Goliath vs …. Goliath

In the history of humankind, civilization has seen it’s fair share of “David vs Goliath” scenarios. In fact, the stories  from history are numerous. For example, during the Vietnam War in 1966 at the Battle of Long Tan 108 men (Australian Army) found themselves surrounded by over 2,500 Viet Cong forces. The Australian Army forced a retreat of the opposing force. In sports, it’s hard not to think about the UFC when it was “Open” with no weight classes. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend Royce Gracie faced a competitor Chad “Akebono” Rowan (the first foreign-born Yokozuna) that outweighed him by a mere 300 pounds. I remember watching this fight in 2004 and I thought little Royce would get destroyed. I would be mistaken as after being under Rowan for the entire fight Gracie found an opening and one shoulder lock later…Gracie submitted the big man. Golf has had a number of these scenarios unfold as well but the one that sticks out for me is Francis Ouimet who in 1913 won the U.S. Open after winning a three-way playoff involving the legendary Harry Vardon. It was a win for the ages… David beat Goliath. But what about Goliath vs Goliath?

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Francis Ouimet (Photo Credit: boston.com)

Yes, we have seen many of those during history as well. Of course, there were the Allied and Axis forces of the World War’s. Who can forget the “Thrilla in Manila” between Smokin’ Joe Frazier and  Muhammad Ali in 1975? Heck even Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. As far as golf goes you can pick from dozens of Ryder Cup matches or many a Major tournament. But golf is on the cusp of a potential epic battle between two corporate “Goliath’s”.

For full dramatic effect you have to think of this next passage as if it were being called by a ring announcer.

Ladies and Gentlemen it’s time for the Main Event!

This “Goliath” saw third quarter revenues weigh-in at $332.35 million dollars. Wearing green trunks and fighting out of the green (grass) corner… Acushnet/Titleist.

The challenger. This “Goliath” saw third quarter revenues weighing in at an impressive $25.23 billion dollars. It’s the “King of the Samples”, the “Master of the Bulk” fighting out of the red (meat) corner wearing red trunks with Kirkland trim its Costco Wholesale Corporation.

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Ali/Frazier (Photo Credit: newsday.com)

I had no idea that this event was going to happen at the time that I wrote my Titleist 917 review. In the past, we have seen Acushnet (the parent company of Titleist) sue small independent golf ball company’s for patent infringement. In 2015 the golf giant gave several small company’s “cease and desist” orders. Back then Acushnet chased brands like Lightning Golf, Ariva Golf, 3 UP, Monsta Golf and others right out of the golf ball business. Either out of fear or a lack of finances these companies folded their tents and left the industry that they loved… behind. The reality is that Titleist seems to stand for everything that I personally don’t believe in. Titleist comes off as elitist and even a bully. In light of their previous actions I have gotten to the point where I almost feel guilty about feeling confident with their equipment in my hands and playing their equipment. They strong-armed all of those “smaller weaker children” and took their “lunch money” in the process. Now I will say that whether those company’s did their due diligence or not with the factory’s responsible for production I most certainly will never know. What I do know however, is that there were other balls that compared to the likes of Pro V1 and Pro V1x (for less) and they didn’t want their share of the pie to be taken. Which brings me to Costco.

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The lightning rod of controversy. (Photo Credit: forbes.com)

If you follow golf and happened to live under a rock you may not have heard that Costco was selling golf balls in their warehouse stores under the name Kirkland Signature. The golf ball which is a 4-piece Urethane-covered specimen was received by the golfing public with glowing reviews which in turn led to Costco not being able to keep them in stock. The following of the Kirkland Signature golf balls grew to what was viewed as cult-like. People knew the balls were a hot commodity and you could find them on Ebay (marked up) and that was about it as the golf ball was entirely sold out. It’s no wonder why considering that you could get 2-dozen Tour balls for $30 (well below the wholesale cost of a dozen Pro V1 golf balls).

So Acushnet sends a letter to Costco stating that the Kirkland Signature golf ball violates 11 patent infringements and cites false advertising to Costco’s claim that the Kirkland Signature golf ball “meets or exceeds the quality standards of leading national brands.” Very brazen Costco… and I like it.Some of the patent infringements had to do with but were not limited to the cover hardness, core hardness and the percentage of dimples on the cover of the golf ball. In response, Costco filed a complaint against Acushnet looking for a judgement that they did not partake in any patent infringements nor are they guilty of false advertising. I applaud Costco for countering. Whether this case reaches court or not is going to be interesting to watch unfold. More often than not these sorts of cases do not make it to court and see some form of an out of court judgement. Other than the lawsuit in 2007 when Callaway Golf won a case against Acushnet when a jury ruled in their favor

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Photo Credit: ebay.com

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Acushnet remember one thing. Sometimes a new kid, a bigger kid that’s tougher than you moves into town and goes to a new school which happens to be yours. Suddenly, you are no longer the “big kid” in the schoolyard that everyone “fears”. Now the hunter becomes the hunted. When that happens all of the other kids rally in the schoolyard and stand behind the “new kid”. Stay tuned folks.

Until The Next Tee!

