Review – Callaway Golf Rogue Sub Zero (Driver)

Before I get rolling with this review I need to give special thanks at this time. Thanks go out to SVP of Marketing and Communications for Callaway Golf Harry Arnett. Without Mr. Arnett’s assistance and generous offer to send out a Rogue Sub Zero driver for me to try this review would never have happened. Harry… from the bottom of my heart thank-you for this opportunity.

The following review is a little different from others in the past. While there will be the usual information regarding specifications and technical data my reasoning for really wanting to do this particular testing was to do a straight up comparison. Not a comparison of Callaway Golf’s latest state-of-the-art driver (Rogue) vs one of their competitors. This head-to-head comparison was against one of their own. As some of you may recollect I simply stated in 2017 that the Callaway Golf GBB Epic Sub Zero was as close to perfection in a driver as any that I’ve come across. Also, the Epic Sub Zero was the “Top Driver” (for me) at the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show (Epic Review).

When Callaway Golf released the Rogue the first thing that came to my mind was “How do they improve on what the Epic brought to the table?”. In case you weren’t aware in 2017 Callaway Golf introduced Jailbreak Technology”. What is it? To improve the integrity of the clubface, Callaway Golf R&D implemented the use of two titanium rods to connect the sole and the crown. The result of this technology allowed the face to take on “more impact load” thus improving on ball speeds equating to more length. Technology that seemingly worked based on the results that I observed first hand in 2017. Combining this technology with a carbon composite crown and premium shaft offerings like the Project X HZRDUS T800 made the GBB Epic Sub Zero a very formidable driver.

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Rogue comes in three models (Standard, Sub Zero and Draw) and each offers the same Jailbreak Technology seen initially in 2017. The Callaway Golf R&D team didn’t stop there however. The Rogue is offered in a “larger, more forgiving head shape”. How did the team at Callaway achieve this? The new chassis of the Rogue was built with higher MOI characteristics in mind meaning that forgiveness would not be sacrificed for distance. Rogue features Callaway Golf’s largest ever crown surface area ever which is constructed out of a Triaxial Carbon Fiber. In case you weren’t aware, the use of triaxial reinforcement fabrics optimizes a high strength-to-weight ratio.

Who remembers when Callaway Golf partnered with aerospace giant Boeing? When Callaway Golf released their XR 16 driver the company merged with Boeing to work on a aerodynamics package that would offer golfers more speed. The partnership has re-emerged in 2018 with the Rogue line-up. The purpose? To re-engineer and improve Callaway’s patented “Speed Step Technology”. The leading edge of the Rogue was redefined to improve airflow with the intentions of further aiding golfers to fly their golf balls faster and longer through added clubhead speed. Now that I’ve given a little bit of background information on the Rogue driver line-up as a whole the time has come to talk a little bit more about the subject of this review. The Rogue Sub Zero.

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The Rogue Sub Zero is offered in both left and right-handed models. Two standard loft options are available with the standard loft being either a 9* or 10.5* head. While there are plenty of custom shafts to choose from the stock options are premium and by no means slouches in any way shape or form. Project X is featured here with both a 65 gram and 75 gram Even Flow shaft being offered. Also offered is the impressive Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75 shaft. The shaft is paired with a Golf Pride New Decade grip. If you like or need adjustability there are plenty of ways for golfers to optimize their performance. If needed, golfers can adjust their face angle (Draw or Fade) or loft (- 1* or +2*). Furthermore, with the Rogue Sub Zero golfers have the option of changing the two interchangeable weights found in the sole of the driver. The weights (14-grams and 2-grams respectively) allows golfers to either achieve less spin (place the 14-gram weight in the front) or to gain added forgiveness by having the heavier weight in the rear whilst also aiding in achieving optimal launch conditions.

For the purposes of this review and testing I opted to match the Rogue Sub Zero as close as possible to the GBB Epic Sub Zero which blew my socks off in 2017. How did I do this? I went with a head that was identical in loft and with a shaft that was as close to possible as what  used at Demo Day. So the Rogue Sub Zero that I had built was one that featured a 9* head and the Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75 shaft in a stiff flex. My testing process would involve several range sessions and plenty of on-course time. Could the Rogue Sub Zero live up to the role of filling the shoes left behind by the GBB Epic Sub Zero. The testing process has involved a bevy of conditions from wet, soggy fairways to fairways that offered plenty of roll. From seasonal air temps lacking humidity to days that were quite honestly oppressive (well over 100*F).

