It’s been well documented that the state of Adams Golf is somewhat of in flux. I can only be grateful that other golf media outlets have put in the time in to tell the very interesting story about one of the more notable manufacturers in the business. What has gotten lost in all the hoopla surrounding the Adams story is the fact that they’re still manufacturing outstanding golf clubs, and we got our hands on one that I believe will help solidify Adams’ name as a premier club maker.
If you’ve been a reader of this site for some time now you’ll completely understand how much we love reviewing the unique, boutique style putters you just won’t find on the racks at your local golf shops. Finding new companies that are passionate about their craft and who are creating exceptional products, which could easily be passed off as “Art” as much as they are a putter, is the equivalent of hitting the lottery for us.
Our latest and greatest find is a well-known company on the social media networks, from Italy, called Mati Putters. Mati, as a new company, is doing a fantastic job at growing their presence here in the United States with their Instagram, Twitter & Google+ accounts, and we were beyond thrilled when they agreed to let us do a review of their Mati GAB 1 putter.
Before I get in to this masterpiece of a putter I want to talk about the man behind Mati, Mr. Seliano Brambilla. Based in Bernareggio, Italy, Mr. Brambilla has taken his experience of working with steel over the last 28 years and has combined it with his love of golf to create the one man show that is Mati Putters.
Named after his Daughter, Matilde, Mati Putters is quickly making a name for themselves and it is all due to a passion for the game and a desire to create a superior product when compared to the garbage that’s constantly being regurgitated from places like China.
In the few conversations I’ve had with Mr. Brambilla, the pride in his work is profound. He’s always inquiring how the review is going and what I think of the putter. I somehow doubt if we’re ever enchanted with a review from the likes of you know “that guy” he’d be so forthcoming to send me Twitter messages asking how things were going with his putter.
The truth is Mr. Brambilla cares about his product probably more than any manufacture I’ve ever encountered. He’s the miller, the painter, and the assembler, and he wants only to put out perfection. It’s that passion and pride for his craft that makes Mati Putters not only a fantastic story but an amazing putter as well.
Stories like Mr. Brambilla’s is what makes doing product reviews so rewarding. I know a lot of you out there think we just get free swag, write about it, take a few pictures and that’s it. There is more to it though, and the special part about what we do is engaging with people who we find out are more like us than we could have ever realized. I guarantee you I could sit down with Mr. Brambilla and talk about golf for hours, just like I can with Adam, Matt, Wade or any of my other golfing friends.
For this review Mati sent us a 34” version of their GAB 1, which is named after his son Gabriele. Company named after his daughter, putters named after his son, you can get a sense just how much Mr. Brambilla loves what he’s doing. The GAB 1 is a mallet style putter that weighs in at 350 grams and is perfectly face-balanced, and I mean perfectly.
My first impression with Mati came in the form of a surprise and it was in regards to how fast the putter arrived. During one of our conversations I was told to expect the putter by Monday at the latest, mind you this was on a Wednesday. Normally you can lock in a 3 week to 4 week delivery time for products shipping out of Europe. Not the case with Mati. Just as he promised, on Monday afternoon the package was left at my door step. I know it’s minor when it comes to an overall product review, but even the little things can be impressive.
The putter arrived in a cylinder container (which in my opinion seemed a lot more durable than the standard cardboard box), and for our putter Mati installed a True Temper shaft and a Lamkin 3Gen EBL Paddle grip that I’ve grown very fond of. Based on wheat I’ve seen on their website, Mati is more in favor of the golfer purchasing the putter head and then taking it to a professional shop to get the right shaft and grip installed.
I likened it to how Vega does the same thing with their wedges. Head only and you get the rest installed. It was kind of Mati to go ahead and install the shaft and grip because I took it into my backyard and started rolling putts before the bubble wrap hit the floor.
The putter also came with a Mati logoed head cover. The embroidery is very well done and it showcases the companies name and their starfish logo. On one side there is a pattern of three starfishes sewn in the colors of Italy and also in large white letters ‘303 SS MILLED’. The opposite side features three words: MEMENTO (remember), AUDERE (to dare, to venture, to risk) and SEMPER (always). There are so many different ways to look at those words. From a player’s viewpoint to Mr. Brambilla’s own ideology, remember to be bold always now resonates within me just how passionate he is for creating such an amazing piece.
As you probably figured out, the 303 SS MILLED embroidery on the headcover means the GAB 1 we received was milled from a solid piece of 303 Stainless steel. The milling is downright exquisite and reminds me of the beautiful body lines you’ll find in cars from Alpha Romeo 8C Competizione, which coincidently comes from the same country.
When looking down at address there is an alignment aide that starts behind the face and elegantly flows down the step towards the back of the clubhead. The blue paint fill matches the GAB 1 fill on the back of the face.
The alignment aide isn’t overpowering in, you know it’s there but it doesn’t stand out against the satin finish and it seamlessly blends in with any alignment mark you may set up on your ball. I don’t recall seeing a blue fill for this type of marking before. Typically they’ll be white or black but the combination of the silver head and the blue alignment line is a nice touch.
The sole of the club features the Mati logo with the same blue paint fill and also three separate dashed lines that have the colors of the Italian flag filled in. Mati did a great job adding this simple feature. It oozes Italy and does so in a way that isn’t unbearable for the consumer.
Aesthetically speaking the Mati GAB 1 is one of the finest looking putters I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting with, and without a doubt its beauty adds a tremendous amount of value to the club. I’ll say this, after holding the putter and knowing how it was made and where it came from, I fully understood what it must feel like to own a putter from those Table Rock people.
In the world of boutique putters, looks and manufacturing will take you a long, long ways but what I feel separates the “could be something” from the “is something” happens to be the most important element… How does it putt?
True story, the first time I made contact with the face and a golf ball I was lined up for an 8 foot putt. I have a section on my green that I had purposely constructed to be as flat and as smooth as possible so I can take any putter and see how I stroke it. When the Mati made the connection with the golf ball I truly believe I miss hit the putt. I moaned out the typical “ah crap” when you miss hit a putt and much to my surprise the ball kept rolling an rolling and dropped in the cup.
I’ve been using a milled putter for a little over 10 months. The change from a non-insert face has been one I’m thrilled about and I’ve adapted to it rather well. The clicky noise I used to hear from the impact of an insert is gone and I’m rolling the ball better than I ever have. The consistency I’ve gained was completely worth the change.
I tell you that because I want you to understand that although I’m relatively new to hitting a milled putter, it’s not an anomaly to me.
I hit the Mati dead pure in the face and it was so smooth it felt like I barely made contact, and I truly believed I had miss hit the ball. That’s not a ringing endorsement of my skills as a putter of the golf ball, but it’s a testament to just how well the Mati GAB 1 is made.
My stroke is not really fit for a face-balanced putter, but as a reviewer I love tinkering with new clubs. I don’t want to be known as the guy who only reviews blade putters so I accepted the challenge. Even with a putting path not suited for a mallet I’ve been draining putts like crazy with the GAB 1.
Short putts from 3’ or long ones from 30’ – the contact on the face is outstanding, and much like my other milled putters, the consistency has been outstanding. I always go back to the flat 8 footer that I practice at home to really judge how well I’m putting. There are no elements involved other than my stroke and the putter, and time after time the ball drops into the cup.
The Mati GAB 1 is a complete gamer. It’s jaw dropping gorgeous and putt dropping madness all in one remarkably well-made putter. It will turn your friends’ heads with its beauty and empty their wallets with its play.
Now that 2015 is upon us you may be in the market for a new putter. I highly recommend you find you way to the Mati Putters website and check out Mr. Brambilla and his wonderful line of Mati Putters. The GAB 1 sells for around $390.00 USD which equates to €330.00. Remember to plan on getting the clubhead shafted and gripped once the package from Mati arrives.
I want to thank Mr. Brambilla for letting me access his time and his great story for us to share with you here on Three Guys. Hopefully after reading this you’ll be just as impressed with not only his work but his passion for the game and desire to create an amazing putter, which in my mind he has accomplished perfectly.
Way back in 2012, I posted my first iron review and it was for a set of irons I actually paid money for (the horror!). Those TaylorMade Burner 2.0’s stayed in my bag for about 2 years before I upgraded to the Rocketbladez. It seemed only natural then for me to review the new TaylorMade RSi2 irons.
Over the years of playing TaylorMade I have come to believe they are the “everyman’s” club. Basically meaning that in a pinch (like a rental set) anyone can play them and not have any real complaints. I guess what I am saying is that TaylorMade irons always have fairly classic lines, decent forgiveness, and enough distance for nearly every level of play.
In the case of the RocketBladez, which was my most recent club, I felt like they had plenty of forgiveness and good distance. So when I got the RSi2 irons I was expecting your basic version upgrade with maybe a little more of both. What I found, however, was a little different than just a rocketBladez v2.0.
Before getting into the nitty gritty, I need to give you a little backstory. In early Novemember 2014, I received the RSi2 irons as part of the company’s November 15th roll out media blitz. The original plan was to have the review ready by that date so that Taylormade could have a bunch of reviews on hand for those interested in upgrading their irons. Unfortunately, the set that I received came with Tour Stiff KBS shafts. Like a trooper, I took them out on the course and while I really liked how they felt, I was giving up a ton of distance due to the fact that I needed regular shafts. Lesson one…shafts matter.
Shafts, perhaps the most important feature of how a club performs and also one of the least understood. My first intention was to just swap out to regular flex KBS shafts, but after talking to a friend who plays professional golf, I took him up on his suggestion to try out Steel Fiber shafts. More on that later. So after a week blown for new shafts and another few days while I ordered some leather Best Grips, I quickly realized there was no way I could do an adequate review in time for the rollout.
