Have you ever been watching TV, maybe late at night, or maybe in the middle of the day, and seen a commercial for something that was so mind-bendingly stupid that you asked yourself: “Who the hell would buy that?” I hate to break it to you, but a lot of time and money was spent analyzing that very question, and the answer that the TV executives, MBAs, marketing wonks, and social psychologists came up with was: you.
Every year it seems TRUE Linkswear evolves in a way that exceeds even the highest expectations. Ok, maybe not everyone’s but certainly mine! I’ve been wearing True Linkswear on the golf course for almost three years now, and with each new pair I’ve added to my collection my love for the TRUE brand grows stronger.
Finally, spring is upon us and that means there’s much golf to be played. Aside from the obvious reasons to get out and play, the other awesome perk of the new season is all the fresh spring apparel hitting the shelves.
Devereux may not be a name you are familiar with, and you certainly won’t find them flipping through the clothes rack at Golf Galaxy, but don’t worry we have your questions covered. The latest Devereux spring line, called The Christina O Collection, offers a wide variety of stylish colors and unique looks that distinctively separates them from the typical “golfing polo”.
Let’s face it, in some golfing circles push carts have a bit of an image problem. When I first mentioned to my golfing buddies that I was thinking about getting one they, being kind and supportive friends, suggested that I could use it to carry my Metamucil and Depends. They might have been onto something, because:
- My first thought was “On the course is the last place I would want Metamucil.”
- The whole point of getting a push cart is that I have a bad habit of carrying too much stuff.
For years I have never felt the need to own a laser rangefinder for three primary reasons: 1) they are really expensive 2) they seem too clunky and time consuming and 3) they provide more accuracy than my game can handle.
Well, I have finally broken down for my review of the Eagle Eye Laser Rangefinder and I am happy to report that all three of my objections have been negated. The fact is, I will never play a round of golf without a rangefinder again.
I will start with cost since that is an objection I think many people have, and rightly so. Do a search on rangefinders and you quickly realize they can set you back $300-$500 in a hurry. Man, that’s a lot of cash compared to a GPS app or other yardage device. So, one huge advantage of the Eagle Eye Rangefinder is that it clocks in at a cool $199. Not a bad value even when compared to GPS watches or other handheld GPS devices. Why so low a price? Well, part of the reason is that they are sold direct to consumer without a huge marketing budget so they are able to keep the price modest while including quality optics and lasers. Which leads me to my next concern- lasers are clunky and time consuming.
For the most part I play the same course and tend to play rather quickly. I am forever annoyed when guys are fussing with GPS or rangefinders, which is why I usually just wear a GPS watch. To my delight, the Eagle Eye is really easy to use and quick to get yardages.
There are two modes on the Eagle Eye. One for pin seeking and one for general yardage to a spot (like a bunker). You can easily toggle between the two using the mode button which is at the top of the unit. With that said, I find I can pick up bunker yardages in the pin seeking mode which negates the need to switch back and forth between modes. Ok, the burning question is: is it easy to get yardage and is that yardage correct?
For the most part, the Eagle Eye rangefinder gets yardage to the pin very quickly. This is especially true when playing a course that has reflective flagsticks. In those cases I have little to no problem getting a yardage in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, my home course does not have reflective flagsticks. Even so, I am able to pick up yardage from inside 200 yards with relative ease and the unit is capable of picking up a flag up to 300 yards. Helping with this task is the 6x zoom which is in fact higher than many big brand rangefinders. For those who wear glasses I can say that I had no problem using the rangefinder without removing my sunglasses. NOTE: you can also use the manual focus, if you think the view is blurry, with the focus adjustment on the eye piece.
There are a couple of instances when I do have trouble getting yardage. The most common problem I have is when the flag is in front of a lot of trees. Even using two hands to steady the device, there are times I just cannot get it to read the correct number. I know this can be a problem with all rangefinders but in some cases I have found the top-end, $400 laser finders do a better job than the Eagle Eye. Honestly, this should not come as a complete surprise or letdown. I, for one, would hope that a $400 laser finder works better than a $200 model. Is this a dealbreaker? Depends on your budget and your level of tolerance. In my 12+ rounds using the Eagle Eye Rangefinder, I have probably had difficulty with 6 yardages (there are a ton of trees around my home course greens). With that said, I have found the Eagle Eye to be more difficult to pick up a flag than premium range finders. If you play a course without reflective pins, you may get frustrated.