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When it came time for the unboxing I was like a kid on his or her birthday. I was out walking the dog and saw a UPS truck pull up in the vicinity of what looked to be my house. Ignoring the truck I finished my walk and as I approached the house there it was… a box with a nice big Callaway Golf logo emblazoned on it. I wasn’t feeling the greatest that day and had no intentions of making swings but the arrival of the Rogue Sub Zero changed that. So I opened the box.

Aesthetics don’t really matter a whole lot to me but I will say that as much as I liked the green colour story of the GBB Epic product range I definitely prefer the “electric” blue of the Rogue Sub Zero. The blue “pops” and is very eye-catching. My eyes lit up when I saw it for the very first time.

(BTW… there’s a lot more to the story of how this review came to be). All that I’ll say on the matter is that an incident on Demo Day left me feeling very bitter towards Callaway Golf. In fact, I basically skipped the Callaway Golf booth other than to see if I could catch one of  Mr. Arnett or Senior Director of Brand Management Dave Neville to discuss the events of Demo Day. 

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At any rate, I would take the Rogue Sub Zero right to the range and it was right there on the range that I unwrapped it from its plastic cocoon. I would become even more enamored with the looks of the Rogue Sub Zero. Placing the club down in the address position the footprint inspires confidence making you forget that this is a “Tour level” driver. The crown looks like it’s ready for business and it’s sleek and sexy. Towards the leading edge it has a more solid look and as your eyes shift towards the trailing edge the carbon fiber of the crown just radiates and looks sharp.  The headcover itself is “snazzy” to say the least and the cover is a snug fit but not so snug that it makes it tough to remove or replace. It’s a small piece of the puzzle but the headcover is very well done and receives top marks. The stitching is great and as I write this review it’s as snug as the day that the driver arrived.

So I got to making swings at the range and this particular range supplies Srixon range balls. While these balls are very much functional quite obviously they aren’t real golf balls. As I progressed through my session the time came to put my first swings on with the Rogue Sub Zero. I admit that my first swing was a horrible pass and all of the forgiveness in the world wouldn’t have helped that swing. However, the second swing was rewarded with a golf ball that traveled well down the range. As the session wore on a couple of thoughts came to mind. The results were very good but I walked away like something was lacking. As I left the range and was driving home it came to me. The feel and results didn’t match the acoustics. I was sort of bewildered because the Rogue Sub Zero almost felt “dead” in comparison to the GBB Epic Sub Zero. In fact, my intial impression was that the GBB Epic Sub Zero was superior to the Rogue Sub Zero in the acoustics/sound/feel department. With the possibility of the Rogue Sub Zero coming up short all the way across the board.

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As the testing period wore on and as I switched between different driving ranges and golf balls I started to observe something interesting. In a way similar to my softball days and breaking in composite baseball bats it was like the Sub Zero “opened up”. As good as the results were during my first session with the Rogue Sub Zero this driver really awakened from a seemingly deep slumber. Perhaps it’s a matter of this writer adjusting to a new driver but the sound, feel and “pop” really seemed to dramatically improve. Perhaps it was the change from range balls to balls like the Chrome Soft etc. While the feel of the GBB Epic Sub Zero was more “light” and seemingly more responsive the Rogue Sub Zero has a feel that I’d describe as being “authoritative”. When you make a solid swing you’re rewarded with a feeling that you’ve punished the golf ball.

I’m not going to mince words. The Rogue Sub Zero is a driver that is quite simply… LONG. To be totally truthful, it wasn’t until I put the Rogue Sub Zero into play that I started to see drives routinely going 295+ yards. This doesn’t include one drive of 354 yards as per my ShotScope V2 device that I’m currently testing at the moment. However, as addictive as length is it’s the accuracy that can really make a huge difference.

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Generally speaking, accuracy has never really been a huge issue. That said, my accuracy throughout the testing process with the Rogue Sub Zero actually improved. Perhaps it’s the 75 gram HZRDUS Yellow shaft that’s a real difference maker. With my gamer (2016 M2) my Fairways Hit stats are 73.1%. With the Rogue Sub Zero in my hands my numbers increased to 84.3%. While these improved stats could be because of shaft keeping up to me better I think I’d be foolhardy to think that it had nothing to do with the engineering and improved MOI. For a driver that’s touted as being “Tour level” this is a driver that is plenty forgiving. If you’re a 15-20 handicap don’t exclude yourself as a candidate to play the Sub Zero. You’ll be fine. Toe and heel strikes aren’t severely punished from a distance standpoint but what’s real surprising was how well those “less than optimum strikes” maintained their line. Tremendous forgiveness!!

