DAY ONE – Testing Summaries

I just wanted to share a few videos that summarize some of my observations from the first day of product testing. Why read when you can watch right?

Products tested are golf balls from TaylorMade Golf, Srixon Golf, Wilson Staff, and Bridgestone Golf. Also, I have some candid thoughts about the Equalizer wedges from Ben Hogan Golf.

Please feel free to leave questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

Test… Test!

Well, I made it. After being in Florida back in January for the PGA Show and a planned trip that I canceled two weeks ago I’m in Florida. A 3 hr bus ride to Buffalo, NY and a wonderful flight once again on Frontier Airlines and I’m basking in the Tampa sun. A trip that will see me go fly fishing, practice golf, hopefully, go home with a swing and of course play and conduct several testings. Most of the golf ball variety. All of this before I resume working at the same golf course that I worked at in 2018 until I had my Stroke. Scenic Woods Golf Course which is a GolfNorth Properties facility. God! I can’t wait!

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Today was without a doubt the most gratifying day of golf that I’ve experienced. I just couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. I was just elated to be back doing what I love. I spent the majority of my day at Terrace Hill Golf Center in Temple Terrace, FL. At any rate the product testing.

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So what are the products that I’m testing down here in Florida? The most important of the bunch is the Equalizer wedges from Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company. Up until now, testing of these wedges has amounted to basing everything on feel and/or limited ball flight in a golf dome. Getting these clubs outside and seeing them perform as they were intended to do so was worth the wait. These Equalizer wedges are even better than I thought. The feel, the ballflight (these wedges penetrate) and some clear stopping power on firm greens that were/are dried out by the wind. I am beyond impressed. I’ll finally be able to write this review sooner than before later. If you need wedges… Look no further. These wedges are the best bang for your golfer buck!

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Another product that I was sent for testing were tees by ZoomTee USA. The premise of these tees is to give golfers the option of playing tees that are extremely durable, a tee that’s designed to produce less drag which is said to result in longer, straighter drives. Also of note here is the addition of a height guide for getting the golf ball teed u at just the right height and a tip that’s used for cleaning your grooves and repairing ball marks. I used only one tee and there was no sign of breakage thus far and ZoomTee USA was also very easy to locate after the shot. No scanning the ground looking for your pesky golf tee. It’s a minor thing, but it is a way to help maintain the pace of play. I also found ZoomTee USA was easy to get into the ground. Although, the soil here in Florida is quite sandy. It’ll be interesting to see how they penetrate the clay-based soil at home.

Balls, balls and more balls. I am testing golf balls ‘o’ plenty while I’m down here. No less than 6 different models. Testing has officially begun of…

  • TaylorMade Golf (TP5 and TP5x)
  • Srixon Golf (Z Star)
  • Wilson Staff DUO Professional
  • Bridgestone Golf (e12 Soft and e12 Speed)

It was an interesting first day of testing and with that, I have a few thoughts.

  1. The TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x seem to really have a penetrating ball flight as advertised. Early indications are that this golf ball is a strong golf ball in the Tour ball market. All-around great feel (TP5 a little softer) and I can see why Rickie Fowler switched from the Titleist Pro V1. There’s a reason why the ball is hyped.
  2. Not that it’s a bad thing. I wasn’t blown away through Day One of testing of the 2019 Srixon Z Star. To me, this iteration of the Z Star is solid. I’ve always liked the Z Star and have a lot of familiarity with it. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t blown away. It felt too familiar.
  3. Where I wasn’t blown away by the previous ball if there was a ball that I was very impressed with thus far it HAS to be the Wilson Staff DUO Professional. This golf ball was long with irons (albeit downwind) and the short game spin of this golf ball was extremely impressive. This ball STOPPED on greenside chips and pitches. I didn’t have it in play for any driving holes.
  4. Bridgestone Golf developed the e12 with 12 years of golf ball data taken from their ball fitting data. What they came up with were the e12 Soft and e12 Speed. Just from a putting standpoint (this was the first part of the testing) I wasn’t enamored with the “firmer” e12 Speed. It felt too clicky or too firm. But then all of that suddenly changed. This ball actually felt pretty soft and responsive on full iron swings. Into a hurting wind, I was able to find the green pin high from 182 yards away with a 5-iron. Judging by the flags and wind I figure it was a 1.5 to 2 club wind. Never be too hasty in being judgmental folks! The e12 Soft I liked right away. I liked the feel of the e12 Soft when it came to putting, my first drive of 2019 was with the e12 Soft (Red) and it just carried down the fairway into the wind and it penetrated. My approach into the firm, wind-swept green resulted in no severe rollout (settling 8′ from the pin) and greenside chips and pitches I thought it performed better than the e12 Speed and as good as one of the tour-level golf balls.