As it turns out, the delay was a good thing, as I really do not like to rush an iron review. For me, I need a few months and 20 rounds before I can get a true sense of the club.
The TaylorMade RSi2 is more of a player’s club than I originally thought it would be. First off, the top line is thinner than the RocketBladez and the club itself is smaller. What this means is that you will get a lot more feedback than with a club like the Rocketbladez. I also think that it makes it easier to work the ball (not something I can do with regularity, but I can do more so with the RSi2 than with my other clubs).
Of course, the big selling point of the RSi clubs is the face slot technology, which is supposed to provide forgiveness for mis-hits on the toe and heel. Hence the #mishitshappen hashtag TaylorMade has been promoting. For the past few years TaylorMade has utilized this technology in the sole of many of the clubs. Now, they have extended it to be part of the face of the club (with the long irons, hence you get the graduated set).
So the forgiveness/#mishitshappen claim I believe to be true, but it is tempered by the fact that the clubs are more of “player’s club” than say the Rocketbladez. In other words, it kind of evens out depending on what type of club you are coming from. If, for example, you play blades then you will think they are way more forgiving, but if you play a game improvement club, you might not notice as much. For me, I felt like I got about the same forgiveness with more control and feedback. With that said, I can absolutely hit the 3 iron with confidence which is something that is not typical of other irons I have played.
No one ever drools over a TaylorMade iron so there is no reason to bring out the chin towel now. How do they look? They look fine. In fact, if you are a iron snob, you will much prefer the significantly thinner top line. The vertical face slots which you might think could be a distraction are a total non-issue for me.
As a comparison, you can clearly see a difference in the top line versus the RocketBladez. While not as thin as a tour blade, they are much slimmer than prior year models.
Steel Fiber Shaft:
In terms of the shaft, the stock version of the RSi2 was only used once by me since this guy cannot swing a tour stiff flex. For the record, the stock shaft is KBS which I have had plenty experience with and is fine. However, as I mentioned, I decided to experiment since I had to make a change anyhow. After consulting with Sam Goulden of TourQuest I decided to go with lesser known company called Aerotech. While you may never have heard of Aerotech, you are very familiar with guys who use their shafts as there are a number of Pros who use them including Matt Kuchar.
I know this is a TaylorMade RSi review, but I want to at least give you an overview of the Steel Fiber shafts as I think they were a critical reason as to why I like the irons so much. As a 10 handicapper with medium swing speeds, I always opted for regular steel stafts (and even wondered about trying a graphite shaft). Well, Steel Fiber shafts are like getting the best of both worlds. The technology is a touch over my head but, basically, they take thousands of ultra thin strands of steel to create a shaft that is light (to promote swing speed) and strong (to promote stability).
Like any product review, there are tons of variables that go into the final result. What I want to convey is that I firmly believe the Steel Fiber shafts have improved my distance and feel. Part of my reasoning is that I hit about 20 balls with both the RSi2 and my RocketBladez in the simulator directly after getting the irons reshafted. My distances were significantly farther with the RSi2 compared to my regular shaft RocketBladez. Yes, I could give the credit to the RSi2 irons (and maybe I do a little) but I think the primary reason was the shaft. Frankly, TaylorMade is not selling the RSi2 as a longer iron so it furthers my belief that the shaft should get most of the credit. I would direct you to the Steel Fiber website to learn more.
Forgiveness and Feel:
I have now played with the RSi2 irons for a full two months (likely about 15 rounds). Considering conditions are not exactly perfect this time of year, I feel like my game has been pretty much the same as it usually is (average score of about 83). With that said, I made a hole in one and shot my career low, 75, with the RSi2 irons. I guess, besides a not so humble brag, the reason I bring this up is that there is something to be said for a set of irons that was used for a career low and an ace.
Back in the world of normalcy, i.e. regular days, I believe the RSi2’s bring an increased level of feedback compared to prior models of Taylormade cavity back irons. For years I had to endure guys who play blades yammer on about feedback and workability. So much so that I even tried a set of blades but all I got back was “yea, that felt awful and went nowhere”. Now, with the RSi2’s, I do get some of that feedback but more in an educated way. Like, “I hit that a bit off the toe”. Unlike a toe shot with a blade however, the RSi2 eats up the mis-hit and you still end up with a decent shot. The ol’ best of both worlds.
Who should play the RSi2
I am going to come clean and say that I don’t believe anyone who is not playing golf for a living should play blades. Still, I know there are guys who like the idea. Well, if you like having feedback from your irons, the RSi2 are for you. Now if you are someone who hits the ball pretty well already and want a little more workability but do not want to give up the forgiveness then the RSi2 are for you as well.
Basically, anyone under a 14 handicap is fully safe to play these clubs. Scratch golfers can do anything they want with the ball and higher handicappers are not going to feel like they are playing with a butter knife. I am not going to deep dive into the face slot technology since I am pretty sure you have read more than your fill about it already, but I absolutely think TaylorMade has made a significant breakthrough.
My bet is that the RSi irons will be a huge hit and should be part of everyone’s basket of ideas when checking out a new set of irons.
Learn more on the TaylorMade website.
There is no similarity between golf and putting; they are two different games, one played in the air, and the other on the ground. – Ben Hogan
How many times have you heard a golfer say “I was hitting the ball well, I just couldn’t make any putts”? How many of your own rounds have left you shaking your head, thinking that if you could have just made a putt – any putt, you’d have had a great round?
There’s a great round, right here in this box
By my count there are approximately a bazillion different putting aids on the market today. If you’ve played golf for any length of time the odds are good that you’ve tried at least one of these: round grips, fat grips, flat grips, long grips, short grips, putting cross-handed, cross-eyed, cross-legged, or just plain cross; Aimpoint, Aimpoint Express, Dave Pelz, Bob Rotella, and Ty Webb. I don’t have any stats to back it up, but I’d bet everything I’ve ever made as a golf writer that more people have quit golf over their putting than over any other aspect of their game.
Personally, I’m a pretty good putter. I say that because I think that as soon as you think you aren’t a pretty good putter, you’re doomed. The guy that hits it to 6 feet and says “Now watch me three-putt that” is going to do it more often than not. In the immortal words of Tug McGraw, “You gotta believe!”
So if you’re a good putter, but you’re not making putts, clearly the problem is in the equipment! If I had a bad round putting on Sunday, you could usually find me in the shop on Monday auditioning a new flatstick.
“Steve? The ball is over here…”
And that is why, when Edel Golf Director of Business Development and master putter fitter Bobby Dean invited me to come have a putter fitting, I already owned 16 putters in various configurations, lengths, weights, and materials. Worse than that, I had 16 different putting strokes: 15 that matched putters I already owned and one that would drive me back into the golf shop, looking for a cure.
I mentioned all of this to Bobby as he got ready to start my fitting. I was sure that he was going to tell me that I was a basket case and beyond help or hope, but he just smiled and nodded like he’d heard it all before, and told me that he’d fix me right up. A very edifying and informative 90 minutes or so later, he had me believing that he would do just that.
Most of us have, at one time or another, had a putter “fitting.” Your club pro or the PGA pro at a big-box golf retailer sized you up, watched you putt, told you “You’ve got a strong/slight arc/straight back-straight through stroke, you need a blade/mallet/frontal lobotomy, try a few of these and see what feels good.”
For the folks at Edel Golf, that’s not even step one. Bobby taped a mirror to the face of the putter I’d brought with me (Yes! Sandy, 33″ with a Super Stroke Slim grip and strips of lead tape on the bottom) and set up his laser. No, seriously, Edel uses a laser extensively as part of their fitting process, to see exactly where you’re aiming your putter. If you think that’s strange, let me tell you that based on what I saw, you probably aren’t aiming your putter at the hole. Edel uses a curtain behind the “hole”. You line up a putt, they remove the ball, and the laser bounces off the mirror on the face of your putter. I was so far left that Bobby had to move the curtain to find my laser.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
And with that, we were off and running. With the ease of a man completely in his element, Bobby started combining heads, hosels, shafts, and grips. The Edel fitting cart has 3 million combinations of head, hosel, shaft, loft, lie, weight, and alignment aids. Obviously there’s not time to go through all of them, but all Edel putter fitters are trained in how to quickly find the best head, hosel, and shaft length for you, and then begin fine-tuning with adjustments to loft, lie, weighting, and alignment. The Edel fitting cart is amazing, and Bobby travels the country training fitters to use it systematically. At no time did his hands leave his wrists as he quickly found the best length for me (no surprise, nearly the same 33″ that I was using in most of my putters), then zeroed in on the best head and hosel.
Bobby Dean, doing that voodoo that he do so well
Frankly, I was skeptical. Remember, I already owned 16 putters, ranging from a Ping Anser with a Scottsdale zip code to a Bettinardi for Ben Hogan “Big Ben” with a center shaft and a head that could be seen from space, and I was equally effective with all of them. How big a deal could custom fitting really be?
Then I watched the laser dot move closer and closer to the hole, until finally Bobby removed the ball and there was the dot, right in the hole. So we’re done, right? Oh no, now we can really get started. Bobby ran me through different combinations of loft and lie, then started balancing the putter by adding weight at different points in the shaft. Finally, he used a marker to test different combinations of alignment aids, finally settling on a single line on the top strap. I couldn’t believe how much difference just changing from 1 alignment line to 3, or moving lines from the strap to the flange made in how I aligned the putter.
Finally came speed, because in the Edel philosophy, good aim is worthless without good speed. Speed has always been the bane of my putting. When I 3-putt, it’s because my first putt put too much pressure on my second putt. A few adjustments and an impromptu putting lesson later (“You ever lose a ball on the putting green? Then keep your head down.”) and I was clustering all my putts within a couple of inches of the bright pink string that was my target.
