New Products In For Testing

I thought that I would write a quick update on upcoming products in for testing. Before continuing, I just wanted to thank all of the manufacturers past and present that have given me a chance to look at their products.

One of the products that I was excited to test was Arnold Palmer Apparel. Arnold Palmer Apparel was awarded the Teezy Award at the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show for top apparel brand. Between their affordability when compared to similar brands it was a pretty easy decision. The brands philanthropic philosophy means that it donates all of the net profits to Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation. That in turn made an easy decision a no-brainer. #LookGreatDoGood

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The Turtle Hill Mid-Layer from Arnold Palmer Apparel.

A product that I received for testing and review back in January hasn’t worked out as of yet. No fault of R-Motion (The Golf Club) that my laptop or desktops lack the necessary specs to make the simulator work. I’ve been trying to address the situation however other more important situations arose and I had to take care of those pressing issues first. I’m finally going to have the budget to get a proper laptop to make the system work. Stay tuned!! (Brian, I haven’t forgotten about you)

Getting back to apparel I have two other companies whose apparel I’m currently testing. Antigua Sportswear and an amazing pair of Loudmouth Golf pants. The new StretchTech fabric used by Loudmouth Golf now is lightyear’s better than the past. It’s softer, lighter and it really seems to breathe much better. We’re just starting to see golf weather here in Niagara over the last two days. finally, some serious wear testing. To hold the pants up is a belt from Nexbelt… the belt with no holes. Cut to your size and away you go. I’ve worn the belt on one occasion and I like it. The model I chose is from the “Fast Eddie” collection.

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Batman wishes that his utility belt was this cool.

 

Even though I didn’t receive my TRUE Linkswear Originals and Outsiders necessarily for testing and review purposes. I will be reviewing these shoes. Jason, Ryan and company moved from the desert back to the Pacific Northwest and after being lost briefly the brand is back doing what they do best. Making uber-comfortable golf shoes. Folks, these shoes are next level comfort!! Oh speaking of comfort and performance. Incrediwear sent me a few of their pieces. This performance and recovery wear is off to an amazing start in testing. The Recovery Leg Sleeves have been amazing in the early stages of testing.

I was named a product tester for Golf Pride. Currently, I’m in the process of installing their new Tour Velvet Align grip. The Golf Pride Align grip was a runner-up for the PGA Show Version Teezy Awards for “Top Component” category. While I was at the show I also got my hands on a couple of the new SuperStroke Soft Wrap TC full swing grips. These grips feature no taper.

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I’ve also received some tech gear recently. Thanks to ShotScope for giving me the opportunity to have a serious look at the ShotScope V2. A GPS Watch that also features a performance tracker. Also, I received another Teezy Award winner this time from the “Top Technology” category. The FlightScope mevo is a multi-sports radar that features Doppler technology. When used for golf the mevo is a launch monitor that fits into the palm of your hand. Metrics that it measures includes but is not limited to ball speed, launch angle, spin, smash factor and clubhead speed.

I’ve gotten some work in with a really neat product from Monument Golf. The “Stick-It”. This is a towel that\s magnetic and you don’t have to bend over to get your hands on it. On top of that keep your eyes open for all sorts of “First Look Reviews” featuring 2018 golf equipment as based on my experiences from the 2018 PGA Show. Heck, who knows what else will develop in the meantime. Golf season is finally here and it’s going to be a busy yet exciting season.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

Datrek® Go Lite Hybrid Stand Bag Wins Best Hybrid Golf Bag by Golf Digest

One of the booths that I visited very late at this years PGA Merchandise Show was that of Dynamic Brands. The conglomerate that brings the likes of Bag Boy, De Vant, Burton, IGotcha and Datrek under one umbrella.

While at their booth several products caught my eye however none caught my eye more than the Datrek Go Lite Hybrid Golf Bag. This golf bag caught my eye for a few reasons. First there were the colours that drew me to the bag display. Once seeing them I noticed right away that the Go Lite Hybrid golf bag had 14 slots with full length dividers and then there was the weight when I picked it up. It certainly lives up to its billing as being lightweight. In fact, the golf bag weighs a mere 5.2 lbs when empty. Impressive for a stand bag with the full length dividers.

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Photo Credit: Datrek

Recently, Julie Parham who is the Marketing Manager for Dynamic Brands shared a press release with me announcing an award that Datrek had won recently. The Datrek Go Lite Hybrid Stand Bag won an award as presented by Golf Digest. Golf Digest gave the “Editor’s Choice Award” for “Best Hybrid Golf Bag”. I would love the opportunity if Datrek gave me an opportunity to test one of these bags to allow me to form my own opinion. Please see the press release below.

***Generally, I refrain from posting accolades handed to company’s by other publications and websites. 

Richmond, VA – Datrek® Golf, a leader in modern golf gear designed to enhance players’ on-course experience, has earned a 2018 Golf Digest Editors’ Choice Award in the category of “Best Hybrid Golf Bag”. The full story is available on-line here.

