Archive for April, 2017

Callaway Steelhead XR

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017
Callaway keeps finding ways to improve everything they do. The new Steelhead XR irons perform like a game improving iron should. Callaway has coined the phrase, “Signature shape meets breakthrough performance” and boy are they right. Their industry-leading next generation 360 face cup deliver the perfect combination of speed, forgiveness, distance and control in a Callaway iron. When they are talking about distance, they mean distance. As a single digit handicapper, I can carry my 8 iron between 160 and 165 yards. When I hit the Steelhead XR’s 8 iron, I was carrying between 169 and 175 yards. The pop and jump you get off the face of these clubs are like no other I have hit recently. I was standing there in disbelief that I just carried an 8 iron 175 yards, with little to no wind affecting the ball. Having said that, I found that my ability to shape the ball in fades and draws was a little more difficult. These clubs wouldn’t be what I would look for if I was buying new clubs, but for the average weekend golfer, you will see a major improvement with your consistency, and distance. I researched about the ultra-thin 360 face cup technology that Callaway was referring to on their website, and it says right on there that this new technology increases ball speed with greater efficiency on BOTH center hits and mishits. There is an insertion of a steel-infused polyurethane layer just behind the face of the club that really does give it a little bit of extra impact in terms of sound and feel. The cavities are made from 17-4 stainless steel too, which is always a good sign when researching clubs. The sound is a little bit hollow, so it doesn’t quite have the ‘thwack’ some may hope for, but the feel is still excellent at impact. The piece of technology, with respect to the build is the so-called “hollow thru bore.” This is effectively just a step up from the original bore-thru hosel (where the shaft runs from head to sole), which cunningly removes needless weight in the hosel, giving engineers a lot more to play with when it comes to strategic areas of the clubface, and giving MOI and forgiveness a boost. From the second you take your stance and ground your club to address the ball, these irons practically scream forgiveness. It’s amazing the psychological effect a good look can have. Diehard Callaway fans will appreciate the familiarity of that thick topline; the semblance of an offset, and of course, the longer-than-average head. In terms of the badging within the cavity at the back, they’ve done it in a pretty classy manner, and I certainly don’t mind the non-traditional hint of color there. The words ‘Steelhead’ are imposed on a holographic sheen, which is a little gimmick that might tickle your fancy too. All in all, for anyone from an 8 to a 36 handicapper, it’s pretty safe to say that you’ll look and feel the part with a bag full of Callaway Steelhead XRs. Callaway has a reputation for selling a lot of irons. These clubs are going to appeal to golfers of many shapes, sizes and abilities, and they have priced them very cleverly. These are very impressive game improvement irons, which encompass all that you’d expect in terms of distance and forgiveness. Because of the modestly price tag on this set, I feel there will be a lot of buyers out there if they get a chance to hit them at a demo day or at your local sporting goods store.

