What’s in the Bag?

In the “What’s in the Bag” section, I will introduce you to the new and exciting technology that’s on the market right now.

Golf Balls: May 8, 2014 Now that the golf season has officially begun, you may be wondering what new technology has come out that is affordable to use and demo. Here are a few brief reviews of golf balls. I based these reviews on my own experience and knowledge as a PGA Professional; if you are intrigued, give them a try and let me know which ones you like best. The categories I used to rate each ball are price, feel, distance, durability, swing speed, and spin. So, here we go:

Pinnacle Golf Distance – Retail Price ~ $20.00/15 golf balls

My Rating: 6/10

Great golf balls for beginners! Priced at just over a dollar per ball, you could lose an entire box of these during a round and not break the bank. Pinnacle golf balls are your standard 1 piece, long distance, hard feel, high compression golf balls. Because of their large core, almost your entire swing speed is transferred to ball velocity, making them fly long and straight, but you are going to be sacrificing spin and feel around the green. My recommendation is play these golf balls only if you are a beginner.

Bridgestone e-series (e5, e6, e7) – Retail Price ~ $30.00/dozen

My Rating: 7/10

These golf balls are your standard middle tier balls. Designed for the mid-high handicap golfers, the e-series sports golf balls that have soft covers with large cores to promote distance and feel. Don’t expect a lot of spin, but you can rest assured that if you stay away from cart paths and trees, the e-series golf balls will last you quite a while. My recommendation is play these golf balls if you hit the ball 190-240 yards off the tee and you are looking for a softer ball with decent feel.

Titleist NXT Tour S – Retail Price ~ $35.00/dozen

My Rating: 6/10

Titleist makes great products. The NXT Tour and Tour S golf balls were designed for the mid handicap players. They have a 2 piece core and softer cover to allow for greater control and spin around the greens. Their medium-high compression means they are longer off the tee as well. They don’t scuff as quickly as some of the top tier golf balls. These golf balls are great, but for less money you could find close to the same ball (keep reading). My recommendation is play this golf ball only if you are a Titleist faithful and your driver swing speed is in the high 80’s-90’s mph.

Srixon Q-Star – Retail ~ $28.00/dozen

My Rating: 8/10

Srixon makes some of the most underrated products out there. These golf balls are the equivalent to the Titleist NXT Tour golf balls (not the Tour S). They are a 2 piece, medium spin, soft cover ball that will give you decent feel around the green and A LOT of distance off the tee. They are designed for players with a swing speed of 70-90 mph. These are probably the most durable ball that I have ever tried. I hit full swing wedges into the green with these golf balls and got very little scuffing. My recommendation is play these golf balls over the Titleist NXT Tour, they are a better value, but if you are looking for softer feel and more spin you may want to spend the extra 75 cents per ball and go with the NXT Tour S.

Callaway HEX Black – Retail Price ~ $48.00/dozen

My Rating: 5/10

I’m not sure what it is about these golf balls, but all I can tell you is I didn’t like them! Let me explain my low rating (and it could just be me, but if you are a Callaway supporter, I apologize for my harshness): The HEX Black is designed, marketed and priced as a top tier golf ball with a low compression multi-piece core, but it felt more like single piece firm cover ball to me. The strange part is the cover scuffs when you hit wedge shots into the green, but the spin out put was minimal. This golf ball is for an advanced player, but my recommendation would be to play this ball only if you are a Callaway faithful and you can afford the high price tag for a mediocre product.

Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1X – Retail Price ~ $48.00/dozen

My Rating: 9/10

This is a great ball! The Pro V1 and Pro V1X have been at the top of all golf digest and golf week lists for quite some time. The multi-piece core and soft cover means decent distance, high spin, and soft feel. They are the epitome of a top tier golf ball. The Pro V1 is the softer of the 2 with a slightly lower compression and a softer cover for more spin. The Pro V1X provides advanced players with a longer, straighter ball flight without sacrificing much spin or feel around the green. My recommendation is to play this ball only if you are a low handicap golfer, too often I see mid and high handicap golfers spending almost $50 a box on golf balls that don’t work well for their swing. You need to be producing a ball flight of 260+ yards off the tee for this ball to be worth your money.

 

Putters: Feb. 12, 2013Today I demoed a few of the newest putters. All of the putters here are standard lie and loft. I took note of some of the key features and what I did/didn’t like about each club. You should note that I am not a big proponent of face centered shafts; I also like the look of a medium sized neck on a putter rather than no neck or long-neck putters. So, here we go:

Ping Karsten “My Day” – Retail Price $99.99

Karsten 3 Karsten 1

Karsten 2

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked: Let me put it simply: this was my favorite putter of the day! Ok, now for a more in-depth analysis. It’s sleek design, makes it very easy on the eyes. PING’s traditional coloring and styling of putter heads makes this club not as visually appealing as some of the funky colored “rocket ships” out there, but at the same time it’s not a distraction when you are staring down a 4 foot putt. I had great control with the club head and even though its a light weight club, my long putts weren’t affected too much…

What I didn’t like: Almost nothing. This isn’t an AMAZING putter, it’s just good. But there aren’t many downfalls to using this putter. For a medium quality putter, this one would definitely do the trick.

Odyssey Versa – Retail Price: $169.99

Odessy Versa 4Odessy Versa 1

Odessy Versa 2

 

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked: The Odyssey Versa Black/White is one of the newest and strangest Odyssey putters out there. What I do like about this putter is the weight and feel of the club head. Odyssey, in my mind, has always been known for making putters with exceptionally soft inserts in the club face and the Versa is no stranger to that attribute. Even though the Versa is toe weighted, as most blades are these days, every stroke I took with it was a delight. I also enjoyed the different styles, weights, and shapes that the Versa comes in. Many mid-market manufacturers make 5-8 different styles of the same club (mallet, blade, offset, long-neck, no-neck, etc.), but the Versa comes in many other varieties like white/black/white (color pattern of putter from face to cavity, see above pictures), black/white/black, or with/without an alignment line.

What I didn’t like: Once again, color! Call me a traditionalist, but the 2-tone color pattern of the Versa just isn’t my cup of tea. The price point of the Versa series is a little bit high. If I were looking for a new putter, I would wait a few months until this “UBU” (ugly but useful) comes down a little in price. $169.99 is about $39.99 too high for “black/white/black” or a “white/black/white”.

TaylorMade Ghost – Retail Price: $159.99

Taylormade Ghost Putter 3 Taylormade Ghost Putter 1

Taylormade Ghost Putter 2

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked: The shape of this particular putter is very simple and slick, but the color doesn’t do it for me… I do like the grooved/milled club face; giving the ball a little bit of a quicker roll versus the traditional smooth putter face. Another aspect of this club that I like is the grip. I don’t usually comment on the grip of a club because it is easily interchangeable, but the stock grip for the TaylorMade Ghost has a soft and squishy feel to it. The weights on the bottom of the putter give this club a “high-tech” look, but it’s still a little too toe weighted for my straight-back-straight-through putting style.

What I didn‘t like: The color! It’s not the whole “white club” fad that I don’t like; because I do enjoy the visual appeal of the TaylorMade R11S driver that has a white top. Maybe it’s because I don’t mind the “white club” look when I’m swinging a club 120 mph, but when I need to focus on a 5 foot downhill putt that breaks between 3 and 6 inches left to right, the last thing I need is to get distracted by the color of my putter. Besides the color, I also didn’t much like the price tag or the feel of the club face. Every stroke I took with this putter felt dead, like I was hitting stones with a two-by-four.

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