“We are honored Golf Digest chose the Go Lite Hybrid Stand Bag,” said Craig Ramsbottom, President of Dynamic Brands, Datrek® Golf’s parent company. “The Go Lite Hybrid Stand Bag is the third generation of the popular Go Lite; now labeled a hybrid as it combines the portability of a stand bag with the functionality of a cart bag.”  This is the second award the Go Lite has received since it was first introduced in 2015.

The selection, through which the magazine’s editors identify its list of “The Best Things in Golf”, with an emphasis on lifestyle properties, products and services. The program receives similar editorial treatment as the annual Hot List, which has become the game’s authoritative review for golf equipment. Best Golf Bags has six categories: Cart, Carry, Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight, Hybrid, Stand less/Sunday and Waterproof, with Datrek’s Go Lite Hybrid awarded one of the coveted Best Hybrid Bags.

The Go Lite Hybrid has a streamlined new design for 2018, built for carrying, riding or walking with a push cart. The 14-way organizer top with full-length Individual Divider System (IDS) and easy-grip handle are designed for on-course convenience. Double shoulder straps and padded hip protection make the bag comfortable to carry. Six total pockets include an oversized, insulated cooler pocket and full-size garment pocket. The Go Lite Hybrid this year now includes new TOP-LOK™ Technology, a patented bag-to-cart attachment system designed to work with Bag Boy® push carts. Available in 10 colorways and sells for $149.95 at pro shops and retailers nationwide.

Until The Next Tee!!

Review – Ben Hogan Golf VKTR

Three years ago marked the return of a beloved name to the game of golf and in particular golf equipment. Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company launched their initial products at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show – Demo Day under the watchful eye of then CEO Terry Koehler. The launch of the Ft. Worth irons and TK 15 wedges were met by attendees with enthusiasm. For a good reason too… the products were beautiful. I wondered how Ben Hogan would step it up the following year building on the success of their initial entries and golfers in 2016 were met by the classy and lavish PTx irons. I wrote a review at alexandertothgolf.com earlier this year. The irons were stunning only bested by their performance. At the same time, Ben Hogan also released their Ft. Worth hi irons as a more forgiving option to the original lower lofted Ft. Worth irons. The hollow forged design yielded great feel and a pleasantly aggressive ball flight. There was one more void that needed to be filled and that was a club for golfers who thought of long irons as “taboo”. The VKTR Hybrid would be the answer.

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The VKTR Hybrid is designed with aesthetics and performance clearly at the forefront. Mr. Hogan was an innovator and had designs for a “hybrid” (as we now know it) dating back to the 1960’s. Clearly ahead of his time. When the “new” Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company designed their first hybrid they wanted to present golfers a piece of art that would inspire confidence. Part of my problem in the past with hybrids was how they presented a large footprint at address. For this reason I was a long iron guy. The VKTR Hybrids come in five separate profiles and lofts start at 17* and progressing to 27*. Sticking with the theme of footprint size it’s important to note at this time that as the loft increases the volume (club head size) decreases (110 cc to 96 cc). The reason is twofold as the hybrids in the higher lofts are more pleasant to look at and it allowed the engineers at Hogan to move weight forward.

Engineers at Hogan also added a degree of adjustability to the VKTR Hybrids. Although there is no hosel adjustments Hogan through their Perimeter Shot Shape Technology (PSST) allows for 24 grams of movable weights around the perimeter of the head. The head is designed with a neutral bias but you can move the weights around to suit your needs. This means that you can adjust for left to right and high or low trajectories. Through research, Hogan (and other brands) found that most misses with hybrids occur low on the face. Personally speaking, my misses with hybrids are thin and left and Hogan addressed the “thins” by creating a “larger more effective impact zone along the bottom”. Also adding to the forgiveness is their V-SOLE technology found in their irons which improves turf interaction.

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At Demo Day, I immediately went for one of their 18* models. This particular club was shafted with a UST Mamiya ReCoil 660 shaft. This shaft was a regular flex and as expected from a shaft like this the result was a smooth-swinging piece of equipment. As much as I loved the clean, classic look at address it was the feel that won me over. The acoustics were crisp and the resulting strikes emitted a sharp sound. A feeling that gave me the impression that the face was very responsive… which it was. I never did adjust the weights but the resulting flights were of a consistent and penetrating trajectory. I think predictable would be a suitable adjective. My focus shifted towards the 23* and it’s hard not to talk about how precise the “gapping” in your set can be with Hogan. The VKTR Hybrids seemingly meld into the iron offerings which creates a “flow” to your set. Designers made the VKTR Hybrids to have a steeper landing angle and when compared to other hybrids I would say that engineers succeeded. However, it would be more telling to see these in action on the course. Going back to the aesthetics the VKTR is a handsome club and I love the red paintfill and ferrules with the red stripes. Also, designers of the VKTR were a little cheeky. If you look closely at the adjustable weight screws you will notice that there is a resemblance to the old Hogan “medallion”. All of it is a retro throwback to yesteryear.

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As the calendar turns to 2017 it’s fun to think about what Ben Hogan will come out with next. One would be led to believe that it would be fairway metals or maybe even a driver. Or will Ben Hogan stick with their bread and butter and stay out of that game? In the interim they have the VKTR Hybrids to compliment the beautiful irons in their stable. Folks… Mr. Hogan would be proud. Check them out at benhogangolf.com