Despite having some trouble with pins in front of trees or pins that are only partially exposed (due to a hill for example), I think the Eagle Eye Rangefinder is a good for the money. Yes, front, middle and back yardages are usually good enough but I find that with large odd-shaped greens, getting the exact yardage is hugely valuable since I get a huge confidence boost just by knowing exactly how far you need to carry a ball.
I have also started to use the laser finder inside of 100 yards now that I carry a few more wedges. For me, I feel like I can more accurately select my club and try to dial in a shot where in the past it was more of a feel shot.
Style and ergonomics:
Not that style should be a huge consideration, but it is kind of nice that the Eagle Eye Rangefinder comes in 4 colors- white, silver, orange and pink. More importantly, the Eagle Eye is fairly small and easily fits in your hand. Rarely do I need to use two hands to steady the device. From a durability standpoint, it feels solid and is weatherproof.
The Eagle Eye Rangefinder is a great option for those who want the power and advantage a laser rangefinder has, but want to save $100-$200. During my testing of this device I spent a decent amount of time borrowing other models to compare yardages and ease of use. For the most part, I found the Eagle Eye to get the same yardage as other bigger name brands (plus or minus a yard or two). With that said, I do think some of the more expensive models did a better job picking up the flagstick when there were trees in the background.
Fortunately, Eagle Eye offers a 30 day money back guarantee for you to make sure it meets your needs. With 12 rounds to review the Eagle Eye, I for one have been very satisfied, especially considering the price. Is it the best rangefinder I have ever used? No, but again it is not really fair to compare a $200 rangefinder to a $400 rangefinder. Bottom line, Eagle Eye Rangefinder is easy to use, accurate, and very affordable.
You can purchase the Eagle Eye Rangefinder for $199 on their website.
It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important — Arthur Conan Doyle
When I reviewed Sunfish Sales wool headcovers several people asked me “What can you say about headcovers?” The answer turned out to be “quite a bit.” Before I tried a set of Sunfish Sales’ heavy-duty knit covers, my headcovers were a source of annoyance rather than a compliment to my bag. I was far more likely to curse the clumsy neoprene socks that come on my clubs as I struggled to get them on and off or jogged back up the fairway to pick them up than I was to enjoy the look and feel of a quality piece of kit.
I call this the “Places you’ll never get to play” collection
Since that first review my woods and hybrids have worn Sunfish for every round, rain or shine, hell or high water. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments about my Sunfish woollies, along with inquiries about where to get them. And adding some class to your bag with Sunfish Sales knit headcovers was pretty straightforward, since Sunfish supplies custom covers to many of the top 100 courses in the US. For those who couldn’t wrangle an invitation to, say Winged Foot or Cypress Point, Sunfish’s website and prices starting at less than $30 for a luxe knit driver cover made things easy and painless.
So clearly the guys at Sunfish Sales had it all figured out. They’d done what they set out to do, and it’s time to put the shop on autopilot and head to the course for Cajun Martinis and afternoon golf, right?
The biggest update to the Sunfish Sales lineup for 2015 is the addition of leather headcovers. If Sunfish Sales’ wool headcovers are Spenser: For Hire, then the new leather headcovers are A Man Called Hawk. Yes, I know I just dated myself (and revealed some pretty questionable taste in television in my youth), but bear with me a minute. Spenser, as portrayed by Bob Urich, was tough but cultured. Well-read, a gourmet cook, as likely to talk the bad guys into surrender as he was to engage in fisticuffs. When the weather in Boston turned chilly, Spenser wore a classic wool peacoat.
Avery Brooks’ Hawk was the dark side of Spenser, the Yang to his Yin, the Han Solo to his Luke. Bald as a Sunday US Open green, carrying a huge, chrome Colt Python, wearing his sunglasses at night, as cool as the other side of the pillow. Regardless of the Boston weather, Hawk wore a Shaft Signature Badass Edition(tm) trenchcoat, made from black leather.
