Introduction to Testing – Rapsodo Golf MLM

When it comes to golf and technology we have seen all sorts of crazy advances. From agronomy to equipment to wearable golf technology. All of these things have contributed in helping golfers improve and shoot lower scores.

Another segment of the golf industry that’s helped golfers improve and play better golf is that of launch monitors. Launch monitors can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but there are some launch monitors out there that are small, compact, and fit into the palm of your hand. These launch monitors are called “Personal Launch Monitors”. And many of them cost less than $1000.

Among the types of units that I describe is that of Rapsodo Golf’s MLM or Mobile Launch Monitor. In looking at Rapsodo Golf’s MLM you have a device that costs less than $500 USD (the same price as a new 2020 driver). The MLM offers key swing metrics such as clubhead speed, distance, launch angle, and smash factor to name a few. But it also does a whole lot more like capture video during your swing sessions, the MLM shows your ball flight via a “shot tracer” and there are even games to make your game sharper. All of this through the use of an iPhone or iPad. As long as you have iOS 11 or better, the app will work.

While all of this is well and good, as far as I’m concerned the MLM had a flaw. The key word here being “had”. As I learned at the 2020 PGA Show MLM had no capabilities to work indoors or into a net. A real bummer for those potential consumers stuck indoors during the winter. Well, fret no more, because the team at Rapsodo Golf has since rectified this inconvenience.

Recently, I received the opportunity from Rapsodo Golf and Brenna Byrne (Account Executive at Uproar PR) to test and review the MLM. I received my demo unit two days ago and since, I’ve had a couple of sessions where I have employed the MLM. Below is my introduction video to testing and following that is a quick recap of my first session.

The Introduction
First session re-cap.

Stay tuned for the full review as I wrap up my testing down the road. We’re only getting started with this one.

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

Review – Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220 Fairway Wood

Testing products on an expansive driving range is one thing. On-course testing is a totally different animal altogether.

I have to offer many thanks to Jon Claffey (VP of Marketing for Tour Edge Golf) for giving me the opportunity to test and review the Exotics EXS 220 Fairway Wood for a long-term on-course testing and review.

I was really curious to see if this terrific stick would live up to the pressure of winning the Silver Teezy Award in the “Top Fairway Wood” category at the 2020 PGA Show Demo Day.

The EXS 220 proved to be a significant improvement over the EXS Fairway Wood, especially in the acoustics category. Technology talking points are plentiful in this fairway wood. Diamond Face VFT, SpeedTested shafts, SlipStream Sole Technology, Dual Carbon Tech and more all contribute to a fairway wood that could easily end up in the respective bags of many golfers.

Please see the full video review below.

While the EXS 220 Fairway Wood ended up being a really forgiving club with a ton of technology that offers plenty of performance for the golfer dollar. It was the sound of the EXS 220 Fairway Wood ended up being a focal point. Instead of explaining the sound, I figured that it would be best to have an audio clip instead.

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

“First Impressions” Review – Honma Golf TR 20 440/460 Driver

The opportunity to swing Honma Golf products was a bit of a surprise for me. In the month leading up to the PGA Show this past January, I was actively scouring the list of participants. One manufacturer that I never saw on the list was Honma Golf. As I arrived for Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge, I was taken back when I saw their booth on the Demo Day range.

Earlier in the day, any time that I passed their booth, I couldn’t help but notice that their booth was “hopping”. A sign of things to come? Perhaps. As it turns out, Honma Golf would be the very last manufacturer that I would make swings with, closing out my 2020 Demo Day experience. A day that was full of surprises, cold temperatures (for Florida), and blowing winds.

Here is my “First Impressions” Review of the Honma Golf TR20 440 driver.

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Photo Credit: Honma Golf

The Set-Up

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I feel that it’s important to point out that there are two head models of the Honma TR20 driver. There is the smaller footprint, more compact 440 cc head and then there is the 460cc head. Earlier this year, while Justin Rose played Honma he elected to play the 460cc head. While I did have good results on Demo Day with the 460 cc option, I had better results with the 440 cc version. Much of that derived from being more comfortable with the smaller footprint.