Because I’m all about that pace, ’bout that pace…
Then came the goodies. Bobby transferred all of the data to build my personal putter to an order form. Then her turned to me and said: “Want us to stamp your name on the face?”
Hell yes I want you to stamp my name on the face!
“What color paint fill do you want?”
What color paint fill? Have I died and gone to heaven?
Finally the details were all attended to, and there was nothing left to do but wait.
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart.
The waiting is the hardest part. – Tom Petty
Something else you need to be prepared for: you aren’t going to go home from your Edel fitting with a putter in your hands. Instead, the Edel folks in Liberty Hill, Texas take all of the information that your fitter so carefully collected and the build a bespoke putter to fit you, and only you.
And they’ll even stamp your name on it.
What’s my name?!?
You know what the worst part of getting fit for your very own custom Edel putter is? It’s trying to get through the next 4 weeks knowing that the putter you’re using is all wrong for you.
I dug through my collection of putters and found the one that most closely matched the head shape and offset Bobby had shown were optimal for me. I even putted a bit better for the next few weeks, which I attribute more to Bobby’s putting lesson than to any vestigial similarity between the interim putter and MY putter.
And then MY putter came. Columbia head (the biggest one Edel makes), no offset hosel, lieing 68 degrees with 3 degrees of loft, 33 inches long with weights 3″ from the top and 4″ from the bottom, Edel’s Pixel insert, and both my name and Edel’s stamped on the face in Carolina Blue and White.
It’s a very satisfying piece of gear. Substantial, but so well balanced that it doesn’t feel heavy. The lines are clean and nicely radiused. This putter head wasn’t cast in a mold, it was machined by a guy in Liberty Hill who loves making things out of metal. The head and hosel are hand-finished, the Pixel insert is assembled by hand, the stamping is all done with a set of metal stamps and a mallet. There is nothing gaudy about this putter. No flashy graphics, no eye-popping colors, no hyped technical claims. It has the same aura of quality you’d find in a hand-built car, or custom furniture. This is a putter with nothing to prove.
Once, when I was struggling to play a new piece on guitar, my instructor handed me his hand-built Martin. “I’m not a hippy,” he said, “but I swear it’s like this guitar knows what you want to do, and it wants to help.” That’s exactly what an Edel custom putter feels like. Your Edel is literally built for your stroke, which makes swinging it feel effortless. I don’t have to remember a dozen tricks to make my putter work, I just… putt.
When you can just putt, you can focus all your attention on getting the correct line and pace. It took a good bit of practice before I could just let go and swing the putter, but the difference in my game is second only to the difference in my psyche. I used to consider 6′ to be the break-even point. Outside 6′ I figured that I had less than a 50% chance of actually making a putt. Now I’m disappointed when I miss 15-20 foot putts, particularly if it’s by more than a foot or so. Instead of grinding over 4-footers for my second putt I’m walking up and tapping them in. No matter how far I am from the hole, if I can use my putter I’m confident that I can get down in two. Golf is fun again.
Edel believes that there are two parts to the perfect putter – fit it to you, and build it perfectly. Just going through the Edel fitting process improved my putting by showing me very clearly what I was doing wrong, and how. If I’d stopped there it still would have been well worth the time and money, but to use a putter that’s actually custom fit to you is an epiphany. I don’t want to say that it’s easy, but it inspires confidence like nothing else. When I stand over a putt, I know that I can swing my swing, and if I’ve read the putt right and hit it properly, it’s going in.
It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. – Ferris Bueller
Edel putters are not inexpensive. A lot of time goes into fitting one to your stroke, CNC-milling, hand-finishing and assembling it, and delivering it to a grateful world. But an off-the-rack putter isn’t inexpensive either. If an off-the-rack putter that’s “fit” for you based on nothing more than your height and a vague idea of your stroke is worth $250, surely a bespoke putter that’s custom-made for you and you alone is worth significantly more.
And they’ll even put your name on it for you.
You can find an Edel fitting professional near you, learn more about all the love that goes into an Edel putter, and watch some really cool videos on the Edel website.
I love golf. I know that sounds like a really obvious statement coming from a guy who writes about golf, golf apparel, golf equipment, golf salad, boiled golf, golf scampi, you get the picture. Thanks to DVR, Golf Channel, and my patient, long-suffering, and quasi-narcoleptic wife I watch a lot of televised golf. Not just competitive golf, either. I watch instructional shows, equipment reviews, golf travel shows, even golf reality shows. In my house everyone knows that if nobody can find anything else to watch, the Golf Channel is coming on. But until this year I have never watched a long drive competition.
This year I had to watch the Long Drive finals, because Jeff Crittenden, who made the final eight, is not only a North Carolina boy, but a friend of one of my regular golfing partners. Jeff advanced all the way to the final, where he lost in a heartbreaker when his drive of 365 yards came up 14 inches short of winner Jeff Flagg. Not bad for a guy who was planning to retire after this year because he thought he didn’t have the power to be competitive.
For those who haven’t discovered this variation on golf, the Long Drive is, well, the name’s not misleading. Founded in 1995, the Long Drivers of America is the premier organizing body for Long Drive competitions, mostly through their association with realty giant RE/MAX, sponsor of the World Long Drive Championship. The competition has grown in popularity every year since the LDA and RE/MAX teamed up to put it on in 1995. In the Open division players hit drivers with lofts in the 4-6 degree range at a grid set up in some wide-open, spacious location. What’s that? Isn’t a golf course a “wide-open, spacious location?” Not to these gentlemen. Last year Tim Burke won the open division with a drive of 427 yards. That’s just a shade over a quarter-mile. On my home course if you hit it 427 from the tips on number one you’re going to be over the green. On number eight.
The understated good looks continue on the sole of the club, where the Srixon logo and Z545 branding are nicely integrated into the grey sole plate and paint. What does stand out on the sole are the weights that comprise Srixon’s Quick Tune System. On the Z545, Srixon has included a fixed weight in the center of the sole close to the face, and an adjustable weight port closer to the heel of the driver. From the factory this port contains a 7 gram weight designed to lower the driver’s center of gravity and deliver a medium-high launch with enough spin to keep the ball online and in the air.
The optional weight kit adds a 3 gram weight for a lower launch angle and greater roll, and an 11 gram weight for a higher launch, at the cost of less roll. I hit very high tee balls, and I found that using the 3g weight made a noticeable and welcome change in my ball flight. Changing the weight requires only a quarter turn of the included wrench to remove the old weight, and another quarter turn to secure the new weight. Remember folks, in golf as in most things: righty/tighty, lefty/loosey.
You can learn more on the Srixon website.
There’s a fine line between having hipster cred for liking things before they’re cool and just being strange for liking things that nobody else likes. I’m choosing to believe that Cleveland Classic putters are going to help me cross the line from the latter to the former, because they are too good to not be cool. I have long said that if you removed the branding I would be hard pressed to tell the difference in a Scotty Cameron putter and Cleveland Classic of the same style, and if you blindfolded me I wouldn’t have any more chance of figuring out which one I was using than I would of making putts.
What’s in the bag, or WITB for us golf geeks, is a staple of every Monday morning press release. This is where everyone oohs and ahhs at what clubs the winning pro used to win the latest PGA event. Sure, I am interested in what driver and irons were involved in the victory, but it’s the wedges and putters that I primarily focus on because, right or wrong, I can still hold out hope that my short game can become world class with the right tool of the trade (don’t go bursting my bubble).
You see, in my head I’ve always had an idea of what these exotic clubs were all about and imagined that if I could get my hands on them my game would magically improve. Earlier this year, I got my first chance to put this notion to the test when I reviewed the Giannini G6 putter, and while I am still seeking my Tour card, I firmly believe there is absolutely a clear difference between mass-produced and boutique clubs. For one, the simple act of opening the box provokes feelings akin to paging through a Playboy for the first time, those articles… they’re amazing!
The clubs we received from Vega were the VW-02 in the Raw finish with a 56° loft and the VW-08 in the Satin finish with a loft of 52°. I’m gapped at 4° starting at 52° so the wedges fit perfectly into my current setup.
Delivery Day: They say good things come in small packages, but when I saw the box from Vega was no bigger than a loaf of bread, I was perplexed. Were they foldable clubs or a miniature version of the real thing? As it turns out, neither. Vega had sent me just the club heads. ARGG! Rather than heading straight to the range I was now going to have to wait a couple more days since they would need to be shafted.
As it turns out the way the Vega’s were shipped was a blessing in disguise. Since I needed to get the shafts and grips installed at my local golf shop I was able to match them to my most recent club fitting. During that fitting a big change was made to my equipment. I went from a stiff, lightweight shaft to a regular flex one that is heavier compared to what I’ve used in the past. Being able to get the Vega wedges setup with the same configuration as my other irons has been a huge benefit – that’s obvious, right?
Since I was going to have to wait a few days before I hit the wedges, I tried to temper my anticipation by doing some further research. What I realized was that Vega offers a proverbial boatload of options.
First off, the Vega Wedges come in three different finishes; Satin, Brushed and Raw. The Satin finish is a stunning look for any club but with the elegant design it is outstanding on the Vegas. If you’re not a fan of the clean, smooth look the Satin produces, the Brushed finish is an excellent variation with a more aggressive tone, while the Raw finish is without a doubt the club you don’t take home to mother. The dark appearance just screams “Don’t mess with me!” and is easily my favorite variation. Additionally, the Raw and the Brushed finishes are not plated and will rust over time, similar to the old Cleveland and Callaway wedges.
Beyond the three choices in finishes, Vega also offers five different sole grinds so you can get the exact type of grind you are looking for to fit your game. Here’s a breakdown of their unique grinds:
The VW-02 wedge comes with the Angular Tri Grind which features three very distinct grind areas with toe and heel relief. Vega states this is an aggressive wedge to play. For me, this means I feel comfortable using it in even the most difficult lies.
