PING? Turbulators?

Not unlike the Team at Titleist, Team PING won’t have word one too say until the G30 becomes officially official, but I’m absolutely certain that if this driver had a TaylorMade logo on it some of you would be screaming BULLSHIT! at the top of your lungs without taking a moment’s breath to find out if there’s an actual and legitimate performance story behind this Turbulator thing.

But this is PING, so I’m cautiously optimistic you’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, at least until they’re ready to explain it.

PING G30-8PING G30-5

Turbulators – The Most PING Thing PING has Ever Done

In reality, PING is no stranger to unconventional designs. They’ve basically succeeded through outside-the-box thinking and a Function-First approach to design. If that means the end product is a little different, then so be it. Once upon a time there was nothing like the PING Anser putter. Eye 2 irons with perimeter weighting…What about the PING ZING 2 irons? Odd at best, right?

The Doc series putters are bizarre by any conventional standard, and the K15 series of metalwoods is about as far off the beaten path as a mainstream manufacturer is likely going to venture. At least that was the case before the G30 series and this whole Turbulator thing.

You also can’t totally discount the target market either. While Turbulators might not fly on the i-series, the G-series crowd is likely more receptive to a less than traditional approach to product design.

Short story…the G-series crowd won’t care that G30 looks a little different if it performs as well or better than the G25.

PING G30-9 PING G30-10 PING G30-11

Greater Adjustability

While the pics don’t provide details, it would appear that PING has stepped up its ajustability game. Degree increments aren’t labeled (just plus signs and rectangles), but there are more of them than on previous PING hosels, so it looks like PING may be catching up to the rest of the industry.

photo 1

Have Your Say

Actual details not withstanding, what do you think of the new G30 series? More to the point, would you consider playing a driver with Turbulators or would you discount it immediately because of that feature alone? What’s your read on this…disinterested, mildly curious, or totally excited?

PING G30-1PING G30-2

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

First Look! – Tour Edge Exotics Limited Edition CB Pro Fairway Wood

First Look! – Tour Edge Exotics Limited Edition CB Pro Fairway Wood

Post image for First Look! – Tour Edge Exotics Limited Edition CB Pro Fairway Wood

Written By: Tony Covey

“You want innovation? I’ve got your innovation right here, and it comes in the form of a very compelling upgrade to what is already one of the top-performing fairway woods in golf”.

Just yesterday we heard grumblings about what’s perceived as a near total lack of actual innovation coming out of the big golf companies. Apparently those big OEM guys are coasting by on gimmicks, and haven’t actually come up with anything impactful in decades.

Well today we’ve got something that might just get some of you to settle down for a little while; at least those of you who don’t immediately assume this is yet another golf company gimmick.

The story we heard is that Tour Edge’s upcoming CB Pro is really making waves on the range at the MBW Championship.

TourEdge-CB-Pro-Fairway-1

The Exotics Tradition

A couple of days ago we received pictures of an upcoming Limited Edition fairway wood from TourEdge Golf. The new CB Pro (Limited Edition) is the latest iteration of the CB Line (clubs generally designed for better players), and is constructed with the same seamless (no-weld) combo-brazed, titanium cupped face hyper steel body as previous CB fairway iterations.

While it has been a while since Tour Edge has updated the Exotics CB Line, the clubs remain popular with lower handicap golfers (and the occasional wanna-be), in part due to their mostly traditional appearance, but more so their performance, which more the a few golfers will tell you still rivals anything on the market today.

“When we decided to create the Exotics line this is the type of club I had envisioned.” – David Glod, President and Founder, Tour Edge Golf

TourEdge-CB-Pro-Fairway-2

TourEdge-CB-Pro-Fairway-3
TourEdge-CB-Pro-Fairway-4

Is That Linguine?

That’s all well and good, and a new Exotics CB Fairway would almost certainly garner plenty of attention on its own, but what’s certainly going to have people talking (and other golf companies looking very closely at the design) is what TourEdge is calling the Slip Stream sole.

The story behind the Slip Stream design is that it “dramatically minimizes turf contact”, which allows the club to glide through the turf with minimal impact -regardless of how steep of a swing you happen to put on it.

Steep or flat, Tour Edge says CB Pro will work for you.

Visually, Slip Steam looks like a collection of 9 linguine noodles spaced and bent (they’re wavy) in such that you basically couldn’t rest anything across the sole of the club and still maintain 100% surface contact with it.

TourEdge-CB-Pro-Fairway-5

Lots of companies talk about minimizing turf interaction, but this is one of those rare occasions where you can actually see how it’s done.

We’ve seen similar designs in the past, but none made it past prototype phase, and none came from a company with the type of fairway wood chops that TourEdge has. Past experience suggests that CB Pro will be a solid performer, even if Slip Stream is proven to be just another gimmick (which incidentally, I don’t think is going to happen).

It goes without saying that we’re anxious to check this one out for ourselves.