 

Review – Titleist 917 D2 and D3

One of the many things that I like about Titleist is the fact that they have a product cycle that last two years.  A cycle that they are adamant about observing. Golf consumers know that when Titleist releases a product it is definitely worth a look.

If you were to go back and look at the previous generations of Titleist drivers a few things come to mind. One constant of Titleist products is that they’ve always been had a feel that can be best described as “solid”. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about the classic 983K or the venerable 905R the older generations exuded that quality. More recently the 915 followed suit with a couple of “bells and whistles” thrown in for good measure. The other quality that Titleist has been committed to is their retention of maintaining a classic pear shape (907 series notwithstanding). These are aesthetics that  have always appealed to players. Having brought up the 915 series I was at their National Fitting Centre (Canada) during a Team Titleist outing for the launch of the 915 range of metalwoods. I left Eagle’s Nest Golf Club (Toronto)  that cold October day very impressed and to be honest I thought that the 915 D3 would end up in my bag… it didn’t. As the 917 series was launched this past fall I couldn’t help but wonder what they would be like in comparison. How would the 917 compare to the 915 or even 910 (which still remains my favorite driver from Titleist)?

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I had the opportunity to attend a launch event similar to what I did for the previous two generations however I couldn’t attend. Prior to attending the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show (Demo Day) I had never visited the Titleist demonstration area. Mostly because I had already manged to swing their new products well in advance of the show. 2017 would be much different. After swinging various manufacturers throughout the morning I made my way over to Titleist. Much to my surprise, I had no issue getting in some swings right away with product and quickly directed my attention towards the 917 D2 and D3 drivers.

For 2017, Titleist re-introduced new and improved versions of their most recent technological advances. First seen in the 915 metalwoods,their Active Recoil Channel and Radial Speed Face (Version 2.0) were front and center. In case you’ve forgotten the Active Recoil Channel is what Titleist R&D engineers did to address spin reduction while increasing ball speeds through more trampoline effect. However this time (Active Recoil Channel 2.0) the channel has been more refined. Radial Speed Face 2.0 is what Titleist did in an effort to construct thinner face walls along the perimeter of the face. This also aids in increasing ball speeds in particular to when strikes haven’t been struck off of the center of the face. New to the 917 is the SureFit CG which “allows the CG to be moved from a back, heel position to a forward, toe position through interchangeable weights, optimizing spin and launch conditions for every player”. The SureFit Hosel returns and offers 16 independent loft and lie settings to enable golfers the luxury of finding their optimum setup. Make no mistake about it the 917 D2 and D3 are the most adjustable drivers that Titleist has ever offered.

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Photo Credit: titleist.com

The 917 D2 driver is a 460 CC pear-shaped head that offers distance and forgiveness. Meanwhile, the 917 D3 offers a classic pear-shaped profile but it’s a head that is “Tour inspired” as it’s slightly smaller coming with a head volume of 440 CC. The 917 D3 head offers distance with more workability than the 917 D2 while having lower spin rates and a slightly lower launch. Whether it’s the D2 or the D3 both models have a standard length of 45″and the stock shaft options are premium. Models of premium shafts available include the Aldila Rogue M*AX 65, Fujikura Speeder Pro TS 74, Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana LTD. White 70 and the Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana LTD. Blue. All four are terrific options.

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One of the shaft options. Fujikura Speeder Pro TS 74. The only one I tried.

Dispensing with some of the technical information I thought that it would be time to talk about my observations. First, I have to point out that I never spoke to anyone at Demo Day as I was more or less ignored by representatives at the booth. Secondly, I will say that I never tried the SureFit CG technology because no representatives took the time to approach and/or assist me and I couldn’t find a wrench. Honestly, I was a little put off by the lack of their attentiveness. Something I found a little disheartening seeing that 12 out of 13 of my clubs are Titleist and I am proud to play Titleist. They are a brand that I have always felt confident holding in my hands and that confidence goes right to my head. In the past, Titleist has been looked at in golf circles as being “elitist” and maybe in this instance they figured that I didn’t have the appearance to be worth their time. I really don’t know why it happened but it did. Either way, this review isn’t about their “customer service” which I would score a perfectly rounded “0” out of 10. If there was a review that could truly live up to the moniker of “The Home Of Organic Golf Reviews” then this would be the one.