Here are some details about the technology packed into Honma TR20 drivers.

 

TiCarbon+Fast Frame Technology – An ultra-light weight frame and body composed from carbon fibre and a high CIR Titanium allows for more energy to be transferred from the swing to the golf ball.

ET40 Carbon Crown – Used in the crown and sole, this lightweight carbon allowed designers to optimize the weight in the TR20. Also allowing golfers to optimize their speed.

Vertical Groove – Inside the head is a vertical groove. This vertical groove and variable face thickness increses ball speed across the surface area of the head.

Adjustable Weighting – Three adjustable weights allow golfers and fitters to dial in their preferred flight. The weights allow for the fine-tuning of draw bias, spin, and stability (forgiveness).

Non- Rotating Hosel – This hosel design keeps the shaft spine aligned perfectly throughout all loft and lie settings.

The Honma Golf TR20 440 is available in three standard lofts (8.5, 9.5, and 10.5º respectively). The stock shaft featured is the Vizard shaft, which is a premium high-performance shaft which is produced in Sakata, Japan. The Vizard shaft comes in weights of 50, 60 and 70-grams.

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The Transition 

Seeing that I’ve already talked about the conditions and pointed out the fact that Honma Golf closed out my 2020 Demo Day I think it’s best just to delve right in here. Let’s talk about what matters.

Aesthetically speaking, I think that the Honma Golf TR20 440 was the best looking driver at the 2020 PGA Show scoring a perfect 10/10 in Teezy Awards scoring. The crown is clean (the cleanest on the range) and is totally void of an alignment aid. A look preferred by discerning golfers. The head shape alone, is even more appealing as it features a traditional shape, Takumi-shaped, this head represents 60 years of craftsmanship. And it shows! Flipping the club over, the sole has a little bit of a modern look as the silver leading edge gives way to carbon-fibre weave, and gold detailing. The branding is tastefully accomplished. The face, well the face earned a few extra marks from me in my evaluation because in a time where black PVD faces reigns supreme, the TR20 has a silver face. Oh, simpler times!

Tying in just a little bit to the aesthetics of the TR20 440 is the Vizard shaft. The purplish colour of the shaft with the details of the screenprinting on the shaft make it a perfect combination adding to the rack appeal of this driver.

Innovation. The TR20 440 also scored a perfect 10/10 for innovation. Much of that had to do with the Non-Rotating Hosel featured. Golf shafts have spines which can affect consistency, distance, and dispersion. The fact that the design team at Honma Golf took this into account gave it a leg up on the competitors across the range at Demo Day. IF there’s one thing that I wish I could/would have done, it was to try this driver without the “made for” Vizard shaft and try it with a shaft that may have been a little bit more “inconsistent”. The hosel adjustment is easy as Up, Flat, Open and Closed are the options. The adjustability of the weights isn’t necessarily a new idea by any means, but the adjustability is there. Note: There is no spot for toe weighting.

The feel and acoustics of this driver is near perfect. In scoring, this facet of the evaluation scored a 9 out of 10. The Honma TR20 offers a muted carbon/metallic thwack that sounds authoritative through impact. I felt that the sound was gratifying while the feel off of the face at impact was like that of a “Mexican Jumping Bean on a triple espresso shot”. Which leads me in to the performance of this driver.

By the time I got around to swinging the TR20 440 from Honma the temperatures had dipped even more from earlier in the day. The wind was blowing right into my face and really, this was a both a blessing and a curse for Honma. Using the 9.5º head and 60-gram Vizard in Stiff flex I ws amazed with how straight this driver was. There wasn’t one golf ball that strayed off-line. Straight distance, a penetrating ballflight into a strong headwind. There’s a very good chance that this driver might have been the longest on the range for me that day as well. The TR20 440 blew my mind!

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The Finish

Even though he doesn’t play Honma Golf any longer, there is one thing that can’t be taken away from it. Justin Rose helped design this driver. The TR20 was such an impressive driver that when I departed Winter Garden, Florida that night, I thought that it had won the 2020 Teezy Award for the “Top Driver” Category. The bigger shock was that when I finished tabulating the scoring, it hadn’t won. I re-counted the score no less than 5x.