It’s Not All Awesome

“Is it expense? Yes, probably the most expensive fairway wood ever brought pulic. But it’s just that good combined with Speeder shafts”. –David Glod

So I guess the Fujikura Speeder Shaft thing (661 and new 757) qualifies as a good thing. That’s a pretty solid upgrade, but expensive…that may not begin to cover it.

speeder-shafts

Suggested retail price for the Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro Fairway is $499.99.

One more time for those who think I just made another in a long line of famous typos:

Suggested retail price for the Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro Fairway is $499.99.

Yup…Tour Edge is releasing a $500 Fairway Wood. I love the ambition, but besting any other titanium faced fairway on the market by $200…it’s going to be a tough sell.

cbproshaftspec

The Future of Fairway Woods?

As much as I find the constant (and often misinformed) “they stole x from y” stuff we hear almost anytime something new comes out tiresome (and painfully unoriginal), it is true that golf companies do very often find inspiration in each other’s work.

It’s going to be exceptionally interesting to see if and how the Tour Edge design is coopted by other manufacturers into their own fairways, and probably hybrids too.

Specifications and Availability

cbprolespecs

Look for the TourEdge CB Pro Fairway Wood to hit stores this November.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

The Fairway Wood is Dead

The Fairway Wood is Dead

Post image for The Fairway Wood is Dead

By Tony Covey | Follow Tony on Twitter

The End is Near

The fairway wood isn’t dead yet…but it sure as hell looks like it’s dying.

Yes, I’ve heard of RocketBallz, but in this case, Stage 2 means terminal. Never mind Speedline, Adams should call their next fairway wood the Flatline. Why call them fairway woods at all? Calling them panda woods seems more appropriate. Extinction is all but certain.

I suppose TaylorMade, and Callaway, and Nike, and just about everyone else with a new for 2013 fairway wood  would disagree, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

The Surge

There’s a strange phenomenon that sometimes happens as terminally ill patients near the end. In the hours before they flatline they experience a surge of energy. They are renewed, they are vital, and then they are gone.

And yes…I first learned about the surge while (not) watching Grey’s Anatomy. Personally, I hate the show, and basically watch it by accident when my wife watches it, but I definitely don’t like it. It totally sucks. That is my official story. And I’m absolutely sticking to it.

Where fairway woods are concerned, after barely breathing for the better part of a decade, The Surge happened last season. With the release of RocketBallz TaylorMade reinvigorated a market segment golfers had largely stopped caring about. Lured by the promise of 17 MORE YARDS, golfer suddenly found themselves energized to do something they hadn’t considered in years; buy new fairway woods.

And they did…by the truckloads. Lots and lots of truckloads. For its efforts TaylorMade raked in something in the neighborhood of a gozillion dollars, and set record sales numbers…again.

This season, the beeps aren’t what they were a year ago. Sales, like the heartbeat of the fairway wood, are slowing. We’re inching closer to the end.

Beep…Beep…Beeeeeeeeep_____________________ (pulls the plug so we can all mourn in silence).

Reality Setting In

You can say what you want about TaylorMade…hell, I’ve said lots of things about TaylorMade, but you’ll never hear me call them stupid. They must have known that the momentum from the original RocketBallz wasn’t wholly sustainable. You just gave me 17 more yards (actually in my case it was 37 yards), I don’t really need 10 more…not from hardest to hit club in the bag, and not from a club I just replaced last year (unless it’s the driver…in which case…sure, 10 more yards sounds fantastic).

Callaway for its part must have believed the same with the XHot fairway. Maybe there’s a little noise to be made. Give Callaway some credit for reviving, the 7, 9, and even the 11 wood, but a full-on lighting strike isn’t happening two years in a row.  Not with a fairway wood.

Even the most promiscuous of club hos doesn’t replace his fairway woods every season.

The point is, even if nobody expects to sell a freighter full of fairway woods, you still have to put something on the shelves. Their presence alone shouldn’t suggest that the consumer actually wants them.

When I picked up the game, a 3 wood and a 5 wood were practically mandatory for every golfer on the course. Those days are over. The 7, 9, and 11 woods are bordering on extinction (Callaway’s XHot could prove to be the last of the species), and even the 5 wood is just barely clinging to life. Some golfers (including your’s truly more often than not) have abandoned the fairway wood altogether, and an increasing majority rely on just a single fairway wood to get them through their rounds.

Ideally they never have to use it.

More often than not it’s a 3 wood. For some it’s a 4 wood. Beyond that…well…there’s probably nothing beyond that.

Fairway woods are an evil of dwindling necessity.

Neglect, Hybrids, and the PGA Tour

So how did we reach a point in time where the once mighty fairway wood is slowly going the way of the jigger? The way I see it, you can’t point the finger 3 places; neglect, hybrids, and the PGA Tour.

NEGLECT

Blame the golf companies. While perhaps not for lack of trying, for the better part of a decade engineers and designers conjured up what basically amounts to zero innovation on the fairway wood front. At the beginning of last season when I spoke to Benoit Vincent, TaylorMade’s Chief Technology Officer, he told me that revolutionizing the fairway wood has been on his to-do list for 10 years, and RocketBallz was the first time in a decade his team had achieved the goal.