Titleist 716 AP2

Sunday, April 9th, 2017
It was that time of the year when I started shopping around for new irons, I naturally started with the company that has the reputation for producing the best clubs in the industry. The Titleist 716 AP2 irons are just plain and simply put as, “pure.” As a former Titleist 710 AP2 set owner, I was shocked at the new technology from just a few years difference. The way they feel when you first pick one up, you will feel a solid club in your hands. That solid feeling you might notice right away is because the 716 AP2’s use an average of 56.2 grams of the high-density material in the 3 through 7 irons. Its competitors don’t even approach half of that number. 3 through 7 irons use an industry-leading amount of tungsten to improve launch, ball speed and forgiveness. After taking a few practice swings, then stepping up and hitting solid shot, after solid shot, I felt a certain confidence that I could pick a spot and really go after the pin. It was that reliable in just my short time playing with them. Shiny is an understatement when it comes to the new 716 AP2’s. The club has a nice and thin topline, like traditional bladed irons, but with the appearance of a more forgiving blade. The back of the club shows a diagonally placed back bar with a nice modern touch creating a larger pocket cavity. The 716 AP2’s look fast, controllable and give you a sense of confidence as previously stated. Like any iron, when you hit the sweet spot it feels great. However, with the 716 AP2’s I felt the ball ripping of the center of the club head with a penetrating trajectory. On a miss hit just off the center, I noticed where on the club I missed and saw a very low dispersion rate. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t the longest clubs I’ve hit, but where they lack in distance, they make up for with accuracy. When I did mishit a ball it still was very accurate, it would come up a little shorter than anticipated. Which is normally everything you ask for in a mishit. You don’t want to see your ball going 40 yards the wrong direction when you don’t hit it on the center of the face. These clubs are helped by the new stock Dynamic Gold AMT (Ascending Mass Technology) shafts, which get lighter by 3g as the irons move down through the set. Having a lighter shaft in the long irons helped maintain distance gapping through the set by accounting for the more frequent mishits via a minor increase in clubhead speed but without losing out on clubface control. The technology behind the shaft gives longer irons a lighter feel adding launch and speed, while shorter irons have heavier shafts generating better control and distance. If you’re looking for an iron that looks and feels like a true better player iron, but offers forgiveness levels similar to that of a game improver iron, the Titleist 716 AP2 iron should right at the top of your test list. The Titleist 716 AP2 irons not only look great in the bag and behind the ball, but offer performance a whole host of abilities will benefit from, starting with the Tour player down to the mid-handicap golfer. To get such high levels of forgiveness in such a compact head is an impressive feat and the AMT shafts widen what is already a strong appeal. Tour-Proven Tour-proven distance comes from consistent speed. 716 AP2 irons use extreme high density tungsten weighting to position the center of gravity low and perfectly aligned at impact for more speed. Feel & Forgiveness The most advanced, solid feeling and forgiving Tour played irons we’ve ever made. An innovative co-forged construction with high density tungsten low and on the perimeter increases moment of inertia for speed on off-center hits. Player Benefits Speed from the high density tungsten, low CG design. Speed on off-center hits from the co-forged high density tungsten weights along the perimeter. Precise, Tour-proven trajectory through the set from the optimized CG progression. Fast through the turf with less dig from the slightly wider sole with trailing edge relief.

Srixon Z 565 Irons

Thursday, April 6th, 2017
You might be aware of Srixon for making some quality golf balls, but I bet you didn’t know they also make a quality variety of golf clubs too. Usually the more popular ones today are Titleist, Taylormade, Callaway and Ping, to name a few. Just because you didn’t know Srixon made irons, doesn’t mean they don’t make some of the best overall irons in the industry. In this post, I’ll be reviewing the Srixon Z 565 irons, which made golf digest’s 2017 hot list for game improvement irons. The Z565 irons combine hot flight and incredible feel in a slightly larger, more forgiving cavity-back profile. The Z 565 are aimed for players of all abilities with the forged cavity back promoting maximum distance and forgiveness. The Z series irons and utility clubs are forged from the highest quality and soft 1020 carbon steel. With a lower carbon content compared to many competitors as mentioned above, the Z iron heads are high-strength while also very responsive at impact. Srixon has combined the ultra-soft S20C head material with a high-strength SUP10 face insert that gives higher ball speed and more distance. The same Tour V.T sole and Double Laser Milled grooves ensure that the Z 565 irons offer the same excellent level of playability and control found in the Z 765 and Z 965 irons. The Z 565 irons are geared for golfers of all abilities and feature a new Tour V.T sole that allows the club head to move even more efficiently through the turf, reducing impact resistance and tightening shot dispersion for more overall control. Compared to the previous model, 5% larger grooves feature in the Z 565 irons as well as Double Laser Milling for better contact, especially in wet conditions. The first time I hit the Z 565 irons from Srixon, I was dumbfounded that I never knew about their clubs before. When you are standing over your ball, you see a beautiful, eye catching blade look, but still comes with the muscle behind it. When you strike your ball, in some cases you can actually feel your ball compress which reminds you of that responsive metal they used in making these clubs. The Z 565 is where you noticed the better feel most over the previous Z 45 irons as it felt a lot softer. The longer irons launch it on a nice high penetrating flight and even with the bigger cavity they still sounded like a solid forged iron.   The face on the shorter irons might have a little more of a jumpy feel for the lower handicap players, but most will find them with a nice balance of forgiveness and distance that they are looking for. If that is the case, there is no problem going from 4 iron to 8 iron, then maybe swapping the 9 and pitching wedge from the 765 series, which are the same lofts in both sets. This is not uncommon for players to experiment with those closer shots where you really have to dial in your distance, step up, and stick to your swing for that distance. The accuracy with these clubs spare direction over distance, a small window from side to side, plenty of support on thin shots, your stronger ball strikers will make the long irons work to their advantage. The powerful, beveled sole is no joke, it eliminates the digging, or sliding through sand and thick rough, while being perfectly maneuverable with all other shot types. Srixon Z565 irons are one of the sharpest and strongest in its class. They really did an amazing job creating the perfect balance of a game-improvement iron that behaves like a genuine blade, with excellent feel and workability. SMOOTHER TURF PERFORMANCE – The new Tour V.T. Sole has been modified to move even more efficiently through the turf, reducing impact resistance and tightening shot dispersion for maximum consistency and control. UNSURPASSED FEEL WITH DISTANCE – Featuring a 1020 carbon steel body, new Z 565 irons are precision forged for the smoothest, most consistent feel. These irons feature a high-strength SUP10 face insert for higher ball speed and more distance. MORE SPIN CONTROL – All iron faces feature 5 percent larger grooves compared to the previous generation and Double Laser Milling. This improves contact, especially in wet conditions, for consistent spin and control.

JPX-900 Hot Metal Irons

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Mizuno is taking things up a notch with three stunning new additions to their JPX line.  Traditionally, JPX Irons have been geared towards game improvement and forgiveness, but those clever engineers over at Mizuno have found some new space-age metal that make up these irons that both tour players and bogey golfers are going to love.

Today, we’re focusing on what we think is probably the coolest new addition to the JPX line: the JPX 900 Hot Metal Irons. So, when you are standing over your ball, you see a beautiful, eye catching blade look, but still comes with the muscle behind it. When you strike your ball, in some cases you can actually “feel” your ball compress which reminds you of that soft and solid feel that Mizuno is known for.

A new steel alloy material with the catchy name of Chromoly 4140M allowed Mizuno club designers to create a full 360-degree deep undercut on the back of the iron, giving it the thinnest face in company history at just two millimeters. The face on the Mizuno JPX-900 Hot Metal Irons is incredibly hot.  The ball comes off the club face extremely hot, giving you faster ball speeds and more distance. That funky new Chromoly metal combined with the 360-Face Cup Technology allowed Mizuno club engineers to create a club face with varying thickness and an expanded hitting area. A larger club face means a more forgiving club.  In a nutshell, your mis-hits are going to be straighter and shots hit well will show even better results. The face on the JPX-900 Hot Metal Irons is incredibly thin and it’s kept strong with Mizuno’s Power Frame. The sound at impact is one of the best we’ve heard and that definitely inspires confidence.

Mizuno actually removed their handicap spectrum with the new lines of clubs, so they aren’t specifically recommending the Hot Metal Irons for a specific golfer.  That being said, the club face is a bit smaller than previous JPX generations, which better players will appreciate, while the new technology makes it a more forgiving iron, which is great for mid-high handicap golfers.

Mid-handicap golfers (5-16 handicaps) will probably see the biggest benefit from these irons, but better players and players with high handicaps could also benefit from the forgiving and fast technology.  Your best bet is to meet with a Mizuno Certified Custom Fitter where you can test the Mizuno Hot Metal Irons along with several options to find the best club for your game.

The stock shafts is True Temper’s Dynamic Golf AMT, the interesting piece about these shafts are that Mizuno went with an ascending weight design to improve the overall performance of each iron. Meaning, the 4 iron is going to be lighter than the pitching wedge. The lighter iron on the longer shaft will help golfers get more height on the ball from farther out allowing them a better height coming down and holding greens. The heavier shaft for the pitching wedge will allow better control for those shots when you have to be on target.

Mizuno JPX-900 tours retail for $1,199 and come in steel or graphite, also there is no upcharge for custom shafts or grips.

 

TECH SPECS

CHROMOLY 4140M:

15% stronger material than 17-4 pH Stainless steel provides the added strength for our hottest face ever.

Ultra-thin face combined with our re-engineered CORTECH multi-thickness design provides superior initial ball speed for maximum distance.

 

POWER FRAME:

More mass is pushed to the extreme perimeter of the club head for industry leading MOI POWER FRAME geometry is a result of our Harmonic Impact Technology. The rigid POWER FRAME provided an extremely solid impact sound while allowing maximum face rebound.

 

UNITIZED CUP FACE GEOMETRY:

Through complex development techniques we were able to achieve Unitized Cup Face Geometry, delivering a massive COR AREA.

Unitized Cup Face Geometry also provides more discretionary weight than welded cup face designs, thus allowing for a deeper CG and greater forgiveness.

GET PRODUCT UPDATES