TaylorMade PureLite 3.0 Stand Bag Review: Believe it or not, there are still golfers out there that like to carry their bag – no pull cart, no llamas, just a good old-fashioned stand bag. For 18 holes, even! I admittedly kissed that world goodbye about two years ago when a buddy let me use his old pull-cart. While I may have lost a bit of my man card on that day, my shoulders rejoiced. To my defense, I am probably only about ten years away from socks-n-sandals, but I know the younger kids wouldn’t be caught dead doing anything but double-strapping their sticks (see: every high school and college golf tournament on the planet). So my point is, there’s still a place in the universe for the good ol’ carry bag, so when it came time to try out the TaylorMade PureLite 3.0, I had no choice but to eat my Wheaties and revisit the on/off world of lugging my clubs. On to the review.
Cleveland Junior Golf Clubs Review: Let’s face it, golf is not the most exciting game to learn. What’s worse is that golf is one of the few games you have to practice for a long time before you are even allowed to play. While I may be content to whack balls at the range all day, the same is not usually true for our short attention-span kids (I wanted to say MTV kids, but I guess that just dates me and is not even a good metaphor anymore). So out of the gate, moms and dads are fighting a battle to engage their kids into the game many of us love.
MyBalls Golf Balls: As I dive into the world of product reviews I’ve been challenged right out the gates with a daunting task, the golf ball review.
In the world of the higher handicap player there are a handful of things we look for in a golf ball. Is it cheap? Is it long? Is it straight? Will it last if by some miracle I get through five holes without losing it? You see we’re not afforded the luxury of needing to know how many cores are inside or how many layers are included. When it comes down to it, it’s a simple decision. Give me something I can hit and let’s go!
I recently got the opportunity to test a relatively new ball on the market and the golfing world and it goes by the name “MyBalls”.
Obviously, the name is a virtual pandora’s box so I have to give the folks at MyBalls some credit for taking a chance as it’s sure to raise some eyebrows.
I headed out this past weekend to a local course that I’ve played a bunch in the past and gave MyBalls a try. A friend joined me and I talked him into giving MyBalls a go as well and off we went.
My first reaction when I opened the sleeve and the ball hit my hand was that the ball seemed really hard. You know that feeling in your fingers when you grab a ProV1 and you can almost feel the outer layer give with some with the pressure of your fingers. Not here. It’s a very solid outer shell-not that this is necessary bad but I do think a 2 piece ball is a bit harder than a 3 piece ball. In any case, we tee’d em up and I hammered my first swing of the day, and so did my partner. They’re long alright, and for the most part fairly straight. That was pretty much how all the tee boxes went for us. I did manage to take a horrible pass at a ball on one box and with a little effort it’s not hard to make these things fly a little crooked. So don’t think by any means it’s a correcting ball, it’s not.
Besides having a genius name, the real difference in these balls is how you buy them. MyBalls have taken out a page from the Columbia House playbook by offering a subscription model (they do have a try before you subscribe option too). You can sign up to have either one or two dozen balls delivered to your house monthly ($25 or $40 respectfully). A perfect model for the golfer who prefers to spend his time losing balls instead of going to the store to buy them.
In terms of spin and feel, I would be remiss to call MyBalls a Titleist killer, but I thought they checked decently and rolled off of the putter well. My guess would be that MyBalls are marketed to the higher handicapped player who puts a premium on price and distance more than spin.
All in all though I would have to say it’s a great beginner/intermediate ball for sure. They’re long, straight, hold up over the length of the course and are not too badly priced – and they are the only ball that I know of with a monthly delivery schedule.
The above two images are after 14 holes of play, after that I switched to my normal ball that I’ve been playing with for the last five months just to get in a good comparison. While I am stubborn enough to still prefer to lose my $4.00 balls, I do enjoy the constant one liner’s that MyBalls afford. You would think that after 18 holes of golf we would have come up with all the puns you could imagine but no. While we were at the 19th hole reviewing our round we were still throwing them out there. Like I said, a marketing machine!
You can learn more about MyBalls on their website. See, I did it again. It’s just that easy.
Ecco Women’s Street Golf Shoes: There would be no future without the past. The game of golf has a rich history, which has given way to our present day game. Old wooden drivers have been replaced with titanium and carbon fiber technology. Five woods and low lofted irons are more and more being replaced by hybrid clubs. So are our traditional spiked shoes heading the way of the “wood?” Let’s face it, there will always be the old school players that scoff at riding in carts and wearing shorts on the course, and they will probably insist on keeping their spiked shoes. But, If Ecco has anything to say about it, their new Ecco Women’s Street Golf shoe is going to buck tradition.
The Ecco Women’s Street Golf shoe that I received was sharp footwear indeed. It looked more like an updated version of an old fashioned canvas sport shoe than leather golf shoe. Ecco has pulled off a classic look without being “in your face overcool.” It was tan with contrasting deep purple shoe strings and sole. I got an immediate thumbs up from my 14 year old daughter and her approval is rare. I would slip this pair of shoes on and head out to a back yard BBQ or to the movies. So, as far as style is concerned, the Ecco Street Golf shoe is a winner. But how do they perform?
The traditional spikes have been replaced with a sole full of small round spikes. Leaving no detail undone, each spike is topped off with the recognizable Ecco “e.” At no time did I ever feel like I didn’t have a good grip on the tee box or fairways. But, if I’m being completely honest with you, I have days that I spend a lot of time in the sand traps . . . they are like magnets for me. These shoes outperformed my expectations in the sand. I had a great feel for digging myself in and setting myself up -what a plus! They look great and as far as the sand is concerned, I had great outs all day. The comfort level was right up there with my well worn 2 year old sneakers. You can’t ask for much more.
There are plenty of days that I go straight from the course to my daily routine and vice versa. In these shoes, I can go straight from the course to just about anywhere without looking like I just walked off the course. I can also put my shoes on before I leave my house and still get a few things done inside without the fear of scratching my floors or snagging a rug. The future has arrived and the Ecco Women’s Street Golf shoe is definitely here to stay.
Like the men’s counterpart, the Ecco Street are not waterproof, although I have worn them in dew type situations without leakage. The ladies version comes in six color variations and retails for about $150.
You can see the whole line of Ecco women’s golf shoes on their website.
Anyone who watches golf (especially this year it seems) knows that no lead is safe. Given the fact that I had just watched Adam Scott card four consecutive bogeys to let the 2012 Open slip away, I thought I would start my interview with two-time LPGA winner Stacy Prammanasudh by asking her about staying focused during the final stretch of a golf tournament. She admitted that even though she was able to avoid looking at a leader board during her first win on the Futures Tour, most times it is a real challenge to stay in the moment.
Stitch Headcover Review: If you are golf gear nut, you know old school leather and wool headcovers are making a big comeback. One newcomer to the party is Stitch Golf. Founded in 2012, Stitch Golf is charging out of the gates in part because company founder Charlie Burgwyn has been around golf nearly his whole life. Coincidentally, I only live about 30 minutes from Stitch Golf so I took the opportunity to personally meet with Charlie to learn more about the company.
Before we get to Stitch the company, let’s go ahead and review the look of the headcovers. Stitch has two main lines, leather and wool. The leather headcovers come in a number of styles and colors but all are made with high quality leather giving them a wonderfully soft feel. If you look closely, you will notice that the headcovers have small imperfections and sometimes stray string as a result of the fact that each one is hand cut and sewn (in America by the way). To me this gives each headcover its own unique personality as no two are exactly the same.
As I mentioned, Stitch Golf headcovers come in a ton of styles each of which can be customized to fit your particular color and pattern preference. Since these are all handmade, custom orders take about three weeks. However, Stitch Golf also maintains a large selection of stock styles which you can purchase online, at many clubs, or even in some big box stores. From a price standpoint, the Stitch leather covers are a great value as you can get a 3 pack for about $100 – significantly less than most of the competitors. For example, many leather headcovers ask $85-$125 for just one driver cover.
During my conversation with Stitch founder Charlie Burgwyn, I learned that he not only worked in the golf industry for over 10 years but is also an accomplished golfer who played at the collegiate level. Beyond golf, Charlie and his team have deep experience in apparel and manufacturing industries, which is another reason why they have been able to grow so quickly. Just as important, the company seems very grounded in its values and commitment to quality and customer care. Judging from the pictures and testimonials people have sent into Charlie, it would seem that the product is being well received.
On the wool side, Stitch Golf offers a bunch of styles that are reminiscent of years gone by as well as some “alternative” versions (like the skulls). Stitch uses a 80% Merino Wool / 20% Acrylic mix which gives the covers a soft feel but is also a bit stretchy so that they can easily go on and off your club. The wool versions run about $100 for a set of four. While I dig the wool headcovers, I do think leather versions are the real flag-bearer for Stitch.
After spending 90 minutes at the Stitch Golf Headquarters I came away convinced that the company is for real. It is hard to believe how far they have come in such a short time which is a testament to Charlie and his team. There is a real sense of urgency and belief that the company can become the preeminent headcover manufacturer. Beyond headcovers, I would expect Stitch to move into other leather golf accessories such as shoe bags, score card holders and other related items. In the meantime, if you are looking for high quality, high style headcovers at a very reasonable price, I would encourage you to check out Stitch Golf.
Criquet Shirts: Every so often I bump into a company and instantly fall in love. Unfortunately this is a rare occurrence since stated company must possess a great product, superb marketing, and have a certain je ne sais quoi (yea, I had to google the spelling). Truth be told, I stumbled upon the Criquet Golf website late one evening while doing some “internet research”.
As you know, most golf websites are fairly boring: shirt, shorts, accessories, blah, blah, blah. On the other hand, the Criquet website has a unique blend of humor, style and hippie culture. Normally, I don’t post pictures from a company website, but this one I think is just brilliant and gives you a real sense of their brand.
Coincidentally, one of the founders of Criquet Golf spent some time in my town, Chapel Hill, during his studies at the University of NC, which is perhaps why I can relate to their “crunchy” attitude. Founded by Billy Nachman and Hobson Brown, Criquet is now located in an equally hippie town, Austin TX, where they are making wonderfully styled and tailored cotton golf shirts.
Four buttons and a pocket, that’s it, that’s the list. Design is funny in that it comes down to how similar features are put together to create a vibe. The Criquet shirts are available in two basic varieties, solid or striped with some having a flap on the breast pocket. Simple, sure, but both the 4 button placket (which is a bit longer than most shirts) and the pocket with small logo, demonstrate how great design does not need to be overly complicated.
It’s hard to put my finger on why exactly the Criquet shirt is so appealing to me but my hunch is that I am subconsciously reminded of the cotton shirts from my 70’s childhood. Not that Criquet shirts look like the 70’s but they are just hipster enough to bring back that feeling.
Speaking of feel, the shirts are plush and soft, but in the spirit of thorough product testing I wore the Criquet shirt for 18 holes of golf in 103 degree weather (I kid you not). Yes, there were visible sweat marks on the shirt but in no way was the shirt heavy or uncomfortable. In fact, it was totally dry by the time I got home (a little air-conditioning helps). So come fall, this is gonna be one of my absolute favorite golf shirts. In the meantime, I wear the Criquet shirt all of the time as it is just plain great looking for the office (if I went into one), the club (if I belonged to one) or the bar (now we are talking).
So lets talk cotton for a moment. As a reviewer of golf attire I am starting to see more high end golf shirts made with cotton. As I have noted in a few other posts, clearly cotton is not a wicking or dry fitting as the new high tech material, but what none of those other newfangled shirts can give you is that cotton feel. Sure that is a stupid obvious statement, but you know what I mean. Cotton just feels better and it is so much more versatile. Personally, I never wear a golf shirt unless I am playing golf because to me it is like wearing a basketball jersey to lunch. But with a cotton shirt like Criquet, no one will be the wiser that you are coming from or going to the links. Finally, it is worth noting that Criquet shirts are made with organic cotton. Nope, not a clue what that means but I figure if my wife buys free range chicken, I am all for organic cotton!
While I am on a little bit of a soapbox, the other compelling reason for me to endorse Criquet is because they are a small business. Now I’m as guilty as the next guy for getting a deal at a big box store, but when I get the chance to support a small company who makes a great product at a fair price, I am all in. While the Criquet shirts are not cheap, they are absolutely priced comparably with the competition, giving me just one more reason to throw my support behind these guys.
A note on sizing. Criquet shirts run very fair and I was perfectly fit with my standard medium. So when you are looking for a versatile golf shirt, look no further than Criquet.
You can see all of the styles on their website.
Adidas Puremotion and Crossflex Review: Anyone checked out the shoe section of a local golf store lately? It’s insane. What was once 1 standard wall of Foot Joys, Etonics and Nikes has exploded into a – well, a big-ass section full of all kinds of styles, colors, etc. The Three Guys have already made it clear that we are fans of this movement – finally the footwear is catching up to the rest of golf attire by shaking things up a bit. And as golf continues to get hip to what the rest of the footwear world is up to, it is only a matter of time until the newest advances in running shoe and cross-trainer technology make their way into our golf kicks.
According to Adidas, that time is now, as they roll out their Puremotion and Crossflex models. The Adidas Puremotion incorporates the same “natural motion” concept that you’ll see in a lot of cutting edge running shoes – basically, the idea is that the more a shoe allows your foot to behave as though you are barefoot, the better off you are, as your toes and natural foot contours can help out with balance, force, etc. The Adidas Crossflex is more like a proper running shoe, but a super-lightweight version that allows for more connection with the turf than the standard golf shoe-and Sergio Garcia is now wearing the Crossflex.
Very good. Once I understood all the science, I had to give the Adidas Puremotions a try. From a looks standpoint, they were right up my alley – I like a little funk, but I also want to look like I’m playing a sport, not plotting my next graffiti mission. The Puremotions are athletic at heart with some disco thrown in – primarily with the bright blue color but also utilizing some neat little trim touches to funk things up.
Once I put the Puremotions on I knew Adidas had a winner. They are just flat-out comfortable – they seem to be a bit wider, which works out great for my dogs. Even the toe area is squared off a bit, retaining that width all the way to the end of the shoe, as opposed to coming down to a point (whose foot does that anyway?).
The Adidas Puremotions are spikeless, instead utilizing hard rubber ridges (for lack of a better term) on the sole to provide grip. I recently indicated a curmudgeonly skepticism towards anything other than spikes on golf shoes, but these suckers have made me a believer. These soles feel so legit that, for the first three rounds I played in them, I kept worrying that I was leaving marks on the greens just based on a nagging feeling that I was sinking in and causing some kind of damage. That sounds cheesy, but I’m serious. Oh, and something my playing partners would point out at least once during a round as I posed off another velvety pull-hook – these things look crazy!
“Sir, we think Bigfoot has been in the bunker on 8.”
More on the soles – the truth is, I wouldn’t be able to survive in shoes that really made me feel like I was barefoot. I have plantar fasciitis so bad that I can only do barefoot for about half an omelette in the morning before the running shoes have to go on. So I can see how Adidas is shooting for the natural foot concept by allowing room for the toes to move, having different channels on the sole for each toe, etc., but ultimately it’s actually a very substantial sole that provides a good amount of support. Now, there are some shoes on the market that hype the “you can feel the contours of the earth”, and while the Adidas Crossflex are low profile, the ony word I can think of for these soles is “substantial” – on the ground side the ridges feel hard and durable while the human side provides support and what I believe to be a ton of stability.
Moving on – these suckers are waterproof. The fact that they say so on the side of the shoe is my only bone of contention with Adidas on this one (seems a bit much), but I have played several rounds in wet conditions and they have certainly lived up to their own billing. The uppers are made of breathable mesh, so they’ve got that going for them, which is nice, but not something I ever really notice one way or the other.
“Excuse me, sir, are these waterproof?”
Bottom line review- I have several pairs of nice shoes now, and conventional wisdom tells me to mix things up from round to round. Once I got the Puremotions, however, they’ve been the only shoes I’ve worn for all subsequent rounds, including a 36 hole tournament. I figure, why wear anything but the best, right?
You can check out the whole line of Adidas shoes on their website.
Energy Athletic Golf Shirt: Skeptic, yup I am a huge skeptic. So when I was charged with reviewing the new Energy Athletic Ionized shirt, I immediately put away my Ouija board to give it a go. The way I figure, if Bruce Banner can experiment with Gamma Rays, who am I to shy away from wearing a shirt laced with negative ions. Really, what could go wrong?
Seeing that I did not have a tee time scheduled this week, I decided I would give the shirt a go in a more casual environment to see what kind of reaction it would elicit. On that particular evening I was entertaining some friends and partaking in a friendly game of scrabble, the board version mind you. Yes, we also carry Persimmon woods. Ok, the part about the Persimmons is not true but we were playing scrabble. The truth is we all swing baby grand pianos but who is counting?
What is also true is that the orange Energy Ion shirt really brings out my olive skin tone (did I just say that out loud?). Anyhow, my partners in scrabble crime all were highly complimentary, throwing out remarks normally reserved for rock stars and AA baseball players.
The shirt is extremely comfortable, super light, and while solid in color it has slight textured ribbing that gives it depth. But what my colleagues did not know is that this shirt also is cased with Ion technology. On my late grandmother’s couch I swear I could feel the “power” of the shirt. I truly did. There is something very tangible . . . again, tangible . . . in this technology. Mind you I am only a History major so when it comes to the science of the shirt I will defer to Dr. Al Ouimet who developed the IonX technology.
From the Energy Athletic website I have learned that while the shirt is 95% polyester and 5% spandex, it is also embedded with negative ions in the structure by way of a their X Ionized treatment. This is what is supposed to give you increased power. Like Matt who discussed the powers of Trion-Z, I am not exactly sure how the whole magic works, but I figure if Paul Azinger gives it the thumbs up, their is no harm in adding a little giddy-up to my game.
On to the course. I wore the shirt on Tuesday, July 10 in New Hampshire, 90 degree heat (that’s Fahrenheit for those working on their visas) and boy was I comfortable and ready to roll. As my less enlightened friends used to say, “do you think you can crush balls now?”. Yes, but it is just one ball and I can play with it all day in this shirt – and let’s play from the tips.
Oh, and one final note on sizing, they are an American cut meaning they run fair a touch big. Matt and I typically wear a large but we could have probably taken a medium and been happy.
You can learn more about Energy Athletic shirts on their website.
The Golf Swing Shirt Review: Swing trainers are a tricky business, no doubt. Caddy Shack, Tin Cup and other golf movies have well-documented the lengths people will go to find a swing worthy of Augusta National. Unfortunately, it is just not that simple. Nope, no one device can magically give you all the answers. However, there are some training aides that can help give you a ‘feel’ for a more sound technique.
One such aide I recently discovered is the Golf Swing Shirt. After spending a few weeks and multiple practice sessions with the Swing Shirt, I can honestly recommend it to anyone. Coincentally, the the Golf Swing Shirt has been well recieved by one of my golf heroes, Jimmy Ballard. In a recent interview I had with Jimmy, we discussed the Golf Swing Shirt and he reiterated his support for the product.
If you know anything about Jimmy Ballard, you know his main teaching philosophy is “Connection”, and the one thing the Swing Shirt does very well is promote a connected swing. This is particularly important since staying connected is one of the most critical elements to a consistant and powerful golf swing.
If you look at their website you will find that the Golf Swing Shirt philosophy is partially derived from Hogan’s book and his “Five Lessons”; specifically, as it relates to the importance of connection of the arms to the upper body. This was something Hogan learned from Sam Byrd who was Jimmy Ballard’s teacher. What the Swing Shirt does is give you the feel of the triangle that Hogan and Ballard describe where your arms form a triangle with your chest that you move to the right, and then move to the left, using the ground and your legs as leverage to move the triangle.
The Swing Shirt is made out of a moderate-weight stretchy fabric, and it looks like a basketball jersey, with an extra ‘trunk’ on the front that you put both arms through. This ‘trunk’ or extra sleeve on the front of the shirt keeps your arms on top of your chest, and connected to your chest during the swing, so that you can feel the sense of using your chest to support and move your arms back and forth, rather than just using your hands and arms to flip the club around your body. After you’ve hit some balls with your arms in the sleeve, you can move your arms to the ‘normal’ arm holes, and then hit some balls while keeping the shirt on to see if you can repeat the feeling.
The result is that you are able to use your big muscles of your legs and core to move the golf club, rather than just flipping at the ball with your hands, or getting into the dreaded ‘chicken wing’ of the left arm, and the ball flight is much more consistent, and much straighter.
A couple of quick ideas that I think will help anyone use the Golf Swing Shirt:
-Get the correct size. Sizing is on their website and is based on height/weight. It needs to fit to work correctly.
-Good posture, including standing as upright at address as possible is the only way to have connection keep the club on plane, and not go ‘around’ your body.
-The shirt is good at keeping your arms on top of your chest, and together through the swing, but you shouldn’t ‘tuck’ your right elbow at address, or setup with the right shoulder lower than the left. Hogan had a balanced, upright address, where his shoulders were fairly level, and his right elbow pointed loosely at his right hip socket. During the takeaway, the right arm is higher than the left, if being viewed face on, or in a mirror; and it needs to stay that way, as the triangle moves to waist high on the backswing. From waist high, the right arm simply folds and moves up into the ‘throwing’ position, as the shoulders finish coiling. If you ‘tuck’ your right elbow, the golf swing shirt won’t keep you from going around yourself, losing connection, and introducing all kinds of timing issues.
-Make sure not to forget chipping and putting. Connection is the heartbeat of the golf swing, and this tool will help you with all of your clubs!
You can learn more about the Golf Swing Shirt on their website.
Antiqua Golf Shirts: Just before I embarked on my summer vacation to the outer banks of North Carolina, Three Guys Golf (hey, what about the girl?) received a package from Antigua. Antigua is a designer and marketer of men’s, women’s and children’s lifestyle apparel and sportswear. As usual, my first thought was “ok, it just a shirt with a collar, buttons and needs to be tucked in. How can these shirts be different or better than any other?” Well, it was my duty to give it a try and see what I think.
In Georgia, every summer day feels as if global warming is beating down your door, and no type of shirt on the golf course is going to make a huge difference . . . we all wear some type of quick drying material to combat the heat as best we can. I set out for the course with my new Antigua golf shirt and hardly any expectations. How different can it be? Oh how little I knew. It was a relatively cool 93 degrees on that Friday with the humidity at about 70 percent. I do not profess to be an expert in the textile industry but I do know what I like and what I don’t.
Being a mother of two very active kids, I am well versed in the moisture wicking materials and I can absoluetly say the Antigua shirts are top notch in that regard. It was an extremely busy day on the course and slow play is an understatement – I spent more than my fair share of time waiting at each tee box baking like a Georgia peach pie. However, the best way I can describe this shirt is tissue paper. If you could wear tissue paper without it ripping and getting soaking wet, this shirt would be it. Seriously, at times, I felt as if I didn’t even have anything on. I was truly impressed.
Fast forward to my vacation on the tiny island of Ocracoke, NC. I went into a shop one day with my sister and ran into another vacationer in a golf shirt. The shirt had an LGPA logo on the front and the Antigua brand on the sleeve. Well, there isn’t a golf course within a two hour drive of this island where tanks and tees rule so this lady stood out. I approached her and started talking about her shirt. She was a golfer, and it was her favorite and coolest shirt, so she brought it with her to this island hot spot. There you go, it wasn’t just me that thought so much of this shirt, she too had high praise for the brand.
On the men’s side the styling is also very pleasing. Like the women’s, some of the Antigua golf shirts have sleeves that are longer than usual but we found it to be a nice change from the euro cut. Additionally, we dug the heavy contrasting over stitch on the shoulder and sleeve which is prominent on the Antigua Journey shirt.
The Antigua men’s golf shirts also feature the Desert Dry technology. While the Journey material was a bit thicker, the Antiqua Relay was extremly light which of course is wonderful for those burning hot days. In short, we were very impressed with both the styling and material of all the samples we received. Moreover, the Antigua product line has a huge offering with many color combinations in each style so that you will have little fear of ever running into someone with the exact shirt as you (am I the only one who worries about this?)
Antigua started out as company with roots firmly in the golf market. It has since moved into the growing corporate market as well as other sports leagues. They currently hold licenses with the NBA, MLB, and NHL among others. Antigua clearly wouldn’t be where it is if were not a good product. My endorsement might not be much, but having lived my entire life in the south and now almost half of it in “Hotlanta,” I do know that beating the heat is never going to happen. But I also know I can do my best to try, and now Antigua is at the top of that list.
You can find the whole line of Antigua shirts on their website.
Taylormade RocketBallz Fairway Wood Review: Some clubs we have no loyalty to (driver), some we nearly marry (putter), some we just hang on to for no particular reason (irons) and some we barely think about (fairway woods). For me, I have aways been pretty happy with my 3 wood whether it was an old Taylormade or Ping G10. I just wanted to be able to hit it 200ish and know it would go pretty straight. Mostly it was to knock the ball down the fairway on a par 5 or make an easy swing on a short par 4. However, there are those times in which you need to carry water thats 215 so you want to feel good about your 3 wood (or your 7 iron if you are Tiger Woods). Given the fact I have never been accused of being a long hitter, I was therefore more than willing to give the Taylormade RocketBallz fairway wood and its promised 17 yard gain a test drive.
From a distance perspective, we at Three Guys Golf try to give you the scoop but without launch monitors and all that, all I can tell you is that I hit it farther on my home track than I usually do. I know my distances well enough to clearly say that much. The one area I did struggle with the Taylormade RockeBallz fairway wood was hitting it off of a tight lie. I think because the club is taller than most, I was catching it thin and hitting it low. The good news, is that it runs like the devil. With that said, I did get it figured out and can now hit it from any lie. While I may only hit it 3 or 4 times a round, I do love when it is “RocketBallz Time”
The club itself is really good looking (unless you are not a fan of the white club). On the back you will notice the “speed pocket” behind the face. This is supposed to create the extra distance. One draw back of the speed pocket is that it is akin to a dustbunny magnet. Depending on the conditions of your course, you may find yourself regularly having to use a tee to dig out the dirt or grass that has been forced inside of it. Not a huge deal but something I never had to worry about with my other fairway woods.
So lets just talk Taylormade for a moment. I sure get the sense that these guys are ahead of the curve in terms of driver and wood technology. Again, if you have come to Three Guys Golf looking for specs or actual evidence you have come to the wrong place, but if you want a review based on opinion and pure conjecture – bingo, I’ve got that for you. From what I have read, Taylormade went back to the drawing board with the Taylormade RocketBallz and designed the whole thing from the ground up. Hence the deeper face, speed pocket and large head. I know every company is trying to make a great wood, but it sure feels like Taylormade is laser focused on making the best darn woods in the business.
Finally, I just wanted to touch on the sound. While it has no real effect on the ball flight, I dig the springy whack the club makes. It just seems to tie the whole club together. When I picked up golf seriously in 1999, Taylormade was the first 3 wood I owned, now 12 years later it is again back in my bag, and likely to stay there for quite a while.
Sun Mountain KG3 Cart Bag Review: To those of you who primarily ride when you play golf – you know that beyond style there are a few must have features in a cart bag. Like a well seasoned business traveller, we understand the benefits of good luggage and since the only time we are going to carry this baby is from our car to the cart there is no reason to skimp on features.
Over the past 6 months I have worn about 7 pairs of golf shoes. Some I really like, some I kinda like. So when I had the opportunity to finally test out the Ecco Street Premiere shoes I was eager to see how they stacked up against the competition. Let me be clear, I am an unabashed Ecco fan. Over the past years I have purchased four pairs of Ecco golf shoes and to this day I cannot bring myself to get rid of a single pair of them, despite the fact I have more shoes than I know what to do with. Basically, I just think that Ecco not only “gets it” but they have the technology to back it up.
I still remember the first time I saw the Ecco Street shoes. It was during the Masters a few years ago when Fred Couples was in contention so the TV was regularly showing him strolling down the fairways of Augusta National in his Ecco’s san socks. Like other golf geeks I actually Googled “what kind of shoes does Fred Couples wear?” . . . they were just so cool and so unique. Now of course, everyone and their brother thinks they can make a street shoe – there are some good ones out there, but there is also some junk. In my mind Ecco still represents best of breed in the street shoe department in part because they are not only focused on design, but equally involved in developing new materials and improving ergonomics.
What do I love about the Ecco Street shoes? Well we can start with the style which is simply classic cool. They are not “hopped up on hip”, but still stand out from the pack. For me it is the little things that make the difference. Whether it the orange laces, raised orange nubs or the fact that the seams are clean and straight, Ecco shoes are easily recognized and always admired.
On the sole you have tons of spikes which provide ample grip and will not wear down like some of the other “alt shoes”. So sturdy are these spikes that I really don’t even try to avoid the pavement. And they are so comfortable, I often forget to take them off after returning from a round of golf. Oh, and I never have to change shoes on my bumper.
Sure, other street shoes can go from the house to the course and back, but the Ecco Street Premiere can actually serve as a regular shoe and I have heard from many an Ecco fan who say they wear them all of the time. Really the only downside for me is that they are not water-proof which makes them impractical for morning rounds when there is heavy dew. Other than that they are a perfect warm weather shoes and despite the fact they are leather, they do no feel hot.
So yes, my expectations were absolutely met by Ecco. While they are a bit pricey, $150, you will be hard pressed to find a better street shoe (unless it is the new Ecco Biom Hybrid shoe).
You can see the whole line of Ecco Golf shoes on their website.
Last week, I had the opportunity to interview the legendary, but often overlooked, golf instructor Jimmy Ballard. If you are not familiar with Jimmy Ballard, his impressive resume is outlined here and here. In short, Ballard’s methods are often summed up in one word, “Connection.” While everyone knows who Haney, Harmon and Foley are, the lesser known Jimmy Ballard’s list of students is a virtual who’s who of winners including Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Jim Colbert, Rocco Mediate as well as Jesper Parnevik and Annika Sorenstam (via his work with the Swedish golf program). Moreover, Jimmy worked with these players at the height of their careers, so while Jimmy may not have the name cache as other famous coaches, he has a winning resume that would stack up against the best of them.
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