In case you’re wondering, it scored a total of 45/50 points or in terms of percentages and school grades, 90%. That’s an A! But, it just goes to show you how competitive the driver category is in 2020. Ultimately, the TR20 took home the Bronze Teezy Award in the “Top Driver” Category.

So you’re wondering where it lost points? From a Value/Price Point point of view it didn’t score as well seeing that it has a MSRP of $649.99 USD. But, there is a premium that you have to pay to receive premium components.

The TR20 has a lot going for it. Performance, innovation, and the best looks in its category. The TR20 from Honma Golf is a terrific offering.

For more information please visit Honma Golf.

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Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

 

“First Impressions” Review – Cleveland Golf CBX FULL-FACE Wedge

In light of my recent press release that focused on the RTX ZIPCORE wedges, I feel that it was appropriate to write a review that I intended to post much sooner than this. Yet, here we are. The product being highlighted here is the Cleveland Golf CBX FULL-FACE wedge. A wedge that was released on Demo Day in January which consequently won the “Top Wedge” category for the 2020 Teezy Awards.

Before continuing. I would like to pose a question. If the majority of golfers use cavity-back irons, why do you use a blade for your wedges? Control, better look at address, or maybe because it’s all that you’ve ever known to do? Perhaps, the last point was because there were no other feasible options being available. Well, maybe the time has come to change your thinking.

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The Set-up

When it comes to the CBX FULL-FACE wedge from Cleveland Golf, there are a few things that we need to look at that makes this design perform.

Firstly, and very important to note is the fact that the CBX FULL-FACE, just by the design of its face alone, offers golfers a larger face area and more versatility on those tricky greenside shots that often plague a golfers scoring ability. How is this accomplished? Well, the larger face allows for the grooves to be extended.

A high-toe design, also allows golfers to get aggressive with their shots because the higher toe profile slides under the golf ball. Have you ever tried to hit a tempermental greenside lob/flop to a short-sided pin, just to watch the shot get flubbed? The CBX FULL-FACE wedge can help counter this “golfer’s malaise”. Also, the Cleveland Golf CBX FULL-FACE “delivers a unique half-cavity design with a cavity near the heel and solid muscle back on the toe, which pushes the center of gravity away from the heel and closer in line with strike patterns for improved consistency and feel”.

Rounding out some of the tech points about this wedge offering from Cleveland Golf is the “Rotex FULL-FACE”. Rotex Milling, Laser Milling, and the Zip Grooves that you’ve come to expect from Cleveland Golf cover every sliver of the face. Resulting in maximim versatility and maximum spin rates.

Finally, the CBX FULL-FACE features what Cleveland Golf calls its “Low C-Shaped Sole”. Optimized for open face shots (flops, lobs, and bunker shots) FULL-FACE offers Cleveland Golf’s  lowest Cleveland CBX grind to date. The grind is C-Shaped to provide relief on the heel and toe.

 

The Transition

I’d like to say that the CBX FULL-FACE won it’s category solely on the fact that they were the only wedge manufacturer that allowed you to test all facets of the short-game. But, that simply wouldn’t be true. Did it help them? Yes, it might have contributed a little bit because, I was able to see what these wedges could do in “real-world applications”. Pitching, chipping, bunker shots… Everything! An advantage over many others in the category.

Aesthetically speaking, the CBX FULL-FACE wedge is a nice-looking wedge. While it may not be a classic forged blade, the “Gun Smoke-ish” finish I found to be eye-pleasing. If there’s a knock, it’s that this is the only finish. For me, I really like the finish. The heel to toe length appears to be longer than some but, it’s a small price to pay for the forgiveness and the “groovy face” of this wedge. Speaking of the face, I actually was pretty enamored with the face at first glance. I think much of that has to do with all of the grooves and the height of the toe.