The VW-04 wedge comes with the Three Port Grind which offers cutbacks on the heel and toe areas of the club, enabling this wedge to cut through the rough.
The VW-06 wedge adds a little extra grind to the heel which allows the club to be laid wide open while still maintaining the low bounce.
The VW-08 is your classic wedge in looks but Vega uses a versatile sole grind making it a very playable club from all types of lies. Being more traditional in looks and in feel, this has been my go to wedge around the green and within 90 yards.
Lastly the VW-10 is another traditional looking wedge with one unique element that makes it one of the most resourceful wedges there is. The leading edge of the club is curved and when added to the Vega grind, which is similar to the VW-08, the VW-10 is excellent for tight lies.
Throw into the mix loft variations of 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58° & 60° and you can see the possibilities are near endless. Five grinds, three finishes and six lofts (on a few clubs there’s also a 48° option) equals 90 different wedges available and I didn’t even mention the clubs offered for lefties. Yes, Vega was nice enough to take care of those folks from the other side of the stance too!
Gorgeous, stunning, splendid, marvelous are all great words to describe the craftsmanship of the Vega wedges. The grinds are so clean they appear more like works of art than tools to attack flags!
Unfortunately in golf, beauty will only get you so far (unlike in real life) and it certainly won’t help you stuff it close to that back right, tucked pin. The clubs have to perform, and from the first time I struck a range ball before my first outing with the Vegas I was sold.
On course testing: When I finally got my mitts on the shafted clubs, I quickly headed to the course to see if the performance could live up to my lofty expectations. So jacked to hit these guys, I didn’t even care about my tee shot, I just wanted to get about 100 yards out so I could put one of the clubs in play on the first hole.
Almost immediately I fell madly in love with the 52° VW-08. For me a 52° wedge is my go to club anywhere from 100 to 75 yards out, but I also use it for chipping and short bump and runs around the green.
The 56° VW-02 I use for short chipshots and as my sand wedge for greenside bunkers, if they’re not too far away of course. With the special Tri Grind there hasn’t been a lie I’ve found where I can’t get the club to lay wide open, which has helped me get out of some tricky spots and also some nasty bunkers.
As a reference point, it may help to know that I’ve had my current set of wedges for over two years and I never imagined I’d find another set of wedges I like well enough to make a change. Well, it looks like my old wedges feel a lot like the broom and dustpan from the Swifter commercials. Sorry old friends, you have been relocated to the “extra club” bag.
As you can imagine, the Vega wedges are a bit more expensive than your average club so it is worth considering whether they are right for you game. While I have been extremely impressed with the clubs, I thought it would be valuable to get some insight from a real Pro who also plays the Vega wedges.
Interview with Sam Goulden:
Bio: Sam is the founder of TourQuest, accomplished player, respected instructor and author of Square to Square. As an active member of team #TourQuest, Sam is traveling all across the country vying for spots in some of the PGA events by playing in the Tour Qualifiers. Everyone, including Sam, knows the importance of solid wedge game and Sam trusts Vega to deliver for him when he needs it most.
I first want to say thanks to Sam for taking some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about the Vega wedges for us and, by doing so, adding some valuable insight to this review.
TGG: How long have you been playing with the Vega wedges?
SG: I was fitted in early May and have been using them since then.
TGG: Which Vega wedges are you currently playing?
SG: I play the VW-06 in 50°, 55°, and 60°. All satin finish and no paint fill.
TGG: Was there anything specific about the Vega wedges that helped you make the switch? Did the different grinds Vega offers have anything to do with it?
SG: The main reason I switched was for the look and feel. The Performance turned out to be way more than I expected. It was hard to get used to at first. I hit each wedge around 6 yards longer than my previous set with the same lofts. I think the main reason for this is that I got a really good bounce fit for my swing.
TGG: Do you feel the Vega wedges are made only for the high caliber players like yourself or can the mid to high handicapper benefit from the technology used in them?
SG: I’ve suggested Vega for a ton of players. Because of the variability in grinds, lofts and finishes there is definitely a wedge out there for every type of player.
TGG: Since adding the Vega wedges to your bag have you seen any notable improvements to your wedge game? Anything you’d care to discuss?
SG: The main difference in my wedge game has been the feel of the hit and the distance increase. The hit feels really solid. Not soft, not hard. Like hitting a tiny nail with a heavy mallet hammer. They are not heavier than other wedges; they just deliver a really solid blow.
TGG: Thanks for your time and good luck to you and the TourQuest team.
Sam also wanted to point out that beyond making amazing wedges Vega has been outstanding as a sponsor for team #TourQuest. He feels they are super committed to making sure the correct wedges are in their players’ hands and Vega is continually checking to make sure all the guys are happy with everything and offering to help any way they can.
You can check out all of the Vega wedges and options on the Vega website.
If you’re lucky, not too picky, and living your life to the fullest, you’ve probably had a relationship that you’d really rather not show up on your Facebook page. The kind of relationship you have when you’re taking a year off to find yourself, or just getting out of long-term relationship, or “this one time, at band camp”. If love is moonlight, wine, and roses this relationship is neon, Tequila, and something that gives you a rash. You aren’t proud. You swear you’ll never do it again. You feel a little guilty whenever you think about it. And if you had the chance, you couldn’t stop yourself from doing it all over again.
That’s my relationship with the TaylorMade Spider putters.
When TaylorMade introduced the first Spider putter I immediately dubbed it the Millennium Falcon. It was ungainly, with more sprawl that suburban Atlanta, and didn’t look at all like a proper putter (read “Anser”) should. It was heavy, it was white, and you couldn’t even scoop the ball up with it! Who in their right mind would ever put this monstrosity in their bag?
Then I rolled a few putts with one, and I got that feeling in my gut. You didn’t have to get all handsy to manipulate this putter. Hell, you pretty much couldn’t. The damn thing practically swung itself, all you had to do was hold on to your end. All that weight and sprawl made it nearly impossible to move this putter offline. It was going straight back and straight through no matter what you did. It really was the Millennium Falcon putter – “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts kid.”
But if every one of these relationships was that simple, romantic comedies never would have become an industry of their own (we can debate whether that’s a good thing another day), and the course of true lust runs never smooth or some such thing. So I never put one of these bug-eyed monstrosities in my bag. Lots of people did, however. Lots and lots of people. High MOI putters sprouted like toadstools after a rain and color combinations got so outlandish that the original Spider’s white finish seems downright tame these days, but nothing ever really came close to dethroning the original. Whenever I found myself with time to kill in a golf shop I wandered over to the putter rack and rolled a few with a Spider (and there was always a Spider on the putter rack). Then I put it back in the rack, picked up my trusty Anser, and three-jacked at least one GIR every round.
The Spider continued evolving, and not even TaylorMade’s biggest critics have ever accused them of resting on their laurels. The Spider has lent it’s name and iconic white-and-black color scheme to an entire line of putters in traditional shapes, and with anchored putters on the way out and victims of the yips desperately seeking a balm for their shaky putting strokes and shattered nerves, the high-MOI Spider design goes with counterbalancing the way that peanut butter goes with jelly.
For those who haven’t been keeping track, TaylorMade introduced their latest take on the Spider theme last year. The Daddy Long Legs (DLL) design took the “legs” that moved the center of gravity of the original Spider far to the rear and made them longer – thus moving the center of gravity even farther back and increasing the moment of inertia (MOI). In fact, TaylorMade says that with an MOI of 8500, the Daddy Long Legs is the highest MOI putter they’ve ever built.
Science break: moment of inertia (MOI) is a measure of the amount of force it takes to twist an object around it’s axis. In practical golf terms the higher the MOI of a putter the more it will resist twisting on off-center hits, keeping the face square and helping the ball to go close to as far as you thought it would, in the direction you thought it would go.
Besides the innovative design, the original Spider was notable for being part of the “white revolution” from TaylorMade. TM researched how golfers’ eyes talked to our brains, and the result was a line of white club heads with black faces that, research said, created better contrast with the golf ball and drew the golfer’s eye to where they needed to focus in order to make good contact.
The Daddy Long Legs 2.0 continues this philosophy with a reversed color scheme that uses white alignment aids on a black background, framing them with the black perimeter of the putter to make it easier to start your putt on your intended line, coupled with a black putter shaft that eliminates reflection and thus distraction. The technology doesn’t stop at the hitting end though – the user interface for the Daddy Long Legs 2.0 is a 130-gram counterbalancing grip. By adding weight to the back end, TaylorMade claims to have achieved a putter that’s 60% more stroke stable than anything they’ve released before.
My first impression of the 38-inch Daddy Long Legs 2.0 that TaylorMade sent for review is that it’s big. I mean really big. I stand a towering 5’7″ (5’8″ on my driver’s license), and with my build the 38″ Daddy Long Legs comes dangerously close to being a belly putter. While unboxing it and shooting photos for this review I expected the DLL to be a bit unwieldy when the time came to put it into action. With a 395 gram head and a 130 gram grip, the Daddy Long Legs definitely has mass. When you start trying to put the ball in the hole though, all that mass doesn’t translate into feeling massive. As I spent more time with this putter I learned that this kind of contradiction is pretty much the hallmark of the Daddy Long Legs.
Take the aforementioned 395 gram head, for example. It’s 16 different pieces in 8 different materials, but you never feel the pieces. The Surlyn PureRoll face insert is quite a bit harder than I’m used to and delivers a solid but clicky feel. While I’m not a fan of the feel, the PureRoll insert delivers a ground-hugging roll on the ball. Putts from the Daddy Long Legs had noticeably less hopping and skidding than putts from my regular non-insert putter.