Conclusion:

While the GBB Epic Sub Zero might have had lighter, crisper feel. The Rogue Sub Zero is a driver that feels like there’s plenty of punch behind the clubface at impact. A “powerful bruiser”. I’d suggest that the length is similar but that’s just based on me trying to compare swings on a range vs actual on-course use. I had no problem controlling the GBB Epic Sub Zero but the accuracy of the Rogue Sub Zero was amazing. Only made better by the fact that this is a very forgiving driver. The Rogue Sub Zero at address inspires confidence and exudes power. It’s so easy to understand why Callaway Golf staffers put the Sub Zero into their bags so quickly. If you have the opportunity… please give the Rogue Sub Zero a swing you won’t be disappointed.

Until The Next Tee!!

 

 

 

 

Review – Clicgear Model 3.5+

Before I start my writing of this review I just wanted to take the time to thank Todd Hansen. Mr. Hansen is the National Sales Manager of The ProActive Sports Group. The latter oversees brands like Clicgear USA and Alphard Golf to name a few. I was fortunate to sit down and talk with Mr. Hansen (Todd) at the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show this past January. Through that discussion, I was very fortunate to receive the opportunity to test and review a golf push cart. The first time that I’ve had such an opportunity. Thank-you Todd!!

As one might gather from the title of this review the chosen cart was the Clicgear Model 3.5+. While not being new to 2018 the Model 3.5+ is very much relevant in the golf industry. As a matter of fact when I look at a golfers that walk using a push cart the Clicgear Model 3.5+ is the cart that I see most often. And why not? It’s packed with high quality components and features. More on that later.

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Photo Property of Until The Next Tee.

Depending on what publication you read, research indicates that golfers can burn approximately 720 calories walking 9 holes while using a push cart. If you walk at a moderate pace for 18 holes that’s roughly 1400 calories burned. Thus the health benefits appear to be pretty obvious. Of course there’s weight management but looking at the benefits just a little bit deeper walking a golf course can help with cardiovascular health, improve circulation (walking breeds lateral vessels in your legs according to my Vascular Surgeon) and it can help control blood glucose levels for diabetics.

So I received my Clicgear Model 3.5+ when the snow was still falling during the endless winter of 2018. The more that I stared at the box the more I couldn’t wait to get started on the testing and review process. As far as colours go the options available are numerous including Pink, Yellow, Black, Arctic White, Lime and more.  In my case, we decided on Orange as the colour really matches the color scheme of my site. Before I continue on with the testing process and observations lets look at some of the highlights of the Clicgear Model 3.5+.

  • It’s rugged construction is durable. Thanks to the use of high-grade oversized aluminum tubing.
  • Tires are airless. Unlike tires that use tube these tires are low-maintenance. Clicgear employs a rubber compound that is long-lasting.
  • Sliding mechanisms first used in their original model remain the norm with the 3.5+. This makes folding and unfolding the 3.5+ push cart easy.
  • Bag Straps that are easy to adjust. Ultimately fitting golf bags of various sizes.
  • Storage net. It makes holding your valuables in a convenient location a snap. Also, this storage net is 80% bigger than the previous model.
  • The 3.5+ includes a new improved lever that helps reduce cable wear.
  • Umbrella Holder.
  • Drink holder.

Upon looking at some of the highlights listed it really doesn’t come as much of a surprise that this is the push cart that I’ve seen most. Those highlights don’t include the high quality brake used (not the cable and handle), the storage compartment just below the handle of the push cart or the fact that there are a bevy of accessories that you can get for the Model 3.5+. Options like a seat, shoe brush, cooler bag and even wheel kits. So if you really wanted to “pimp your ride” the opportunity is there.

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Small and compact. The Model 3.5+ in its folded form (Photo Property of Until The Next Tee)

When time came for the unboxing it was early April and the snow finally had melted. So outside I went and unboxed the Model 3.5+. Of note right away was how compact the 3.5+ folded in the box that it was shipped in. Also of note was how light it actually was. While I’m not suggesting in any way that the Model 3.5+ is featherweight what I can say is that it’s light enough to make it pretty easy to place into and remove from the trunk of your car or whichever vehicle you use. In fact, the stock Model 3.5+ weighs 18 pounds. How this overall weight compares to others push carts on the market I don’t know. Quite frankly, until this testing I had no experience using a push cart. I had an older electric cart and that cart is a behemoth. Totally cumbersome. Speaking of cumbersome that is something that the Model 3.5+ simply is not. At the moment I drive a Chevrolet Sonic which I wouldn’t describe as a large vehicle. The Model 3.5+ lifts into a trunk easy and rests easier as the compact designs sits in the trunk with room to spare. I can fit my stand bag (when I use it) and the 3.5+ in the trunk at the same time.