Initially, I had fun chipping with the 56º model. Just working on chips, and I have to be honest. I was very impressed with how this wedge performed. Intentionally, I hit a couple of shots fat and the forgiveness was on full display. Even these misses provided excellent results, and these were results that I know would not have been possible with other wedges. Also, the spin characteristics were on full display as golf balls (Srixon Q Star Tour) routinely checked up. But then, I decided to switch things up and have some serious fun. I put the 64º wedge into my hands. Until now, the most loft that I’ve ever tried was a 60º, regardless of who the manufacturer was.

The 64º CBX FULL-FACE was a blast. It provided me the most fun that I’ve ever had around a green. Flops were easy to execute, even from the tight lies of the dormant grass that layed greenside. Greenside pitches stopped on a dime. And then there were the bunker shots. The traps at Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge contain sand that is very “soft and fluffy’ in nature. Just thinking about those bunker shots with the CBX FULL-FACE wedge brings a smile to my face. Into the wind, my shots came out of the sand with ease and shots to a tough short-sided pin saw fantastic results. I didn’t mind chewing on a little grit from the blowback to get those type of results.

Forgiveness-wise. I’ll keep this talking point short and sweet. These are without a doubt the most forgiving wedges that I’ve had the pleasure of swinging.

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The Finish

The CBX FULL-FACE wedges were very much deserving of the Gold Medal in the Teezy Award voting. There isn’t anything that these wedges can’t do to help golfers and their short game regardless of what your handicap might be.

The wedges look smart, feel great through impact, and impart boatloads of spin. Of course, this latter point depends on your ability to hit down on the ball. But, say you hit one a little thin or fat, you’ll see satisfactory results. I highly recommend these wedges to anybody looking to add some help to their golf bag on the low-end.

The CBX FULL-FACE wedges come in only one finish and only in four lofts. These lofts are 56º, 58º, 60º, and 64º respectively. All models have 10º of bounce and remember, bounce is your friend. Shafts offered are in both steel (True Temper Dynamic Gold 115 in Wedge Flex) and Graphite (Rotex Precision Wedge Flex).

For a more in-depth look at these wedges wedges from Cleveland Golf, please visit the Cleveland Golf website.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

“First Impressions” Review – Wilson Staff D7 Forged Irons

The time has come to look at one of the winners from this year’s Teezy Awards. The Wilson Staff D7 Forged irons were emerged victorious from the 2020 PGA Show Demo Day in the “Top Game-Improvement Iron” Category.

What made them the winner? Quite frankly, the D7 Forged irons checked all of the boxes for me. They had the looks, the performance, they had the sound and feel that I look for and they actually amassed a staggering 48 out of 50 points. Near perfection.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the D7 Forged irons from Wilson Staff.

 

The Set-Up

Back in October was the first time that I saw these irons from Wilson Staff. It was one of those things where my imagination ran a little wild. Even though I couldn’t swing them then nor take pictures (they were under embargo them) I knew that these irons would be on my “short list” to swing at the 2020 PGA Show.

When examining the D7 Forged irons a few things come to mind. First, the D7 irons from 2019 were designed with much of chassis of the phenomenal FG Tour V6 irons in mind but with some obvious and noticeable differences.

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Power Holes. (Photo Credit: Wilson Golf)

Located on the sole of the D7 Forged irons are Wilson Golf’s patented “Power Hole Technology” (PHT). The PHT placement has been changed and “optimized” when it comes to the forged heads as opposed to their cast brethren. PHT increases face deflection (or trampoline effect) and in doing so, ball speeds and distance are increased.

“Power Chamber Technology” is an innovation from the Chicago-based manufacturer. you’ll notice that the “Power Holes” are not hollow. A proprietary innovation/material “fills the Power Holes as well as the entire chamber behind the face” which is said to result in dampened vibration for resulting in reduced vibration resulting in better sound and feel.

Unlike the D7 irons from 2019, these D7 Forged irons are forged. 8620 Carbon Steel is the chief material used in the manufacturing process. 8620 Carbon Steel is known for providing a superior feel for the discerning golfer.

The lofts are bumped a little as the PW is 44º and the stock shaft offerings are that of KBS $ Taper Lite (steel) or the True Temper Catalyst 80 (graphite).