10 years. That’s a long time to without any significant technological breakthroughs (real or imagined), and TaylorMade certainly wasn’t alone. The golf companies inadvertently conditioned golfers to believe that fairway woods were the ultimate equipment commodity. They’re all they same. They haven’t changed in years.

We’ll make your drives go farther. We’ll make you a better iron player. Have you tried the new hybrid? Check out the grooves on these wedges.

The fairway wood…don’t bother. What’ s the point?

In a decade we can give you 15 drivers each better than the one that came before it, but a fairway wood…meh…stick with what you got.

And that’s exactly what most guys did…it’s what most still do. I can’t count the number of times a reader has told me that nothing on today’s market can touch the Titleist he’s had for the last decade.

HYBRIDS

About the same time that fairway wood futility was setting in, hybrids/rescues began to emerge as viable alternatives to long irons. As golfers became more and more comfortable with the idea of no longer bagging difficult to hit 3 and 4 (and in some cases 5, 6, and 7) irons, many started to wonder if it might be possible to replace those even more difficult to hit fairway woods with lower lofted hybrids.

Questions flooded forums, “Can I replace my 5 wood with a 2 hybrid?”, and as golfers experimented many learned that what little they lost in distance by switching to a hybrid, they more than made up for in accuracy. There’s always something to be said for swinging on plane and hitting the ball with the center of the face. Who needs this 5 wood?

Keeping up with growing consumer demand, manufacturers focused more of their attention on the emerging hybrid space. In many cases, higher lofted 3 and 4 iron replacements were accompanied by 19°, and then 18°, and then 16°, and now 15° hybrids. Hybrids are no longer designed just to replace irons. Hybrids are being designed to replace fairway woods, and with 15° offerings, one could argue they’re being designed to render the 3-wood obsolete.

Given the distance increases companies are achieving with rescue clubs, we could be one well-designed 13° hybrid away from the extinction of the 3-wood.

Now if I’m being completely objective, it’s impossible not to notice that today’s modern long hybrid aren’t much different from yesterday’s fairway woods. Only a few CCs and ½” or so separates the modern 15° hybrid from the 3 wood of a decade ago.

You can call them whatever you want, but the clubs themselves simply aren’t that different, but hybrids have the benefit of reputation. They’re easier to hit. Fairway woods…they’re hard to hit. Scrap ‘em if you can.

THE PGA TOUR

Whether you define the shape of influence as a pyramid or a sphere, the single greatest retail influencer remains the the PGA Tour. And those tour guys, they’ve done a piss-poor lousy job of selling the consumer on new fairway wood technology.

It’s not that Callaway’s XHot marketing has been totally ineffective, or that TaylorMade hasn’t gotten some attention with their #IER campaign (Johnson Wagner saying “Mustache-IER” is funny), it’s that despite supposed advancements in technology, guys…lots of guys on the PGA Tour continue to win with what the manufacturers would have the rest of us believe is obsolete technology.

Looking back from this year’s WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral to last season’s Masters, no fewer than 15 wins (and that doesn’t include multiple winners like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy) are credited to guys carrying something other than the latest fairway wood technology. And we’re not talking about guys who are just a little slow transitioning from last year’s model to this year’s model. We’re talking about some seriously old, antiquated, find-it-for-thirty-bucks-or-less-on-eBay gear.

Those winner’s bags include such classics as Titleist’s 980F and 906F2, TaylorMade’s Burner, Nike’s SQ Sumo, and Callaway’s famed FT-i.

And then there’s Cleveland staffer Charlie Beljan. He won without a single fairway wood in the bag (he carried 15° and 20° hybrids).

If the best players in the world – guys for whom a single shot can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – aren’t finding the performance gains to justify an upgrade, why should the average joe drop upwards of $300 on a club he can’t hit straight anyway?

The Future of the Fairway Wood

I’ve been predicting the end of fairway woods for years, and yet they keep limping along. Truthfully, I probably got a little ahead of myself (what can I say, I’m a visionary) and TaylorMade’s success with the RBZ last season admittedly forced me to bump my time table back a bit. I’ll begrudgingly accept that it’s probably not time to pull the plug on the 3 wood just yet. It’s not going away any time soon (if ever), but the 5 wood is on a life support, and most everything else…let’s just say they might not outlive the Javan Rhino.

As long as the tour guys keep playing something of the 3 wood variety, I suspect golfers will continue to occasionally buy new 3 woods, but despite best efforts from Callaway, TaylorMade, and anyone else who thinks they’ve got the next IT fairway, we’re unlikely to see another year like last year any time soon. Golfers will revert to their old habits, and that means fairway woods will only get replaced when it’s absolutely necessary. It’s probably better that way.

They’re all the same right? You stick with what you got, and I’ll keep not watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Join the Discussion

We want to know (share with us in the comments section):

  • Do you upgrade your fairway woods frequently, or are you one of those who clings to the familiar?
  • When was the last time you put a new fairway wood in your bag, and why did you do it?
  • If you’re one of those guys who bags a so-called “obsolete” model, what ‘s in your bag now and what would it take to convince you to replace it?

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)