The Daddy Long Legs 2.0 reverses the color scheme from the original. While both use the black PureRoll insert, the 2.0 mates that with a black frame and a black center weight with white alignment stripe, framed in white . I prefer this color scheme to the original, which was just too much white for my eye. Using more black makes the head look smaller and more manageable, and somehow more substantial as well. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the sole of my putter, but the red sole plate on the 2.0 is eye-catching. To protect all this paint and plastic the Daddy Long Legs comes with a neoprene head cover large enough to double as a lady’s clutch, if your lady is the type to carry a neoprene clutch with a spider motif. If you like high-tech and high style, the Daddy Long Legs 2.0 will certainly satisfy your need for cool.
TaylorMade’s latest putter innovation is the black putter shaft. The thinking is that chrome is shiny, and shiny draws your eye. I have a very hard time thinking and putting at the same time, so I can’t tell you for sure that the black helped me avoid distraction, but it certainly didn’t add any distraction, and I prefer the look to a chrome shaft.
At the near end TM has installed a 130 gram custom Winn grip sporting the Daddy Long Legs logo to counterbalance the head. Adding weight to the butt of the putter actually increases the MOI of the head, creating what TaylorMade calls “stroke stability” – meaning that the putter is easy to swing back and through. This was very true for me. After just a couple of short sessions on the practice green I took the Daddy Long Legs to the course, and my first couple of rounds were very promising.
I immediately putted as well with the Daddy Long Legs as I had been putting with my familiar putter. The DLL has a substantial increase in stroke stability over the original Spider, and I had no trouble at all keeping the face square and swinging the putter back and through. The PureRoll insert gave good feedback, and my putts held their line well. After such a good start I had high hopes for the Daddy Long Legs.
Unfortunately it just wasn’t to be. I kept hoping to see my putting stats improve as I got more familiar with the Daddy Long Legs, but my learning curve seemed to flatline after the first few rounds. I was still putting okay, I just wasn’t putting great. In retrospect I think that it’s not really a question of the putter, it’s a question of the puttee. My natural stroke is a moderate arc, and while the Daddy Long Legs is unquestionably easy to swing back and through, the high MOI combines with my hands’ desire to arc the face – if I get it open I have a hard time closing it, and I missed putts with a block to the right. I’m also a very feel-oriented putter – my putting stroke is nothing but a mass of errors that usually cancel each other out for the fraction of a second that I’m actually in contact with the ball. The Daddy Long Legs’ awesome stability worked against my neurotic putting stroke. The Daddy Long Legs is an aircraft carrier, and I’m used to putting with a Jet Ski. If I committed to the DLL I could learn to putt with it, but a man with a dozen putters clearly has commitment issues.
If you’re looking for a high MOI putter, the Daddy Long Legs is among the highest. It’s well put together and the alignment aids work extremely well. The whole package looks high-tech and even sleek, a look complimented by the funky neoprene head cover. If you have a smooth, mechanical putting stroke, or if you want to develop one, take a look at the Daddy Long Legs. Of course you can see all of the Spider putters at http://TaylorMadegolf.com.
A couple of years ago at the PGA Demo day I stumbled upon a small putter company who made what I thought were some of the best looking putters I had ever seen. While I had never heard of Kronos Golf at the time, I was so intrigued by the brand that I featured them in my PGA Show recap. Beyond tinkering with the flat sticks, I was also fortunate enough to steal some time with the founder Phillip Lapuz. Over the course of 30 minutes or so, Phillip showed me about 6 of his new putters and explained how he got into the business. Seeing that Phillip looked to be 19 years old, I definitely was curious as to how such a young guy could have created such a premier line of putters. Turns out, Phillip grew up around milling and grinding machines as a kid and just had a natural affinity for it. So while young in age, the Kronos founder actually has many years of hands-on experience.
Since that time, I have kept my eye on Kronos as I was confident they would become the next “hot boutique putter company”. While that mark has yet to pass, Kronos continues to make some of the finest putters available. Worse (at least for me) was that until recently I have been limited to poring over pictures of Kronos gems instead of pouring in 10 footers with an actual Kronos putter.
Well, it seems things are changing as Kronos founders will be on the season premier of Shark Tank on Sept 26th, 2014. At the time of this post I have zero details about the actual show so no need for a spoiler alert. What I do have, though, is a first hand review of the Kronos Metronome putter that I was sent about three weeks ago. As a product reviewer, I have the opportunity to try many putters. Obviously this is a good thing, but believe it or not there is some downside. Not that I am complaining, but moving between putters is not exactly optimal for your game, especially when not every putter sets up well for my stroke.
For the better part of my golfing career (lifelong earnings of about $60), I have primarily used some type of mallet. I really love the idea and look of blades, I just don’t think I make as many putts with that style. Thankfully, the Kronos Metronome putter falls into my mallety sweet spot of putters I have had success with. The Metronome putter’s shape is not only classic but is also very similar to the putters I have enjoyed. With that said, the Kronos has a couple of very unique features that were new to me.
First off, the Kronos is heavy. My heaviest putter is 345 grams, making the 360 gram Kronos a slightly different beast. Admittedly, it has taken me a bit of time to go from a light blade putter that I have been using this summer to something with so much more mass. For me, using a heavy putter requires a longer back stroke rather than a quicker and shorter stroke. I know this sounds a little counterintuitive, but because there is a greater mass you don’t really have to ‘hit’ the ball but instead only need to let the head move through it. The key for me was getting used to that mass.
Putting lessons aside, I’d like to speak to some of the technology and craftsmanship. I mean, how can a putter justify a $450 -$550 price tag? Well, to start with it comes in a canvas bag (not exactly common). Then there is the “22 of 50” stamped on the bottom of the putter letting you know Kronos is not exactly cranking these fellas out by the bushel full. No, each one is painstakingly made and measured to be exactly what Phillip has designed. Take for example the weighting. Each putter is perfectly balanced on the sightline. How do they know that? Well, they test each one by hand. And, lest you think every putter company does this…think again. When a putter is not balanced you are basically aiming for a spot that is NOT the sweet spot. Sounds crazy but with some putters you are actually trying to hit the ball on a spot that is not optimal. The horror! Seriously, that’s really dumb.
Sightline: This is perhaps my favorite aspect of the Kronos putter. Every company uses some kind of sightline. Some use balls or squares or lines. The Kronos features 3 key elements in their sightline. First is a center line (which is the exact center weight of the face). Second they have lines on either side of the top line to make sure your ball in centered. Third they have extended the outside line on the bottom section of the mallet which helps to give you a virtual “chute” to align to. Moreover, because the lines are on the top and bottom part of the putter, you can visually see when your eye is directly above the ball. When the lines do not break you know you are in a good position. Now, I don’t get my eyes exactly over the ball (right or wrong), but I can still check to make sure they are consistently in the same place. You can see from the pictures below how the lines will change as your eyes go from off center to center.
From my experience, the first step in putting well is having confidence in your line, and the Kronos putter does the best job with alignment aides of any putter I have used. It is straightforward, elegant and intuitive. I am never unsure as to where I think the ball is aimed. Not to mention it is freaking beautiful. There are just no unpleasant lines. When you think about it, the top of the putter is really the only thing you see when standing over your ball so I don’t care how cool the sole looks, the top is what has got to fit your eye.
Moving on to the front of the putter you will find light milling which adds to both the look and the performance. Sure I know that milling helps get the ball rolling, but it is also a way for a putter to show craftsmanship and personality. In the case of Kronos, the milling is not super deep or overly complex, but it is detailed enough to let you know whoever made this took their time.
The sole of the Kronos putter is much like the rest – understated. Phillip has purposely kept all of the branding very light in order to maintain the weight perfection. A simple logo, a gram indication, and “22 of 50” are all that is found. This is what is called “limited edition”, and from what I remember about Econ 101, it’s a pretty good way to limit supply and increase demand.
What else you will notice is that the center section of the sole is flat instead of rounded. This allows the putter to sit flat on the green and give you the opportunity to get all of your alignment correct before pulling the trigger. Again, subtle design details that you just do not see very often.
Sound and feel: For me, the sound of a putter is a huge factor. I have tested a number of putters where the sound of the ball off the face is just unpleasant enough for me to have to relegate it to the bench. Specifically, I am not a fan of a “tingy” sound. The sound of the Kronos is a nice “click”. It is not overbearing but is characteristic of a putter made from a single billet of metal. In terms of feel, the ball reacts much like other milled putters in that it is not soft or springy like putters with an insert. The ball just comes off clean and square.
As I mentioned, I have been using the Kronos putter for about 3 weeks (about 6 rounds and a bunch of time on the practice green). Admittedly, I had huge expectations and absolutely believed I had found my “lifelong putter” just based on looks and ‘wow’ factor. The first few rounds I putted “ok” but was struggling with distance control. I chalked up my difficulty mostly to making such a big change in putters (light blade to heavy mallet). By round four, I had gotten used to making a longer stroke and letting the mallet push the ball rather than “striking it”. In my final round before writing this review, I had posted one of my lowest rounds of the year which included 3 birdies (I average about .75 per round). My point is, I do indeed love the Kronos putter both from a looks and performance standpoint.
Lastly, let me touch on a few smaller items of note. The headcover that came with the putter is made of denim, which to me was a bit odd seeing that I equate denim with ordinary (and Brett Favre Wrangler commericals). Seeing that the Kronos is anything but ordinary I would prefer a leather headcover, which fortunately Kronos does offer.
The other detail I did not love is the grip – I am a Super Stroke fan and the thinner grip does not suit my style. With that said, the stock grip is very nice and features minimalist branding that is well suited to the club. Worth noting is that Kronos is a believer in thinner grips as it gives more tactile feedback. Again, not a big deal to swap out for what you like.