In the address position both drivers are so eye-pleasing that it’s almost not fair. I love the charcoal crown on the black face and when you look down at the crown you want to make a swing. I would end up swinging two drivers and the D2 and D3 were shafted with the same Fujikura Speeder Pro TS 74 in X-Stiff and had lofts of 9.5*. All of the settings were stock. Generally, I swing a Stiff flex but this was the shaft that I  just happened to grab. In the past, I have seriously considered going to X-Stiff based on my tempo and aggression and decided to not to bother to look for a softer flex. Recent launch monitor numbers indicated that making a switch to X-Stiff might be the right choice as I saw 105 mph 7 iron clubhead speeds. Working out has seen me get stronger so the time might be right for such a switch. Anyways, I made the first pass with the 917 D2 and my swing was rewarded with a ball flight that was long and straight. I chose a spot at their hitting area that was to their extreme right. This location afforded me the opportunity to make swings both downwind and with a slight change at address (aiming to my right) I could see what the ball would do with a knockdown crosswind. I loved the launch and ballflight that I witnessed. The ball showed no signs of ballooning and upon landing there was rollout adding to the already impressive carry distance. I teed up several more balls with the D2 and each was the same result. Every swing yielded shot patterns that were straight or a slight draw. The launch looked about as good if not better than I have seen with any driver. Something can be said for the Active Recoil  Channel 2.0 because the ball really jumped off of the face which reminded me of when I was at the product launch for the 915… but better. Switching over to the 917 D3 I looked down at that classic 440 CC Titleist charcoal head and immediately I grew extremely fond of it. I made several confident swings and to be totally honest… if the 917 D3 launched lower and had lower spin I couldn’t pick up on it with the naked eye. I would suggest that the carry and overall distance looked to be about the same. I’m all for making observations using my senses (prefer real-time flight over launch monitors) but when it comes to comparing two similar heads from the same manufacturer with one claiming lower spin and launch… I want to see hard evidence. I think that with all things being equal they were in fact… equal with the exception of my love affair with the smaller head of the D3.

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Titleist doesn’t mention anything about forgiveness when talking about the 917 D3 but this isn’t to say that the 917 D3 isn’t forgiving. I firmly believe that to a degree there is in fact some forgiveness. After all ,the D3 also boasts the same Radial Speed Face technology to help with off-center hits that’s found in the 917 D2. Forgiveness was something that I did not test because I just wasn’t missing the sweet spot. Or perhaps, that fact speaks volumes about the forgiveness found in both models. Titleist says that the acoustics and sound are Tour validated “to inspire confidence and feel”. I don’t know what that means exactly but what I do know is that the sound and feel was “perfect”. The sound was typical of Titleist and the feel at impact was solid. It was everything that Titleist aficionados have come to expect from the brand. Bear in mind that my perfect may not be your perfect and the term is relative and intimate to each person.

In closing, If you’re in the market for a new driver you may want to give the Titleist 917 D2 and 917 D3 a look. Performance, great aesthetics and even better sound and feel with premium stock shafts. What’s not to like? The 917 D2 and D3 retails at $649.99 CAD or $499 USDVisit the Titleist website for more information.

Until The Next Tee!

 

 

Without Arnie – The API

Often in our lives we have heard the term  “gone but not forgotten”. This is definitely the way I feel about the man who really got me into golf… Arnold Palmer.

This week the PGA Tour makes its stop in Orlando, Florida the home of Bay Hill Golf Club which is simply the place that Arnie built. A golf course that I have wanted to visit in the past every year that I have gone to Florida for the PGA Merchandise Show but never did. I guess I had some sort of Augusta National type of security to it and “riff-raff” like me were not permitted. Honestly, my main reason for wanting to go into Bay Hill was to maybe catch a glimpse of the man who made me want to take up golf in the first place, maybe get close enough to absorb a firm handshake (like when I first met him) and to just say two little words… thank-you. My cowardice prevented it from happening. Speaking of cowardice and saying thanks.

I know this week is going to be about celebrating Mr. Palmer’s legacy and life as the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard is going to be played for the first time since we lost “our King” right before the last Ryder Cup in September. Hearts were heavy but it’s hard not to think that the victorious team from the U.S.A. had a little help from Mr. Palmer along the way. But getting back to the present, it’s just going to be tough to watch this week knowing that his physical presence is no longer among us. Spiritually however, you know he will be watching and look for a rainbow to rise over the course at some point this weekend. While there will be a lot of positives (and celebrations) discussed about what Mr. Palmer did for golf there are negatives to discuss as well. No… not from Mr. Palmer but more from some of the current crop of PGA Tour players.

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New 13 foot statue erected at Bay Hill of Mr. Palmer (Photo Credit: FOX 35 News Orlando)

As it turns out many of the world’s top-ranked golfers are not playing this week. Some of the names playing this week include Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, and Henrik Stenson. Big names and all of which are in the Top 10 Official World Golf Rankings. Yes there is star power aplenty as there is every year but who isn’t playing? Where are World #1 Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth? Scheduling conflicts because of the weeks prior? Cowardice, because some players simply do not like the course as suggested by Ian Poulter (who is playing this week). Seriously guys… don’t like the course? There is a list miles long of golfers from around the world that would love to play a round at Arnie’s golf course. I would love to go around Bay Hill with my clubs and take everything in. For the love of God, Buddha, Allah or whichever deity you follow sitting out for that reason is weak and wrong. Billy Horschel came out last week and blasted the guys that aren’t playing and admittedly I am no Horschel fan for whatever reason (actually I don’t know why) but I agree with him. If there was a year to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational than this had to be the year. the first after his passing.

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All of the players have a right to pick and choose their own schedules as there is no player’s union stating that they have to play. It’s a right that (I suppose) they’ve earned… although I look at it in a way that is a bit prima donna which translates loosely to entitlement. This is the one year however where the guys SHOULD be playing and not balking at an event because of a dislike for a golf course. Honor the man. Honor “The King”. Without him, the likelihood of you being on television and making millions wouldn’t be likely (yes purses increased as the Tiger phenomenon took hold).

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Mr. Palmer epitomized what the game was… or is. He epitomized the love of the game. He epitomized class. I know that if the roles were reversed he would have played in their event because that’s what Mr. Palmer was.

Until The Next Tee!

Review – Srixon Golf Balls (2017)

The reality of this review is that I never expected to be able to post this review until sometime in April or May. The testing begun right after the PGA Show ended in Orlando when I managed to play some golf. Little did I realize up here in Niagara Falls (on the good side) we would experience another freakish winter that would allow golf in February and March. So without further delay it’s time to get down to business.

While attending the PGA Show this year there were a few companies on my short list that I wanted to visit. Among those companies was Srixon/Cleveland/XXIO Golf. To be honest, it was their range of golf clubs for 2017 that I wanted to see in person. I had been completely enamored with the pictures that were getting posted on their social media outlets. Of course, I would swing their clubs but this review as you can see by the title is about their range of golf balls for the 2017 season.

While visiting their booth on the floor of the Orange County Convention Center I “swung” by their booth hoping to discuss opportunities for my blog. This was when I was introduced to Marketing Communications Associate Noelle Zavaleta. The show is a really busy time (as one might expect) for representatives of all of the companies in attendance.But when you have unscheduled people (like myself) dropping by trying to discuss business it just adds a little more pressure to the day. So I spoke to Ms. Zavaleta for a few minutes explaining who I was and what I do and I walked away with a “fitting pack” of golf balls (think of it as an appetizer sampler from Applebee’s) that Srixon Golf was bringing to the market in 2017.

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My experience using Srixon Golf balls prior to this review was fairly limited. I did use the AD333 and Soft Feel balls on a few occasions. Generally speaking, these balls were either found on the course or in a range bucket (no they never ended up in the bag). As time wore on I would eventually put optic yellow Z Star golf balls into play during a few Mini-Tour events. Ultimately, it was experimentation trying to settle on a golf ball that made me try them in the first place.  I did like the Z Star then but how about the now? Before continuing on let’s talk about what balls they are offering this year.

In 2017, Srixon Golf are offering three new and/or improved golf balls which includes new and improved versions of the Z Star and Z Star XV but also being released this season is the Q Star Tour. As you might recollect the Q Star was released a few years ago and received pretty good fanfare. Coming to think of it… I dabbled with the Q Star as well. But when I was informed that there was a Q Star Tour coming out by Ms. Zavaleta I was extremely intrigued. I think my eyes widened when she told me about them. Below I will give a brief summary of the balls offered by Srixon with the use of some of their literature.

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Q Star Tour – Q Star Tour is being touted as a ball that offers golfers “tour technology for moderate swing speed golfers”. Features of the Q Star Tour include “3-piece construction, urethane cover, 324 Aerodynamic Speed Dimple Pattern, lower compression, Spin Skin Technology coating and a softer energetic gradient growth core”. More on the Spin Skin Technology in a little bit.

Z Star – Is designed for players that demand tour-validated technology and exceptional control. This ball features a 3-piece construction with a new Energetic Gradient Growth Core and a softer, highly elastic Spin Skin Coating. The compression  of the Z Star is 88 which has been reduced from 90. This is a higher launch with lower spin ball that has a 338 Speed Dimple Pattern.

Z Star XV – The Z Star XV is geared towards the player looking for tour-validated technology and exceptional distance. It’s 4-piece construction features a dual Energetic Gradient Growth Core. The Z Star XV is a golf ball that has a compression rating of 105. The XV also has the 338 Speed Dimple Pattern.

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Iron approach spin of the Z Star XV on full display.

At this time, I feel that I should explain the Speed Dimple Pattern and Spin Skin Technology a little more. The Speed Dimple Pattern employed in the Z Star series of golf ball actually features a pattern that consists of five different dimple sizes which contributes to a longer ball flight. The Spin Skin Technology is technology that Srixon Golf R&D developed that made the already soft urethane cover… softer. The softer cover allows irons and wedges alike the ability to deform into the groove upon impact. I believe that it was at the 2015 PGA Show Demo Day where they exhibited the new Spin Skin Technology. Srixon had a machine that featured three Z Star and three of another top brand’s tour level golf ball. As the machine pivoted back and forth the Spin Skin proved that it had a stickier cover than the competitor.

So testing of these golf balls started during a round at The Heights at Cleveland Heights in Lakeland, Florida. The greens at the course featured greens that were firm and had a hint of “hump” like so many golf courses built in the 1920’s. I tested all 3 Srixon golf balls on the practice green before my round of golf begun. Initial observations at this point were inconclusive only because I wasn’t chipping or pitching very well at all. As a matter of fact I was “flipping” a little bit giving none of the balls a fair chance. The first differences I noticed however was with the putter. Over the course of stroking several putts (without identifying the ball first) I was able to identify each ball as it was putted by feel. There is no doubt the Q Star Tour felt the least firm and the Z Star XV was the most firm. At the risk of sounding like “Goldilocks” the Z Star was right in between and was… “just right”? Either way, I was able to tell the difference with the putter. As the testing progressed onto the course I was getting a really good idea of their respective performance. From a distance perspective, in my initial findings I found that the Q Star Tour was the longest of the bunch and I attribute that fact to the fact that is was softer and had a more distance-ball type of number when it came to the lesser amount of dimples.When it came time to compare the three different models against each other I struggled to see the Z Star XV hold on the small firm greens. The Q Star Tour would land and have a little bit of rollout however the Z Star was a “star”. My conclusion as I left Florida was that I definitely needed to do further testing to form a solid opinion. But the Q Star Tour was definitely worth my intrigue.

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Appetizers from left to right. Z Star XV, Z Star and Q Star Tour

As the geography, course type and temperatures switched to late February and early March in Niagara Falls testing would continue. I would play golf at a local course called St. David’s Golf Course which tries to stay open year-round if possible. In the days and weeks upon arriving home I grasped the opportunity to play fairly often while further testing the range from Srixon. On a few days I saw temperatures that never got above 3*C (34*F). However, I got some warmer weather as well when temps reached 15*C (59*F). Essentially, over the course of a month and a bit I was able to conduct testing in every type of weather. Including one day where we had sustained 40 mph winds gusting to 50 mph. My level of appreciation for these golf balls from Srixon was at an all-time high. Below I will summarize my findings over the course of these rounds with a ball by ball breakdown.

Q Star Tour – I was very impressed with the distance of the Q Star Tour golf ball. The feel off of the driver was “responsive” and yielded great results. The Q Star Tour is a distance ball with serious tour-level characteristics. The feel off of the putter was soft and the greenside spin was evident. The Q Star Tour for the most part exhibits a little bit of rollout on approaches with irons but does stop and drop with wedges. I would say compared to other golf balls of similar type and the same price point of $29.99 USD  the Q Star Tour is at or near the top of its category.

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Time to get my Srix-On.

Z Star XV – The Z Star XV as mentioned is a little more firm with its compression rating of 105. Earlier during testing I observed that the XV was “heavy” or felt as such with the driver. I would lighten up on my thoughts and I felt “indifferent” towards the feel off of the driver. Off of the metalwoods and irons I really liked the feel of the XV. Where the XV really shined was in the hardcore winds that I played in. You would think that with the amount of wind that I was playing in it would wreak havoc with the ball staying on line. This was not the case with XV. I was blown away (pardon the pun) by how well it held its line. I remember hitting an 8 iron from just inside 100 yds (4.5 club quartering wind). Expecting the shot to hang up in the wind and be blown to the right of the green I was shocked to see the ball land where it did. Yes the ball moved left to right but I was shocked to see it land beyond the green right over the flagstick. The XV proved to be great in the wind. I became more impressed the last time out with the XV when on a Par 3 from 168 (into the teeth of a 3 club wind) I struck a 5 iron and the shot never wavered an inch. I saw the ball land real close to the pin and when I got up to my shot there was my XV a mere 24″ from the hole. The ball came to rest not even 18″ from the mark. I was quite happy with the approach spin of the Z Star XV.  The XV exhibits great distance, holds its line very well in tough conditions and is decent around the greens. With the putter XV is a little more firm than I prefer. There was one blemish that the XV had during testing. It was the fact that the cover on this particular ball wasn’t durable. It had a blemish but the effect of said blemish versus playability wasn’t noticeable. In recreational play it wouldn’t have come out of play. In competition however it would have been replaced and added to the shag bag. I feel that this might have been an anomaly.

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Z Star XV… the only blemish on the ball?

 

Z Star – The Z Star was almost as impressive when dealing with the tough, windy conditions that I described above. I would suggest that it might have ballooned a touch higher in the wind. That said, by no means am I suggesting that the Z Star ballooned excessively leading to distance loss. I absolutely loved the feel of the Z Star off of all clubs especially driver. I thought that the Z Star was terrific in terms of distance and I thought that the Z Star was every bit as good as the XV was in terms of distance. I teed off on a short Par 4 with water right at the end of a dogleg using a hybrid expecting it to land well short of the water. I was shocked when it had hit the water 230 yards later. It was a hurting left to right quartering wind. I have always preferred softer golf balls and the Z Star was my preferred ball of the Z Star series. The combination of the lower compression and my forged irons was “addictive” in terms of feel. The control of the Z Star was TERRIFIC. Even when I bladed a wedge from 115 yds the Z Star held the green leaving me a birdie putt. That shot should have been well off of the back of the green and out-of-bounds. It was at this point that I dubbed the Z Star the “Stroke Saver”. Greenside spin is tremendous as it proved time and time again never failing to check up and stop. Off of the putter the Z Star was perfect. For my purposes, the Z Star is the best of the three from Srixon.

***Z Star and Z Star XV have an MSRP of $39.99/dozen

No matter which ball you choose from Srixon this year you cannot go wrong. There is a reason why Srixon golf balls have wins worldwide on the various professional tours. Honestly, when it comes to choosing a golf ball from Srixon it really depends on what your budget is and which ball addresses your needs best. Please check out Srixon Golf for more information. #JourneyToBetter #PlayABetterBall

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Stopping power of the Q Star Tour.

 

Until The Next Tee!