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Today was just the beginning of what I have planned down here. So stay tuned for more information as I test products, write reviews and enjoy some March golf in sunny Florida.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

 

TAYLORMADE GOLF COMPANY SETS NEW STANDARD ON TOUR, ROLLS OUT NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART MULTI-LEVEL TOUR TRUCK

Well, it happened! For the first time in my time writing my blog and contributing golf news to the golfing public… I’m at a loss for words. TaylorMade Golf has released their new TOUR Truck and I have no words other than… Wow!

This new TOUR Truck is a sight to behold and I hope that I can see it up close and personal one day. For all of the details please see the press release shared below. Thanks to Marketing and Communications Manager Nick Obritsch (TaylorMade Golf Canada).

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

 

Company’s New Truck Further Exemplifies its Commitment and Dedication to its Industry-Leading Player Tour Staff 

 

CARLSBAD, CALIF. (March 26, 2019) – TaylorMade Golf Company, an industry leader in product innovation and technology, today announced the debut of its new, completely re-designed Tour truck, set to make its inaugural appearance on Tour next month at the season’s first major championship. The truck solidifies TaylorMade’s commitment to its world-class Tour staff, widely considered the most elite in the industry.

 

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“With our new truck, the company has made a definitive statement that serves as yet another example of our ongoing commitment and dedication to the best players in the world. It’s a place they can not only come to have their equipment built, but a place they can come hang out and truly feel like part of the TaylorMade family.”

Keith Sbarbaro, VP, Tour Operations 

Inspired by the trucks operated on the Formula 1 circuit, TaylorMade has designed the new Tour truck from the wheels up in collaboration with St. Louis-based industrial fabrication experts, Craftsmen Industries. Featuring dual slide-out pods and for the first time a second level for meeting space, the company’s new truck is the biggest and first of its kind on the PGA TOUR.

 

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Weighing 22 tons, the company’s new 42-foot long Tour truck features twelve individual player lockers, four 4K HDR televisions and a two-zone sound system. A modernized workshop includes multiple loft/lie machines, shaft cutters and a dedicated gripping station among a variety of other club building tools for TaylorMade’s Tour team.

 

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In its decade-long run for TaylorMade, the retired trailer traveled an estimated 400,000 miles, attended more than 350 PGA TOUR events and built over 75,000 clubs. TaylorMade’s new truck, set to make its debut at the Season Opener in April, is bigger, boasts more capacity, more workspace and more advanced technology than any truck currently on Tour.

The TaylorMade Tour Truck, by the Numbers:

44,000:weight(in pounds)of the trailer

35,000: estimated travel miles in first full year on the PGA TOUR

1,500+: shafts

1,200: TP5 & TP5x golf ball

1,000: grips

700+: TaylorMade clubheads

500: hats & t-shirts

450:sq. ft of tinted glass

For a more immersive experience into the new Tour truck, click the video below:

The TaylorMade Tour Truck

“First Impressions” – Tour Edge Exotics EXS Irons

When news started to pour out from Batavia, Illinois based golf equipment manufacturer Tour Edge about their new Exotics EXS range of products I was very excited. Premium products built from premium material. The range includes everything from their driver (which scored very well for a Top Driver Teezy Award) to a set of irons. Between the technology that’s packed into the Exotics EXS line and the attractive price point that accompany them, there is much to be excited about when looking at the EXS range of products.

One of the manufacturers that I was really excited to swing at the 2019 PGA Show Merchandise Demo Day was in fact Tour Edge. Already having had the opportunity to test and review the Tour Edge Exotics EXS 4 hybrid late in 2018 (EXS 4 Hybrid Review here) my appetite was whet in anticipation at the prospect of what the rest of the range was like. Especially, the Exotics EXS irons. The tagline that Tour Edge is using for this range (“Pound for Pound… Nothing Comes Close”) surely resonated with me. Here’s why.

 

The Pre-Shot Routine

The Exotics EXS irons by Tour Edge are packed with a ton of technology. One of the trends that we’re seeing in the golf industry is that of iron sets consisting of hollow-body construction. The EXS irons are no exception.

Exotics EXS irons feature a forged Cup Face with what Tour Edge refers to as “SpiderWeb VFT Technology”. The result? An expanded sweet spot that allows for more forgiveness which in turn enhances the golfer experience. Especially on strikes that are not… “Optimum”. Also noteworthy is the fact that the face construction is the thinnest that Tour Edge has ever used. The long irons 4-7 are the irons that feature the hollow body construction whilst the short irons 8-PW feature an undercut cavity design. A key point in the short irons is what Tour Edge calls “LaunchPad Technology”. LaunchPad Technology is a polymer that Tour Edge used to absorb vibration, enhance the feel and create more “trampoline effect”. This effect aids in providing a higher ball exit velocity which theoretically equates to more distance.