Bottom line is that I absolutly love the Kronos Metronome putter. The combination of style and craftsmanship is world class and I remain confident that there is a bright future for this small company. With that said, the putter industry is extremely competitive so it will be very interesting to see what the panel of Shark Tank think. In the meantime, you can learn more on the Kronos website (and make sure to check out the videos they have).
Long ago when hair was large and men wore spandex (that would be the 80s, for you youngsters), Ping founder Karsten Solheim applied his engineering background to club design and quickly realized that square-cut grooves could put more spin on the ball while still abiding by the USGA rules. Depending on who you ask this was either the greatest thing since sliced bread or an unmitigated disaster. The USGA was in the latter camp and they promptly banned the square grooves, effective in 2010 (for those not following the anchored putter kerfuffle, “promptly” has a slightly different meaning when applied to the USGA). This led to 2010 being declared “the year of the wedge”, competitors everywhere had to replace their non-conforming wedges. All was not lost, however, as manufacturers milled, spun, and laser-cut the faces of their wedges to try to return the spin of the old square grooves.
You do not like them, so you say.
But try them, try them, and you may.
Try them and you may I say!
Prior to the start of my the Mantis ‘B’ putter review, I did a little reading and frankly was concerned with how it would fit my game. Basically, I saw three potential problems.
- It’s heavy. 355g worth of heavy.
- It has a full-face polyurethane insert.
- It comes with a soft, oversized grip.
But if “Green Eggs and Ham” taught me anything, it’s that I really should try things before I decide I don’t like them.
Earlier this year we reviewed the Mantis mallet putter. Following up on that success, the company has recently released the Mantis ‘B’ blade putter, taking advantage of the same visual and perceptive science as the mallet in a more classic blade form factor.
If you are a little behind on your cognitive science homework let me get deep into the gory scientific details. On second thought, let me sum it up. The Mantis ‘B’ blade putter reviewed here are green. Not just any green, this green is the result of a good bit of research and development by Mantis. Enough so that they hold a patent on this exact green. Golf greens are… (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) Golf balls are white. You putt better if you’re looking at the golf ball and not the putter, so Mantis created a green putter to blend in to the visual background and let you focus on your golf ball.
If that sounds like a lot of marketing voodoo then ask yourself this: How many times have you stood over an important putt, and when you started to take the putter back the head swung all over the place? If you saw the head wander, you weren’t watching the ball, and chances are you missed the putt. I am the world’s worst for this – the putter wobbles, I panic and make all kinds of strange corrections, and the putt goes who-knows-where.
If Mantis had stopped there this would be a very short review, and probably a very short-lived putter. Lucky for us the folks at Mantis kept their thinking caps on and applied that kind of thought and attention to detail to the rest of the putter.
The Mantis ‘B’ blade is a pretty classically styled blade putter. The shape is reminiscent of the Ping B60, of which I am a huge fan, if not quite as flowing and rounded. Let’s call it a half hourglass. Pretty is as pretty does, and the shape of the head follows conventional putter wisdom by positioning more weight at the heel and the toe for a higher moment of inertia (MOI) to prevent twisting and minimize the discrepancy between the distance of on- and off-center hits. The Mantis B does a very good job of this – more than once I hit a ball that I knew was well on the heel and watched it track right into the cup. 355 grams of weight in the 304 stainless steel head doesn’t hurt in that regard either.
The face of the Mantis ‘B’ is a full-face polyurethane insert like the one found on the original Mantis mallet. With an insert, especially a full-face insert, it’s important that it’s installed both flush and flat, and the Mantis gets high marks for both the quality of the installation and the quality of the insert itself. I’m not a big fan of insert putters, but the feedback from the Mantis insert is very good with most balls. Distance control is outstanding for an insert putter – I had about 15 minutes of practice with this putter before the first time I took it on the course, and the first putt I hit with it was a 30 footer from the fringe that stopped 2 inches from the hole, on the high side, thankyewverymuch. The entire round was like that – I tried it on both fast and slow greens, and with just a little acclimatization, distance control was, for the most part, very good.
For this review I tried the Mantis ‘B’ with several different types of golf balls and unsurprisingly it performed best with firm, urethane-covered tour performance balls. Lower compression balls with softer covers were more than acceptable as well. Ultra low compression/soft cover balls, however, were a bit of a minefield. In the middle of my third round with the ‘B’ I started blowing balls past the hole with what seemed like no effort at all. I was at a loss to explain it, until I checked my golf ball and found that I had replaced a drowned ProV1 with a Callaway Supersoft. I like the Supersoft, and I like the Mantis, but the combination is tough to control on fast greens. If you’re faced with shaggy greens and are having a hard time getting the ball to the hole, the combination of the Supersoft’s marshmallow cover and the Mantis’ polyurethane insert might just give you the extra distance you need.
From the top, the Mantis B has a relatively thin top line, and the simple white alignment aids make it easy to align the head. The green finish is non-reflective, which makes the ball stand out even more. And the heel/toe weighting creates a nice pocket cavity that’s almost perfect for scooping up conceded putts. I know that seems like a little thing, but once you get used to it you’ll never want to go back. Another nice detail that’s easy to overlook is the hosel. The ‘B’ has a full shaft of offset in the neck, but rather than use the much more common plumber’s neck hosel, the Mantis ‘B’ blade has a hosel that fits inside the shaft. This means less club between your eye and the ball, making it easier to focus on the ball and let your green putter blend into the background.
One part of the Mantis ‘B’ that doesn’t blend into the background is the sole, and it’s a crying shame that you don’t get to see more of it than you do, because the shiny chromed sole is far and away the sexiest part of this putter. The highly polished chrome plate on the sole also lets the club glide across the green, and so far it has proven very durable.
The Mantis ‘B’ comes with a custom Winn midsize grip in the company’s green and white colors and bearing the Mantis logo. There is no provision on the Mantis website to customize the grip, but the Winn midsize is very popular with many people. I’m not usually one of them – I prefer a firmer standard-sized grip, but on the ‘B’ the bigger one works very well, and I appreciated the extra girth when wielding the hefty 355 grams at the far end of the club. In a perfect world Mantis would offer both the ‘B’ and the original mallet with a SuperStroke grip in the company colors, but Mantis is still a young company, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to discover that they’re working on just that.
The Mantis ‘B’ is very toe-weighted, with a 4:30 toe hang. This weighting rewards an arcing stroke, and my biggest miss with the Mantis ‘B’ putter came from being too cautious to release the toe on putts inside 4 feet. I broke out my homemade version of the Putting Alley, and the situation improved somewhat. I usually prefer a light putter, and those extra 20 grams or so made it difficult for me to really let the putter swing freely on short putts. I was able to adapt by choking down on the grip and using a less arcing stroke for shorter putts, and on longer putts the weight of the putter almost seemed to release itself, which contributed to the Mantis B’s effectiveness at getting the ball to the hole.
The Mantis B comes with a headcover embroidered with both the Mantis logo and the “B” logo of the blade. My sample was very well executed in a very pliable vinyl with a hook and loop closure. I would prefer a magnetic closure like the mallet version, but the hook and loop did the job and doesn’t seem likely to scratch the finish.
And the finish deserves a bit of discussion. Before I actually got my hands on the Mantis I expected that I would have to baby it to prevent the finish from chipping or flaking or otherwise coming off. Nothing could be further from the truth. After the first 9 holes I treated the Mantis B no differently than I’d treat a plain stainless steel putter, and it still looks perfect. I’m not sure what the coating is, it feels almost like plasti-dip. Whatever it is it was applied beautifully, the finish is smooth and even. Overall the fit and finish of my sample is top-notch, particularly for a putter that lists for $159.99.
The Mantis ‘B’ blade will catch your eye because it’s designed to not catch your eye, but it might just find a place in your bag because it’s a darned good putter, in any color.
You can check out all the Mantis putters on the Mantis website.
I recently tested the Bettinardi Studio Stock 15 putter. Now I am going to write a review. How’s that for an intro? Thanks.
In a nutshell, Bettinardi is a premier putter brand that has been around the Tour since 1999, earning its first major championship merits when Jim Furyk used one in winning the 2003 U.S. Open. Matt Kuchar is currently their featured Tour player, which supports my initial feeling that Bettinardi is a bit further down the road than a “boutique” putter shop. The good folks at Bettinardi might cringe when I say this, but my brain thinks of them as a smaller, slightly younger version of the Scotty Cameron thing. High-end putters, increasingly in attendance at big-box golf stores, legitimate track record.
Bettinardi currently offers 6 different series of putters – BB Series, Counterbalance Series, Queen B Series (women’s), Studio Stock Series, and Signature Series (high high-end). It’s tough for me to get a full grasp on Bettinardi’s offerings, as their website plays things pretty close to the vest. It’s a good, crisp, corporate website, I just can’t find any ‘big picture’ explanation of what each series of putters is about (is it the color that constitutes a “series”, different theories, different weights, yadda yadda). Perhaps this is by design and Bettinardi would rather their putters and their Kuchars do the talking. But still, if I was shopping online, I would have very little material to base a trigger-pull on.
I tested the Studio Stock 15, a face-balanced mallet with a simple half-oval shape. Truth be told, this is my first ‘premium’ putter ever, being a man that longed for Scotty Camerons back in the day but never had the chutzpah to drop 300 to 400 clams on a flatstick. And so it goes I’ve spent the last 15 years or so using standard putter offerings that ring up at the $120.00 mark and being perfectly happy. That’s not to say that I’ve always been happy with my putting game, but being from the old school I always had it in my mind that the putter was the one club that required very little pampering. I mean, guys were draining putts with the old two-sided Bullseye putters back when I was significantly shorter, and Nicklaus won the ’86 Masters with that piece of furniture on a stick . . . it’s clearly all about the stroke and not the club, right?