 

Antigua Taps Spandex

Spandex. How long has that fabric been around? I know when I first heard of it… back in the 1980’s. When neon, cheesy morning workouts on television and the “Material Girl” (Madonna) reigned supreme. Of course, this goes without saying that when it came to golf you had golfers like Nick Faldo, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and Tom Watson running amuck. When it came to equipment you had companies like Wilson, Spalding, Ram and Northwestern.

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Photo Credit Orion Pictures

Golf fashion was in a different time in the 1980’s as well. Fashion was a combination of catwalk meets golf course and cotton and polyester was “King” (I remember Arnold Palmer had a line in Sears). While some of the clothing was ho-hum others were a stark contrast. Wild and crazy prints… think “Al Czervik” in “Caddyshack”. Yet spandex wasn’t used… as far as I know.

Spandex definitely has its purpose in golf fashion. Spandex or Lycra is a synthetic fiber known for it’s durability and elasticity. It’s been a long time since it’s invent in 1958 and it has been used in everything from swimwear, cycling gear, gloves, socks and activewear. It turns out that sportswear manufacturer Antigua has decided to tap into spandex for use in it’s Men’s Spring 2017 Collection. Below is a press release that was shared with me by Mary Beth Lacy of Mary Beth Lacy Inc.

PEORIA, AZ – Emphasizing an updated fabric story, the Antigua Group, Inc. – one of the nation’s leading designers and marketers of lifestyle and golf apparel under the distinguished Antigua brand – announced it’s using spandex in its Spring 2017 Men’s Collection

“Almost every style has incorporated this fiber into the construction of fashion fabrics for both function and form, eliminating any garment resistance throughout the golf swing and offering an enhanced supple hand, smooth drape and renewed recovery with every use,” says Sean Gregg, Antigua’s Vice President of Product Development and Marketing Support.

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Sustain (Photo Credit: antigua.com)

The self collar style Sustain takes a solid piece-dyed jersey/spandex top shoulder detail and contrasts it against a heather over-dyed pointelle mesh — the latter of which offers breathability while wicking. The main body fabric is a subdued color shade compared to its jersey complement, based on the use of heather yarns softening the color tones. The two fabrics meet at the shoulder-sleeve seam, where a neutral elastic heather tape overlaps the seam to complete the seamless merge

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Streak (Photo Credit: antigua.com)

Utilizing the same detailed complexity of fabric paired with style, this season’s style Streak incorporates a simply engineered chest and sleeve panel of primary brights complemented by a grey heather jersey front torso panel. The contrast of the engineered color and neutral horizontal chest stripe is separated with this season’s primary pop accent colors. Strategically knit into the divisional color separation is a near-invisible pairing of horizontal mesh stripes that add a textured surface interest with breathability.

Style Array features a jacquard double knit fabric built for breathability but disguised as an all-over, 45-degree-angled geometric mesh pattern. A self collar is set against contrasting, yet complementing accent shoulder seam tape distinguishes it as a true fashion style.

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Array (Photo Credit: antigua.com)

This season’s stripe collection offers fresh vitality in contrasting colors. Incorporating spandex yarns into a fine jersey knit gives the simplest of stripe patterns a charged appeal. A solid-and-heather tonal feed stripe combined with heather overdyed insets — as seen on the self collar style Orbit — demonstrates this with sophisticated, simplistic appeal. The solid quarter-inch, all-over repeat of style Strand dyed together with a complementing tonal pinstripe and finished with a matching flat knit collar is a fresh take on the classic golf feed stripe. And style Domain’s use of tonal and contrasting accent stripes oscillating in a light-to-dark ombre pattern makes this self collar jersey/spandex polo a centerpiece garment for the collection.

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Infinite (Photo Credit: antigua.com)

Using a self collar as a complementing accent to the boldly patterned style Infinite embellishes its fresh mix of color-on-color stripes, making it a must-have in every color combination this season. Style Havoc is the epitome of the fashion polo in Antigua’s Spring ’17 collection, with its use of variegating space dye yarns. Using yarns dyed in colors specific to this season’s collection, it’s been knit in an engineered pattern repeat consisting of alternating space dye and solid yarns that creates an ever lightening, sophisticated tonal effect.

Antigua continues to embellish textured solids this season by adding an abstract geometric all-over embossed interlock style. Style Survey creates an optical effect of light and shadow that brings this solid style to life with a golfer’s every movement. To enhance its sophisticated fashion appeal, it’s created using an un-embossed solid self collar and cuff interlock making for a truly handsome piece

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Survey (Photo Credit: antigua.com)

Completing this season’s polo offering is a sublimation print with strategically engineered front and back panels. Purposely designed with a color-to-white gradient and solid-to-geometric stripe detail, style Finesse fully demonstrates the depth of this season’s primary colors as they wash to white. It’s both a fun and active styling fit to the collection.

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Finesse (Photo Credit: antigua.com)

About Antigua

Headquartered in Peoria, Arizona, The Antigua Group, through its license sports division, holds license agreements with National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Minor League Baseball (MiLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), along with numerous American universities and colleges for men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, headwear and luggage. Antigua additionally designs, produces and supplies product for corporate America and specialty retail managed under its corporate division. Its golf division also holds license agreements with the PGA TOUR, LPGA and the PGA of America

 

Until The Next Tee!

 

Golf University – Search 4 Scratch

We’ve seen a myriad of golf reality television shows aired on the Golf Channel. From competitors competing on “Altered Course” which was sort of “Tough Mudder” in golf form to “The Big Break” where it featured professionals in numerous skill challenges in an attempt to earn a spot into a Tour event. What we do know from watching television shows like this is that it left viewers wondering… “What about the ordinary, everyday golfer?”.

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Ordinary every day golfers like day school teachers, nurses, convenience store clerks and so on. The majority of these golfers being mid to high handicaps. What if these types of golfer had access to the training, technology and coaching that is often employed by Tour professionals? Everything from short game gurus to the ever important yet overlooked mental game. Personally speaking, I know that I have wondered what it would be like for my golf game to have access to top coaches, the best of technology, hypnotists and sports psychologists. Everything that is perceived to be needed to become a Tour player or to go from a high handicap to low handicap golfer. Essentially, this is the premise behind the to be released “Search 4 Scratch Documentary” by Golf University is all about. Below is a press release that I was given by Mary Beth Lacy of Mary Beth Lacy Inc to share with my readers outlining the show.

The Search 4 Scratch Documentary follows 6 golfers from all walks of life, from varying nationalities and of all playing abilities to embark on a journey to answer the age old question that all golfers who’ve ever dared to dream have asked:

“How Good a Golfer Could I Be if I Had the Best Technical and Course Management Coaching, an Effective Practice Plan & a Champion Mindset?”

Search 4 Scratch follows the journey of these 6 amateur golfers as they attempt to discover how low their handicaps can go over a 3 month period.

They are treated like professional athletes with the support of the world’s best coaches, a sport psychologist, a hypnotist and celebrity mentors as they attend a 5 day Short Game School, a 3 day Long Game School and a 2 day Competition focused School, all culminating in a final golf tournament with the winner becoming a mentor at Golf University.

They face a myriad of Environmental, Physical, Mental and Emotional challenges on their quest to find out just how good they can be, to find out how low they can go…

“The search is very unique to each golfer and totally different to what they originally thought it would be and one thing’s for sure, they all become better golfers and better people because of this journey”, says Golf University CEO and Executive Producer of Search 4 Scratch, Andrew McCombe.

I am very curious to see where the journey takes our 6 intrepid explorers and I cannot wait to watch. I have watched the Search 4 Scratch trailer and must say that it does look intriguing. Reality television that is simply… “real”.

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Until The Next Tee!

 

Review – PXG 0311T

In a way this article is sort of ironic. Ironic in a sense that the products that I use for my blog and website are offered through Go Daddy. The creation of multi-billionaire and avid golfer Bob Parsons. It has been reported that Parsons has spent in upwards of $300,000 USD over the course of the year on golf equipment. Never being fully satisfied in his purchases Parsons set out to create the best golf equipment the world has ever seen.

I remember when I first learned of Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) and it was at some point before the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show. Having followed them on Twitter (nearly religiously) I watched the wares develop and the announcements one-by-one of various Tour players joining what would be billed as #PXGTroops. On the LPGA Tour there was Cristie Kerr, Gerina Piller and U.S. Women’s Open Championship winner Brittany Lang. Meanwhile, on the PGA Tour side of things there were names like Ryan Moore (the first one as far as I know), Billy Horschel, James Hahn and Zach Johnson. The latter was the one that I was totally blown away with at the time only because he was a “Titleist Guy” since basically it seems… forever. But then 2017 occurs and we see the stable grown even larger. 2011 Master’s Champion Charl Schwartzel, the recently signed Pat Perez and women’s number one ranked golfer Lydia Ko. Going back to an article on Parsons some time ago, he stated that he never approached any players about playing his clubs that all of the players had heard through word of mouth how good the equipment was. To that end, I found that information almost outrageous especially considering how deep Parsons’ pockets are. Especially when looking at Zach Johnson and his previous brand. All I thought was that he was offered a huge sum of cash to leave Titleist behind.

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Thanks for the bag tour Christina!!

Speaking of deep pockets Parsons hired some of the best of the best in golf club design most notably some former employees of PING. As pictures started to surface on social media I became more intrigued. I think the reason for this is simple… the clubs are adorned with several weight screws that allow for perimeter weighting. As I looked at the numerous pictures that came out I had one adjective that came to mind… “gaudy” and loud. Loud and gaudyOf course I realize that these in fact are two adjectives. Either way… I didn’t like them. Then I heard the estimated cost per set and as I recollect I became nauseated at the suggestion. Could a set of irons be worth this much? Oh did I mention in the ball park of $3000 USD for an 8-piece set? Up here that’s $4000 CAD ($500 per club). In order for me to order a set I would have to sell a kidney illegally to afford them. Two… no maybe three things came to my mind right away. The first was a resounding NO… no set was worth a kidney. Secondly, there was a saying that my dad used to use. “If you have to ask… then you can’t afford it”. Which pretty much meant in this case there was a niche market for PXG golf clubs. As far as I see it PXG are clubs truly intended for the affluent and elite. Lastly I thought “one way or another I have to swing them”. So leading up to the 2016 PGA Show I asked PXG on Twitter if they would have a presence at the show. Their response was (and I quote) “PXG will have no presence as our founder feels that it is not necessary and the average consumer can’t afford them anyways”. Alright then, a new company with confidence and “brass cojones” to spare. Now I have to swing them. I’ll be totally candid… I hated them and everything that they stood for. “Make golf elitist again” was a fourth thought that I had.