My first time or so unfolding and folding the Model 3.5+ was something right out of a comedy sketch. I was sort of looking around at it trying to figure things out and on one or two occasions I may have tripped over it or my feet. Having said that, once you fold/unfold the 3.5+ a few times it gets really easy. The cart does come with instructions and there are videos available at the www.clicgearusa.com website to assist.

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A good-looking cart. Built with the highest quality. (Photo Property of Until The Next Tee)

As far as the on-course testing I don’t even know where to begin. I guess the first thing to say is that the 3.5+ is an “easy push”. Pushing the cart is easy and smooth including walking up inclines. Never at any time did there feel like friction. The large storage net is handy for holding a cell phone, keys, wallet or any other item that you might need quick access to. The scorecard holder is effective and the convenience of storing a few tees a couple of inches away from the handle is nice. A small feature but nice nonetheless. I like the storage compartment in that it securely holds 3 golf balls and other necessary items. Extra tees, pencils, anti-inflammatories etc. Golf bags of various sizes fit on this cart with its easy adjustments. Everything from a stand bag to my custom staff bag will fit securely on the Model 3.5+.

As far as the design goes I really liked how wide the wheel base was (rear wheels). This wide wheelbase guarantees stability and when I parked the 3.5+ sideways on a hill my golf bag never wandered off. Which I think says a lot for the quality of the brake components. As mentioned earlier the wheels are maintenance free and void of tubes. The wheels spin nicely which again point to great components (bearings). In fact, there is only one minor issue that I have with the Model 3.5+.

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Accessories and features to burn make the Model 3.5+ a must look if you’re in the market for a push cart. (Photo Property of Until The Next Tee)

If the Clicgear design team sees this review I would love them to address the front wheel. There HAS to be a way to make the front wheel of the Model 3.5+ swivel. The fixed wheel is sort of a pain in the arse when it comes to maneuvering the Model 3.5+. IMG_20180503_143210.jpg

No bridge is too far to cross while using a Model 3.5+. Enjoy the walk!! (Photo Property of Until The Next Tee)

Regardless, of my comments in the last section the Model 3.5+ from Clicgear is a must look. If you’re looking to transition from riding to walking (without lugging your clubs on your back) then this could be worth your investment. An investment to your health and your game. Honestly, if I has a cart like the Model 3.5+ it’s quite possible that I would have been walking instead of riding all of the times I rode. Honestly, I play better when I walk. I’m not as rushed, I take in more of my surroundings and I simply enjoy golfing more. If you’re looking for more information on the Model 3.5+ from Clicgear then please visit www.clicgearusa.com

Until The Next Tee!!

 

Devant Sport Towels Presents New Americana Towel Series

Special thanks goes out to Julie Parham for sharing this press release for Devant Sport Towels.

Ms. Parham is the Marketing Manager for Dynamic Brands. A parent company that covers the likes of Bag Boy, Datrek, Devant, Burton and more. In this press release Devant Sport Towels announces a new series called the “Americana Towel Series”. Please see the press release below that tells us a little bit more about these “microfiber miracles”. Towels from Devant can hold 7x their weight in water.

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Photo Credit: Dynamic Brands

Richmond, VA –  Devant Sport Towels, a Dynamic Brands company, is excited to continue its role as the #1 towel in golf by presenting the new Americana Towel Series. “The new Americana microfiber towels were designed and decorated at our manufacturing facility in North Carolina,” said Jason Bonenberger, Devant Brand Manager. “This was a way to display our patriotic pride for our customers.”

The Americana Towel Series features six unique patriotic artwork designs. All 16” x 32” Ultimate Microfiber towels are decorated using Hi-Def Sublimation, a process that consists of applying the designs to create high definition in full color. The Ultimate Microfiber is a high-quality towel consisting of super absorbent microfiber to hold seven times its weight in water. It offers superior cleaning strength as the microfiber strands trap more dirt and dust than a standard cotton towel. The towels are finished with a web strap handle for easy placement over a golf club head.

Devant Sport Towels, located in Monroe, North Carolina, had its humble beginnings as a family run business in 1976. Ever since, Devant has blossomed into the industry leader in sport towels by producing over one million towels a year. Devant employees are still guided by the three principles of high quality, low minimums and outstanding service to ensure every towel that comes out of Monroe is a piece of art. “We have seen multiple uses for our microfiber towels, including for the kitchen and bar,” said Bonenberger. There’s no better way to show off American pride and celebrate summer than with these new Americana Towels. Americana Series microfiber towels by Devant are available for $19.95/each through your local golf pro shop or direct at here.

Until The Next Tee!!