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What good is a game-improvement iron if it doesn’t feature perimeter weighting? Perimeter weighting has become an integral part of the golf manufacturing industry when it comes to the design of irons. Once thought to be used predominantly in game-improvement irons we’ve seen the use of Tungsten perimeter weighting in what many would now describe as player’s irons. The EXS irons are no exception as Tour Edge R&D placed a 19-gram toe weight to further address forgiveness and playability. Higher M.O.I equals more resistance to twisting and “elongates the sweet spot”.

Technology points don’t simply “end” in the design of the head. Stock shafts offered in both graphite and steel. The options are none other than the Tensei CK Blue 2G Series by Mitsubishi Chemical (MCA). This shaft (also featured in the EXS Hybrid) combines the best of Kevlar, Carbon Fiber and other lightweight materials. Shaft weights vary depending on the flex of the shaft (60-80 grams). Or in the case of the steel option, the KBS Max 80 is available in either a Regular or Stiff flex and Tour Edge opted to choose the venerable Lamkin Grips UTx grip.

 

The Transition

(Demo Day Conditions – Sunny, Windy (left to right) and Warm. Tested with the MCA Tensei CK Blue 2G Series in Stiff flex)

Aesthetics – First things first. I just wanted to point out that in a way these irons reminded me a little bit of their EXi irons introduced a couple of product cycles ago.

That said, these irons look mean and remind me of a “Muscle Car” from the 50s-60s. Maybe like a 1957 Chevrolet Belair? When looking at them from the perspective of the golf bag view (cavity view) they look fast and they look powerful. Raw horsepower! I love the colorway of these irons with the silver and black badge on the back but the “pop” of blue just further adds to the aesthetic value of these irons (see picture below).

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Tour Edge Exotics EXS irons

The looks are very attractive in the address position. The blade length is neither too long nor is it too short. At the risk of sounding like “Golfilocks” the blade length was just right. The blade length inspires confidence at address and the ball sets up great behind the head. What I really like from the address position is the top line. It is quite thin for game-improvement irons and I found the EXS irons to be very attractive overall. Personally speaking, I feel that the EXS irons may very well be the best-looking iron set in its category.

Performance– Make no bones about it. The EXS irons are premier performers. Quite honestly, it all boils down to the initial thoughts I had regarding their looks (in the address position). Looking down at them, I felt so confident that I was going to see good results that the confidence went straight to my hands and arms. Quite honestly, at that point, I hadn’t really made a ton of swings with any clubs. I was still finding my way (and my swing) post-Stroke and I really had no clue what swing was going to show up at Demo Day. My first swing resulted in a well-struck 8-iron that seemed to penetrate the left to right wind. The feel on that first strike was so crisp and more importantly, the ball flight didn’t “balloon”. The wind did not affect the ball flight. It just held up and on its intended line.

Divots were crisp and that could be contributed to the design of the sole which is called a “Ramped Sole”. The sole is designed to provide better turf interaction and heel relief. More relief means less likelihood of the club getting entangled with the turf.

Distance. Without having any sort of launch monitor data I cannot give specific numbers. That’s why I tout being the “Home of Organic Golf Reviews”. Using my senses (sight, sound, touch) has allowed me to differentiate differences from club to club. These irons are “hot” and “long”. The thin cup face sounds “mean” and you know that you’ve struck the golf ball based on the crisp “thwack” at impact. The sound and feel are very “solid” and it’s very noticeable in the hollow-bodied longer irons. The Tungsten weighting in the toe as far as I’m concerned served its purpose very well and not only did it help to prevent twisting but it seemed like squaring the face was achieved very easily. These irons are long… I need to point out that I turned myself around to hit into the wind as best as I could. I need to point out one important fact about the EXS irons.

*** The iron lofts are strong!! For comparison sake the PW is an astounding 42*. If you trap the ball as you should you’ll de-loft the club more.

While I will not go as far as suggesting that the EXS irons have a blade-like profile I will say that the minimal offset and thinner top-line nearly suggests that it is. The result is a golf club that you can control and shot-shape with ease. Cut, draw, high, and low all shots are easily achieved. Flighting the ball is a “breeze”. My typical shot shape is straight to a baby draw and it was no exception with the EXS irons. The MCA Tensei CK Blue 2G shafts were smooth and quite honestly as expected based on my previous experience using this shaft. it is Tour-proven.

What a fantastic set of irons!

 

The Finish

There are iron sets that have given me a great first impression. The Exotics EXS irons were consummate. A total blend of looks, power, feel, and performance. This is an iron set that will benefit golfers of all skill levels. I’m talking Scratch all the way to a 25-handicap. The Exotics EXS irons scored and impressive. Iron sets start from $499.99 USD and come in a variety of set compositions 5-PW to 7-PW/AW/GW/SW.