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Power Chamber Technology. (Photo Credit: Wilson Golf)

The Transition

First things first, I feel that I need to clear something up. Are the D7 Forged irons a Game-Improvement (GI) iron or are they a “Player’s Distance” iron? In my opinion, the D7 Forged irons are a Game-Improvement iron, and here’s my reasoning. A few years ago, Wilson introduced a “letter code” system for their products. They were F, C, and D respectively. “F” (Feel) was aimed towards their Tour irons (FG Tour VT, FG Tour100, etc). “C” (Control) was for the player that wanted characteristics of a “player’s iron” with the forgiveness and distance of a GI iron (C100, C200, etc). Then there was the “D”  (Distance) category. These irons offered more offset, strong lofts, and were GI or Super GI) through and through. Based on the letter code and Wilson’s past marketing, the D7 Forged irons are GI irons.

Aesthetically speaking, these irons are real eye-pleasers. I thought that they were “eye candy” in October, and under the Florida sun, they were even nicer than I thought. Their satin chrome finish glistened, and for the most part, their cavity is pretty clean. The graphics are clean, simple, elegant and to the point. “The Shield” is neatly placed and I like the simple silver with black detailing. There’s just enough there to let people know that this iron is a “D7”, it has a “Power Chamber” and that it’s “Forged”. The sole is of a moderate thickness to help prevent digging and reduces “fat” shots and the “Power Holes” are not an eyesore. The top line is definitely much thinner when compared to many others in the category in 2020. I loved looking down at them in the address position. The D7 Forged irons because of their aesthetics will appeal to players of all skill levels.

When it comes to the feel and sound of these irons, there is nothing to dislike. There MUST be something to the “Power Chamber Technology” because these irons feel fantastic. Nearly every shot felt great as the ball propelled off of the face and yes, I experienced no issues with vibrations. If there was a day where there should have been some semblance of vibration, it was in the cold at Demo Day. Now, a lot of the feel can be contributed to the soft 8620 Carbon Steel that was employed during the manufacturing process. The sound is an authoritative “thwack” that sounds. I loved the feel and sound of the D7 irons.

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The performance of the D7 Forged irons was astounding. These are very easy to swing and easy to hit irons. I never saw a D7 Forged with the stock True Temper Catalyst 80 shaft, so I settled for trying out the steel-shafted offering. The KBS $ Taper Lite is a mid to high trajectory shaft and low to mid-spin. With the slightly stronger lofts, this shaft is paired extremely well with the head. While having a swingweight of D2 the D7 Forged felt heavier than advertised through impact. This is a good thing and complimentary. I love a D4 to D5 because I like to know where the head is throughout the swing. Moreover, I love to feel the head pass through the impact zone.

Golf shots were easy to control. These irons are “workable” and tight draws were the norm into the teeth of the wind. Working the ball in the other direction (left to right) was pretty easy as well. Flighting the golf ball was a snap. So, if you need to dial up a stinger for your approach shot into the green, fear not, the D7 Forged will do it with “gusto”.

Distance, this is always a tough aspect to gage when hitting products at Demo Day. One of the first questions that I’ll ask a rep at Demo Day is “How far is it to that pole?” and they almost always have an answer. Upon finding out that a certain target was 150 yards. I figured a 7-iron would be the selection based on the wind which was no less than 2 clubs bordering on 3. In short, it was too much club. The 8-iron got the distance dialed right in. My point being, these irons are long. How far would that 8-iron have flown in more favourable conditions? 165-170 yards? The flight of the ball is “long and strong”. Is it possible that the D7 Forged irons are too long? Maybe, but as my years advance, I’m not going to complain as long as i can get my gapping right.

The Finish

The D7 Forged won the Teezy Award for their category and for good reason. The D7 Forged earned every point that they received. The D7 Forged irons come highly recommended from me for those golfers looking for a new set of irons in 2020 or beyond. Long, workable, forgiving, and pretty.

They retail for $899.99 USD for steel or $999.99 USD for graphite. For more information, please head to Wilson Golf.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind