“First Impressions” Review -Wilson Staff DUO Soft+ Golf Balls

The golf ball is without a doubt the most underrated piece of equipment that a golfer uses in the course of his or her playing days. Not only is the “lowly” golf ball underrated it is almost thought of as an afterthought. But, it shouldn’t be. It’s the only item in our arsenal that we use on every stroke made during a round of golf.

Over the last several years, I’ve become very much a proponent of golf balls with lower compression. As a matter of fact, I’ve gotten to a point where I prefer a soft feeling, low-compression model of a golf ball. Of course, though, feel is intimate.

When it comes to soft, low-compression golf balls the first brand that comes to my mind is Wilson Golf. For 2020, Wilson Golf has brought golfers the DUO Soft+. I received a sample sleeve from the 2020 PGA Show at Demo Day and while down in Florida, I had the chance to get some on-course testing before returning home for the winter.

Here are my first impressions of the new DUO Soft+ golf balls. There will be an updated review as we get deeper into the season and I’ve had some more time to play with this golf ball.

 

The Set-Up

When looking at the new DUO Soft+ golf ball, we are looking at a golf ball that is built on the same principles as the ever-impressive, highly underrated DUO from years gone by. Wilson Golf describes the DUO as “the world’s softest and longest premium 2-piece golf ball”. If you’ve never used a DUO before, you might be missing out.

The new DUO Soft+ has a new feature in it’s “DNA”. Never used before in a DUO golf ball comes “VELOCITICOR™”. VELOCITICOR is a new core technology that consists of new, advanced materials that respond to the power of your golf swing and translates into maximum energy transfer into the ball. Different forms of polybutadiene (synthetic rubber) is used while a compound (Zinc Pentachlorothiophenol) gives VELOCITICOR it’s “oomph”.

The compression is low as the DUO Soft+ has a compression rating of 35. Wilson Golf is confident about this golf ball, and they were out to prove that the DUO Soft+ was just as long as a Titleist Pro V1. They had a “challenge” set up on Demo Day. Golfers hit three Pro V1 and three DUO Soft+ and using an iron. Using Trackman (or FlightScope I don’t recollect which one it was) the distances were recorded. For the most part, gains were seen across the board while I stood there and watched the results. Some gains by as much as 12 yards. I also took part in the challenge but my results were inconclusive.

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The Transition

Early testing of the DUO Soft+ golf ball would take place at two separate venues while I stayed in Florida for a few days after the PGA Show. I would take the DUO Soft+ to the YMCA Par 3 Home of the First Tee of Lakeland where they have a pretty nice, well-maintained short game area and then I would play a round of golf in Zephyrhills, FL at Southport Springs Golf and Country Club.

The first batch of testing would occur as mentioned at the YMCA Par 3 course. That batch of testing would involve putting, chipping and pitches from a variety of lies and bunker shots. In a nutshell, that batch of testing was “anything’ short-game. The second batch of testing would be on-course and a sort of “live-fire exercise”. That would be my first look at things like distance, flight, and feel on all shots not short-game related. I would combine those results and come up with my “First Impressions”.

Feel – As you likely expect the feel of this golf ball is fantastic. I love the feel of this golf ball. It feels soft, and it feels quite buttery off of the putter, wedges, and irons. As mentioned, I’m a huge fan of softer golf balls and I often “preach to the proverbial choir” about using ofter golf balls. The feel was so good, that I actually looked forward to applying the clubhead into the back of the golf ball. I won’t guarantee it, but the DUO Soft+ is likely (if not THE) best feeling golf ball in the industry.

Spin – I won’t mince words. When looking at the DUO Soft+ golf ball, IF there is a shortcoming it might be its short-game spin capabilities. This was a case that presented itself almost immediately during the first batch of testing. To me, the DUO Soft+ had a problem checking up. Whether it was a chip or a pitch from a tight lie that allowed for easy compression, or a little lob onto the green. There was rollout. I was surprised to watch the Soft+ land on an upslope and release past the pin. I flew these shots 80% of the way to the pin. However, if I flew the golf ball 70% of the way the results improved. Chip shots were more of the same where there was more rollout than desired. Out of the bunkers, the spin was sufficient and did stop “okay”.

The spin on full shots and approaches into the green was better. The greens at Southport Springs Golf and Country Club were relatively firm. Ball marks were hard to come by as there were some approaches that left me bewildered because there were no pitch marks on the surface of the green. The approach spin with irons and wedges was very admirable in that, the spin of the DUO Soft+ did exhibit “drop and stop” characteristics. In the interest of full disclosure, I typically hit the ball high.

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If you plan on seeing some rollout on short-game shots and play your shots accordingly, the DUO Soft+ is good around the greens. The feel makes it worth it.

Off of the long clubs in the bag (driver/fairway metals) it is my opinion that this is a low-spinning golf ball. Which leads me to talk about the distance.

Distance – One of the alluring things about using a lower-compression golf ball is the fact that you could pick up a few yards. Remember my “distance challenge” reference? While I saw no difference in numbers during Demo Day at their booth, it appears that I am longer with the DUO Soft+. Because the DUO Soft+ isn’t so “spinny” off of the driver and fairway woods it leads to a penetrating flight after initial high launch. You can really feel the golf ball compress and rebound off of the face of the club.

I would have the DUO Soft+ compete head to head against other current “testers” and it just seemed to stretch out a tad more. Especially with the irons. The DUO Soft+ was a club longer (7 to 10 yards) against the others. Now what I have to keep in mind is that I was hitting my PW in Florida 125 yards (sea-level is real). That same distance back at home would have translated to approximately 130-135 yards. It’s my hypothesis that I would get closer to 140 yards out of my 44* PW (winds notwithstanding) under normal conditions where I typically play which is around 350′ above sea-level. I also noticed gains with the other clubs I would play.

Putting – The DUO Soft+ has a pretty basic alignment aid for lining up your putts correctly. Emblazoned on the equator is “DUOSOFT+” that is book-ended by double chevrons (pictured below). Simple and functional.

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The Finish

All things considered, the Wilson Staff DUO Soft+ golf balls are a very nice low-compression offering for golfers that prefer a softer feeling golf ball. If you aren’t one of these golfers, it might be worth a look for you regardless. While I found there to be some issues with greenside spin, it’s an issue that we can look past as long as you’re willing to account for that deficiency. At the end of the day, it is, after all, a 2-piece golf ball.

The DUO Soft+ is longer than other golf balls in the industry and your results in this facet might be better or worse than mine.

With a price tag of $19.99 USD/dozen the DUO SOft+ is worth a look. It offers pretty darn good “bang for the golfer buck”. I’m looking forward to playing with this golf ball more. Stay tuned!

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

TaylorMade Golf Company Announces the All-New TP5/TP5x PIX, Co-Developed and Played By Rickie Fowler

ADVANCED VISUAL TECHNOLOGY BRINGS ENHANCED VISIBILITY AND ALIGNMENT TO TAYLORMADE’S PREMIUM BALL LINE

CARLSBAD, Calif. (January 29, 2020) – TaylorMade Golf Company, an industry leader in innovation and technology, introduces the second generation of the high-visibility line of pix™ golf balls. For the first time, pix™ will be available in both the TP5 and TP5x models with a revolutionary visual technology developed in conjunction with Rickie Fowler.

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CO-DEVELOPED BY RICKIE FOWLER

Fowler has long been recognized as one of the best putters on the PGA Tour and his insights proved invaluable in the creation of pix. Over the course of a year, TaylorMade teamed with him to develop a golf ball that reflects his swagger and meets the performance demands of competing at the highest level.

“The pix graphics give you a precise focal point to work with. When we started developing the new design, one of my first comments was if we didn’t have the full TaylorMade logo in two places, we would have space to create a path that works for alignment and feedback.”

Rickie Fowler
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CLEARPATH ALIGNMENT™

Like many golfers, Fowler prefers to draw a line on his golf ball to help him align putts on the green. The previous generation of pix and all other high-visibility products made that virtually impossible. Inspired by Fowler’s insights, TaylorMade uniquely positioned a single TaylorMade logo and aligned it perfectly with that TP5/TP5x stamp to form a natural pathway through the centre of the ball. Twelve (12) strategically placed multi-colour graphics frame the single TaylorMade logo and TP5/TP5x stamp to form the company’s new ClearPath Alignment™ – the marquee feature of the new pix.

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ClearPath not only helps with alignment, but it provides immediate feedback on the quality of the roll. On a well-struck putt where the ball is rolling end-over-end, the golfer can see a clearing in the middle of ball which provides two key pieces of information:

  1. You’ve started the ball on your intended line
  2. You’ve hit a quality putt

We learned a lot in the development of the first generation of pix, but through our partnership with Rickie Fowler we’ve learned even more. His vital feedback led directly to the development of the ClearPath™ Alignment System. It’s not just about unique cool designs that are easier to see, it’s now validated at the top of the pyramid with a performance benefit like nothing else out there. It’s the ideal combination of style and function.

Michael Fox, TaylorMade Category Director – Golf Ball & Accessories

TP5/TP5X PERFORMANCE

In 2019, TaylorMade enhanced their flagship line of Tour balls and improved speed without impacting other areas of performance. The Speed-Layer System is comprised of four increasingly stiff layers, featuring a material called HFM. HFM is the fastest material TaylorMade has ever used and is essentially a tightly wound spring and when compressed generates more rebound energy for more ball speed.

The Tri-Fast Core consists of an extra-large, low-compression inner core (16 compression in TP5 & 25 compression in TP5x) and a progressively stiffer outer core and mantle. The combination of these three layers work in conjunction to create lower drag and increased carry – the primary reason TP5 and TP5x have become the hottest Tour balls in golf.

The Dual-Spin Cover boasts an ultra-soft cast urethane cover and a 30% more rigid inner cover. This system creates a condition that is ideal for greenside control, as the rigid inner cover forces the soft urethane cover into wedge grooves for maximum spin generation.

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PRICING & AVAILABILITY

The TP5 and TP5x pix will be available at retail on 2/28/2020 at an MSRP of $59.99 CAD per dozen. To learn more about TP5 and TP5x pix golf balls, visit TaylorMadeGolf.ca.

Srixon Introduces the Third Generation Q-STAR TOUR: Tour Performance with Softer Feel

One of the stalwarts for golf balls that I’ve put into play, enjoyed, and had great results with has been the Srixon Golf Q-Star Tour. In testing, I’ve compared the Q-Star Tour to “tour-level” golf balls and I’ve always found that it tested as well as the “benchmark” if not better in certain cases. The Q-Star Tour always proved to be impressive with its greenside spin, approach spin, and distance. It’s a golf ball that’s always provided a great “bang for the golfer buck” value and is a golf ball that I’ve told my coach that I would put into play with no hesitation if I entered competition again. Srixon Golf is at it again, with a newly revamped Q-Star Tour for 2020.

For 2020, Srixon is introducing its third generation Q-Star Tour which is slated for release on January 17th, 2020. The new Q-Star Tour will not only be offered in Pure White™ and Tour Yellow™, a new Spin Skin, alignment aid, and FastLayer Core.

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For more details please see the press release below shared by Noelle Zavaleta. Ms. Zavaleta is the Marketing Communications Specialist for Srixon Golf.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — January 8, 2020 — SRIXON®, a global leader in golf ball technology and innovation, announces the launch of the third generation Q-STAR TOUR golf ball. The all-new Srixon Q-STAR TOUR is available in Pure White™ and Tour Yellow™ and officially launches in North America on January 17, 2020.

 

“The new Q-STAR TOUR is a tour-caliber golf ball, delivering a softer feel at impact,” said Jeff Brunski, Vice President of Research and Development. “We’ve enhanced this generation with the new FastLayer Core to drive more ball speed and distance, while the SeRM urethane cover offers maximum spin and stopping power.”

Q-STAR TOUR

The foundation of the third generation Q-STAR TOUR is the FastLayer Core. With its gradual transition from soft inner core to firm outer edge, FastLayer behaves like a core with thousands of layers, delivering distance and soft feel without compromise.

 

The new Q-STAR TOUR features our softest FastLayer Core, which is the largest core in its class. That means distance and short game spin that is seen on tour, but a softer feel that isn’t found on tour.

 

Additionally, the new Q-STAR TOUR golf balls feature Srixon’s proprietary Spin Skin technology with Slide-Ring Material (SeRM), a urethane compound that coats the cover of every Q-STAR TOUR golf ball. The SeRM urethane cover digs deep into wedge and iron grooves, dramatically increasing friction at impact. That extra friction means more spin and more control on every approach shot into the green.

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Finally, Q-STAR TOUR features a new side stamping design to help aid in alignment for improved aim, accuracy, and confidence.

 

Key Technologies:

  • New FastLayer Core: The new FastLayer Core offers distance and soft feel without compromise due to a gradual transition from soft inner core to firm outer edge.
  • New Spin Skin with SeRM: SeRM, a new urethane coating with flexible molecular bonds, digs deep into wedge and iron grooves for increased friction and maximum spin.
  • New Alignment Aid: New side stamping aids in alignment when standing over those critical putts.
  • 338 Speed Dimple Pattern: Providing a penetrating ball flight in any conditions, the 338 Speed Dimple Pattern increases lift and reduces drag to maximize distance.

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The Srixon Q-STAR TOUR golf balls officially launch in North America on January 17, 2020, at a MAP of $32.99 per dozen.

 

REVIEW – Bridgestone Golf e12 Golf Balls

What happens when you take 12 years of golf ball fitting data from one of the leading golf ball manufacturers while adding innovation and design to allow golfers to take distance and accuracy to an entirely different level. The answer… The Bridgestone Golf e12 series of golf balls.

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Bridgestone Golf e12 Soft

The Covington, Georgia based manufacturer introduced the golfing world to their latest golf ball creations in the non-Tour (distance golf ball) category back in January at the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show. Make no mistake about it though, these are NOT your typical distance golf ball.

In the e12 there are two different golf balls dedicated to golfers of different swing speeds. Firstly, there is the e12 SOFT for those golfers with a slightly slower swing speed (less than 105 mph) or for those that prefer a softer feeling golf ball. Meanwhile, for the faster swingers out there (>105 mph) who struggle with sidespin, the e12 SPEED is a golf ball that’s designed to go straighter and consequently further. Before continuing, please allow me to go a little bit further in describing their specifications.

 

The Pre-Shot Routine

e12 SOFT – The e12 SOFT is a golf ball that’s best described as being a Distance Performance golf ball. Why? Well, that’s because this golf ball is a 3-piece design. The cover is Surlyn which is not only durable but also reduces sidespin. Not to mention that the e12 SOFT also offers a softer feel. Bridgestone Golf R&D developed a new innovation in golf ball technology. Introducing, their new proprietary Active Acceleration Mantle”. This new layer is constructed from a “high-performance polymer” which is said to provide “increased thrust and higher initial velocity at impact while allowing Bridgestone to soften the core for greater forgiveness and enhanced feel”. Also of note is the addition of Bridgestone’s “Delta Wing Dimple Pattern” which aids in creating less drag and improved aerodynamics in the cover. The e12 SOFT also comes in a few different color variations. Matte Green, Matte Yellow, and Matte Red are offered for those golfers who prefer help in the optics department (or just want some more color in their lives) and for the more traditional types the e12 SOFT also comes in White.

e12 SPEED – The e12 SPEED is also a Distance Performance golf ball as it also features a 3-piece construction. Also featuring the same durable Surlyn cover and key technological points like the Delta Wing Dimple Pattern and the Active Acceleration Mantle layer for optimized aerodynamics and less drag the e12 SPEED is more firm than its SOFT brethren. The e12 SPEED is only available in White.

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The Transition

I’m going to warn all of my readers right now. This might get a little lengthy as I’m going to be talking about certain characteristics of these golf balls. For the purposes of the testing and consequent review, I looked at a few key areas of concern to golfers like you and I. The categories that I looked at primarily were Feel, Durability, Distance (Driver and Irons) and Spin (Greenside and Approach).

For the most part, the majority of testing occurred in Florida during a trip there in late March. While I was dealing with punched greens it’s also important to point out that the greens were extremely firm at one course while other rounds saw greens that were somewhat receptive. When they were put into play and practice upon golf season arriving here the greens were very soft and extremely receptive. So with all of the background information laid down let’s get down to business.

 

Feel (I always feel that it’s important to point out that feel is intimate and subjective to the individual)

e12 SOFT – Without wasting any time I just wanted to point out very quickly that I really enjoyed the feel of this golf ball. It was something that I first observed at Demo Day during the 2019 PGA Show. At the time, I used everything from Driver to Wedge that day and I thought that the feel was addictive. Little did I realize how good the feel was until I tried it for the first time putting after arriving home from the show. Using a Lateral Line Putters L2 MAXX MOI on the Big Moss Augusta putting green I soon found out how good this golf ball would feel. It’s soft without feeling “mushy” like other soft models from Bridgestone’s competitors. My putter has a somewhat wonky, firm feel and sound and the e12 SOFT off of this putter felt muted.

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A little bit of color

When it came to the feel of this golf ball off of the other clubs (including wedges) it was more of the same. I play forged irons (New Level 1031)  and the combination of the forged heads and e12 SOFT was like listening to a symphony. Total harmony and everything is in tune. When it came to the driver you can feel the golf ball compress and that’s always a great feeling to have. Compression equates to distance. The e12 is a wonderful feeling golf ball… Tee to green.

e12 SPEED – Where the e12 SOFT won me over from a feel standpoint my initial feeling about the “feels” of the e12 SPEED wasn’t very complimentary. Adjectives like “harsh”, “hard” and “clicky” all came to mind very quickly. To be blunt, I hated it. Was it because of the direct comparison to it’s SOFT sibling? Maybe! But testing is always a process.

As the venue switched from my living room to Florida and consequently spring in Canada my impressions of this golf ball changed like the season. I warmed up to the golf ball enjoying it on the course. While it is more firm than the SOFT it isn’t as hard as my initial impressions were. It isn’t the firmest golf ball I’ve used and that’s a good thing. It felt pretty darn good off of all clubs whether I was putting, chipping, pitching or executing full swings. I was very impressed by how the SPEED jumped off of the face of my driver (more to come on that shortly). The e12 SPEED is more firm but if you have a higher swing speed as recommended it becomes less of a factor. 

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Durability

Seeing that these golf balls have the same cover I don’t feel it necessary to break them down individually.

With that said the Surlyn cover is durable and rugged as you might expect. In fact, I have abused the same golf balls since the testing begun right here in my living room. I’ve put these golf balls through a lot of golf holes, short game practice and I have but one conclusion. They might be able to survive a nuclear holocaust. The balls are blemish-free with no signs of wear whatsoever. Unfortunately, one of my Matte Red e12 SOFT couldn’t survive landing in the middle of the fairway where it was lost due to being plugged about a week ago. An offering for the “Golf Gods” if you will. There is nothing negative that I can elaborate on regarding this subject.

As the season moves along I wonder one thing. How will the matte finish of the e12 SOFT hold up? Time will only tell.

Distance (Driver)

***In the interest of full disclosure while at the PGA Show I discovered that my clubhead speed is well below where it was since the Stroke I had in September. I was an average of 107 mph (topping out at 114 mph) as of January it was 94 mph. Being unable to fire through my left side has factored into the decreased speed. That said, Smash Factor is an important variable in hitting the ball long as well.

e12 SOFT – When it came to testing I thought that the e12 SOFT yielded very good results as far as driver distance goes. I also feel a need to point out that I think that the e12 SOFT also has pretty lower driver spin. Yes, the cover is designed to reduce sidespin but the backspin numbers were very good as well. In using the FlightScope mevo I determined that my driver spin was an average of 2,800 RPM. There was never any sign of ballooning with this golf ball and I would suggest that it was a shade longer than my gamer.

e12 SPEED – I have no explanation for the distance results that I saw with the e12 SPEED. Sure the backspin numbers were less than the SOFT (2,500 RPM) but the e12 SPEED was long. Each drive that I struck when I teed up the e12 SPEED was the kind of drive that you admire. The length of this golf ball surprised me. Maybe it shouldn’t have… But it did. The e12 SPEED is one of the longest golf balls that I’ve put into play and was the longest during testing in Florida and up north.