Tour Edge has packed a ton of technology into these irons and I have no doubt in my mind that they might be the irons that are in fact “Pound for Pound” the best. There’s a reason why these irons won their category for the Teezy Awards. The Exotics EXS irons scored 38.5 out of 40 points. I really think that these irons would warrant further testing on-course! Range time is one thing… On-course is another. If you’re in the market for new irons in 2019 these would be worth a look. For more information on these Exotics EXS irons please visit Tour Edge.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOntheNextTee

SKIN Sunscreen™ Introduces New Active Reef Friendly SPF50 Continuous Spray Sunscreen​

One of the booths that I took the time to visit at the 2019 PGA Show in Orlando, Florida was SKIN Sunscreen. During my time visiting there I chatted with one of the representatives who explained to me how SKIN Sunscreen came to be and the development of their latest sunscreen.

SKIN Sunscreen was developed with the purpose of keeping golfers safe from the harmful rays of the sun. With skin cancer deaths on the rise, it’s become even more important that we take care of ourselves and take any and all precautions against it (the sun). Whether you’re a golfer or a tennis player or any outdoors-minded you’re likely prone to spend countless hours outdoors.

Having already developed one of the leading sunscreens in the health and wellness industry (golf) SKIN Sunscreen has released it’s most recent addition to their family of products. Already having lip balm, SPF 30+ and SPF 50+ Sunscreen comes a new and improved formula with one major difference. It’s Reef Safe.

The new Active Reef Friendly SPF50 Continuous Spray sunscreen has been specially formulated to remove any chemicals that may be harmful to coral reefs. The organisms that live in these precious ecosystems are far more important than we realize. SKIN Sunscreen knows this as well. And they care.

The SKIN Sunscreen Active formula is non-greasy (as I can attest), sprays on so it doesn’t need to be rubbed into the skin, dries clear and is water-resistant for over an hour.

For more details on SKIN Sunscreen Active please see the press release below as shared by Tracy Nackel of TEN Marketing and PR.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

Goodyear, AZ, March 18, 2019… SKIN Sunscreen™, providers of a premium sunscreen product specifically designed for the golf athlete and their families, has introduced a new Active Reef Friendly SPF50 Continuous Spray sunscreen.

“When creating our Active SPF50 spray, we felt the need to bring the integrity of our formula to a higher standard, therefore eliminating specific chemicals, which are frowned upon by our loyal consumers,” said Jessica Folino, General Manager/Partner, SKIN Sunscreen.

The SKIN Sunscreen Active SPF50 Continuous Spray is a lightweight, non-greasy formula that sprays on from any angle, helping you protect your entire body from harmful UVA/UVB rays. This highly effective, Broad Spectrum formula features a no-run application that doesn’t require rubbing in. It provides water resistance up to 80 minutes and applies and dries clear while allowing the skin to breathe. It is safe for children, the reef and is approved for use in Hawaii.

On May 1, 2018, Hawaii became the first state to pass a bill banning the sale of sunscreen containing chemicals believed to harm coral reefs. The legislation prohibits the distribution of sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate that scientists have found contributes to coral bleaching when washed off in the ocean.

Active ingredients in the new spray include Homosalate, Octocrylene, Octisalate, and Avobenzone. Other ingredients include skin soothing, aloe vera, coconut oil, and Vitamin E.

“We’re pleased to offer a spray sunscreen that is not only environmentally safe, but also provides sun protection while playing golf, swimming, and participating in all other outdoor activities,” said Jessica Folino, General Manager/Partner, SKIN Sunscreen. “It’s ideal for people who want to apply sunscreen but would rather not use their hands to apply during their activity. It provides one less excuse for not re-applying!”

In addition to the new SPF50 spray, SKIN Sunscreen also offers a premium preventative reef-friendly SPF30+ lotion formulation that is oxybenzone-free, non-greasy, sweat resistant and water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Uniting the company’s resources in a quest to spare others the pain and loss associated with the insidious health threat of skin cancer and UV damage, SKIN Sunscreen is proudly promoted as the optimal wellness preventative in a healthy daily hygiene routine.

For more information about SKIN Sunscreen, visit www.skinsunscreen.com.

About SKIN Sunscreen™
SKIN Sunscreen™ was founded for golfers, by golfers. SKIN Sunscreen is formulated specifically for golfers and their environment. The SPF 30+ sunscreen utilizing Zinc and Titanium Dioxide as its base, is very water resistant, Broad Spectrum, and delivers UVA/UVB protection.  SKIN Sunscreen is trusted for performance and protection by nearly 280 Tour Players on the PGA Tour, European Tour, and Web.com Tour. For more information about SKIN Sunscreen, visit www.skinsunscreen.com.