In the weeks leading up to the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show I took the opportunity to look up exhibitors that were going to be present at the show. As I went through the list of companies that I wanted to make plans to visit one newcomer to the industry stood out to me. In fact, it was a picture of one of their irons that caught my attention. That company was New Level Golf Equipment.
New Level Golf Equipment is the brainchild of CEO and Founder Eric Burch. For those out there that have never heard of the brand New Level Golf Equipment you will. First, let me tell you about the man behind the brand. The brand is based in Mr. Burch brings with him a wealth of experience. This experience includes product design since 2004 and fitting and building for 22 years.
The entire range of New Level Golf Equipment features forged clubheads throughout the range. In fact, there are 3 models of irons and one model of wedges that make up the current line-up. These models are called the 610 Forged, 902 Forged and the 1031 Forged irons. Rounding out the line are the wedges which are called the M-Type Forged. In case you were curious about the model numbers and wondered what they meant they don’t have anything to do with the type of steel used. In fact, they are significant dates. For example, the 902 Forged were named after his late grandmother’s birth date, the 1031 Forged named after his mother’s birth date and lastly the 601 forged that were named in honor of his wife’s birthday.
I’ve always admired irons like those of the design of the New Level creations. Clean heads, thinner top lines (even in the Game Improvement 1031 Forged irons), heads that aren’t overwhelming in size and void of any flashy graphics or badges (I love the simple NL incorporated into the design. I took advantage of the Demo Day held at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge where New Level was on hand at the International Clubmaker’s Guild booth.
When I arrived at the booth I met Eric (Burch) and renewed acquaintances that we first made over social media (Twitter @golfnewlevel). After talking a little bit about his products I had a more serious look at them. I knew that these irons and wedges were going to look real nice in the Florida sun at Demo Day. After all it was the pictures that drew me to first contacting him. Little did I realize how stunning they were. Honestly the pictures truly don’t capture how beautiful they were. After gawking at the clubs in the bag for a while which all feature degrees of CNC-milling in the cavity it was time to start swinging the full range of New Level golf Equipment. So how did these exquisite offerings from New Level Golf Equipment perform?
*** Before I continue I should add that KBS Shafts are a partner of New Level Golf Equipment. Any irons purchased online can be customized with the full range of KBS products with no upcharge.
M-Type Forged Wedges – Upon looking at the M-Type Forged wedges you know that you have a serious piece of work in your midst. The CNC milling is fine and elegant. I particularly love the etching on the back side of the flange. The “M Grind” on the sole is versatile as it can handle nearly every type of lie around the green and of course tight fairway lies like there were at OCN. Forged from 1020 Carbon Steel the M-Type wedges come in lofts ranging from 50* thru 60* with bounce angles ranging from 7* in the 50* to 14* in the 60* wedge. The model that I chose to swing was the 58*/12* and shafted with a KBS HI-Rev 2.0. I opted to go with this model as it matches closely to what I play. In comparison to my Vokey SM4 there was actually no comparison. Between the feel and turf interaction alone the M-Type was superior. Not even close. I loved the shape of the head… yes it is traditional however it does have a slightly larger profile than my SM4. I would suggest that helps from a forgiveness standpoint as it allows for a little more mass in the design and it also can inspire a little more confidence. A terrific wedge! The MSRP is $199 USD/club.
902 Forged Irons – Leading up to arriving at the New Level Golf hitting area this was the club that actually appealed to me the most. The 902 Forged irons are a game-improvement iron that features a thin top line (very appealing), an undercut cavity and minimal to moderate offset, while being packed into a smaller chassis. The muscle-cavity offers enhanced stability on off-center strikes. There is something interesting about the 902 Forged irons and that fact is that unlike other forged irons that are finished by hand these 902 Forged irons are finished via CNC Milling. I would swing a 6 iron from the 902 Forged and it was shafted with a KBS Tour 120 shaft in a stiff flex. The ball set up great at address and you really didn’t think that you were looking down at a game-improvement iron which speaks volumes of the design. My ball-striking with the 902 Forged was off for some reason. That said results weren’t overly bad and it does speak a lot for the forgiveness of the design. I struggled… period. But the misses were straight and not off-line by a whole lot. Some of my better passes were rewarded with a trajectory that launched easy and tracked downrange in a tight draw. The feel was buttery soft and was easily comparable to other premium forgings in the business. If it were me having a set of these I would lean towards placing tungsten powder inside of the head to make it heavier. This is a personal choice and not a knock on the design. The loft of the PW in this set is 45*. Each club has a MSRP of $199/club.
610 Forged – Alright, so if my swing was off with the GI 902 Forged irons that must mean that I must have really off with the blade-like 610 Forged right? Wrong! Out of the line-up the 610 Forged has the longest blade length in the line-up. This means more forgiveness across the entire face. The cavity has feature a “tri-tiered design” which helps to optimize the weight distribution throughout the head. Shafted with a KBS Tour 90 shaft in Stiff flex I would make swings with a 6-iron. My eye loved this club at address and that was reflected in the passes that I made. My swings were confident and the strikes crisp. While the ball was easy to get airborne (especially in a blade design) the ballflight flattened out and carried nicely. I was able to hit draws and fades at will and the feel was as good as I’ve ever experienced. Especially considering other high-end forgings on the market (Vega). The lofts are a little bit stronger than the 902 Forged as the PW features a loft of 44*. This is a head for the discriminating golfer who wants forgiveness. Wow! Each club has a MSRP of $199/club.
1031 Forged (Teezy Award Nominee)- If I were to compare each head to a sports car where I would say that the 610 Forged is a Ferrari, the 902 Forged a Porsche than the 1031 Forged has to be “American Muscle”. A Corvette (my favourite sports car). The 1031 is forged from 1020 Carbon Steel and this head packs a lot of horsepower into a head that is mid-sized. There is a slightly thicker sole than the 902 Forged and that of course adds mass to the head. Where the 902 Forged is 270 grams for a 7 iron and the 610 is 268 grams the 1031 Forged weighs only 268 grams. This actually messed with my head a little bit because I thought that the 902 Forged was a little light if you recollect. Now the difference might be the fact that the shaft in this head was a KBS Tour C-Taper 120 in Stiff flex. All that I know was that getting the ball started with this iron was easy! The 1031 Forged does have the lowest center of gravity of any club in the New Level line-up and it did translate in ease of launch and offers terrific playability. The ballflight was high and long and watching the ball fly down range was fun. I was able to take aim at my target and hit my spot at will. Shot-shaping was easier than some might think with a head of this type but draws and fades were easy to come by. However, when you’re hitting it straight that’s what matters to the average golfer. What was really surprising was the topline which was thin and the ball set up so well in the address position. The thinness of the topline is also a design feature that helps towards moving the mass low and center which brings me to the cavity. The cavity is hidden well and isn’t distracting in the address position. There’s a reason why this iron is a “Teezy Award Nominee” and that’s because it had everything to offer.. If I were to game a set of New Level Golf Equipment irons these without a doubt would be the ones. The loft of the PW is 44* and each club costs $209/club.
When considering a new set of irons consider these offerings from a terrific independent company. The New Level Golf Equipment line is starting to get stocked in all sorts of custom clubmaking shops in North America and Europe. These irons are premium, they perform and are works of art. New Level Golf has a model of iron for every skill level. It’s going to be fun to watch New Level Golf Equipment grow.
Until The Next Tee!!