Well, like anything in golf, yes and no. I think we can all agree that putting has a lot of headgame in it, and if you can feel confident and/or excited over the ball, the stroke is going to go a lot better. And like anything in life, if you’ve got a top notch piece of equipment in your hands, you’re jacked.
At the risk of sounding more like a scientist than a blogger, since I put the Bettinardi Studio Stock 15 in my bag two months ago, I have been in a state of total jackedness. Here’s why:
Looks – This thing looks awesome, and you’re a fool if you don’t agree. I’ve always been a fan of black putters, and all of the Studio Stock models come in Corona Black (like a really dark gray). What I didn’t see coming, however, was the subtle rainbowy finish that looks like oil in a puddle of water, creating a gentle semicircle of flare on the flange. Good lord I hope that makes sense. I don’t think it does, actually, but the pictures should do it justice.
Oh, and don’t forget the whole orange theme, which, Rickie Fowler fan or not, adds a little pop to the overall vibe of the putter. One thing I must note – what you first notice about this putter’s looks is the cool design on the sole of the club (I say this with confidence, btw, because every person that picks up this club comments on the sole before anything else). But after wielding it for a few months, I must admit that this is the last thing on my mind when I think about this putter. I still think it looks cool, I just don’t care.
This is a consistent theme with me and clubs – I see other people getting all lathered up about certain aesthetic aspects of clubs and I briefly get on board with the concept, but once I start hitting them, the whole “looks” thing goes out the window. Maybe this happens to everybody but all our hot air about a club’s looks has already been released into the atmosphere. Which brings us to . . .
Performance – Put your barf bags away, I’m not about to tell you that I drain every putt I look at with this club. Your man Adam will attest to the fact that I’ve been struggling with my game-time putting for a while now, and my stroke is anything but consistent. So yes, I still miss putts with the Bettinardi. What’s different, though, is how consistently excited I am to stroke putts with this thing in hand.
The feel of the ball coming off the face of this putter is absolutely addictive. It’s like a soft version of what a milled putter usually feels like, but not wimpy soft and not like an insert at all. It’s hard to describe (obviously, given that last train wreck of a sentence), but my addiction has me logging more time on a practice green in the past two months than in my whole life prior. I’ve gone from range rat to putting green spazz, and my token collection has the Bettinardi to thank. Stream of consciousness regarding the feel – I’d say it’s definitely not a click but a smooth crunch. Gross. But awesome.
Bettinardi calls the Studio Stock 15 “one of our most forgiving models yet, with just the right amount of weight displacement towards the perimeter”. I would agree with the forgiving part, because mis-hits do tend to work out just fine, more so than with my last few putters. Sadly, when putting I miss the sweetspot at an alarming rate for a decent golfer, and with the Bettinardi I’ve been able to fool the outside world a bit more with putts that still have a legitimate roll. You can feel the negative feedback when you mis-hit a putt, and while it is not punishing, it makes you nuts that you didn’t get the sweet feeling that pure contact gives you with this sucker. Again, it’s honestly addictive. I find myself staying on the putting green for 10 minutes longer than I should (to my kids this is called “working late”) because I’m just jonesing for more of that solid contact feel. That sounds ridiculous, but what can I say – it’s true.
‘Feel’ blubbering aside, one thing I do expect from a $400 putter is that all the scientific requirements – weight, angles, twist-reduction stuff – have been met. I figure that kind of cash should at least buy you the peace of mind to know that any missed putts are the result of user error only. I do believe that Bettinardi has satisfied this requirement – the weighting of the putter allows me to feel the ‘release’ of the putter through the ball, something I struggle with at times. And quite frankly, if I were ever to shell out $400 and not feel like the technicals are up to snuff, that putter would be smashing through the front window of Headquarters in no time.
Wrapping Up – I don’t have much more to say about performance, which I fear will be frustrating to you, the reader . . . again, that’s you. It’s a well-made, 400 dollar-costing putter. It putts great. Know what I mean?
If I tried to get any more detailed than I already have, I’d be doing you a disservice. At some point it becomes about the whole package, and I believe that this putter delivers one hell of a package.*
I would assume that all of the Bettinardi lines offer the same level of quality and badassery, but again, I can’t really glean anything from their website. But judging by the Studio Stock 15 and the fact that all the other Bettinardi putters are in a similar price range, I’d guess it’s tough to go wrong. Bettinardi seems poised to fill that new gap between the Scotty Cameron space, which one could argue to be played-out, and the many boutique putter manufacturers that aren’t quite as battle tested. Feel original without the risk of owning anything less than the best. . . one way to look at it.
You can check out all the Bettinardi putters on the Bettinardi website.
* This package includes a great putter cover and a damn good grip. In fact, this grip makes me wonder if the Super Stroke thing might just be a fad – plasticky rubber in a round shape doesn’t stand a chance against an old-school solid grip like this. Why hasn’t Super Stroke stepped up the quality of materials anyway? Just askin’.
If there were a Tropicana bikini contest for drivers it is doubtful that PING G25 driver would ever get to wear the victory sash or even crack the top 5. Yet, somehow PING drivers have been a steady contender in everyone’s “hot list” and a staple in golf bags for what seems like forever. Sure Bubba Watson swings a PING driver and is no doubt a flashy ambassador, but the brand as a whole still wears a one-piece bathing suit.
So does this mean the marketing folks at PING should be set out to pasture and replaced with a bunch of wizbang spiffed up go getters? I say no and I actually believe that PING has never set their sights on the sexy award.
If you think about golf clubs as girls, they can be divided into two groups: those you date and those you marry. What if PING is the marrying type? You know the one that does NOT make your life a soap opera, the one that does NOT break your heart, the one that does NOT stand you up, and the one that is NOT a potential train wreck every time you see her. Instead, what if PING is your steady, your life long companion, the one you know and trust, the one that has your back. What if being the girl you marry is what PING is going for? Too creepy? Stay with me . . .
I have had many PING clubs in my bag over the years and currently still carry a PING G10 five wood because it is the safest most consistent club I own. At 185 yards, I feel like I can land it on a dime and it gets me out of so many jams I am going to be hard-pressed to ever replace it. So, while it has been years since I had a PING driver in my bag, I was pretty darn sure I was going to enjoy reviewing it.
My PING G25 driver review started like buying any other PING club – the online fitting. While probably not as good as an in person fitting with a Pro, the online version does a good job of recommending the right shaft and loft. In my case, I am always right between a stiff and regular shaft as my swing speed is about 94 mph. For what it is worth, I ended up with the regular shaft 10.5 loft driver.
The club itself is not fancy but I would classify it as distinguished. Matte black with a simple alignment aid on the top and a shiny bottom that features only the branded PING G25. Worth noting is that even after 20 or so rounds, the bottom of the club has shown very little wear, which is very refreshing compared to many drivers we review that look 2 years old after a month of play.
As with most PING clubs, the first thing that comes to mind is forgiveness. While PING has definitely earned their reputation for forgiving with clubs like the G25 irons, they also make darn good player clubs like the S55 irons. With that said, the G25 driver is more on the forgiving side. That is not to say a player cannot benefit from the G25 driver. I am a 9.5 handicap and hit the ball straight but not particularly far. My average drive is about 225 with 265 being my outside range. I have reviewed about 5 drivers this year and the PING G25 driver is as long as any of them and longer than most.
Regardless of the distance, the reason the PING has remained in my bag for so long is that it just goes straight all the time. Even with mis-hits I am not wildly far off. The large clubhead gives you a tons of room for mistakes, but when you catch it just right it is a bomber.
Again, not super sexy but when I am hitting 12 fairways and never playing out of the woods, I am all in. I also don’t want to give the impression that the G25 is ugly, because it is far from that. It is just that you don’t have any extra glamour. It is your basic step up and smash it driver. Your working class bigstick.
Under the hood, the PING G25 driver does offer a touch of adjustability. You can change the loft by plus or minus a half degree which will make a 1% adjustment to the face angle. Per usual, I don’t mess with the setting, but that’s just me.
As I mentioned, the PING website takes you through a basic fitting which in part will spit out a recommended shaft. The shaft that came with my driver and was used for this review was the TFC189 which is weighted toward the butt end of the club in order to partially offset the heavier club head. I am a self-admitted dope when it comes to shafts, but I am convinced that the shafts PING uses are well matched to the club (plus they look super cool).
Hey what about the PING G30 Driver? Yep, the PING G30 driver has just come out which means the G25 driver is now an older model. Unlike many companies, PING does not roll out multiple versions of a club each year (which, by the way, I believe is a business model that is proving to be counterproductive for both consumers and companies). My guess would be that it will be the PING release cycle that becomes more normal as we enter into 2015. But, my point is, that even though the G25 is now one generation old, it is still a rock solid choice for the majority of golfers.
Anyone who plays to a 10-30 handicap is a perfect candidate for the PING G25 (and likely a bunch of single digit handicappers as well). At every level, PING nails it. The sound is great, the looks are fine, the adjustably is sufficient, the forgiveness is welcomed and the distance is plenty respectable. Get it, you get the whole ball of wax. Maybe you miss out on one “wow” factor, but you don’t get burned by a glaring deficiency.
So for all those married guys out there, when you go shopping for your next driver, think about your wife (I assume you love her). Think about why you are still married (besides the huge inheritaence from her dad). Yea, it is the stability, the dependability, the no surprises that keeps you together. Sure you might miss the wild nights in Vegas with that girl in the short dress, but in the end it just meant trouble. Meet PING: the girl you can marry.
Learn more on the PING website.
When the founder of Bombtech, Tyler ‘Sully’ Sullivan, announced that he was working on a putter, the obvious question was could he replicate the success he had with his Grenade driver. Sure, we thought he had done a bang up job with the Grenade driver, but the technology in a flatstick and a big stick are worlds apart.
The most obvious feature of the Bombtech putter is the weight. It’s about as heavy a putter as we have reviewed, weighing in at a stout 445 grams. Even my wife, who is not a golfer, instantly noticed how heavy it is compared to other putters. But she also noted one of the big advantages. In her words: “It takes a little more to pull the putter back, but it actually makes it easier and smoother to swing it through the stroke.” And in that short observation, you get a lot of the science at work in this new mallet.
As noted in our Bombtech Driver review, Sully works with engineers to design what he believes is a superior product. While I will dig into many of these topics, Sully brings his perspective in this article. As for my opinion, I will start with my general belief that the short game is mainly feel, imagination and lots of practice. There is no putter on the planet that can magically eliminate 3 putts or because human error is a fact of existence. However, a superior putter can help with these issues and I believe the Bombtech putter does so by addresses a couple of key problems.
One, we don’t always hit the putter in the sweet spot–and that translates to offline puts as the putter twists in our hands. MOI, or the moment of inertia has been thrown around a lot in the past few years, but the Bombtech designers did a ton of work to use form, materials and distribution of that large chunk of carbon steel to make sure that off-center hits were as minimally damaging as possible. I can certainly attest to the fruit of their labor! I spent some time hitting off the toe, the heel and the center and was very impressed how well the putts stayed on line and kept their distance.
Two, we have trouble with the fluidity of our stroke, especially under pressure— and that means that we will stab or swat at the ball, or push, pull or yank our strokes when we are nervous. I can also tell you that this putter is extremely easy to swing smoothly through the hitting zone. The added weight compared to other putters is a true revelation in terms of promoting a smooth, non-wristy stroke through the ball-striking path. If you can pull it back and let it go, the putter tries really hard to stay on a smooth arc which correlates to much better and more consistent rolls. Bombtech starts with a huge block of steel, and like many boutique putter companies, uses computer-guided metal lathes to work the steel into the beautiful mallet you see here.
Three, many of us have putters that skid before they start rolling— and that contributes to offline rolls and varied distance. Bombtech has put a loft angle of 2.5 degrees into the face of the putter so that it will skid less and start rolling quicker. They have slow-motion footage comparing the Grenade Golf Putter to other well-known putters, and the results are easy to see with your own eyes. Links are on the article mentioned above.
We have reviewed quite a barrel-full of putters here at Three Guys Golf and we have been very impressed and grateful to the companies, craftsmen and engineers that have taken the ‘flatstick’ to new heights. I’d like to say from my experience that the Bombtech Grenade Golf Putter belongs in a short list of putters you should be glad to have in your bag. It’s a true contender, and at a street price of $200, it’s pretty stunning what they’ve packed into this stick.
I first took the putter out with an Odyssey mallet I’ve used as my default for nearly 20 years, as well as several other boutique and name-brand mallets I’ve reviewed over the past few years. No doubt, the Bombtech was the heaviest, without question. For example, I recently reviewed the Bettinardi BB2 counterbalance putter that I would classify as “heavy”, and the Bombtech is heavier than that.
On the course: To give some context, I was putting on some greens that were the fastest I had seen in recent years. I don’t like to exaggerate, but folks were actually gasping when they hit their putts and when I tapped a little 8 footer down a slight incline, and the ball rolled a cool 15 feet past the cup I knew these conditions would be a great test for the Bombtech putter. At the end of a 45 minute putting session, I was extremely pleased with how quickly I was able to make putts with the same consistency as my normal putter. And in certain situations where I was a little shaky on a brutally quick side-hill putts, the Bombtech helped give me a smoother, less wristy stroke than I sometimes put on with a lighter putter. What I found was that the ball rolled off the face beautifully, and held it’s line extremely well.
Since most of us don’t play on lightening fast greens I also tested the Bombtech putter on medium/slower greens. Perhaps because I have so many years feeling the distance of 8 to 10 footers with a lighter putter, moving to such a weighted flat stick is often difficult because judging distance is quite different. Again, the Bombtech does a phenomenal job of getting the ball on line but there is absolutely an adjustment period for judging distance. On slower greens I found myself hitting the ball past the hole farther and more often than normal. With that said, it is more a matter of learning the putter to dial in the distance.
That brings me to two of the main things I noticed about the Grenade Golf putter: it feels effortless to swing and it sounds beautiful when if comes off the milled face. I don’t ever underestimate a balanced feel and satisfying sound on impact. Those benefits to my peace of mind while I am putting are immense. If you are more used to an insert, you might hear a little more click off the metal face than you are used to but I guarantee you that with a bit of time with this putter you will hear exactly how solid it is through impact from the sound alone.
The mallet head design looks excellent to my eye during setup which is also as a design benefit. Plus, you can pick up a ball of the green using the back of the mallet (my back says thank you to all designers who make this work). The aligment aids which include the notch in the head and green stripes are spot on and really are helpful to getting you lined up correctly. And honestly, the well-balanced feel of the putter really helped me forget how heavy the putter is. There is no other way to describe the swing of this putter than ‘super smooth.’
Finally, it is worth noting that the headcover is a branded Rose & Fire ballistic nylon model. We are big fans of Rose & Fire headcovers and reviewed the motorcycle leather version a few months ago.
So, if you are looking for an excellent putter designed to facilitate as smooth and easy a putting experience as you could hope for, at a very reasonable price, in this guy’s opinion you should give this new Bombtech Grenade Golf Putter a very hard look.
You can learn more on the Bombtech website.
PING, TaylorMade, Titleist, Cleveland, Nike, we all have a perception of those brands that are based on the combination of experience and marketing. However, none of those names in itself has any connotation of the product’s performance. In other words, Nike is not an adjective or verb so it is only through years of commercials that we attach it to real feelings.
On the other hand, some companies choose names that are intended to incite an emotion. Hence the name Powerbilt – obviously it is supposed to infer an association with a driver that delivers what we all want – power. Ironically, it was the name Powerbilt that was at the root of my initial concern.
You see, it’s a bit of a catch 22. Without a flashy name, I likely would have never remembered Powerbilt, but the name itself was a red flag for a driver hiding behind a smoke screen of clever naming. Add the fact that Powerbilt’s most noted ambassador is not a golfer but rather an MMA fighter and you can imagine why I feared the worst.
Despite all of my initial concerns, reviewing products from new companies is always fun because I have no idea what to expect, so there is the chance I will be pleasantly surprised. Sure I had read about Powerbilt, but I had never seen one in person, let alone hit it. Therefore, I decided my first trial would be 100% straight to the course.
On that particular late afternoon, I walked right past the driving range and headed straight to the tee box (apparently everyone else is working at 1pm on a Wednesday). To be clear, there was literally no one else in sight so I even surprised myself when I exclaimed out loud “oh on my gawd” just after contact. No, not because I could tell I ripped it 325 (why is that the magic number reviewers like to use?) but rather due to the unexpected sound.
Softball bat is what I would liken the sound to, or maybe the old Nike Sasquatch, but definitely a loud “ting”. As I walked down the fairway, however, there was my ball in much the same place it always is (give or take a few yards).
Over the course of that first round I continued to hit drives to my typical landing spots with roughly the same accuracy and distance as I am accustomed to. Thankfully, the sound also became more of an afterthought rather than a jolt to my system.
What I did notice though was my ball flight was lower than most other drivers I hit. This is in part due to the fact the driver has a 9.5 degree loft. Still, the ball definitely stayed lower than I am accustomed to, with the trade-off being that it also rolled out more than usual. NOTE: the Powerbilt DFX driver is not adjustable, which is actually 100% fine by me, but you do need to make sure you get the right loft.
In addition to the supercharged name, Powerbilt also is literally super charged with nitrogen. Now I am no chemistry major but I am pretty sure that this is also what is in my son’s paintball gun. Clearly, the nitrogen in the driver is not exactly the same as what is used to power projectile war paint, but you get the idea. So in the age of endless widgets to make the ball go farther, I am not in a position to say whether this chemistry experiment works, but I can tell you that over the course of 8 or 9 rounds I hit a bunch of drives farther than normal and with roughly the same forgiveness.
Truth is, one of the reasons I was intrigued by the Powerbilt driver was because I had read the results from My Golf Spy’s driver tests and the Powerbilt was near the top for guys with sub 100mph swing speeds (hey, that’s me). Unlike MGS, we are not exactly scientific in our approach to reviews. On the other hand, we play in real conditions on courses that we are extremely familiar with so understanding distance and accuracy is something I am comfortable speaking to, and there is no doubt in my mind that the Powerbilt stacks up with the big brands, AND, considering the fact that it retails for significantly less makes it an actractive alternative.
As with the name, the Powerbilt looks are unique. While top view is pretty plain Jane (sporting a matte black finish and midsized head), the bottom incorporates orange stripes to give it a high-tech look. The reality is, however, the bottom of the club should be a non-issue as you never see it. On the other hand, how it sets up and how it looks at address are important. For me, I like the clean topline with a simple alignment mark. The face is also deeper than many drivers which helps with confidence to make square contact.
The Powerbilt DFX driver also comes with a number of options for aftermarket shafts. In my case it was the Fujikura Motore F3. While I am a not a shaft geek, I do believe that adding aftermarket shafts from companies that specialize in just that is always an advantage.
So if you are the kind of guy who likes to buy new drivers, but you’re not thrilled about dropping $400, the Powerbilt is a great option. The Tour model runs $299 and the MOI version just $249 so you can save a chunk of change. You can see the whole line on the Powerbilt website
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