The time has finally come. It’s time to announce the winners of the first ever Teezy Awards. A second installment will follow that includes apparel, tech, accessories etc.
I decided to do something a little bit different this year by doing my own special awards presentation after attending the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. The show took place in two locations. The first was at the Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge which is the venue for Demo Day. This is the day where the newest, latest and greatest get put to the test by thousands of Media, Industry and PGA Professionals. The second venue is the show floor itself which is in the West Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center. To explain the immense size of the floor is tough to put into words and covering everything is nearly impossible. Next year I’m going to wear a pedometer just to see exactly how many kilometres/miles I walk during the course of the show.
So The Teezy Awards. How are the winners decided? Well to be honest it isn’t very scientific. For the most part I keep it organic where I use my senses. It’s all about feel or how something looks, sounds, smells (not really applicable other than Miracle Nutritional Products) and in some cases tastes (Chef’s Cut Real Jerky). In some cases I look at cost and what will give the golf consumer the best bang for their golfer dollars. This is the case especially when it comes to apparel where there is so much to choose from. did a product “WOW” me? If so that got Teezy Award consideration so without further delay… here are the winners.
*** I have to note that for various reasons a few company’s present at Demo Day I never had the chance to hit. Some of these brands included Miura, Yonex, Tour Edge, PING and Callaway Golf to name a few. There will be a year-end version of the awards and I will do my best to include these company’s as well.
Winner – Top Driver
Cobra Golf F8/F8+ – Over the last several years Cobra Golf has impressed at the PGA Show Demo Day. Their drivers have been among the best year in and year out for me at the show. They’re always set up against the wind which could be a disadvantage. The Cobra F8/F8+ is packed full of technology, adjustability and most notably a forged CNC Milled Face. This driver was near perfect in every way. The sound and feel were sharp and crisp. The ballflight long and penetrating and the finish (Nardo) was sleek and ultra cool in typical Cobra Golf fashion. Oh yeah! There’s also the addition of “Cobra Connect” by Arccos featured as well which is worth a separate article of its own. If you’re looking for a new driver look here first.
Runner-Up – The runner-up in this category is a driver that didn’t look like much but performed a ton. The Cleveland Launcher HB is a driver that has no adjustability but who cares. When a driver can launch a ball like the Launcher HB and is as forgiving as this you don’t need an adjustable driver. Hey… if it’s good for Jamie Sadlowski it’s good enough for me.
Winner – Most Under Rated Driver
Vertical Groove Golf (The Groove) – This driver was released just prior to the show last year. It first gained notoriety when John Daly put one into play and then shortly thereafter by Rocco Mediate. Kenny Perry also used one to win the 2017 U.S. Senior Open. Some would think having no adjustability would be an issue. Who needs extra “bells and whistles” when you have “the new face of golf” and a driver that offers tighter dispersion, long distance and a head that carries into the wind like most carry with the wind? The 8* model that I made swings with was a beast!!
Runner-Up – Lynx Golf #BB Yep! You read that correct and this surprised me a ton! I had ZERO expectations for this driver leading up to the show but this was likely the biggest surprise of the show. It ad surprisingly good feel and sound. Technology includes adjustability from 8.5* to 12.5*, movable weights (Draw and Fade Bias) and features a UST Mamiya Recoil shaft.
Winner – Top Fairway Wood
Cobra Golf F8 – Yes… Cobra Golf did it again in the fairway wood category. The F8 fairway wood is clearly the little brother to the F8 driver. If you notice I was clear in saying that it was the F8 and not the F8+. I just preferred the overall ease off of the deck of the F8 and it’s slightly bigger footprint at address. The Baffler Rails make it playable from all lies, a center of gravity towards the trailing edge making it easy to elevate the golf ball and of course the adjustability of the hosel allowing for adjustments from 13* to 16* for the 3-4 wood. The F8 fairway wood also features “Cobra Connect” by Arccos.
Runner-Up – These fairway woods are new to the industry. As a matter of fact this company has a 5 wood that will be following and wasn’t ready in time for the show. Vertical Groove Golf recently launched a fairway wood of The Groove. It features the same face as the driver and features the same crown as seen on the driver. A weight positioned in the sole towards the rear make this club easy to elevate from any lie.
Winner – Top Hybrid
TaylorMade Golf M3 Rescue – TaylorMade Golf has long been known for their metalwoods. My coach has maintained that TaylorMade has produced the best metalwoods year in and year out. While they fell short in the category’s above they came through with the M3 Rescue came through. It has a nice smaller footprint which isn’t overwhelming to look at in the address position. The M3 Rescue features a loft sleeve and an adjustable sliding weight which give golfers the ability to optimize their trajectory and it delivers high shots that land soft. The two-tone silver/black crown is great for aiming and the “Speed Pocket” allows for more sped and flexibility on those strikes closer to the bottom of the face.
Photo Credit: TaylorMade Golf
Runner-Up – Do you realize how scary close Cobra Golf came to pulling off the “clean sweep” in metalwoods? It was within an eyelash! The F8 Hybrid comes in two versions. The standard F8 and new to the product range to compliment the F8 ONE Length irons a F8 ONE Length Hybrid. The F8 Hybrid features a forged 455 Stainless Steel face insert, Baffler Rails making it versatile from all lies and plenty of stopping power from a low and rear-placed center of gravity that also makes for easy elevation.
Winner – Top Forged Irons
New Level Golf 1031 Forged – This iron I just featured in a review that I wrote earlier this week. New Level Golf is a newcomer to the golf equipment industry and the brainchild of CEO Eric Burch entered with a big splash. I walked away so impressed from the 1031 Forged irons that it’s really difficult to comprehend. The New Level Golf 1031 Forged irons emerged the winner in a very competitive category. Soft feel via the 1020 Carbon Steel, amazing playability, a thin topline while having a moderately wide sole all mean forgiveness, ideal aesthetics and amazing performance. Factor in that they can be customized with any KBS Shaft with no upcharge is a massive bonus!
Runner-Up – This brand is known more in Asia than it is in North America. Epon Golf was created in 1977 and features the craftsmanship of one of the premier forging houses in golf… Endo. The Epon Golf AF-503 features an undercut cavity with a hollow sole design for the ultimate in game improvement performance. The topline is handsome as it’s very appealing in the address position behind the golf ball. The ballflight was strong and the AF-501 irons were an absolute treat to swing.
Winner – Top Cast Irons
Wilson Staff C300 (Cast) – Remember… Wilson Staff also has a forged variant of this set of irons. The Wilson Staff C300 (Cast) irons were massive. They felt mean, the faces were hot and the ballflight was very strong. I knew on the first swing with the C300 8 iron that tis iron was going to be a tough club to beat. When you’re hitting a target at will 165 yards away with an 8-iron you know that you have a powerful iron in your hands. These irons are accurate!! A double row of “Power Holes” filled with urethane are positioned all around the and through the head help achieve the power from within the C300 irons. These “Power Holes” also expand the sweet spot of the C300 irons. The KBS Tour 90 is the stock shaft offering.
Runner-Up – To be totally honest I wasn’t too sure how to classify this runner-up. I’m not even sure that it didn’t win this ultra-competitive category which also saw the TaylorMade golf M3 irons fare extremely well. Yes, I was that impressed by this iron. This iron features a two piece construction and that created a little bit of confusion. this iron features a thin Titanium face and a body that’s constructed of SUS630 stainless steel. The Honma Golf Be ZEAL 535 irons features slits on the heel, toe, sole and topline. This all translates to faster ball speeds and a hotter face. Tungsten weights low and deep in the heel and toe also create tremendous forgiveness. The ball flight was high and tight high draws were the typical shot that I created with the Be ZEAL 535 irons.
Winner – Top Wedge
Epon Golf Tour Wedge – Already having an honorable mention Epon Golf won the wedge category. The Epon Golf tour Wedge features heads that are created in the Endo Forging House. The Tour Wedge features traditional “tear drop” styling, and a relatively compact design. The Epon Golf Tour Wedge is available in three different grinds (F,N and O), a satin chrome finish and “Over-Lapping Laser Milled Grooves” for more spin. I loved how simple, clean and elegant the head was.
Photo Credit: Epon Golf
Runner-Up – Back in the mix is a brand that already won a Teezy Award. New Level Golf and its entry into the industry brought along the M-Type Forged Wedge. The M-Type forged wedge features exquisite CNC Milling on the reverse side of the head, is forged from 1020 Carbon Steel for soft feel, a slightly over-sized head that inspires confidence and a versatile ‘M Grind” that makes this wedge versatile from any lie.
Winner – Top Putter
ArGolf Uther – This is a brand that is just emerging. The brand has already seen a Major victory with Kenny Perry gaming an ArGolf Pendragon putter. As great as my putting was with the Pendragon (it could have been the Runner-up) and believe me when I say that the Pendragon rolls putts. It was another one of the putters in the ArGolf stable that won this category. The Uther! I liked a lot about the Uther in my brief time rolling it. The first thing that I liked about Uther was its 380 gram headweight and overall weighs in at 560 grams. This putter is face-balanced which matches my stroke very well and the model that I rolled was center-shafted (another quality that I love). Aerospace industry grade aluminum is the material which Uther is constructed from and that translates into a great feeling putter at impact. Last but not least is the alignment aid on top of the putter head which is broken apart by a “4 Leaf Clover”. The ArGolf Uther was the best putter for me at the show.
Runner-Up – This putter has been impressing me for nearly a year now. This putter or a variant is used by some of the world’s best golfers including Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jon Rahm. Recently, this putter announced that it had included Blast Motion to help golfers refine their putting strokes. The putter in question the TaylorMade Golf Spider Tour. The Spider Tour is a putter that could easily be in my bag and it’s a little surprising that it hasn’t made it there yet. It just seems that whenever I have one in my hands I make putts fall. I don’t know if it’s the red finish that my eyes like so much but I just love it. The perimeter weighting makes this putter a very stable putter through the ball and rolls are true. I would love this putter more if I rolled a center-shafted version.
Most Forgiving Product Range
(Also – Winner For Best Brand Under The Radar)
The reality is that there’s forgiveness throughout the golf industry. It’s just that while some feature forgiveness in either driver or irons other areas are sometimes neglected… like wedges. There is no doubt in my mind that Cleveland Golf has the most forgiving range in golf. Looking at the Launcher HB driver and metalwoods they are playable, long and forgiving. If straight and straightforward is what you desire than look no further than the Launcher HB range. The CBX irons are such a sneaky entry this year! A cast club that was in consideration for the Teezy in the Cast Iron category the CBX irons can cover up bad swings with its forgiveness. The irons feature a “cup face design”, a “V Sole” making it great from all lies, they’re versatile and feature “Zip Grooves” seen throughout the entire set. The CBX irons look “Plain Jane” but quite simply are not. Speaking of forgiveness is there a spot on a golf course where forgiveness can make or break you more than around the green. Whether it’s greenside rough or a greenside bunker bad things can happen fast. The CBX wedges from Cleveland Golf are the easiest wedges that I’ve hit to date. They feature a cavity back, a “Dual V Sole” for versatility and “Rotex Face Technology” featuring “Tour Zip Grooves, Laser Milling, and Micro Milling”.
Top Breakthrough Brand
I’m really curious to see where New Level Golf is 5 years from now. Their product range of irons was so good that it was hard not to take notice. There is an iron type for everybody in the New Level stable. Whether it’s the forgiving blade design of the 610 Forged Irons, the formidable 902 Forged Irons, the ultra impressive 1031 Forged Irons or the M-Type Forged wedges CEO and Eric Burch has a terrific range of products. It’s going to be real fun to watch this brand grow from its infancy stages. Keep an eye open for them.
Until The Next Tee!!