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Christina Kim’s PXG 0311 at Orange Tree Golf Club in Orlando, FL.

My friends, I have waited a long time to swing these. I watched a calendar turn from 2016 to 2017. I e-mailed the powers that be at PXG with hopes of setting something up for my blog. Not once did I see a response. After all… who am I? A “Nobody Golf Blogger”? While I am no “nobody” I will admit to being a small (yet fearless) fish in a vast golf blog ocean. Having not yet seen PXG in hand yet something borderline miraculous happened. I was at Orange Tree Golf Club in Orlando, FL fora meeting. When I just happened to run into all-around great person and PXG staffer Christina Kim (signed this year). So I approached her as she was headed out to a cart loaded with PXG clubs. I asked her about the clubs (and if I could take a picture of the clubs and a selfie with her) and she told me that “PXG are the best clubs that I have swung in my life” so she told me to feel free about pulling one out. Nervously, I accepted the generous offerAs I held her 5 iron, I immediately liked the feel in hand and observed that they weren’t as gaudy as I originally thought. Pictures didn’t do them justice. If only I could have made a swing or two on a ball.

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PXG 0311T

 

Still determined to hit PXG clubs for the first time I kept my eyes open. Watching their feed and then a second minor miracle happened. Do you know the saying about finding something in unexpected places? This is actually something that happened today. This weekend was the Niagara Golf Show and Sale here in Niagara Falls. Of course, the usual suspects were in attendance like every other year but there was one addition. A custom golf shop (Power Golf Custom Club Fitting) from nearby St. Catharines, Ontario was present. Located in the demo area they had a booth set up and they happened to have PXG present. I was absolutely astonished. The owner (Brian Morrissey) and I talked about PXG for a little and he said that if I wanted to I could swing them. I informed Mr. Morrissey that I was a golf blogger and that I had wanted to swing them since their inception. So we looked at the three different models (0311, 0311XF and the 0311T). I didn’t realize it at the time but Mr. Morrissey noted that my eyes had widened when we looked at the 0311T. He asked me about my handicap and I explained that it was lower but I hadn’t played much golf in two years (later divulging that I gave a shot at Mini-Tours). Before continuing let’s take a look at what makes these irons tick using some literature from the PXG website.

“Engineered for golfers at every level of the game, PXG 0311’s are the world’s sexiest, most forgiving irons that launch higher, go farther, feel softer and have a sweet spot the size of Texas. PXG irons are made with the finest alloys and are manufactured using a sophisticated process that only we would use.

PXG has developed a sophisticated manufacturing process that integrates high-performance alloys and elastomers to produce its groundbreaking irons. The process begins with a forged open-face body. The internal cavity of the forging is then precision CNC milled and an ultra-thin maraging steel face is plasma welded to create a hollow core. A thermoplastic elastomer is then injection molded into the cavity. High-density tungsten alloy weights strategically positioned around the perimeter of the club head add mass and create PXG’s signature look.”

Upon reading this information the team at PXG really do paint a pretty convincing picture about their product. Reading the propaganda I would be inclined to look at them and based on my desire to swing them they had me sold. But sometimes, you just “have to put the money where the mouth is”. I made my first pass and I could not believe how the 0311T (Tour Performance Collection) felt. Perhaps there is something to the thermoplastic elastomer inside of the head that softened the vibration. Or maybe it’s the S25C Carbon Steel they used in the manufacturing. Either way, the 7 iron felt great. (I did warm up with an 0311 Gap Wedge) I really hate to admit this but it might be the best feeling iron that I have felt. Looking at the overall profile of the head I could “the PING influence” as far as the shape goes but all of the little screws quickly averted those thoughts. The perimeter weight screws as far as I’m concerned did their job and as I made more swings I never felt twisting in the hands. More to the point the Foresight Sports GCQuad proved that… as data collected demonstrated that the strikes were center of the face. So let’s talk numbers. Data showed that my 7 iron Clubhead Speed was 105 mph, Launch Angle was 17.2*, Smash Factor was a little low at 1.22 and a Carry Distance of 202 yds. Overall, my numbers (other than Smash Factor) were higher than the PGA Tour average. I should note that it was paired with an Aerotech SteelFiber i95 shaft.

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I made one swing on the Foresight Sports GCQuad. These are the results.

In conclusion, I hate to say this but if you can afford them… the PXG 0311T irons might very well be worth the money. The looks are pretty slick (the Xtreme Dark finish is mezmorizing). Based on my limited time with them, the 0311T irons might be the best feeling iron that I have swung to date. Not only that but they perform as advertised. Perhaps, it was the very basic fitting and fitting system provided by Mr. Morrissey but I have never seen an iron perform like this. The numbers looked great and to be 45 years-old hitting 202 yard 7 irons??? Unreal. It might be time to sell organs on the “black market”.

I will be doing a second piece based on the metalwoods from PXG. Stay tuned.

Until The Next Tee!!