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Distance (Irons)

e12 SOFT – Throughout the testing process I found that the e12 SOFT was about the same as my gamer. I have only one explanation for this. It seems like SOFT flies higher because of the slightly elevated spin rates than others tested or played. That said, it’s important to point out that backspin is totally necessary for golfers with slower swing speeds. In saying that, if what I said is in fact how the R&D team designed it they get full marks, It was a thought that I first hand at Demo Day but blamed it on the winds that were blowing around the venue… and in our face at the Bridgestone Golf booth back in January.

e12 SPEED – The e12 SPEED, on the other hand, proved to be a longer, steadier golf ball for me during testing. Honestly, I never saw that coming. But the reality is that the SPEED was longer for me with the irons as well. Longer than my gamer the e12 SPEED is not afraid of giving you (the golfer) a few extra yards on your approach shots. I would suggest that the e12 SPEED was 5 yards longer (half a club) than what I generally play. The trajectory was a bit lower than the SOFT.

SPIN

e12 SOFT – Alright, so there’s a saying in life. “To get a little you have to give a little) and that really does sum up my feelings about the spin characteristics of the e12 SOFT. When it came to the short game spin what I observed was a golf ball that was somewhere between a distance ball and their TOUR B RXS that I reviewed towards the tail end of 2017 (I think). The cover is Surlyn and not Urethane so you know that it will not offer Tour-level golf ball spin. However, the spin is very admirable around the greens. I had some shots check up beautifully while other shots had some degree of rollout (not a lot). If anything, the short game spin is very promising for the e12 SOFT.

When it came to approach spin on 3/4 to Full swings this golf ball was fantastic. My first hole playing it was into a wind-swept green that could have been confused with the I-75 around Tampa for firmness and that approach landed and stopped 8′ past the pin setting up my first Birdie of 2019 and first since my Stroke (sorry but it was a milestone thing). I missed the putt for Birdie. Over and over again the e12 SOFT has impressed when it came to approach spin. Stop and drop is the theme when it comes to the e12 SOFT.

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e12 SPEED – What you gain in a bit of distance with this golf ball you lose a little in stopping power. While you can use this golf ball around the green you need to be prepared for one thing. Rollout. Alright, we know it isn’t a Tour-level golf ball so that means it’s not going to stop but neither is the SOFT but that has some greenside spin. If you choose to play this golf ball it may be worth your while to spend some quality practice time around a practice green chipping and get used to the balls tendencies the SPEED can do the job. Just don’t expect it to stop on a dime. On more than one occasion it cost me an extra few feet when it didn’t stop as planned. Land this ball a little short of what you think you should and it’ll work out well. I know, this wisdom betrays conventional logic.

Approach spin with the e12 SPEED was pretty good. The ball does spin on those full and less than full approach shots. The stopping power is definitely better than what I observed around the greens and while there is some stop and drop control with receptive greens it’s not as stoppable when things are a little more firm. Generally, I take crisp, ball-first divots with my irons and wedges that produce spin but int the firmer greens I did see the ball land and end up further away to the pin than the strike deserved. Get to know what this ball does and you’ll be happy.

The Finish

There are a lot of things to like about the e12 range of golf balls from Bridgestone Golf. They’ve conducted their research and in doing so they’ve provided two solid golf ball offerings to golfers with two different speed rates. Each golf ball has its pro’s and cons. But what they do have in common are a couple of things.

  1. Both models retail for $29.99 USD which is pretty fair for a 3-piece offering
  2. They do perform as advertised.
  3. These golf balls maintain their line and were not prone to going right or left. The e12 golf balls are straight and accurate.

My point is this. Depending on what kind of player you are Bridgestone Golf just might have an e12 model for you. If you have the chance try a sleeve of each and find the right fit for you. In my case, even though I like the distance of the e12 SPEED I’d rather play the SOFT and take advantage of its slightly better greenside spin, approach spin, and softer feel. I can handle being a little shorter and making a controlled swing with a little more club. Please visit the Bridgestone Golf website for more details by clicking here.

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