I was going to make a Shaft reference, but this is a family publication.
Sunfish’s version of that trenchcoat is a series of headcovers for your driver, fairways, hybrids, and blade putter that are hand-crafted from full-grain leather. As with their wool covers, Sunfish’s leather headcovers are handmade, which gives them character that’s missing from mass produced products. Sunfish uses real, full-grain leather that’s thicker and shows more grain than the thinner and more uniform split leather that some manufactures use. But leather is, after all, cow hide, and since cloning cows is illegal, different pieces of leather have different patterns and characteristics, even after the tanning process. Handcrafting their leather headcovers lets Sunfish accommodate the variances in the leather and makes each piece unique, which I think is extremely cool.
The quality of both leather and finish is top-notch. I tried my set with a selection of drivers, fairways, and hybrids, and for the most part they fit well and were easy to put on and take off. When I first put them on they were a bit snug, but being leather they soon broke in created a custom fit for my clubs. The nylon lining makes them easy to slide on and off, and the detailing makes identifying clubs simple and quick. Because of the design needs inherent in leather, the leather covers aren’t as long as the knit ones, leaving a few inches of my driver shaft exposed. This only became a concern when I was using a putter that has no headcover, letting the head of my aptly-named “Big Ben” from Ben Hogan rattle against the shaft of my driver. No harm was done, and I eventually rearranged my bag to eliminate the problem, but if you’re rocking a $300 aftermarket shaft in your driver you might want to check everything to make sure your clubs are riding safely.
Cypress Point, where they can literally look down on Pebble Beach.
The covers are available as sets or can be ordered individually in a variety of colors and patterns. Best of all they start at a cool $34.99 for putters, hybrids, and fairways, and $39.99 for drivers. Buy them as a set and $90 will get you a set of headcovers that should last longer than your golf career.
Of course not everyone wants to dress like they’ve taken the Red Pill and dropped out of The Matrix, and Sunfish has you covered there too. I don’t know about you, but when I hear “animal headcovers” I think of the Caddyshack gopher headcovers that are apparently part of the Acme Big-Box Golf Retail kit. Fortunately, when Sunfish says “animal headcovers” they mean the same high-quality wool and hand-knitting that goes into their standard knit covers, knit into a line of animals that look like the makers of sock monkeys decided to branch out.
It’s just one happy animal kingdom, until the lobster starts something.
Order them as a set or mix and match, starting at just $25 for fairways and hybrids and $30 for drivers, Sunfish Sales’ knit animal headcovers are a great choice if your tastes are a little whimsical.
Scorecard/Yardage Book Holder
This is the latest addition to my collection of “things I never knew I needed until I had them.” Until you’ve tried one, a scorecard or yardage book holder might seem like a necessity for the pros and their 3-volume yardage books, but a little shishi for weekend warriors who have more beers in their cooler than notes in their yardage book. Even when you try one, the difference is really in all the things you don’t notice. Unless you think about it, you aren’t likely to notice that you didn’t struggle to get your scorecard in and out of your pocket once during your round. That means that you didn’t have to stop and ask your partners what they got on the last par 3 because you couldn’t get the dogeared, sweaty card out of your pocket in a hurry, so you bagged it and moved on.
Made from the same full-grain leather as their headcovers, Sunfish Sales’ scorecard holder has elastic loops on both sides to hold your scorecard and yardage book, as well as a loop for your pencil. It sounds like a little thing, but having a loop for my pencil means that I always have a pencil, which beats the hell out of marking my scorecard with the same Sharpie that I use to mark my golf balls.
If you don’t see “Diver Down”, you should probably just order a plain vanilla cover.
Having my card and yardage book organized and easy to use hasn’t made me a better golfer, but it has definitely made my rounds more enjoyable. Be careful though, when your buddies see how easy it is to manage the card you might find yourself designated as the permanent scorekeeper. It’s a small price to pay for the convenience, as is the $35 price tag.
Customize your covers
Perhaps the most interesting addition to Sunfish Sales’ 2015 offerings isn’t really a product at all. New this year you can customize your headcovers right on the Sunfish Sales website. Visit https://sunfishsales.com/custom-headcovers/ and you can choose colors, designs, details, and even add custom text to your headcovers. Prices vary depending on the options you choose, but I priced a leather driver cover with everything, including having my name embroidered on it, and it still came in at a very reasonable $80. Considering that a leather headcover could well last longer than my golf game, I think that qualifies as an affordable luxury.
Seriously, you can get more options on your headcover than your Honda.
If Sir Arthur is right and the details are what’s important, Sunfish Sales’ 2015 lineup of knit and leather might just be the most important part of your bag. Adding a touch of class and removing the kinds of minor annoyances that can take you out of “the zone” can’t help but be good for your mental game, whether it shows up on your scorecard or not. You can see Sunfish Sales full lineup, learn more, and even create and order your own custom headcover designs on the Sunfish Sales website
“Game Changer”. Strong words for sure. I mean, when ketchup put the squeeze top on the bottom so you avoided the watery first gloop, that was a game changer; or when an eraser was added to the top of a pencil, that was a game changer. Heck, putting soap on a rope is nearly a game changer, but when True Linkswear puts spikes on a golf shoe does it really qualify as a “game changer?”
So you absolutely dominate the golf shoe market despite a ton of new companies trying to chip away at your base. Despite your storied history, resting on your laurels is risky with the required annual new model release. Inevitably, you are faced with the same question every year- play it safe or try something new. Surprisingly, for the past few years, Footjoy has chosen to the road less traveled and risked going outside their brown saddle history to try and reach a younger demographic.
I’m not a fan of winter golf. The grass is dormant, the ground alternates between frozen solid and sodden from rain, sleet, and snow. And to add insult to injury, it’s cold. I’m not even going to pretend that cold doesn’t bother me – I hate cold. I hate cold so much that I don’t complain about playing golf when it’s 100 degrees (that’s like 38 in Australian degrees).
But the alternative to winter golf is too awful to contemplate, so when the snow stops blowing and the wind stops howling, I layer up like I’m sailing with Shackleton, fire up a couple of handwarmers, fill a flask with the appropriate antifreeze, and brave the frozen tundra.
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.
This is about the 6th Adidas golf shoe review we have done on Three Guys Golf so I feel like we have a pretty good sense of the brand. Overall we are fans of Adidas golf shoes in terms of both performance and looks. To this day, Matt still wears all three pairs of Adidas shoes he has reviewed (Samba, PureMotion and Gripmore ). In my case I have reviewed the Adizero, which, while comfortable and light, looks too much like soccer cleats for my taste and never really made it into my regular shoe rotation.
I am a numbers guy. I don’t want to be, but as I mature I realize that there is no better way to be miserable than to fight your essential nature. I’ve tried being the ball, gazing at flags and imagining the shot, choosing a club based on nothing more than feel and The Force, but that led to some numbers that I just couldn’t avoid; 7s, 8s, even a couple of 9s before I surrendered to my own personality.
When that happened I didn’t just accept the inevitable, I embraced it with a vengeance. I measured my paces until I could repeat the same stride uphill and down. I added hundreds of steps to my round as I paced off distances from yardage plaques. I bought terrible-quality recycled golf balls to hit at the range because I didn’t trust range floaters. I learned the range of distances for each of my clubs and kept it written in a notebook in my bag.
What I didn’t do was buy a GPS or laser rangefinder. It seemed like every time I got paired up with someone who had one, our round would drag on forever while they checked the distance to everything. It seemed like once they had the ability to know the distance to things they were compelled to find out. They couldn’t not know the distance to the front, middle, and back of everything on the course, from water hazards to cart girls. I once watched as the foursome ahead of me “shared” a laser rangefinder by making the poor geezer who’d spent the better part of $400 on it walk to each of their balls and shoot the distance to the pin. Nobody could choose a club until everyone had their yardage read. Then I watched two of the four lay sod over their ball, advancing it maybe 30 yards before repeating the whole process. I resigned myself to pacing the yardage from the last marker on the way to my ball and trying to do the math in my head (which got increasingly more difficult as the beers added up), but that was a price I was willing to pay to not be one of those guys.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way? A couple of years ago I got a GPS watch for running. I wanted to leave my bulky phone at home and go light, but I had to know how far I’d run and what my pace was (yeah, numbers guy). The watch made an immediate difference in my training, and integrated smoothly with my run. So when GolfBuddy sent their new WT4 GPS watch I was eager to get my mitts on it, and not only is it making a difference in my game, it’s actually speeding up my play as well.
I’ll confess that I had some reservations about the a GPS watch for golf. Before the WT4 I made it a point to not wear a watch when I played, to keep my hands as free and unencumbered as possible. I also wondered how well a delicate device like a GPS would stand up to the jolt of hitting one fat. Lastly, my usual courses don’t show up in Golf Digest, so I was concerned that I’d have to go through some computing gyrations to load the courses that I play onto the watch, if they were available at all.
Happily, the Golf Buddy WT4 comes preloaded with 37,000 courses from around the world, including my own favorite tracks, and installing updates is point and click easy using the free software. Arrive at the course, put the WT4 in play mode, and it recognizes the course automatically. To start Play mode, hold down the lower left button until the main menu opens, then use the upper and lower buttons on the right to scroll through the options (Play is the one that looks like a green). Select from the menu by pressing and releasing the lower left button again. The magic doesn’t stop there though – walk to the tee, any tee, and the GolfBuddy WT4 recognizes it when you’re within about 10 feet, displaying the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green.
Just knowing the distance to the green from the tee really isn’t that useful though. After all, that info is usually on a fairly large marker. What about that bunker on the left? How far to carry the water in front of the tee? GolfBuddy has you covered. Scroll through the hazards by pressing the lower right button and see the distance to the front and the back (and sometimes the middle, in case you ever need to hit one exactly in the middle of a pond). In fact the WT4 gave multiple distances to the front of an irregularly-shaped water hazard on my home course, a feature that really did improve how I played the hole. Be careful though, pressing the upper right button doesn’t scroll backwards, it returns you to Play mode.
Of course being able to measure the distance from point A to point B with Department of Defense-approved accuracy comes in handy for a number of different things, and the WT4 features as many of them as I could think of. Do you want to know how far you really hit that hybrid you claim to carry “about 200”? (Hint: No, you really don’t.) Your GolfBuddy will tell you. After hitting your shot, enter Shot Tracking mode by holding the upper right button until the shot tracking icon appears. When you get to your ball, press the upper right button again to see how far you hit it. I’ll warn you though, it’s never as far as you think.
The WT4 will also track how far you’ve walked during your round, and how long your round has taken, which has lots of uses, from knowing how many beers you need to drink to replace the calories you burned walking to having an outside authority to remind your human Golf Buddies to pick up the pace. And unlike your human Golf Buddies, the WT4 doesn’t forget unless you want it to, giving you the ability to save your mileage and your score (did I mention that you can keep your score on the WT4? Of course you can) for logging later. In Play mode you can scroll through the secondary information by repeatedly pressing the lower left button.
One WT4 feature that I haven’t seen on a GPS watch before is the ability to actually change the pin location. The Pin Placement menu lets you use the watch buttons to move the pin location on the green. I didn’t use it in play since I didn’t have a solid idea of where the pins were, but I fiddled with it and it seemed to work as advertised. If you’re the kind of golfer who needs to know that the hole is cut 5 paces on from the left and 23 paces from the font, and you have a pin sheet, you’ll have a leg up on most other GPS watch users. From Play mode press the upper left button, or hold the lower left button and then select the Green View icon. In this mode you can adjust the pin placement using the buttons on the right side, and distances to the front, middle, and back are calculated based on your angle of approach to the green, which I hear is convenient if you sometimes hit your approach from somewhere other than the middle of the fairway.
As for my other concerns, after the first few holes the WT4 felt completely natural, and while I’m on a bit of a putting schneid I don’t think I can blame the fact that I’m wearing a watch . . . sadly these things happen. After 7-8 rounds and multiple range sessions in frost-delay weather, my GolfBuddy WT4 still functions flawlessly and looks good.
In fact the WT4 looks so good that GolfBuddy bills it as a “lifestyle” watch, and I wear mine away from the course frequently. With a choice of digital or analog time display, backlighting, and a nifty menu of secondary information that includes day/date, seconds, or my favorite: sunrise/sunset times, my WT4 has been mistaken for a smart watch more than once.
Of course that’s kind of understandable, since smart watches are known for being big, and the WT4 is anything but dainty. With a large LCD surrounded by a chrome-ish plastic bezel, it’s an eye catcher, but the styling doesn’t scream “Golf Watch”, so no complaints there. For all the surface area, the WT4 is relatively slim, a good bit thinner than my Soleus running watch, and the large screen is what makes things like a Pin Placement menu workable. I have small wrists, but the WT4 doesn’t look out of place on me, so chances are that unless you’re very small-boned it will work fine for you as well.
My only real complaint with the WT4 isn’t with the watch at all, it’s with the instructions. The WT4 has a lot of features and only 4 buttons, so it’s no surprise that it’s a little tricky sometimes to find the feature you want, but the instructions make this worse because they aren’t really instructions, they’re really a list of how to access the individual features. The first couple of times I tried to keep score using the WT4 things went adrift pretty quickly. I was able to figure it out after a good sit-down with the instructions, but you can only access the scoring mode when you’re at the golf course, so if you don’t routinely drop by your local course for a beer and a little putting practice, you’re going to have to remember to put the instructions in your bag. Even then there’s no clear-cut route to actually playing a round of golf, which is what I’d like to see in the instructions. As someone who has made his living writing instructions I realize that this is a very small problem, since nobody reads the instructions anyway. Don’t let my professional ire scare you away from what is really a very useful tool.
With the GolfBuddy WT4 I can get yardage information at a glance as I approach my ball without even breaking stride. By the time I get to my ball I know the yardage and have a club in hand. Because I can use the WT4 to track how far I hit each club, I’m more confident in the club I’ve selected, which means less indecision over the ball. The end result is that I play faster and better, and have a better time doing it.
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.
Q: What do you call Chewbacca when he has chocolate stuck in his hair?
A: Chocolate Chip Wookiee.
Funny right? Ah, not really and neither are any of the assorted novelty headcovers you might be tempted to put on your clubs. Sure, it’s ok to represent your Alma Mater but even then, why not give your school some true respect by passing on the $8 headcover and instead opting for something more substantial.
How does one obtain some style advantage over the gimmicky sales rack at Golf Galaxy? One of the oldest types of head covers that are still widely used even today is . . . wool. A perfectly fitted, hand knitted wool cover has a very classic look to it that can instantly add style to your bag in a way that Marvin the Martian falls dramatically short.
Always willing to cover all aspects of the game, we humbly agreed to order up some customized offerings from Jan Craig Headcovers, who has been handcrafting premium wool head covers since 1962.
The Jan Craig story is not only fascinating but also a perfect example of why I love writing for Three Guys Golf, because like most people, I had never crossed paths with this premium headcover company. Learning about Janet Craig and her husband Bert’s passion for the game and for each other was not only inspiring, but it made me proud to have their covers on my clubs.
The beginning of Jan Craig started out I’m sure like a lot of small companies. Mrs. Craig wasn’t satisfied with what was available, as far as headcovers go, so she took it upon herself and handcrafted her own headcovers from worsted wool. It helped that she was good with yarn and needles because soon others were noticing her work and wanted a set of their own.
My favorite part in learning about the history of their company was how it was never planned to be a real business. In fact, the Craigs only intended to make enough headcovers to finance the couple’s yearly wedding anniversary trip to Pinehurst.
Luckily for us though, a certain touring professional by the name of Jack Nicklaus ordered a set, and as his recognition grew so did the attention paid to those stylish wool headcovers that graced the Golden Bear’s clubs. The rest is ongoing history as many top level PGA Tour pros now have Jan Craig Headcovers in their bags.
Like I mentioned earlier, the story is a great one and even though Jan Craig passed away many years ago her family has continued the tradition she started of handcrafting worsted wool headcovers now some 53 years after she created her first set.
When the package from Jan Craig arrived I opened it up and right away I knew I was dealing with superb quality. I likened it to Christmas mornings from my childhood when grandma would send you that hand-knitted sweater that you quickly toss aside, moing on to the next present hoping it’s anything but clothes. Maybe some twenty years later, when you’re much wiser, you’ll pull out that special blanket grandma made you for your 5th birthday that somehow has held up better than any other blanket you’ve ever owned and you begin to realize what went into making such a remarkable piece.
It wasn’t just Grandma taking some needles to yarn and making a piece of clothing or a blanket, but every strand of wool and every stitch was made with love and passion. This is Jan Craig in a nutshell. The quality that goes into every piece screams passion, pride and love.
Their covers are not sitting in a warehouse on a shelf waiting for an order to be fulfilled; they’re made to order, fully customizable and will take up to six weeks to come in. The time frame was tough to overcome but I had a feeling when I did have them in my hands it was going to be worth the wait, and it was.
The first sign that I had a superior quality product in my hands was the weight. Everyone is in love with lighter, faster, stronger, but when it comes to protecting those expensive metal woods in your bag you don’t want an inferior fabric or process. The time that goes into creating each unique piece is a testament to Jan Craig’s dedication to the craft and it is clearly shown in the details of their work.
The ordering process was as easy as it comes. You access the Jan Craig website and with one click of the mouse you’re in step one of the design phase. Next you’ll choose the club you like a cover for, then there’s an option to go with a 5” POM an 8” POM a Tassel or nothing. From there you get into color combinations and lettering.
For this review I went with a color combination of Scarlet & Gray that worked perfectly with my Cobra bag and, in my own vat of self-righteousness, pays homage to my beloved Rebels of UNLV. It’s the closest I’m going to get to the famed “Hey Reb” covers the UNLV Golf team has.
Since Adam went the way of the Pom Poms for his review of Jan Craig a few years ago, I decided to go with the tassel look to be different. Yeah, it had nothing to with the fact that they’re Pom Poms.
You can customize the headcovers with any number or letter configuration. I chose the “D” on the driver, “3W” on my fairway wood (which with my game will always be a 3-wood) and an “H” for my hybrid. Keeping with the color scheme I had the lettering done in white to match the accents on my bag.
The lettering came out perfect and it most definitely adds to the classic look the wool covers.
After a thorough inspection of the covers, examining every inch of fabric, it was time to grab my woods and see if the obviously well-made products from Jan Craig were actually user friendly. I say that because in the past I’ve owned a few that didn’t make it through the first couple of holes before the on and off action had transformed the head cover from a functional product to dust rag.
While checking out the Driver cover I noticed Jan Craig includes an elastic band right around where the hosel and shaft come together. I’m not sure how many other wool head cover manufactures are doing this, but it was the first time I had seen it used. It a great feature that allows a large 460cc driver to “slip” nicely into the cover and feel like it’s fully in place.
The driver cover has a very long sleeve and for that reason it may not be ideal for bags that have a shaft lock or a small slot for holding the club. I think it’s a great feature though and I love it. It adds even more protection to the club shaft so accidentally scratching up a shaft when returning it to your bag is no longer a worry.
The Hybrid and Fairway woods have a much shorter sleeve but I’m confident there’s more material than you’ll find on other wool head covers, at least when I compared them to the few I have there is a notable difference.
On and off, on and off, on and off, I spent a decent amount of time (what I’d reflect as at least two rounds on the course) taking the covers off and putting them back on. I’m far from an expert when it comes to fabrics but I have to believe that, because the covers are made from a more durable wool called Worsted (Google is your friend), the repetitive actions of removing and replacing will do little to wear down the material.
Jan Craig Headcovers offers a great option for those looking to add some style and class to their golf bags. The quality is phenomenal and with all the customizable options you can make them your own very easily.
When I started this review I wasn’t sure if I was the type that could pull off wool. I felt I didn’t have the personality to pull it off and over the past couple of years I have grown very fond of my leather covers. I certainly didn’t think it was possible that there was a fabric cover out there that would make me change it up.
Jan Craig and their amazing headcovers did just that.
Prices vary depending of the size of the cover of course. The covers we ordered sell for $62.00 (Driver) $59.00 (Fairway Wood) and $44.00 (Hybrid). For $165 you’ll get an outstanding set of headcovers that are built to last and will probably outlast your golfing career.
To see just how easy it is to customize and order your own set of Jan Craig Headcovers please visit their site and add some classic style to your bag.
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